Historical setting: 563 C.E., on the Western Shore of Gaul
Before we are in sight we can smell the fragrant cooking fires, the wafts of plenty along the pathways of these wharves. Everything that was taken from Constantia after the fire is relocated here in this place. Ships of both navy and merchant are moored in the bay and on the quays merchants have their booths.
I would’ve looked for someone to ask but Nic knows these landings on this edge of Gaul and he goes immediately to survey the wares and examine the heaps and roped bundles along one of the open wharves. He is looking for shipments that might be bound for Hispania; northern pelts and leathers, amphora and wood barrels of Gaulish wines and mead, things that are common here but valued more in warmer regions. He can guess by observing the cargo going we will find the ship to take us where we want to go. We do find the right cargo but there is no ship at this moment, so we’ll be watching for whatever merchant ship ties here and on-loads these heaps of goods. We will need to keep this place in our sight. Nic has the means now to pay for our stay at an inn with this view of the harbor. They have a sleeping floor in a loft for travelers. The main floor is an alehouse for any thirsty souls both traveled or stayed. Such are the comforts of plenty.
From this distance at the Inn’s doorway Nic points out the merchant’s booth where trades happen with soldiers. In the display of wares hanging from the canopy over the bric-a-brac there are other worn and cast off military accoutrement. I know he has heard my prodding, and is imagining his own armor hanging there for sale — things his father wore after his tribe sided Roman; then for all the decades of his adult years these were the things that clad him also, with safety and identity.
Maybe I’m asking a large sacrifice of one simply willing to be my patron. I wonder if my anathema of every soldier is rooted in virtue? Am I driven by the cause of pacifism that Jesus taught, or am I simply rekindling my own warring prejudices against Rome?
Dear God, Let me be thoughtful of this hard thing I may be asking of Nic — to give up his armor. Guide me, and lead me toward one day discovering wisdom. Amen.