Historical setting: 563 C.E., on the western shore of Gaul
Nic hands me his dagger before he slumps into a faint. I hoist him onto my shoulder, iron shirt and all, and I’m handed his sword and girdle from the heap at the entrance as I leave.
It’s not a long heft to the inn. The innkeeper supplies the needle and gut thread, bandages and the ewer and basin so that this healing will leave only a fading scar marking the face of a man who no longer owns a helmet.
If it wasn’t the cold water, it were the pains of my needle that aroused Nic to open his eyes and stare straight at me still in his attack mode. I promise him a good night’s rest will center his pain and may help ease his wrath. And we will need to soak the bloodstains from our new clothes.
The wind turns from the North, and a crispy cool night speaks of a better day tomorrow when the winds will be right to begin a brand new journey.
Dear God, thank you for this promise of new, and while I can so easily offer gratitude for this changed wind, may I also beg for eyes to see beauty as you can see me and Nic, and his friend, Buff, with love for all people beyond our labels for one another – Imperial soldier or ancient Jew. Amen. Yes. My prayer seems like a simplistic solve just now, but what else do I have?
On this new day the shift in the wind brings the breeze to fill the sails for our crossing of this usually angry bay. This morning we board the ship to Hispania as the last heap of goods is laden into the hull. The captain is pleased he doesn’t have to wait for us, after all, humankinds are so less reliable than one hundred amphora filled with wine. We secure our packs on deck to join into the familiar symphony of sea travel: the rustle of the sheet, the creaking lines, and the lapping of the great and random waters, now so gently nudging at the hull — the groaning of wood on wood as the ship awakens for journey.
Nic still stares at me in silence. The pack of gauzes I tied to his face last night hones his stare from rage to helplessness, but he has no words. I try an apology.
“Nic, I am so sorry my presence sent your friend into his angry rage; were it anything I could change, I would. But I can’t change another’s attitude as much as I wish I could.”
“You could have just said you aren’t The Jew.”