Historical setting: 563 C.E., somewhere near in Galleacia
A slow start this morning then a pace unhurried. We are still a distance from the turn to follow the river to Bracara. Nic asks someone at this watering place where travelers may spend a night. Again, it seems everyone is speaking the language of the Visigoth’s and not the Suebi.
I have secret doubts as to when I remember, but Nic is starting to question my memory of who and what.
“You say it was the Suebi Bishop who summonsed you to Gallacia? So, when we arrive in Bracara we will seek the see of the bishop and he will be your old friend who will fill in all the missing information – dates, places, people – all of that?”
“That’s my intention, although if the bishop I met when I was last here is not the bishop now, they will surely have the record of my summons. Whoever is there can offer direction to the villa where I went. And they may still have that copy of the Gospel of John I brought. I remember in bits and glimpses. The don was an old Suebi soldier. He was awarded the Roman villa as a spoil of the war. And every one of his children had that yellow hair. His family all wore their long braids twisted and knotted in Suebi fashion. It’s very distinctive.
“When we find that villa, Nic, I’ll show you something very odd that speaks of the times. Roman frescos originally filled the walls of the large atrium. The Roman artwork depicted a heavenly orgy of mythical gods and goddesses. But in the Suebi hands the garish painting was simply ignored and overhung with family portraits.
“Piecing my glimpses of memory, I think my wife was the eldest daughter, Susannah. Her portrait is there. She was the one who recognized the tragedy in the cult and who took her concerns to the bishop who then summonsed me.”
“So you remember her summons but not your life together?”
“That’s strange isn’t it, which details stay in the mind. Maybe the heresy still lingers with me denying my own earthly reality. But really I don’t think a mystical moment could poison a memory of a wife.”
“So that rumored promise of a purely mystical after-glow is what we are seeking?” Nic is kidding. I hope.
“Really Nic, I’m only hoping that earthly villa will be familiar.”
This night we have not yet reached the turn at the river.
(Arriving in Bracara Augusta, September 1)