Historical setting: 6th Century C.E. Somewhere in the Pyrenees
Our immediate search to replenish our supplies and our hope for hospitality led us on a path and into a community of round thatched houses in the style of the grass houses we see often in these mountain places. On hearing our horses, a man steps out of the larger central house.
“Good morning Brother Stranger” Nic begins, “We are travelers on our way to Gaul, but just now we are looking to make a trade of two little winter furs for a sack of grain. Our supplies have run low.”
“You should have thought of that when you started your journey.”
“Of course. But we aren’t beggars. We come with a trade in furs or if you are one who values the likeness of the Emperor we can trade with coin.”
“Coin, you say?”
“Yes. We can trade in coin if you have use for coin.”
“We do use coin. But we don’t trade in grain. We buy our grain, and we only buy for our own need.”
“What is it that our coin may buy then?”
“Oh, you are buyers. My name is Antton, and in these winter months my family and our artisans create great works to sell in the summer markets. Sometimes we also take orders. So you can get anything you may wish for. Let me show you what we have!”
We tie the horses, and follow the man walking passed a heavy-wheeled ox-cart parked now. It seems ready and waiting to use on this roadway paved in broken stone. It seems to be for larger loads than a sheep or two bound for a near-by summer farm market. We cross over a footbridge spanning a creek passed a row of strange, yet intentionally carved rocks – demons and devils — winged goddesses of Roman origin — legendary creatures of every ilk. The path takes us to a circular thatched portico surrounding an enclosure with benches and a central warming fire. All around us are the kinds of things that can turn a cave or portico space into a pagan temple with an altar honoring any random stone god or goddess who may be receiving sacrifices in exchange for wishes. In fact here is the complete soul-source of Roman temples still in the making.
Nic seems awed by a very large statue of a seated woman flanked by two horses.