Historical setting: 584 C.E. The house of Eve
Anatase has interrupted the reading to tell me of a frightful time they had here last autumn when Gregory, whom she says is now the Bishop of Tours, sent his soldiers here.
“Why did the bishop’s guardsmen come here?”
“They said they were looking for you.”
“For me? Why? Are you sure they were looking for me?”
“They asked my teacher for the man ‘Lazarus.’ But she wouldn’t say where you were. She sent me to get Ma’am Colleta because she didn’t think you would want soldiers rummaging your sepulcher.”
“She was right about that.”
“She wanted Colleta to answer their questions or send them away.”
“Why were they looking for me?”
“Ma’am Colleta said they probably were looking to arrest heretics and pagans. So when we got back here Ma’am Colleta told them a lie to make them go away. She said we are all good Christians here. She told them she knows the creed by heart so they needn’t worry over rumors of pagans and heretics living on this land. And she started to say the creed, but they said that was not necessary. My teacher told Ma’am Colleta not to worry, it was alright now.”
This is all very concerning for me so I call Eve into this conversation to make sure I’m hearing exactly what happened then.
“What is this Anatase is telling me about the Bishop’s soldiers coming here?”
Eve explains, “They were looking for you to return something they were calling a ‘relic.’”
“My relic?” She doesn’t see my grin.
“They said the booty from a band of thieves had been recovered and it was mostly holy relics taken from the Shrine of the Saint. But among the things these thieves had in their hoard were a few personal items robbed on the roadway. They had with them things like torn and bloodied clothing and what they were calling a relic. They said they were seeking the rightful owner.
“I was sure this had nothing to do with you until they laid out your old tunic and caplet, which Colleta immediately recognized as what you were wearing all those years ago when you left here. She stopped me from touching it, because she said it was filthy and bloodied.
“But how could you have had any kind of saintly relic?”
“Didn’t Nic tell you?”
“He just laughed and said he wanted to know if he could keep the old walnut shell that was with the clothing.”
(Continues tomorrow, Thursday, July 1, 2021)