Historical setting: 588 C.E. The vineyards of Ezra
Now on the home side of the Loire the count has immediately taken the command back from Daniel.
“We will enter the lands of my estate as the proud victors! Ahead of my horse will go the banner, displayed fully with no tatter. I will ride first of the swordsmen; then continuing single file will be Daniel, then Thole, then the others of you who volunteered and you may arrive in any single file order you prefer. We will enter the grounds at a proper canter, quick enough to unfurl the flag with the full enthusiasm of victory!”
After all this instruction we are mounted, ready to make our awesome display of “winning” or at least surviving, and the count adds that we are all invited to a victory feast tomorrow at his table. And so we go along the road those miles and through the gate making a circle in front of the house before we take the horses on to the stable. Celeste and her children step out to watch us circle around for no apparent reason, yet the count is very pleased.
It is usually said that history is told by the winners. In the case of this count’s first “war,” the Pagan followers of the druid priest are not telling the history because druids notably don’t keep written records of histories. So everything that will be known throughout all posterity of this victory will have to be sprouted from the seeds of rumor we plant ourselves. And by the time of the great victory feast some of the wandering vines of heroic stories are overgrown and twisting and turning into valor none of us ever knew we had.
The women of the farms gather for the spinning of wools and flax. It seems the spindle is the true source of yarn where stories are grown. Then Colleta brings these details back to me plotting the retelling, so I won’t say something that doesn’t fit with the so-called truths they’ve discerned. Despite the cold November air, Colleta wants us to walk the grounds of the estate so not to be overheard.
“Papa Lazarus,” Colleta begins, “I know the truth of the war.”
“And what have you heard of our so-called ‘war’?” I ask fearing the twists of rumor-authenticated “history.”
“We’ve heard you encountered pagans, and ghosts, and even a fire-breathing dragon.”