Historical setting: 588 C.E. Forest Primeval
The long board for men dining at this feast is in the main hall amid a décor of a sword and the yellow banner. I’m seated here mid-table with this multitude of men. Count Bertigan is at the head. The women here will join us later for the biscuit and the cup when we have all finished the rude gorging of the meats.
Thole who calls me Ezra at his father’s demand asks if I’ve heard any stories of our war?
“Only Rumors.” I answer.
Thole confides this war should be about our loss and so few of us even knew Eve. He is stewing in the hurt of betrayal. “No sooner is Auntie Eve in the ground than my father is off with the widow of Saumur. He loved Auntie Eve! He begged for her marriage not for her utility, she was blind after-all, but he begged for her as a woman. All my life long he waited for her then in the moment of her death, there he is with another. He doesn’t give her a second thought.”
“Thole, I just think it is Jesse’s way of grief. I’ve seen it before. On the night you were born Eve walked back home in the sleet and snow, all alone, sorrowing that she couldn’t save your mother; yet on that very night with your mother just wrapped for burial, your father begged Eve to be his new wife. She told him to buy a fresh nanny goat to provide for his child. She feared that if she married your father she would live her whole life only as substitute for your mother.”
“Well, she certainly came through as a mother for me. I was with her through all of my childhood. But we could have been three of us as a family – complete, not just me and her.”
“You must surely know that she was never one to be ruled by anyone else’s expectations. If she didn’t have one foot on the Pagan side of the river, and the other on the Christian she wouldn’t be Eve. She would be pecked over like a wounded hen by the likes of Colleta, don’t you suppose?”
“My Papa would save her from the gossips. He wouldn’t let Colleta come near her.”
“So then, you’re saying she would always have been alone.”
“She would have me.”
“I miss her too.”
Dear God, you bring solace to the banshees and the ghosts, please stay with us through this strange maze of grief.