Historical setting: 588 C.E. Forest Primeval
Druid Largin blames us for bringing them what he believes is plague and also for breaking the promise to return the child. I’ve offered to go to the woman who is ill and take her the tea that healed the Count, then I can see for myself if there is a danger of plague.
Thole takes me aside while the druid waits, “Ezra, you can’t go near that woman. The pagans fear the plague and we should too.”
“Thole, you know my circumstance. In my very long life after life I myself have suffered plague. I know it too well and I don’t believe it’s here. Also, if I didn’t act on the command of empathy it would burden me forevermore. For me, forevermore is a very long time. So you just keep a safe distance.”
Thole resolves, “I’ll make a fire here and wait. If you don’t return I’ll just go back home and tell them you are dead.”
I can see Thole isn’t really ready to commit to belonging to a whole new tribe just yet. So he just stays at the campsite; I follow Druid Largin into the forest.
The village is of houses very similar to the houses I saw when I was shipwrecked on the Island of St. Patrick. They are round thatches, closer to the earth but also similar to the round thatches we saw at the statue works of Anton. I know that one pagan tribe can be very different from another but we Christians just assume everyone with many gods are only one kind of thing — pagan.
Druid Largin shows me to one house where a fire is kept outside and some of the women are chanting rhymes and spells around that fire.
I duck into the entrance though no one else follows. This place is very cold, and nearly dark with no fire. There is a strong stench of sickness here, but again, it is not the plague stink. That elderly woman who helped the Count lays limp on a bed of straw with only a light cloak that doesn’t even cover her. There’s not even a cup of water in her reach and no sign that anyone has come near to care for her. Yes, I can see this is the helpless tattered woman mistaken by the Count to be his own mother and said by the Christian priest to have been a sacred vision of Mary.