Historical setting: 589 C.E. when Brittany was forest
The pagan storyteller and I are discussing the differences of our mythologies, when Druid Largin intrudes to mention what had already crossed my mind.
“You won’t see your friend Thole again.”
“I noticed he was gone; what happened to him?”
“Oh, we know where he is, Ezra. He’s paying the price owed for the missing girl Daniel failed to return after her apprenticeship.”
I’m pretty certain Thole won’t fill their need for a practitioner of healing, so I can only imagine a worse use they might have for him. Dear God give me wisdom to negotiate his release. Stay close.
Guldilyn overhears Largin’s taunt and argues, “What have you done Largin? These two young men were supposed to be ours!”
The druid makes his deal with Guldilyn who speaks for the visiting tribe, “You take one, we’ll take one. You can have this one. It’s fair.”
“Thole and I can speak for ourselves. We aren’t slabs of venison that can parceled out. We are Christians. We belong only to God.”
Both the druid and the storyteller look past me to each other to insure I have no say.
First Guldilyn says, with a jeer, “So you belong to the invisible, untouchable god? That’s nothing.”
Largin argues, “You belong to a count and a king and an abbot – by your haircut, I see – also a bishop, and a pope, and Thole said he wants none of that. He told us himself he wants a place among us.”
“I know. Thole was looking for that, but what place might he find here if he wasn’t born to this tribe? From the rumors among Christians it is said that pagans make ritual sacrifices of humans, and surely he had no intention of offering himself to appease a sacred well or fertilize a tree.”
The druid is nearly playful in his accusation. “So you’ve been a Christian all your days, and now you are saying it’s us who sacrifice young men on a tree? It’s you who worship the dead Jesus hanging on that beam. And it is your saints who cut down our sacred trees while they are still living and strong. You come up with these strange notions of religious rites and then lay them on others as though all the world but Christian was shackled to archaic ways of old.”
“So” I have to ask straight out, “What have you done with Thole?”
My question is answered with more knowing glances between Largin and Guldilyn.