Historical setting: 589 C.E. In the Vosges Mountains
Brother Servant comes with a donkey cart. He also brings the good news that the rumored ‘angel of Annegray’ is indeed Anatase.
He said, “She took the little sickle and pressed it close to her as a treasure. I told her you had the dark hair and eyes of a pirate. She seemed delighted. She calls you ‘Laz,’ after the bible guy Lazarus, because you were from a town near Jerusalem. That matches what you said.”
Thank you God. The ropes are loosed from my ankles, and I feel empowered climb into the cart. I’m surprised it demands so much strength just to move.
Brother Crathius notices my nose bleed. “This is a very bad sign. It means the wound was deeper than the bandages could cover, so this bleeding is from the depths and nothing can be done now to save him.”
A bird in a cage is set in the bed of the cart so Brother Crathius can have the seat next to the brother servant. The bird just stares at me. The long ride is somber and silent. Brother Crathius is let off to follow the pilgrim route then the cart continues on into a deep valley and up a steep rise into fresh sunlight.
Here we stop. Anatase touches my face laying her fingers on my neck for pulse as Brother Servant sets the birdcage off the cart and offers to take me on to Annegray for prayers and burial.
“No wait,” she says. “I can see why you would be so certain of his death. But this death is a terrible hurt for me first hoping then loosing. And I believe this may be my holy calling to give purpose to my sorrow.”
“May God dry your tears,” answers Brother Servant.
Anatase explains, “I’ve read about it and studied it but I have no experience with these deep wounds from swords or arrows. I would be unpracticed were there ever a war. Please put him on the table so I can practice mending this kind of wound with scalpel and stitches.”
“He is probably already with God.”
“I know. But it would give purpose to this death, that my skills could be honed to save another person on another bad day.”
Dear God, stay close.