Historical setting: 589 C.E. Ana’s house in the Vosges
This morning the servant monk arrived with a mission to take me to meet Father Columbanus. Finding the Celtic Father was originally the purpose of my quest before I learned Ana was somewhere to be found. But now, as the monk is telling me to come meet the father it seems more of a requisition than an invitation. Apparently I’m being called before him to explain my intention in staying with Ana well beyond my healing time. Before we leave he asks Ana of my fitness for a walk into the valley and up again. Of course I’m able and shouldn’t I answer for myself? I can easily go two kilometers and return by evening. But the monk suggests I may not be returning. She goes into her room with a roof and doesn’t watch us leave.
Father Columbanus has an unobtrusive authority as I have known to be the demeanor of desert fathers of ancient times. His assurance springs from a silent root.
After a prayer the servant monk introduces my circumstances here as one who was found with pagan hunters, injured and in need of a physician.
“But I am not a pagan, good Father. I’m a Christian who set out to follow the pagans because they knew of this place. I was hoping to find you as I had heard about your journey here from St. Patrick’s island.
“Father,” Brother Servant intervenes, “when we found him he had been wounded by the pagans; they called him a thief and he sent me with a child’s garden tool saying he knew the young woman you have secured in solitude. His bent dagger was supposed to assure her. At the time I believed him to be one of the pirates who kidnapped and raped her.”
“But that is not who I am, Father. I am called Ezra, after the Ezra who is the patriarch of the vineyards on the Loire. I am of that family. The child Anatase was borrowed for her childhood to be apprentice and blind guide for that other Ezra’s sister, Eve. Eve was a practitioner of healing even though she was blind.
“While Ana was yet a child I went on to Ligugè where I was a monk and scribe for some years. The monastery now has no need for its scribes so when the tragedy came to my family I returned to the Loire. Eve had been brutally slain and Anatase was missing.”