Post #34.2, Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Historical setting: 589 C.E. Beginning a journey in the Vosgas Mts.

         Ana and I were delivered two fine horses from the count’s stable. Then Thole and Daniel leave as promptly as they arrived.

         Father Columbanus has his letters ready in response to the complaining bishops and he’s also given us a messenger’s purse. The iron merchant gave us a map with lots notes to guide us.

         We are sent on one mission by the father, to deliver his letters. But our purpose is also for Ana to learn whatever may be needed to save the life of Tilp. Tilp is tiny and frail so childbirth, which is always a danger could be tragic for her and those who love her.

         Immediately we set out toward Metz a significant bishop’s see in the kingdom of Austrasia. The map uses the Moselle River as a starting place nearly at our doorstep. When the valley rises to a level place, we are told, we will see vineyards on the west bank of the river and we should watch along there for a cottage that serves travelers. It has three barrels, one rolled onto two at the horse gate to mark the welcome to this place where the food is good, the bed is soft and wine is plentiful.

         We do find this and it is a wooden house made of shaven boards mounted onto sturdy beams cut straight out of the forest. It is a simple but gracious home with a single guest room that is shared with any travelers coming along.  On this night the guests are just Ana and me. The vintner’s wife is brimming with chatter. She must be lonely here, but Ana enjoys her company. Ana seems in awe of the darkened walls, smoky stains, all aged as an empty wine barrel.

         The smell of the wood walls and the fire, the huge cut stones that make the hearth, a little round bubble of glass for a window — Ana says it reminds her of the village where she was born.

         “You remember where you were born?” I ask her.

         “I remember the smells, and a few other things. There must have been a river named Oos near there.”

         “Of course!” The vintner’s wife knows, “You are from Baden Baden. That’s only a day’s ride to the east! Is that where your family is?”

(Continues tomorrow)

Published by J.K. Marlin

Retired church playwright learning new art forms-- fiction writing, in historical context and now blogging these stories. The Lazarus Pages have a recurring character -- best friend of Jesus -- repeatedly waking to life in various periods of church history and spirituality.

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