Historical setting: 589 C.E. Marmoutier on the Loire
Saint Martin’s monastery here on the banks of the Loire, called Marmoutier, (That’s Martin’s monastery in French) is firmly grounded in the Benedictine Rule now. So this night we will stay here in a guest room with Ana wrapped in a monk’s wools so we won’t have to explain our marriage to an abbot, and surely not to the bishop here who is Gregory himself. That Gregory ponders all the little details of things that happen in this region and writes it as history. And I do suppose a personal diary of a noble bishop can become the history of the Franks when you are a Frankish nobleman and Bishop of Tours. It is interesting that he has no complaints about the Celtic Christians now mingling with the Franks. And it could be that Father Columbanus is King Guntram’s little secret. We bring no letter for this bishop. Maybe Gregory doesn’t even know about this Irish Father.
Now on this new morning we go on from Marmoutier into the Pagan lands where Druid Largin worries over his tribe. Ana was last here when she was a small child and Daniel made a deal with Largin to take her to be apprenticed in healing then to be returned to them. So here she is now, coming back to them as a practitioner of healing for the purpose of saving the one heir of the tribe that could promise its continuance.
We’ve ridden most of the morning passed Tours, passed the ferry landing. On to the woodlands where the cooper makes barrels from the once sacred oaks now to fill with wine and ale. We walk the horses on the path into the woods to the village.
Druid Largin is first to greet us.
“So Ezra, you have finally brought us the child your people borrowed.” He’s probably making a joke of it. It’s hard to know.
“She is no child, and now she is my wife. You must know, your son-in-law, Thole wants her to attend to your daughter for the birth of your heir. When that’s done we will return to our home.”
“I understand it’s not exactly the deal made with Daniel, but I know how these things get skewed in the hands of all our unwitting gods.”
Here is Thole now. He warmly greets the horses he’s loaned us. Then he goes to Ana, speechless and humbled with gratitude that she has come in time.
“Tilp is resting.” He tells us.