#43.11, Weds., April 26, 2023

istorical setting: 602 C.E. Beginning the journey to Châlons

The mayor’s guard leaves with all but four of the horses: the baro’s very tall black stallion, a bay gilding for me, and the boys had horses which the baro explained were for “experienced mule riders requiring that special touch.”

Greg and Gabe took that as a complement affirming their long years of equine experience in managing our farm mule. After all they have known of mules, and particularly our mule, for nearly their whole lifetimes. The same understanding of teens that the baro used for manipulating me also worked to fit these boys with appropriately gentle horses. And now they are very proud of their equine assignments. Gabe got the gentle gray, and Greg the “longer horse” –though sagging a bit – that is said to be a horse “of many heroes in white.” I agreed with the baro, for once, that these were good choices for my boys. These horses are followers going wherever the baro goes on his stallion. So in our grand procession with Baro Dithrum leading on his great black horse, followed by the swayback mare, then the gray, and the last is this bay with me and the all-important message bag, and an extra box for the bird to return to Luxeuil.

At this traveling pace it will take us a week or so to reach Châlons. That will bring us into the council of bishops after they’ve been assembled for a few days and are awaiting the arrival of Father Columbanus, probably expecting he will fall before them repentant or at least defensive. He is not coming. He has chosen to respond to their summons with this message I carry in the bag.

Our stops along this way are many. The young boys and the elder horses they ride need frequent rests.

At each town where we stop for a night the baro finds the finest house, assuming that to be the mayor or the magistrate. He sends one of the boys to the door to summons the master of the house, and then it is either Gabe or Greg who announces in a loud clear preaching voice, “The Baro Dithrum of Metz.” Then the baro is welcomed into the home as a guest, while we go on to the stable to care for the beasts and sleep in the straw. It is different traveling with nobility than was my journey with Ana.

(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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