Friday, July 3, 2009

Chapter 3: Dragon's breath

The sisters and I had packed our meager belongings into the baskets that were tied onto Bess, the mule, with ancient ropes. I felt dizzy from fasting and the excitement of the journey. God had blessed us with good weather during the first week of travel and we were thankful for His mercy. The first week, was fair and uneventful. We broke bread in the evening, prayed often and sometimes sang praises to our good Lord. It passed the time and we knew God had blessed us with good company and good weather.

Then the rain began. The rains fell in giant drops that pelted us like great bullets from the heavens. We trudged through the thick mud as it clung relentlessly to our long robes. My cloak was no match for this foul weather. We were cold, wet and our bread had long since molded in the wet humid weather. We were hungry and still we were thankful for God's many blessings that He bestowed upon us. Bess was a good mule. We counted her among our many blessings. She seemed impervious to the rain and mud, and trudged through with strong will and determination.

Our chattering and singing had now been reduced to silent prayers for the rain to cease. I was chilled to my very bones and felt like the walking dead. Then, an answer to our prayers in the form of shelter. On the horizon we caught a glimpse of a ruined spire. As we approached tentatively, we noticed the ruins were in great disrepair. However, the structure seemed solid enough to provide us with shelter for a few nights, while we recuperated from our long journey. Sister Mary had managed to procure a wet cough that I did not like the sound of. If the weather would let up a bit more, I knew I could forage for local herbs and make a tisane that would soothe her cough. As we entered the ruins and tried to gain our bearings the best we could, I gave a quick prayer of thanks that there didnt appear to be many leaks and the roof seemed quite intact. Post haste, Sister Francis began to make a fire. It was a difficult task since our belongings were completely soaked. After several attempts, we took a moment and prayed for Our most gracious Lord to help us. As we prayed, I glanced down at the cold stone floor. The stones were uneven and of various colors. In the center of one of the stones I noticed a carving covered by dirt. I brushed it away with the edge of my slipper and gasped at what I saw. It was a dragon. The same one on my medallion, and in the center of his body, a cross. It was then, as I drew my breath in with trepidation, Sister Francis got a spark, and the fire began to burn with bright, forceful flames. Thanks be to God, we are your most humble servants and we shall journey to wherever you call us.

The next morning, the rain had stopped. The world lazily began to awaken from her damp slumber. The sun had just begun to peek over the horizon and warm the earth. I had slipped out very early to see if any herbs had managed to survive the torrential downpours. We were not quite sure where God had led us. We seemed to have wandered a bit off course, but we feared not, for our Lord God was with us. My eyes slowly canvased the earth beneath me, and I began to hum a song from my childhood that brought much comfort to me as a wee lass. I thought kindly of these dear sisters that had raised me and prayed fervently that God would provide me with the materials I needed to make a tisane that would keep Sister Mary in good health. I had walked just over the hill to the north of the ruins and looked up just in time to catch a brief glimpse of a shimmer off the horizon. At first I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. I was tired from the journey and lack of sleep. I rubbed my eyes and covered my them with my hands, taking a moment to regain my bearings. Again, I looked up towards the horizon and saw it again, a brief yet very real shimmer of light, glimmering off the horizon. My curiosity peeked and I started walking toward the lights, still aware of the earth beneath my feet and the possibility of herbs that had managed to survive the rains.

After walking for what seemed like forever, a small red flower caught my eye in a small patch of green moss. It appeared to be Dove's blood, with which I was very familiar and could quite easily make into a nice tea for Sister Mary. As I rounded a small bend walking towards the herbs, my eyes were greeted with an odd site. There, carved into the side of a hill, was something quite shocking and startling, a large dragons head, cold, forboding. As I approached I noticed something quite bizarre. The stone appeared to be not carved, but cast from metal...a glass like metal with the appearance of swirling shimmering lights that reminded me of the Northern lights in the summer. I gasped, grabbed a handful of Dove's blood and ran quickly back to my sisters to tell them of the sight I had just beheld. Lord, protect us.

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