MOUNTAIN OF AUTHORS - April 23, 2016
Cover of the first book
Fettigrew Hall - The Biography of a House
WORK IN PROGRESS
Cover for the next contemporary story of Megan and Gray.
Next book in the series . . . The 13th Century - Chapter 1
It seemed that the journey home was always the longer. And as Gilbert DeBois jolted along on his horse, every bone ached. He had done his best to assuage this pain and the one in his leg with the help of alcohol and the herbs he had purchased from a Jewish doctor in Venice. He suspected there was more to this medicine than simply plants, but not knowing anything about medicine, he was simply grateful for the limited relief it provided. It seemed that they had been on the road for months. Indeed they had, but two had been spent in Constantinople, until his brother John could travel. He had also been gravely wounded in battle and was lucky to survive. The Knights Hospitallers in Malta had saved his life.
Now they were traveling to Bruges where they would take a ship to England and home. Gilbert was fearful that infection was again settling in his leg. He had a long and very deep slash the length of his thigh. The muscles had not healed properly and he would never walk without a limp again.
Despite these serious injuries to his body, they were nothing compared to the pain in his heart. He had seen such atrocities in battle that he was haunted night and day. His dreams were filled with the raging fires, the screams of men, women and children. During the day such scenes would return to him as the pregnant woman who was raped and then had her child cut from her body and run through with a sword. Or he would hear the screams of the toddler who was thrown onto burning piles of furniture and goods in the street. When these thoughts came to him, he would take a staggered breath, close his eyes and try to think of his own children and the one he had never seen - if it had survived. He wanted to hug them to him and protect them from this crazed world he had seen.
He and John had taken the cross in fulfillment of a solemn vow to deliver the Holy Places from Mohammedan tyranny. It was the year 1201 when Innocent III had called for a crusade to Jerusalem. In the spring of the next year, John and Gilbert had acquired a small army of men who served them and wished to go. John was keen on using his knightly skills for God and the promise of an indulgence for his sins, which were many. He dreamed of riches brought back from the Middle East. Being a second son, he had little compared to Gilbert’s inheritance, and he hoped to rectify this.
“I cannot go on much longer.” Gilbert complained to John. “I must stop for the night soon.”
“I also wish to stop. We are nearing the next inn and we will stop there. Take another drink of your wine.”
Another hour along the road and they came to an ancient inn. They stabled their horses and took their belongings with them inside the inn. Few people were there but the landlord was jolly and welcomed them. He showed them a room at the top of the stair where they could sleep on straw mattresses on the floor. This was a luxury compared to most of their sleeping arrangements over the past months. Stowing their belongings inside the room they locked the door, also a luxury in these times.
Below they called for beer and a meal. Large tankards were brought immediately by the landlord’s comely daughter, Bess. John eyed her but he had no energy to pursue.
“Do you have a doctor about by any chance?” Gilbert asked.
“Nay, not be one anywhere near here. The midwife may have some knowledge to help ye.” “Bess,” He yelled, “Fetch up Jean to these men.”
Their meal was soon served on a trencher, with thick gravy soaking into it. John wolfed his down with gusto, while Gilbert poked at his, occasionally taking a bite. An apple compote was served for desert. As they finished their meal Jean appeared at their sides.
“You don’t be looking to give birth anytime soon. Where is your wife?” She said.
“It isn’t a wife we have called you for. My brother is ill with his wounds. We’ve returned from the Crusades.”
“Let me see it then.”
“Come, let us go to our room and you can treat us both,” said Gilbert.
Gilbert’s leg was red and swollen around the cut and red streaks ran towards his ankle. When Jane pressed against the wound it opened up again and puss seeped out. Gilbert let out a groan. “This is not good, sir. The infection is spreading and it will kill you. To John she ordered, “Tell the landlord to get hot water and clean cloths. I’m going to get my salves.”
Sweat had begun to bead on Gilbert’s face and chest. It was a good thing he had lapsed to unconsciousness when the midwife returned. Taking this opportunity she thrust a knife into the fire and then cut deeply into the wound, removing necrotic tissue. She then washed the wound thoroughly and bound the leg from top to bottom.
Turning to John, she told him it was all she could do for the time being. “Let me see your wound.”
John lay on his pallet on the floor and raised his shirt while pulling his pants down some to expose the huge scar running down his belly. As Jane leaned over him he couldn’t help noticing her firm rounded breasts. His interest became apparent to her and she smiled. As he was thinking about touching those mounds, she put her hand on him.
“There is nothing wrong with you, my lad.”
When they were finished she said, “Give him a little water with wine if he wakes. I will return in the morning,” she said.