Ra’am was brooding. He was contemplating on just how to break the news to his family, that they needed to leave, and of course where they would go. Truthfully, they didn’t need to leave, but Ra’am was chafing at some of the menial tasks he must do for the covenant Le Maison d'Levrier. Even though he was quite gifted, and a filius of Prospero he had no authority and was often at the beck and call of other the Magi, who were members of the Council, to provide assistance. Such assistance usually involved explaining concepts to their apprentices when they got stuck on a problem and their master’s were too busy in their lab. His family, though, loved living at the Covenant.
Étienne had been delivering reports he’s been receiving from Redcaps of possible Covenants in need of his specialized skills and that had a more open membership of the full council. Results had been sparse. A few days after the winter solstice, Étienne and Ra’am sat in a study, in front of warm fire sipping the brandy, discussing their options, which were few. During a pause in their discussion there came a polite knock on the door and a firm female voice said, “Ra’am, do you have a moment?”
“Come on in, Tria,” Ra’am called out. “Étienne and I have been discussing the news he’s received about other covenants and other tribunals via his contacts and what we’ve gathered from the Redcaps. Our Redcap isn’t due in for a few weeks, so we don’t have a full picture. It also seems that there are few journeyman Magi are seeking their own fortunes with like-minded fellows around here. Would you like some brandy?” Ra’am stands and fetches another chair, placing it between his and Étienne’s in front of the fire while Étienne gets Tria a glass of brandy.
Étienne gives Tria a sly wink, “careful now, this isn’t on of Pinaruis’s glasses.”
Tria’s only response is arching her eyebrows while taking the glass and a seat. “Ra’am, that’s actually why I’m here,. Have you considered the Novgorod Tribunal in your efforts?”
“We really haven’t had much information from there. What information we do have isn’t comforting, either. With a lot of freedom comes little time to study, and the environment isn’t the best for a family” Ra’am stops as if he’s just realized something and rushes to his desk, pulling out several papers and scanning though them.
Étienne glances over at Ra’am and asks, “What is it, Ra’am? You look like Prospero when he has a moment of inspiration at the dinner table.” After Ra’am doesn’t respond he glances at Tria and shrugs, and begins a deep contemplation of his nearly empty glass which culminates in a last sip and a refilling.
After nearly an hour Ra’am stands and announces his discovery, “There aren’t any reports from the Iberian Tribunal. Étienne, even your vast network doesn’t have any information from there, except this note you jotted down on one. Send word to agent in Brest about Martimo.”
Étienne sounds alarmed, “Martimo! I’d forgotten about him and that instruction. I did send it off. I said in my note that I wanted to speak to Martimo and she should do whatever she can to make sure he doesn’t leave. Since I haven’t heard from her, he’s never made it in, and is quite overdue. I’ll find out more in the morning.”
Ra’am contemplated, “I think you’ll do more than contemplate. I think you’re going to be going to Iberia to be my eyes and ears. There is no information from there, none. And that’s unusual. Even the Novgorod tribunal has intel. No something strange is going on, and I want to know what. Regina and I have family in Salamanca, and now that I realize it, we haven’t heard from them in quite some time. Plus, you have needed a reason to leave, Étienne.”
Étienne groans, “I know, I know. I’d been trying to avoid it. However, I don’t speak the language.”
“A challenge, of which I’m sure you are capable of handling. No, you’re going. Since Prospero has assigned you to me, and relieved you of your duties you’ve been moping about. And, you’re getting fat. You’re going and that’s final. Get to Santander as fast as possible and start snooping about. More than likely there’s a trader from Normandy down there enjoying the milder winter and you can ply your skills on him.”
Étienne looks as if he’s about to respond, but Ra’am fixes a stern gaze on him which convinces him it’s not a discussion. Turning his gaze from Étienne to Tria, “Thanks Tria, you’ve given us the breakthrough I’d been searching for. Can you find out more from your contacts? I’d bet that the writing from Bonisagus Magi have been disrupted, as well.”
Tria looks startled. “You’re right, I know they have, I just hadn’t realized it until now, since that’s not my area. I’ll see what I can find.” Tria deftly changes the subject, “speaking of writings, when can we expect something from you?”
Ra’am was nonplussed; she always brought this up, “Tria, as you well know my life has been transient for the last few years. If I can find a place to settle, you’ll see some writings, have no doubt. And living here is not settling. Even though Prospero is the head of the council, I have no privileges here. The best I’ve been given is a cramped apprentice lab, and that I have to share. And you know that already.”
Tria drops the matter, “I’m for bed, I’ll check in with some of my contacts, and perhaps the redcap will have some helpful news. I think sending Étienne is the right thing to do, though. Something odd about no information coming out of a Tribunal. Oh, and Étienne, take a horse. The captain won’t like it, but enough silver should change his mind. Ra’am doesn’t think about the advantage a lone man on horseback has, as he’s not as well-travelled as I.” Tria sips the last of her brandy and leaves.
“You’ll leave tomorrow? No, wait, Shabbat starts tomorrow evening. You must leave on Sunday.”
After Étienne left for Santander, Ra’am waited impatiently for news. The Redcap, who had been in Provence, arrived with little news, other than the fact that there was a huge battle, many Magi were involved and many of them died. He didn’t have details on where the battle was, though. The fact that so many Magi had died presented an opportunity, some newly gauntleted and journeyman magi would be needed to fill the vacuum.
“Regina, I think we’ll go to Salamanca.” I’ve sent word ahead to Étienne to make arrangements for us. We’ll leave in a week. From there we can scout out covenants better. We’ll have a better idea of where it will be safest for us to settle. Plus, it’s been so long since we’ve seen our family. Nearly 5 years, just after I passed the gauntlet.”
“That would be wonderful. Perhaps we’ll find a covenant near Salamanca!” Regina looked so pleased, but Ra’am wasn’t so sure she’d get her wish.
The week flew by, with all the activity that entailed in moving a household. The day before they left was the day of Shabbat, and the family enjoyed a quiet day of observance. It was unusual that they weren’t joined by Aurelius, as had been his custom since the rabbi at his covenant passed a few years earlier. The fire had gone out earlier, it hadn’t been banked properly, and Ra’am was watching the sky intently for sign of the first three stars. As soon as they were visible Ra’am restarted the fire and told Regina he’d be leaving for a while, that Prospero had asked him to come by after Shabbat ended. Making his way to Prospero’s suite he thought about the many times he made the journey as an apprentice. And his two years of absence in Baden had only made his fondness for Le Maison d'Levrier even stronger. He was going to miss the place.
Ra’am arrived and Prospero’s personal attendant was already outside waiting for him. “Masters Prospero and Aurelius and Mistress Tria are waiting for you in the master’s private study.” He offered Ra’am a copper necklace and ushered him on. Putting on the necklace Ra’am contemplated the fact that his three parens were there, inside Prospero’s sanctum. With some trepidation he enters the sanctum, prepared for a lecture on the risks he is taking.
“Ah, Ra’am, I’m happy to see you’ve finally joined us,” Prsopero chided him gently. Prospero had never understood why Ra’am had clung to his faith. Taking Shabbat always served as a point of contention between the two, especially during apprenticeship. However, Ra’am always completed his tasks in time, and had never put any of Prospero’s projects behind schedule. In fact, quite the opposite was true in several cases, some projects were finished well ahead of schedule.
Aurelius spoke up, defending Ra’am, “Prospero, leave him alone, I’m sure he’s nervous enough as it is. When was the last time we all three were with him?” Standing to come embrace Ra’am he said, I hope you’ll excuse my absence today, I felt you and your family needed the time to yourselves. In any event, I worked.” Seeing Ra’am about to chide him for working on Shabbat he said quickly, “I was never a very observant Jew, and without my rabbi, even less so. And I miss my work and Arts too much. So the days of Shabbat I spend working, I change my routine to try and incorporate G-d in much of it. Or focus on study of the Kabbalah.”
Tria interjects, “that’s all well and good, but don’t we have some business to be about?” Always about the work, Tria’s demeanor was helpful today. Ra’am really wanted to get this over with. Aurelius stood, and went to a serving tray, pouring a glass of brandy from the pitcher, offering it to Ra’am and indicating he should take a seat next to Prospero. Ra’am considers declining, but Aurelius shows him the decanter and Ra’am takes note of Pinarius’ mark, so he knows he’ll keep a clear head for any discussion.
“We’ll start with the bad news, Ra’am. Things must be very bad down in Iberia. It appears that the Redcap network has been decimated. Other redcaps in other areas are spreading strange stories. Another covenant in the Stonehenge Tribunal, one we haven’t had extensive communication has had a member leave, according to the Redcaps, they went to a covenant in Iberia, called Phoenix. That’s all I know. As soon as I found out, I sent word to Étienne on your behalf.” Aurelius did have a slightly concerned look on his face, but did his best to hide it.
Tria added, “We are pretty certain that all Magi, not just the Redcaps have been decimated The Tenentes Occultorum for Iberia has been killed, we know for certain. His apprentice made it to Durenmar with a pouch of research of Bonisagi that had been compiled to date. I’ve been asked to take over his apprenticeship, even though I am no longer a Tenentes. He should be arriving in a few weeks.”
“Despite the risks you’re taking, we all think you’re making the right decision. You’ll be much closer to home, and if things turn really dangerous you can always leave your family in Salamanca. It’s not idea, I know, but they would be safe. If you’re going to seek out Phoenix, and we each think it best,” all his other two parens nod while Prospero continues. “We have some gifts to bestow upon you.”
With that, Ra’am looks around the room, spying several armarium. “First, we’re going to send a retinue with you, those we can spare and think you can use. Take Lucia, she’s become a fare cooper and is already an excellent wainwright, your new home could use her, I’m sure. Also, I’m giving you Julien. I know he talks back, but that may change if he’s directly responsible for the personal safety of a Magus. At leas that’s my experience and hope with unruly grogs. You already have Étienne, for reasons we all know. That’s all we can spare.”
“Now, let’s unwrap the presents, “Aurelius says gleefully and stands, as do Tria and Prospero, though Tria looks annoyed.
Prospero guides Ra’am to the first armarius and opens it. “Here is a tractutus on Terram, it’s a bit on the basic side, but you’re knowledge is not the best. I judge it to be sufficient to get you to first magnitude knowledge.” Continuing to the next, “next we have one on Aquam, given your deficient knowledge of Aquam, it should prove useful. You’ll need something else to round out your knowledge to first magnitude on that subject, though. And the next chest, “and finally the last of my gifts, is a tractutus on the Art of Animal. Aurelius has some gifts for you as well.”
“Come over here, here we have a casting tablet for Conjuring he mystic tower. Now since I know you liked our towers when you were my apprentice, I thought I’d have one drawn up for you. However, since this is a casting tablet, you’re not going to be able to be flexible in the design. So we designed one that would have a vaulted ceiling in your lab, 30 feet from floor to ceiling. How Prospero works weather magic in his second floor lab, I’ll never know.” Moving on, Aurelius shows Ra’am the next two chests, here are copies of a couple of books I wrote one on Mentem and the other on Imaginem. I have one more box, but I don’t want you to open it until you get to your new home, wherever that may be.”
“Ra’am,” Tria continues, come here, please. “I went to the Vis source you found in the Alps, and since it is registered to you there, looked about. It was pretty desolate, based on your description, but I found these seeds” and she produces a pouch of 10 silver seeds, filled with the Creo Vis he had registered two years ago. “This will probably prevent the harvesting of this Vis source for some time, perhaps 50 years or more. I noticed that as I harvested them, the aura disappeared about me, which is most unusual.” Also while there I spotted a nest of hippogriffs and harvested these 5 flight feathers which have Aurum Vis. I verified that the place wasn’t registered with House Mercere. It’s likely that they were transient, and luck favored me, and now you.”
“We’ve provided some other mundane material as well, equipment to outfit a fully functional lab, which of course you’ll have to assemble. Three barrels of brandy, wine won’t handle the journey well. These are kashrut, of course, they were some of the brandy that had been produced before Aurelius rabbi passed away,” Prospero continues.
Ra’am is overwhelmed by his parens’ generosity. “Thank you so much, I don’t know how to thank you. You’ve always been so good to me, I can only hope to repay you by producing an apprentice who shares all of your strengths.”
“Ahh, yes, that.” Prospero interrupts, “Forgive me, but Aurelius and now I see signs of the Gift manifesting within your daughter. They are subtle, but they are there.”
“Elizabeth, yes, she is so bright. She reminds me of myself when I was her a…” Ra’am responds, beaming with pride.
“No, my son, “Aurelius responds gently. “It is Abaigael we are speaking of. It is likely that someone experienced as we are will take note of the Gift. We recommend that you keep a close eye on her.”
Tria adds, “This matter is interesting as it pertains to Peripheral Code, but I’m no Quaesitore, so take this with a grain of salt. You have rights as a parent, and so if a Magi attempts to take her you could petition as a parent if you don’t approve. Apprentices are usually given freely by the parent because the child is unwanted or the child is drawn to Magi. Since you have not claimed her as an apprentice, yet, you may be able to appeal on those grounds, as a parent, and not a magus. It’s a weak argument, but the only one we can suggest, given the circumstances. She isn’t yet 10, it would be unusual for a magus to take one so young. Even still, by the time she is 10, it is likely that you will not be able to open her Arts yourself, without creating some serious deficiencies in her Gift, even with the books we provided. ”
Ra’am sat in stunned silence for a moment. “Regardless, that doesn’t affect the matter at hand. I’ll have to handle it as circumstances develop. I appreciate the warning you’ve given me. I hope I have some time to break this to Regina. Again thank you for the gifts. It is more than I could’ve asked.”
The morning sees them off, leaving Le Maison d'Levrier, again and perhaps never to return. They make their way to Brest, where Étienne had sent the ship he’d contracted earlier. The small party of Ra’am and his family, Lucia the wainwright, Julien now shield grog for Ra’am and Antonius, personal shield grog for Prospero. Prospero also gave Ra’am a device to gentle the winds, if there is a severe storm, beyond the abilities of Ra’am to handle as winter travel is fraught with risks, with the instruction that it be given to his shield grog who would return to Le Maison d'Levrier with the device.
Thankfully, storms are dodged, and without Prospero’s device. The three days aboard sheep have Ra’am keep a careful eye on the weather, casting Sailor’s Foretaste of the Morrow every 6 hours to guide the captain in which way he should travel for optimum weather. Reaching Santander, Étienne is there waiting for them with provisions and carts and horses. Ra’am gives Étienne a purse of silver Prospero had given him before he left, “For expenses on your journey.” Lucia inspects them carefully, and says that they are suitable. She indicates Ra’am’s family would be best served in one of the carts, so he suggests they go there. Ra’am supervises the loading of the armarius onto the carts, and then returns Prospero’s device to his shield grog and bids him adieu and safe journey.
Ra’am follows the carts on foot. Étienne is in the lead, Julien on the next cart with Ra’am’s family and Lucia on the last, and set out immediately for Salamanca and some caravan guards Étienne had hired taking up positions ahead of and behind the group Each of the guards. Ra’am reminds Étienne that tonight they will be stopping early for Shabbat. The party stops mid afternoon so Ra’am and his family can make preparations for Shabbat. That evening the caravan guards attempted to make off with the carts.
Étienne, not quite trusting the caravan guards to man watches properly had alternated watches with Lucia and Julien throughout the night. During Lucia’s watch they were set upon by the guards Étienne had hired along with some additional bandits. Lucia’s shout woke up Étienne, who managed to wake Ra’am, “I’ll watch over them indicating Regina, Elizabeth and Abaigael. There are too many of them and too few of us to handle. We need your magic to fend them off.”
Ra’am rises grabs his cudgel, and exits the tent, and immediately sees Lucia using a club to ineffectively fend off someone with a sword. Looking about Julien is dealing effectively with two bandits, but two more are closing in. Suddenly Lucia cries out in pain, it’s a glancing blow from the sword, but blood is showing. Without waiting a moment longer, Ra’am unlashes The Incantation of Lightning from his cudgel upon the brigand pressing Lucia. Lucia and Julien fall back to protect Ra’am. The brigand pressing Lucia is lying in agony, and the others pause in their advance. “I have more than that available for you, should you keep pressing,” proceeding to lets loose with simultaneous casting of Jupiter’s Resounding Blow over the two largest men in the two largest concentrations of brigands, causing them to buckle to their knees in agony.
Shouts rise up, and the bandits flee, not prepared to press an attack against their current odds. “Julien, go check on him,” Ra’am indicates the bandit who cut Lucia and is twitching. “I’ll tend to Lucia.” Étienne comes out, as do Regina and the daughters. He orders Étienne, “let’s go ahead and get the fire roaring.” And finally, turning to Lucia, inspecting her cut, noted it had already stopped bleeding, “I’m no doctor, but I think you’ll be alright. We’ll still bandage it up as best we can, Regina’s used to that kind of thing with the kids getting into scrapes, so I’ll leave you in her capable hands.
“How long would you judge until daylight, Étienne?” Ra’am asks walking up to Étienne as he stokes the fire and adds some branches and logs to the fire. Looking around he sees Julien make a motion indicating the bandit Ra’am had hit with lightning was dead.
“Probably 6 hours or more. What are you thinking?”
“An incantation of light to guide our way. It’s risky, though. We’ll be blind to the road far ahead of us. What do you think?” Ra’am looks concerned.
“Wait a few hours. Seeing lightning appear from you hand will give most bandits pause. Not only that we killed that one,” pointing to the dead bandit’s body.
“Sounds like a good idea, let’s get everyone a hot meal and be on our way.” Walking over to Regina, who after taken care of Lucia was comforting their daughters Ra’am said, “I don’t think we’re safe here for an entire day. Let’s go ahead and fix some hot food, and be prepared to leave in a few hours. I’ll effect some light spell to help us navigate the road until sunrise.”
Despite the adventure of the first night, the rest of the trip to Salamanca was uneventful. Étienne had sent word ahead via his contacts, that Sagi ibn Yagel and his wife Regina would be coming to visit after a long absence away. So when they arrived, Regina and Ra’am, expecting to surprise there family, were instead surprised with a festive homecoming. There was much catching up and for nearly a week.
While amongst friends, Sagi was constantly questioned about his activities for the past 20 years. To his two brothers and Regina’s sister did he alone tell the secret and told them where he was headed, and then demonstrated what he could do, with some small cantrips. Regina’s cousin walks in on the private gather and witnesses the display and his jaw dropped in amazement. “That’s incredible, how’d you do that?”
After a quick discussion, he remained and learned of the wonders of the life of Magi, and while he knew he couldn’t be one, he was enough in love with the idea to want to come with Regina and Sagi, and begged to come. “I don’t know if there will be a place for you, we may have to send you back, but for now, you can come. And after this, address me as Ra’am, as that is my name among the Magi.”
Sagi’s brother Yagel, named after their late father said, “Brother, since you are taking him with you, could you perhaps do me a favor, as well? My son, your nephew, who you do not know is in some trouble.”
“Perhaps, tell me what it is you wish, and I will see what can be done.”
“Samuel has stolen from the business, and we can’t trust him, but I can’t just cast him out, he is my son. He is good with numbers, but perhaps too good as he had kept his theft hidden from us until I needed to buy a shipment of wool last spring, and we had no money. We managed to avoid closing the business, but just barely. Since then he’s laid about doing little, because I don’t know what to do. He wasn’t accepted to University, though he’s capable. Could you take him under your wing, perhaps? I think he might be good for you, if you can break him of his thieving nature. Perhaps knowing he would be stealing from people who control power beyond imagining would be enough to keep him on the right path.”
“Yagel, I don’t know.” And has he says the words, his heart melts, seeing his father’s eyes reminds him of him and he’s overwhelmed. “Very well, but you must impress upon him the dangers of returning to his dishonest ways, it is quite likely that he could get himself into a mess bigger than he imagines. And for a long while, I’ll keep him on a short leash, and he’ll attend to my family’s needs until I’m comfortable and feel I can trust him.”
On Sabbath, they go to synagogue and celebrate and worship. After services, a man of about 30 walks up to Ra’am and introduces himself as a former student of his when he taught at University, Nechemiah. He invited Nechemiah to come to dinner that evening.
That evening, for the dinner at the end of Shabbat, the Rabbi came to visit and dine as well. Nechemiah and the Rabbi listened intently as Sagi regaled them of his long time away, where Ra’am dissembled saying he’d been teaching the wealthy in far off lands, not explaining his full history. While stories are traded, Nechemiah told Ra’am that he had inspired him to become a doctor, and appreciated his teaching, inspiration and motivation. At this, Ra’am became somewhat wistful, at the thought of another path his life might’ve taken.
After Shabbat has ended, but not very long after the first three stars have become visible, Étienne arrives and asks to see Sagi. Étienne, Julien and Lucia had been staying at an inn, while Sagi stayed with family. Going off to a private corner to talk, Étienne says, “we’re running low on silver, we need to find Phoenix and be off soon. I don’t think we can stay here for more than two weeks, maybe one. I’ve had to cut Lucia off from drinking,” he says with a wicked grin. “Her company has been lousy, mainly because her appetite is irrepressible.”
“I want to stay a few more days, and then we’ll be off. I want you to go on ahead, tomorrow morning. I think you can find it ahead of us getting there, and guide us back. You can explore a couple of the different places we’ve discussed, without us wandering the desert like Moses, if you will. I’ve written this letter to the Magi of the covenant, I’d like you to present it to a Magus, if possible, and the autocrat if not. Regardless let them know we will all arrive soon after the spring equinox. Oh, and we’re bringing two others, my nephew Samuel, who, when we get settled will generally be your charge, and Regina’s cousin Levi.”
“And a third,“ comes from a voice that startled both of them. “I’d like to come, as well.”
“Rabbi,” Ra’am rapidly reviews the conversation in his mind, and remembers that he said Magi. “I don’t believe so, the journey will be long, and, ahh, I don’t think my new patron will approve.”
“Patron? You have no patron. In fact, it looks the reverse to be true. You’re giving orders around like a royal. This man, a man of some distinction and wealth judging by his clothes is acting as your personal agent. You’re with the Order of Hermes or I’m a grape. I’ve been around long enough to know better, and I’ve even met a few of the Magi and Maga before. One tried to pump me for knowledge of the Kaballah, part of his research he said. Tell me just how you got involved with them. Are you truly a Magus?” The rabbi waits expectantly for an answer.
“Rabbi, I am. I joined the Order 15 years after I left here. That time I spent apprenticed to a few different Magi of some renown, one in England, another itinerant, but mainly in England, and the last in Normandy. My first pater was an unobservant Jew, and I brought him bag to G-d for a time.”
“So, you don’t go to services for show, you still take Sabbath and observe the holy days?” The rabbi was quizzing and staring intently trying to discern any dissembling answers, or outright lies.
“Yes, we keep Shabbat. I may have lapsed on a couple of occasions, but those involved life and death or other emergency situations. And when Regina and I were in Baden, we were a strong part of its vibrant Jewish community, though we were a bit disadvantaged by language. Something called Yiddish, which I’d liked the sound of, but never had a chance to learn.” Ra’am continued, “Among the Magi I am called Ra’am, and I would honored to have you come with us.
“I ask you to keep this between us, my brothers and Regina’s family are the few that know. I know that you were mentored by Regina’s father, and she would be overjoyed to have you with us in our new home. You’ll find that most of us are very decent people, who have a very great power, but many of us are deep in our faith, as well as our magic, and use our power to better understand G-d and this world.”
“Ra’am, if you’ll excuse me, I need to make arrangements, “Étienne interrupts politely. “I’ll see to another cart for the additional people and material.”
“No, that won’t be necessary. I’ll have Samuel see to it. Meet us in the village of Lagartera once you’ve delivered that letter. Find my brother, Yagel, tell him I’d like to see him and Samuel. He should be somewhere about the house or next door, either side. Curses, I forgot you don’t speak Castilian. We need to remedy that soon go on back to the inn, let Lucia and Julien know we’ll have some company.” Étienne pulls a few silvers from the purse at his pocket and puts them into another purse, leaving the larger purse with Ra’am and bids adieu.
The rabbi stands and says, “I’ll get your brother, and then make arrangements, though I have few of those to make. I have my Torah and Talmud, and that’s all I need. Thank you for this, Sagi, Ra’am, I mean. Today was my last day of service, two of the younger Rabbi had convinced me to retire to a more ceremonial role, and I was beginning to chafe the thought, even though I’d agreed. In truth, they’re ready to teach, and I’m ready for some adventure. The morning of March 4th on the Christian calendar, correct?” Ra’am nods in agreement.
A few moments, Yagel later with a sullen Samuel in tow appears and sits with Ra’am. “I’m assuming you told him,” indicating the sullen young man.
“I’ve told him, he’s going to go with you, to be your family’s attendant while you’re tutoring a wealthy patron’s family, “Yagel said cautiously.
“Good, that’ll do, I’ll see to the rest once we’re underway. Samuel, do you know of some stout young men? Men you trust and men who can handle themselves in a fight? There are enough of us going now, and one of my other attendants is going ahead.” Ra’am stared deeply at Samuel.
“I know a couple of guys, I guess.”
“Are they in similar straits as you are, trouble at home, layabouts who need something productive to do?”
Samuel bristles at the layabout, but doesn’t respond to that, “I suppose, but I know some real tough guys who can take care of themselves in a fight. Is that what you want?”
“Yes, exactly. And they may need to be able to make there way back to Salamanca, if they want to come back, anyway without help from us. I figure about 7 or 8 days journey. Get them here, use a couple of these, and he hands Samuel 4 silver coins, each gets silver, and you get one, yourself. We leave on the morning of March 4th on the Christian calendar. You figure out when that is, you’re a bright boy. If you can’t figure it out, come see me tomorrow, and I’ll tell you.”
“Oh, and Samuel. If I find out you gave them less than silver, you’ll wish you never came with me. I’ll them how you cheated them and let them beat you to an inch of your life. Go on, now. But be back sometime tomorrow after noon, I have another errand for you.” Samuel leaves, a bit frightened and confused. This slight man seems to exude power, but he’s looks so pathetically frail.
“Yes, uncle,” says Samuel as he leaves.”
“Yagel, do you think he’ll be adjust?”
“I do, when I told him, he seemed relieved, as if he finally knew his punishment. Mind you, he didn’t seem happy, but I don’t think he can find happiness here, at least not now. Maybe some time with you will change his mood.”
“I hope it does, for his sake. From what you’ve told me, he is very bright, and bright people are always in demand.” Ra’am and his brother spoke more about the journey, news of the war. “I think if we pretend to be Jewish refugees or going to help our fellow Jews in the reconquered lands we might be able to be to travel rather easily.”
“But, brother, can’t you just…?” Yagel makes what he seems to think are mystical notions and then snaps his fingers “and make them disappear or bring fire from the sky?”
“Perhaps, but doing so brings lots of unwanted attention. And I am one man. It could be that they come upon me unawares, spying out our movements. We’re going to be traveling rather obviously. No, subterfuge and guile are our best bets for getting to Phoenix.
“Good night, Yagel.” Ra’am and Yagel leave the room, retiring for the night.
The next two days pass quickly, Samuel did figure out when they were leaving and did bring three tough young men who came with heavy clubs. He sent Lucia, Samuel and Regina out to get a cart. Samuel bargained, and Lucia investigated while Regina translated between the pair. Getting this group on a common language was going to be quite a challenge, Ra’am thought. Pairing the right people together will be time consuming and inefficient. The morning of March 4th, with everything packed the party sets off to Lagartera, to wait for Étienne.