Thursday, April 23, 2020

Thursday's Fifth Scene Sanctuary's Ending #MFRWAuthor #BWLAuthor #Fantasy #Romance

David watched Chief Elder Jeremiah and Simon walk from the meeting house. The pale blond hair of the older man had been clipped short. Simon’s brushed his shoulders. The brighter color of his didn’t detract from their similarity. Their body shape and their walk seemed identical. The older man draped an arm around the younger man’s shoulders.
How did Paul feel about the rejection? His expression hadn’t changed. Did the inclusion of his older brother in the group leaving Sanctuary trouble him?
David didn’t like the idea of Simon being part of the exploratory group. Though subtle in his words, Simon was a trouble-maker. Just thinking about traveling for weeks and months in his company caused David to swallow against acid rising in his throat.
Tension peaked. David left the stage. To give himself a feeling of peace he paused near the colored glass windows. With a finger he traced the green circle representing Erda, the rayed scarlet orb of Sola and the yellow crescent of Luna. Would the Three protect them on the journey? Did the worship of the goddesses remain anywhere but in Sanctuary?
Elder John and the other elders marched down the steps. Paul started to follow but was waved back. He joined David and the three others followed. As a unit they stepped outside into the deserted moonlit courtyard.
“We need to implement our plan.” Paul led them to the benches beneath the barren sugar maples. “We’re free to go.”
David crouched in front of the bench where Paul, Ruth and Deborah sat. Gabriel leaned against a tree. “What plans have you made?”
Paul shrugged. “We pack and leave.”
“Do you have any of the old maps?”
“Why?” Gabriel asked. “Surely the land has changed.”
“What about supplies? How much can we take?”
Paul laughed. “I’m glad you’re with us. The goddesses knew you were needed for practical matters.”
“I’ve been gathering and packing medicines,” Deborah said. “I have an entire kit a Healer needs including instruments and material for casts.”
“I have copies of every song of praise for each ot the four celebrations and a collection of every instrument I can play.”
Ruth grinned. “There’s nothing special I need.”
Paul shrugged. “I have a few books but that’s all. I suppose we’ll need food and maybe a cow, chickens and a goat.”
David sucked in a breath. He didn’t believe their lack of knowledge. Were they that na├»ve? How could he tell them they were fools? “Just how do you plan to transport all you think we should have? We’re an exploratory party not settlers.”
Paul shook his head. “I figured we’d each have a riding and a pack horse. They owe us that much.”
David leaned forward. “Maybe they do but have you seen the land beyond the Gap?”
His four companions shook their heads. “Have you?” Gabriel asked.
“I have.”
“I figured a way to banish me would be found. There are boulders as big as a cow blocking the way. The trail through is narrow. To move horses through the passage, we would have to move those rocks. The Elders wouldn’t permit the barrier to be open. Though you want to have wagons, the slopes are steep and rocky. We can take what we can carry on our backs.”
“Maybe there’s another way out,” Deborah said.
“Would they tell us?” David asked.
Paul rose. “David, take care of the supplies. Thinking about what to take and what to leave makes my head ache.”
“Is that the only reason…” David began. He stopped when Paul slapped his shoulder.
“You know I’m not practical. You always were.” He waved to the others. “We’d better go to the kitchen before all the food is gone.”
David remained beside the bench. He felt more alone than ever. He watched them walk away. He had no family to sit with. His mother was banished and forbidden to  enter the village. Deborah would sit with the Healers. He rose and walked toward the community kitchen. The long building was mostly wood except for the stone cooking area.
He entered the dining area. Narrow tables along the wall held a variety of food. David joined the line and took a platter. A slab of bread with the center cut into a bowl he filled with a savory stew. He selected cheeses, slices of ham, chicken and several sweets. With a mug of tea he carried his meal to a table in the corner with a single chair. He ignored the waves of his fellow herdsmen. He needed to be alone to think of the change to come and to plan for the trip.
Questions abounded. Why had Paul waited to reveal his plan? Why had the elders agreed? If David had known about this, he could have found the things they needed weeks or months ago.
For so long he’d been isolated from his childhood companions. How well did he know them now? Paul was a dreamer who had infected his friends with a vision of what he believed should happen in Sanctuary. David wondered if he’d been spared the infection and how long his immunity would last. Someone had to think of the practical aspects of the venture. If he hadn’t decided to join them he feared they wouldn’t have survived the journey through the Gap.
His emotions bounced like a fabled rubber ball from hope to despair and back. Though he welcomed the chance to leave Sanctuary, the presence of Ruth and Deborah in the group brought risks. All of his friends had spent the past five years in studies, not learning how to live where there was no support from those who shared their talents. Could he keep them safe?
David’s thoughts raced. He tried to list all they needed to carry. How much weight could each person carry? He needed Ranger packs with their metal frames that had many uses. Lined and oiled ponchos could double as blankets. Food, clothes, weapons.
How could he remember everything? What if he forgot something vital to their survival? He needed a slate. The moment he finished the sweets he carried his platter and mug to where people washed the dishes.
Then he sought the head stockman. “I won’t be working with the flocks.”
The older man nodded. “May the Three protect you. You have been an excellent shepherd.”
“Thank you for the blessing.”
“Keep your eyes open for pastures and grassy hillsides. We need room for our expanding stock.”

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