Tag – Part III The Body – Chapter 14

Okay. Enough of a break. Time to get back to it, me.

Read Tag…One More Time – Part I Verduan of Nant – Chapter 1.
Read Tag – Part I Verduan of Nant – Chapter 2.
Read Tag – Part I Verduan of Nant – Chapter 3.
Read Tag – Part II Forgeron the Tinker – Chapter 4.
Read Tag – Part II Forgeron the Tinker – Chapter 5.
Read Tag – Part II Forgeron the Tinker – Chapter 6.
Read Tag – Part II Forgeron the Tinker – Chapter 7.
Read Tag – Part II Forgeron the Tinker – Chapter 8.
Read Tag – Part II Forgeron the Tinker – Chapter 9.
Read Tag – Part III The Body – Chapter 10.
Read Tag – Part III The Body – Chapter 11.
Read Tag – Part III The Body – Chapter 12.
Read Tag – Part III The Body – Chapter 13.


Tag – Part III The Body – Chapter 14

Byell stood on the edge of his field. In front of him lima and tomato rows alternated, a thirsty crop with a dry so water would disperse throughout the field evenly. Behind him his orchard started, apple trees and pear trees, another thirsty crop meeting dry. A mallet hung loosely in his right hand, slipped through his palm, and landed with a dull thud on the dry earth by his boots. He wiped sweat from his brow and looked down as if confused by the sound, then slowly raised his head and scanned the horizons. “No rain.” He clenched his fists. “No clouds, no rain.”

His thirsty crops pulled what water they could from the dry, the ox yoked with the ass, and both suffered for it.

A duct ran from the Vell to his fields and he spent the last hour damming it so no Vell water would reach them. Tardiff stated it correctly; the Vell’s water quenched like poison and none knew why.

He sobbed and pulled a leather pouch from his pocket. “You promised.” A knotted cord held the pouch’s top closed. Sweat ran down Byell’s cheeks and mixed with tears. “I gave you my daughter and you promised.”

He pulled the cord and the pouch opened. He bit his lip until it bled, tasted the blood on his tongue, spit into the pouch, and mixed the contents with his finger.

“You promised.”

He walked his fields. Every few steps he took some grains out of the pouch and sprinkled them on the ground.

“You promised.”

At the end of his transit movement caught his eye. The trees around his fields had once been loud with wildlife. Birds followed him when he furrowed and he talked with them. “Are those grubs to your liking, Mr. Grouse? Does that worm serve, Mrs. Tanager? And you, Mr. Grosbeak? Are you getting your fill?” Swifts flew over him as flies and grasshoppers took flight. Opossum and stoat waddled at a safe distance behind him to catch any gleanings.

Now the trees were silent. He prayed to gods old and new to bring the wildlife back and kept his eyes alert for any signs of life in his fields, so the dark movement, the fluttering of black against the withering green of the trees, caught his eye and he looked.


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Tag – Part III The Body – Chapter 13

Read Tag…One More Time – Part I Verduan of Nant – Chapter 1.
Read Tag – Part I Verduan of Nant – Chapter 2.
Read Tag – Part I Verduan of Nant – Chapter 3.
Read Tag – Part II Forgeron the Tinker – Chapter 4.
Read Tag – Part II Forgeron the Tinker – Chapter 5.
Read Tag – Part II Forgeron the Tinker – Chapter 6.
Read Tag – Part II Forgeron the Tinker – Chapter 7.
Read Tag – Part II Forgeron the Tinker – Chapter 8.
Read Tag – Part II Forgeron the Tinker – Chapter 9.
Read Tag – Part III The Body – Chapter 10.
Read Tag – Part III The Body – Chapter 11.
Read Tag – Part III The Body – Chapter 12.


Tag – Part III The Body – Chapter 13

Dire entered the cellar from a bulkhead concealed in a thicket of stranglebushes. She wore thick clothing even on the warmest days so the thorns wouldn’t slow her. Sometimes she needed to hide in a hurry.

She lit candles then a lantern, trimming wicks so there’d be heat and light but no smoke. A wall held animal parts, a workbench several tools. Beakers and bowls and corked jars covered shelves far back into the dark. A lectern held several books.

A pigskin glove, the fingers spread and held open with pins, rested palm up in the center of the workbench. Pig ligaments and sinews ran up through the fingers. The woman picked up a magnifier and studied the glove, sometimes pulling the sinews to see if the fingers fought the pins. They did.

She smiled.

“What have you there, Grandmother?”

She spun and lifted a fine edged knife from the bench as she did so.


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Members and Subscribers can LogIn. Non members can join. Non-protected posts (there are several) are available to everyone.
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Tag – Part III The Body – Chapter 12

Read Tag…One More Time – Part I Verduan of Nant – Chapter 1.
Read Tag – Part I Verduan of Nant – Chapter 2.
Read Tag – Part I Verduan of Nant – Chapter 3.
Read Tag – Part II Forgeron the Tinker – Chapter 4.
Read Tag – Part II Forgeron the Tinker – Chapter 5.
Read Tag – Part II Forgeron the Tinker – Chapter 6.
Read Tag – Part II Forgeron the Tinker – Chapter 7.
Read Tag – Part II Forgeron the Tinker – Chapter 8.
Read Tag – Part II Forgeron the Tinker – Chapter 9.
Read Tag – Part III The Body – Chapter 10.
Read Tag – Part III The Body – Chapter 11.


Tag – Part III The Body – Chapter 12

Grasshoppers chirped and took flight. Bees buzzed from flower to flower. Wrens and blackbirds flitted from limb to limb. A bushtit danced on the dead girl’s barbette tugging at a loose thread, another made a hole in a stocking.

The woods grew silent as Baillot, Tardiff, Eric, Thomas, Verduan, and Patreo gathered in a semi-circle around the body.

Ide pushed through them. Thomas moved to hold her back but not quick enough. She looked at the young woman’s body and collapsed against her son.

Patreo reached into his cassock and pulled out a small phial. “Lay her down.” He pointed to a sprout of turf back aways from the body. “Over there.” One quick shake and he uncorked it under her nose. “Breathe slowly, Mother. Deep and slow.”

Her eyes fluttered then focused. She pushed him away and scrambled across the hard earth to the body.

Baillot frowned at the phial still in Patreo’s hand.

“Crushed Buckthorn with cayenne and some other herbs, Father.”

Ide gently adjusted the dead girl’s blouse and skirt. “I taught Julia needlework and weaving. She made these as I watched.”

Tardiff squatted beside her and gently took her hands in his. “Are you sure this is your daughter, Ide?”

Ide pulled her hands free and hugged the body to her. The blood on the face and neck turned her blouse a patchwork of bizarre leaf shapes, as if red maple leaves became hands, grabbed her blouse, left their ruddy mark then let go.

“Forgive me, Ide, but the face. It would be hard to tell by the face – ”


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Tag – Part III The Body – Chapter 11

Read Tag…One More Time – Part I Verduan of Nant – Chapter 1.
Read Tag – Part I Verduan of Nant – Chapter 2.
Read Tag – Part I Verduan of Nant – Chapter 3.
Read Tag – Part II Forgeron the Tinker – Chapter 4.
Read Tag – Part II Forgeron the Tinker – Chapter 5.
Read Tag – Part II Forgeron the Tinker – Chapter 6.
Read Tag – Part II Forgeron the Tinker – Chapter 7.
Read Tag – Part II Forgeron the Tinker – Chapter 8.
Read Tag – Part II Forgeron the Tinker – Chapter 9.
Read Tag – Part III The Body – Chapter 10.


Tag – Part III The Body – Chapter 11

Zevke and Saida sat in their kitchen. A candle flickered in the middle of their table and they watched it burn down. Daylight came in the east facing window and Saida poured weak wine into her cup.

Zevke pushed his cup across the table towards her.

She ignored his cup and nodded at the candle. “Time to turn the breads soon.”

He reached across the table to her and she pulled her hands back, out of his reach. A moment later she lifted her cup and sipped. She kept the cup at her lips and rolled it across them so she would not speak.

Zevke stared at her then at the candle. He brushed flour from his apron. “Soon. Yes.”

Saida put her cup on the table and turned it slowly. Her eyes and fingers inspected the small striations where the potter failed to smooth its surface before placing the cup in its final fire. She did not look up and a single tear fell from her eye. “What were you doing there?”

“I told you. Gathering herbs for our breads.”

She shook her head and smiled into her cup. Another tear followed the first. “What made you go inside? Did you think herbs grow on dark stone walls?”

Zevke rolled his eyes and they stopped to watch the gathering shadows. “You are worse than a nest of hornets, woman.”

“She was broken?”


Greetings! I’m your friendly, neighborhood Threshold Guardian. This is a protected post. Protected posts in the My Work, Marketing, and StoryCrafting categories require a subscription (starting at 1$US/month) to access. Protected posts outside those categories require a General (free) membership.
Members and Subscribers can LogIn. Non members can join. Non-protected posts (there are several) are available to everyone.
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Tag – Part III The Body – Chapter 10

Hello again.

This is the first new Tag material I’ve entered since I posted chapters 6-9 early in February (I schedule a month’s posts in advance. Takes a day, saves lots of time and argita later on). There’s been major and minor changes to the story line since then. Some scenes were added, some deleted, some shifted in the plot line.

In any case, we continue here with Part III The Body – Chapter 10.

Enjoy.

Read Tag…One More Time – Part I Verduan of Nant – Chapter 1.
Read Tag – Part I Verduan of Nant – Chapter 2.
Read Tag – Part I Verduan of Nant – Chapter 3.
Read Tag – Part II Forgeron the Tinker – Chapter 4.
Read Tag – Part II Forgeron the Tinker – Chapter 5.
Read Tag – Part II Forgeron the Tinker – Chapter 6.
Read Tag – Part II Forgeron the Tinker – Chapter 7.
Read Tag – Part II Forgeron the Tinker – Chapter 8.
Read Tag – Part II Forgeron the Tinker – Chapter 9.


Tag – Part III The Body – Chapter 10

Patreo rode a lope-eared donkey into the village. He passed Verduan’s cottage and Verduan ran out to him. “Father Patreo!”

“Verduan. Sorry not to come sooner. Church politics. Had to get permission to enter another parish.” Patreo looked around. “Buco guarding your herds today?”

“That or with my son. Or playing with the other dogs. Father Baillot doesn’t know you’re here?”

“He’s my first stop. Unless you have some water for Geselda here.” He patted the donkey’s neck with a gloved hand.

“What happened to your hand?”

Patreo held it up and laughed. “Oh, nothing. A slight burn. I wear the glove to keep some ointment on it while it heals.”

A woman walked hurriedly to the center of the road, shaded her eyes from the sun and scanned in both directions.

“Looks like the woman has a concern.”

Verduan nodded. “Ide, Julia’s mother. I mentioned her when we talked.”

Ide marched up to them. She spoke as quickly as she walked without acknowledging Patreo’s presence. “I asked you, is Julia with Eric?”

Patreo scratched Geselda’s ears. “Should she be?”

She ignored him and grabbed Verduan’s arm. “Is Julia with Eric?”

“No, Ide, and I haven’t seen her.”

Ide ran down the road, her skirts lifted in her hands.

“You have an interesting village.”

“I wish it weren’t so.”

“I should go tell Father Baillot I’m visiting. A short respite from my parish duties. I’ll offer the bishopric suggested I council with an older, wiser priest.”

“Oh, he’ll love that. Give me a moment to tend your noble steed and I’ll walk with you.”

They saw Ide conferring with Baillot as he left the rectory. He stood looking down at her, shaking his head and adjusting his cassock. She threw up her arms and ran off as they approached.

“Father Baillot, we have a guest in our village.”

Patreo bowed. “I’m Patreo from Tomeka.” He stared at Baillot a moment. “The bishopric suggested you as first among many regarding counsel on parish matters. You’ve gained such respect with our church fathers.”

“The bishopric sent you?”

“The bishopric suggested I consult with an older, wiser priest. I come of my own accord to you.” He nodded towards the fleeing Ide. “Have I come at an inconvenient time?”

“Patreo.” Baillot stared down at him. “That is not a common name.”

“I am from the west and named in my mother’s tongue. My father left before I was born to fight in the Holy Land and never returned.”

“You do not know your father?”

“I seek him when Mother Church and time allow. Beyond that…” Patreo shrugged.

“Are you a bastard, then? Unfit to do holy work?”


Greetings! I’m your friendly, neighborhood Threshold Guardian. This is a protected post. Protected posts in the My Work, Marketing, and StoryCrafting categories require a subscription (starting at 1$US/month) to access. Protected posts outside those categories require a General (free) membership.
Members and Subscribers can LogIn. Non members can join. Non-protected posts (there are several) are available to everyone.
Want to learn more about why I use a subscription model? Read More ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes Enjoy!