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The War of the Seven Heavens
Inceptum (Itinerus)
V

“Andiamo!” The little man waved him to follow, and two Brothers fell in behind him. Michaele began to protest, he had things to show the Father, but thought better of it. The Father did not seem to be the sort of man who enjoyed his authority to be trifled with even under the affable exterior he presented the world.
“They will show you to your cell, once you are settled then come forth, and you will be shown the rest of the Basilica.” Father smiled quickly confident in the brevity and meaning of his commands, and off he sped to deal with other things.
“He seems a busy man.” Michaele thought to himself, as he watched the Father go.
“Brother?” The taller of the two spoke softly and deeply.
Michaele turned, and up the stairs to the residences they went.
Michaele was shown the cell he was to sleep in. There was a window facing the East which made him smile. Michaele had always enjoyed the dawn’s light waking him. The Brothers would show him his daily duties, but first… he must rest.
“Father expects you as soon as you are settled Brother.” The taller one spoke again. Michaele gave a single nod.
“Do you remember the way downstairs?” Again he nodded and added a warm smile. There was only one staircase into the cells of this tower.
The Brothers left him to his thoughts, and his new home. Michaele gazed around the room. Aptly named a cell it was no more than a sack in the corner, a window that would not open regardless of how he pulled, and two large bowls. One stained brown, one natural terracotta. He dropped his belongings under the window, and picked up the sleeping sack to reveal the dampness underneath it, and the insects running when shown the light of day. He thought of the metaphor of such a sight. How the Light will make the bugs scatter…
Settled he turned to leave. He began to walk out and shut his door but stopped.
“Almost forgot you!” He said to the scroll in his satchel. The Archbishop had made it perfectly clear he was to deliver it personally to the Father upon arrival in Padova. Satisfied, he left his cell to descend the stairs. The moaning songs of the monks resident echoed through the halls, even up here. Michaele smiled to himself, confident that his beloved Archbishop had placed him, finally, in a sort of heaven on earth.
“Me, my brothers, my God…” He thought happily.
The only real noise to be heard in the courtyard were the sharp orders of the Father, the animals (ignorant to the meanings of the people here), and the singing of the Ave Maria.
Michaele approached the Father, whose back was toward him.
“Father, the Archbishop told me to give this scroll to you.”
“After you eat Brother, your journey was long, and a servant of God with no food in his belly is a weak one. Not able to perform his duties as appointed by the Lord. You will go now, and eat. Give me your scroll tomorrow.”
With that, and no discussion beckoning, Michaele bowed and tucked the scroll into his robe, and followed the Brother that was assigned to show him around. While looking at the stables for the second time, the kitchens for the first time, the Vaults and so on… Michaele’s mind steadily wandered to the insects that had scattered from under his sleeping sack. “What does it feel like to be so exposed!? Was it the light? The air? The feeling of being unprotected?”


Later that evening, in his cell, Michaele wondered what the scroll read, and the thought to open it flashed out of his mind as quickly as it had entered. Breaking the seal of the Archbishop would surely be a damning offense. Besides it was no concern of his. His only duty was to scribe, and he would do his best because that is what God desired of him. He pondered these things, as he lay down, and blew out the candle by his insect ridden sleeping bed.



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by Robert Walker





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