29. A Thoroughly Bad Man and a Reprobate

Tereus is lying in the hayloft smoking and drinking. It’s the end of a cold day in late October, a day or two after he and Valeria last exchanged private words. He’s not drunk — not by his standard. Several genteel phrases exist to describe his condition: Half-disguised, well to live, foxed. He’s not drunk, […]

84. With My Body, I Thee Worship

Once dinner has ended and they’re heading back to Inglorion’s tent, he whispers to Virginia, “Is Lucius well enough to spend the night alone? I want us to have a little honeymoon.” “Of course. What did you have in mind?” “Go fetch your cloak and I’ll show you.” She gathers her cloak, kisses Lucius goodnight, […]

83. Man and the Reason for Living

That evening, the refugee camp hosts a double-wedding. Father Nate Szyba looks cold and solemn and forbidding, and reads the rites in sepulchral tones. Aramil looks radiantly happy, and Ajax is composed and prim, with an air of quiet triumph appropriate to someone who has been wooed and won. Aramil wears the same outfit he […]

82. The 39 Articles

“My dear, I’ve got Father Nate outside. Can you talk to him? He’s asking about your faith, and I feel you should answer for yourself.” Inglorion has poked his head into their little tent, where Virginia is tending to Lucius. She emerges from the tent, wiping her hands on her apron. “Certainly. What do you […]

81. Virginia Replies

Inglorion takes Virginia’s arm again, and they walk further down the post road. Finally she says again, “I hardly know what to say.” Her manner is calm, but he can tell that she’s puzzled and confused. “My dear, only three answers are possible: Yes, no, or a request for time to think it over. Why […]