The Road to Venis

The Jeep picks its way past astonished villagers towards the edge of Nidaros, honking politely and scaring the shit out of them.

Doc addresses his crew in English. "Okay, boys. We are doing this mission right. We are not killing anyone, and no one is getting hurt."

"Then why in the hell did we pack a fuckin' rocket launcher?" Mark asks. "Sorry, padre."

Brother Broderick doesn't understand him and is paying more attention to the world passing at the relatively terrific speed of 35 mph.

"Because I didn't us want to get caught with our pants down like last time. So, the story is that I am DaVinci, engineer to Pope Alexander II. Thunderhorse is Duke Alfonz of Bologna who is stricken with madness. We are traveling to the Abbey of the Morning Star seeking a nun who can cure him so that he can negotiate treaties in the Far East. We are traveling by divine providence in a carraige drawn by angels."

"They bought that horse shit? Sorry, padre."


"An' you kin lie straight up to a preacher, huh? Don't feel too bad about that, do ya?"

"You want to tell them the truth? These are superstitious people who will kill you without hesitation if they suspect you of witchcraft or wizardry. If we're going to do this without killing anyone, including preachers, we're going to have to lie to them."

"Alright, but I don't like it. Who am I?" Mark asks.

"You are Mark of Bologna, Captain of the Duke's guard and personal escore to the Duke himself. Not too much of a stretch for you, I hope."

"No, it's fine. The sooner we get this fuckin' mission over with the better. I don't like one bit of it. I thought we was gonna go shootin' up some tin suits and save some maidens or some shit."

"Who do you think is in those tin suits?" Doc asks, pointedly.

Mark shuts up for a while.

"[It is a strange language you speak,]" Brother Broderick says. "[It is not Italian.]"

Doc is quick to reply. "[It's Norman. The Duke's last task was working with emissaries from William the Conqueror. He's been speaking it ever since.]"

"[I see. We are nearing the place where the Nidaros empties into the Fjord. Follow the road that heads east around it.]"

They leave Nidaros behind. The road is a dirt path wide enough for a horse cart, but it is fairly smooth an not too muddy. The Jeep's four wheel drive and traction control system make easy work of it, and Doc is able to keep moving at a good pace.

"Whooo!" Brother Broderick's nervousness turns to exhiliration as Doc accelerates. "[It really is powered by angels!]" he cries.

Doc smiles at him. "Tell me about yourself, Brother Broderick What's your story?"

"[There's not much to tell. I am the son of Aerick, a fisherman. He did well enough to pay for my entry into the church where learned to read and write over the last three years. My studies are not yet complete, but I've been doing well. Primate Kristenson is a benevolent man and a good teacher. I hope one day to get my own parish to teach, and eventually become a Bishop. He says if I succeed in this task, I will be ready to go out on my own and start a new mission.]"

"Well, this should definately give you the experience you need. What do you know about the Abbey of the Morning Star and Abbot Nathan?"

"[I have visited there before. It is in the mountains to the north, on the top of Okkskoten. It is a hard life up there. What little soil there is to farm is in the valley below, and the bitter cold of the near constant winter makes growing anything difficult. They bring in seaweed and fish from the Fjords, but it is a long journey made difficult by the terrain.]"

"If it's so difficult, why did they build the abbey on the mountain?"

"[It was Father Nathan who built the abbey. He is a student of the Heavens. He built the tower on the mountain in the Winterlands so he could study the stars and aurora more closely. He has a particular study of the Morning Star, hence the name of the abbey.]"

"You mean Venus? The planet? He's an astronomer?"

"[Venus, yes. I have heard the Morning Star called that. She is the pagan goddess of Lust, no? I do not understand your other words, though.]"

"An astronomer is a student of the heavens. A planet..." Doc considers explaining the concept of other worlds, then remembers what happened to Capernicus and Galileo. " a wandering star. What do you know of Father Nathan and his studies?"

"[Not much. I am a student of the Bible and its history. What I know of the Heavens comes from it and my teachers. As I understand it, the Morning Star is Lucifer flying eternally above the Abyss, prosecuting those souls who wish to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only the love of His Son can save us from eternal damnation.]"

"Damn straight!" agrees Mark. "Sorry, padre," he repeats.

"[Father Nathan studies his movement, though I am not sure what he intends to divine. He tells a story of Lucifer trying to re-enter the kingdom of Heaven but God casting him down once again. He will tell it if you ask.]"

"I will," Doc says.

The Jeep continues down the road, winding its way around the beautiful fjord.


ERR said...

It's a long drive, you're bound to run into something.I've got a few ideas, but I can't decide what.


Choose your own random encounter! Pick a number between 1 and 10.

Doc said...

6 please.