It was Brother Pell's turn to carry the large heap of robes to the river for their weekly washing. The "wash" taxed his vow of patience more than any other chores shared among the men of the abbey. However, the egg-shaped monk dreaded the long walk to the river rather than the actual act of laundry. His rather feckless physical state and the frequent points of incline in the path caused his need to breathe to multiply shortly after starting the trek.
The only solace he found was in breathing through his mouth, a somewhat futile attempt to avoid inhaling the fetid mix of man and beast that rose from the dirty garments.
“If I swore, I'd swear they roll in the muck only when I have to carry the awful things for wash.” Pell grunted. “Next week is Brother Lenere's turn. I'm sure a pocket full of horse dung will settle the score.” He stopped and looked up past the canopy of trees. "An eye for an eye Father." He opened his mouth, took a deep breath, and continued on to his favorite spot at the river's edge.
He had nearly finished the wash when a large robe from his own pile of clothes was caught by the current and yanked from his pudgy hand.
"My best robe!" he yelled as he fell over trying to get to his feet.
The fleeting garment made its way downstream and was soon out of sight. With devout faith in finding it, Pell continued the chase after his only earthly prize. He was reduced to a slow stumble by the time he found the robe washed up on shore.
"Old Pell's not so slow for you, now is he?" he gasped at the soaked garb.
He stooped enough for his short arms to reach a tuft of cloth and pulled. The robe tore and sent him flailing back until he tripped over an inconveniently placed stone. The wet piece of fabric smacked his face as he blindly fell to the
ground. He was about to break his vow of self-restraint with a few carefully chosen imprecations when he saw the
child and what looked to be his dead mother.
(Gonath’s childhood is still under development and will go here)
While Gonath prepared for the day he was distracted by the sounds of an argument coming from outside his small cottage near the abbey. He could hear foul cursing coming from the men outside and immediately knew who it was. Gonath stormed out his door and found Lludd and Ilbert, twin brothers who recently decided to join the brotherhood after their father booted them from their home. “Twenty years of hand holding is enough. It’s time you fend for yourselves”, were the last words they heard before the door slammed behind them. The problem with the two lay in their profound ability to take each and every instruction literally. A more recent episode occurred after being asked to “milk the cow.” Their father was dumbfounded to find them bathing the family cow in its own milk. However, the act of genius that broke their father’s fortitude and caused their expulsion from home was one that even their mother could not defend. Once a month the family rode into town to purchase necessities they could not provide on the farm. This particular day, the twin’s mother was slow in starting and their father sent them after her to “set a fire under her.” Unfortunately, the fire they set caught the hem of their mother’s frock. Flames fluttered behind her like the tail of a racing horse as she burst out the door and plunged herself into the rain barrel outside.
If that weren’t enough, the twins had another fault. Regardless how petty or important, Lludd and Ilbert applied a competition to most everything in their lives. It seemed to Gonath, as he stood and watched them quarrel, that this time the argument was over who would be the one to knock on Gonath's door and tell him the news.
"What could be so important that you must start my day by making me watch the two of you and your fracas?" Gonath asked.
Lludd couldn't contain himself and yelped out, "The tournament has been announced! It will be here in three days, and the Army too!”
Ilbert became furious. He intended to be the one to deliver the news, and once Lludd finished his announcement, Ilbert struck his face square, instigating yet another fight. From the look of their robes it was apparent there had been others earlier on in the day.