Harry Wells Harry Wells
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'@The four of them...' is a long sentence with two themes that could be split at 'Was it hell' It's a sombre little tale that follows on well. Don't know what the cuts to left hand are about though.

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Nathaniel Hathaway Nathaniel Hathaway
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four nights in armor

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She had a friend.

four nights is a mystery with supernatural and religious tones with a character developement story

Four Nights in Armor
By Nathaniel Hathaway
Inspired by “The Name of the Rose”
By Umberto Eco

       The man was a Christian monk.  He wore a brown robe and cowl, had a large sharp nose, a bushy brow and dark brown hair with flecks of gray that made his cowl look like apart of him when it was up.  His eyes were emerald green; a holy color of everlasting and his face was worn and lined from years of hard facial expressions when he was a clergyman lawyer.
He was still young looking for the age of fifty three, a clean shaven strong jaw with hard eyes and cheekbones.  He’d been here at the abbey for fifteen of his twenty seven years in the service of God.  He awoke in his room to another monk swinging his door open.

        I was in a dream of prophecy when the monk Julian came in rather abruptly, ripping me from slumber, and the dream was dashed.  All I could recall from it was a vision of the four horsemen come to life.
They were grotesque and a fearful sight, yet I wanted more of it, only for reasons of its meaning.  The four of them rushing toward me,  all of them carrying something behind them, something large and foreboding, a body wrapped in linen and chains, was it hell that followed or something from it, I could not tell, but the dream was gone and now I was faced with a new horror brought forth to me.
“Brother Michael! The Abbot needs you right away, something has happened” Julian was a youth of twenty and three, easy to startle so I wasn’t sure if I should be in the same state of panic.
“Brother Julian, what has happened that the Abbot wake me at such a late hour?” I asked though already getting dressed in my robe, the Abbot Christopher was head of this Monastery, the high priest and was not one to decline when asked for audience.
“He’s not told me, but there are bodies involved, I’d seen them wrapped in blankets so no one can identify, Cornelius is with him” He said with a bewildered look like some frightened doe.
I followed him down the cold stone spiral stairs, passing tapestries of silk with designs of divinity such as the holy trinity that I would admire every time I passed, but tonight I paid no attention.
Cornelius was the herbalist and apothecary of our abbey.  He took care of the growing of produce for food and herbs for medicinal use with his apprentices.  He studied many books on the subject and was given a doctrine by the clergy, and rightfully so.
A holy man must make use of what God has given him, meaning medicines from the earth, a much harder task than that of a doctor of the modern world outside, therefore much more to be learned, all of which he had and ‘ intellectually’ had become a good friend of mine.
So by my deductions, this was not a death or no medical needs were required, yet he was brought into the situation and the young boy Julian said he’d seen two bodies wrapped in blankets, like corpses ready for burial, the only idea I had in mind was disease.
We’d reached the bottom of the stairs and were walking the outside of the courtyard, it seemed all the monastery were asleep, void of firelight or sounds, only the moon to light and scuffling of our sandals on the ground to hear.  No one else was woken for this advent but me, but why me, and why was this kept in secret.
We were passing the most beautiful display of which I had only time enough to glance, maybe my only sin of admiration.  It was a display of the armor, sword and shield of a paladin from the ages of medieval, the way of life we held to in this monastery.
We didn’t go to the world outside the Monastery, we lived as though things hadn’t changed since the dark ages, or middle ages if you prefer, raising our own livestock, gardening our own medicines and food, setting our own ways and rules of living, and making anything else that was needed.  It is felt among us that much is used outside these walls in excess or is of no particular need.
Our only vice would be knowledge.  We all strive to know all we can from our library of holy books passed down through countless centuries from all over the world.  Some crumbling so that they cannot be read, other books that we must preserve through rewriting them to new paper.
Julian himself was a scribe that did this, but he was also an apprentice to the Abbot, fetching him documents, or people in this case, drawing a bath for him among other menial tasks the Abbot was too busy to attend.
We were making way to the hospice when Julian stopped me, “this is for you before you enter” it was a mask to cover my mouth and nose and I put it on, just as I expected, disease.
“There’s more to this than we know Brother Michael, I am only a monk of inexperienced age, but I’ve noticed goings on in this Abbey in the late of night” Julian uttered in quiet to me, but before he could go on, the door of the hospice opened to the Abbot.
“Ah yes, Brother Michael” he had said in a rather relieved and melancholy tone that I found to be out of place given the situation he was about to divulge.
“Come in, Come in” he waived me inside but gave a stern look to his apprentice as he gestured him to stay and closed the door on his face.
He put on another of the cloth masks for medical use that he was holding and walked me to the opposite end of the bed hall to an area that was closed off with only silk sheets held around it.
He parted the sheets and we stepped inside, I saw Cornelius kneeling down by two monks.  The monks were set side by side on newly made mattresses without a bed frame, the reason being, we only had so many beds and this disease seemed to be contagious, afterward they would burn the beds, but what ‘afterward’ meant was always life or death and leaned more to death.
The sight gave me a flash of the dream I’d had.  It was Pestilence on his horse of a sickly green, the horseman with his purpling gray skin covered with sores he wore proudly by the look of his demeanor.  Boils covered his back and his frame was constantly sloughing flesh that reappeared again just to fall.  His eyes were bloodshot and bubbling of puss, making a stream of tears to roll down his cheeks, his teeth rotted and the skin on his face had black pulsating blobs forming from it to pop and a black bloody liquid poured from his mouth as he screamed… and then I was in front of the bodies again.
       I knew I had to heed the dream but it was something to place in the back of my mind for the moment as I handled this.
Cornelius rose to greet me, he embraced me and kissed me, “My friend, this is a dangerous place to be, what brings you here. I don’t see the need of you to be in such a predicament” he said concerned, I could tell he did not want me here, a true friend among them, but he himself would die in the study of something new without thought of how I felt.
“Truthfully, I am not sure? The Abbot here called for me” I answered waiting for an answer of my own, to which the Abbot gave reason.
“Well I believe this was not some accident or chance disease, it is a kind of plague, very deadly and quite contagious” he said, his jowls shaking and a worried look on his round face.
He was somewhat portly, but no one here had many choices for what they ate or daily activities.  He wore a more extravagant robe than the rest of my brothers, he had a white with gold trim robe, silver scarf, and red hood, all stitched with multicolored symbols of holiness, it was the garb of the Abbots past and he wore it proudly and with great reverence, though he could use some humbleness in my opinion.
He had round eyes accenting his round face and bulbous nose, but the roundness of his face was becoming more oval and long of late, as comes with less sleep I suppose, with baldness to top off it all.
That oval face turned to me now “You being the only one here that has made investigations in your time of being a lawyer for the clergy, I’d like you to find how this disease came about, who may have brought it in, and try solving before this plague and word spreads through the monastery” he explained to me, emphasizing the end of the sentence.
“I’ll do what I can, but it could very well be an animal of disease, I’ve heard talk of rats running about” I gave to respond but he only turned to anger.
“Then kill the wretched creatures! I’m telling you to investigate the scene; I’m telling you to ask questions as to how this could happen! Cornelius has seen no bites, only a recent healing cut on both their left hands, this may turn out to be as you say, but I will take no chances with my abbey” he exclaimed, I was assumed as inquisitor for my previous position, which I found to be useless.
The Abbot went to the door and left to retire, Julian following close behind, so I turned to my friend to get any helpful information “It seems I have knowledge outside all others, eh, even you” I said in a playful tone to lighten the situation but he took no amusement.
“I have more knowledge in my green thumb than most, especially you, but this is no time for comedy Michael” yet he still mentioned his superior skill I noticed, trying not to smile, but he was setting an air to the conversation.
“I’ve checked for anything on their bodies to say it was something of foul play, but have found nothing. I wish to check the rest of the body but I would have to perform an autopsy” he was careful to use the words in a whisper.
“I’ve given them what help I can, herbs to lessen the pain, poultices with disinfectant to wrap their seemly decaying skin and I’m still removing any growths that seem to turn up constantly.  The only clue I or you can go upon are the cuts on both their left hands” he said to me as if I would have an answer for him by the look in his eyes.
I pulled him aside, away from the ears of the two sickly brothers “do you think they may live?” I asked with genuine hope but the answer I got was of the ladder.
“I’m afraid not, brother William is already fading and brother Roberto has no fight in him to try, I expect they will only last till morning, I regret to say it, 1 comment

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