They come out into the courtyard of the monastery.
"The abbot will probably be in his cell at this time of day."Sonya was by no means a stranger to sunlight anymore, not since her arrival back in milliways, but even she couldn't get over the change of scenery-how green and..settled..everything looked.Maybe this was what she needed after all. The land may've been at war, but life seemed to move on as usual here. She could catch the smell of fruit, flowers and earth, yet she rolled and stretched her shoulders as though bracing and psyching herself up for something."Lead the way."
In a country at war, perhaps that's not unusual. Cadfael nods and leads
her towards the abbot's cell for her audience.
"Here we are." He knocks on the door, and opens it when he hears the
call. "My Abbot, we have a new guest today."
Cadfael listens, smiling benignly, until she's done and has the abbot's
blessing to stay in the guest quarters. Instructed to show her there, he
nods and opens the door.
"You can stay as long or a short time as you need to", he says gently.
"And come back in the future, if you like. Of course, I'd be glad to show
Cadfael thinks, but doesn't say, that she might just find prayer comforting.
"Across the courtyard here. I have quite a large workroom."
"A future life?" he asks with a glance back at her. "Those are your
"Karma", he says thoughtfully. "I may have to research that, for my own
"This room is more my home than anywhere", he says matter-of-factly. "I
spend as much time as I can here. Those people include doing any harm to
any living creature among their actions?"
"We do, as a rule. But as this is my vocation, sometimes the Abbot turns a
blind eye." He nods. "It isn't a bad belief, but perhaps difficult to
live by strictly."
"It's best that people know where to find me in an emergency", he says with
a nod. "It must be a true emergency for them to come in the night, someone
close to death, but it would be wrong to turn them away.2
"Exactly. The people of the town know well enough what can wait for
morning and what can't." He turns to his workbench. "A blend to be rubbed
on one of our older brethren's back. He suffers with rheumatism."
Cadfael makes a face.
"Not in my medicines, I assure you. At least, not whole. If you'd like,
you could grind what's in the pestle there."
"That is henbane", Cadfael tells her. "It eases pain, quite safely in the
right quantity, and all too often my patients have great need of it."
He nods. "Rest might be a better cure in some cases, but not one that's
easy to take for a farmer or labourer."
"Perfect", he says with a smile. "As for not knowing when to quit, I've
seen cases where the body simply enforces it."