Edris seemed to have made it halfway down the aisle.

Edris seemed to have made it halfway down the aisle before remembering that she was in a chapel and dropping to her knees. She had certainly stopped in the middle of a sentence as she called for him.

“I thought I heard someone calling for old Father Brandt,” he chuckled.

'I thought I heard someone calling for old Father Brandt.'

Edris stumbled and nearly fell flat in her eagerness to be back on her feet.

“Brandt! I have a letter!”

“A letter!”

“From thy stepmother!” She waved it triumphantly.

“Ach, no!” he laughed. “What does she say?”

'What does she say?'

“I don’t know! Wynn couldn’t read it. She wrote in Saxon, but even so, I think it will be easier for thee.”

Brandt lifted his heavy eyebrows. “In Saxon?”

The proud old lady found the English fashion of corresponding in the vernacular to be quite vulgar. If she was no longer capable of composing a letter in Latin, then perhaps “her mortal life was soon coming to an end” at last. Perhaps, if his elder brother Beda held on for a while longer, he might yet be Baron in more than name before he died.

'Yes!  Read it to me, Brandt.'

“Yes! Read it to me, Brandt. I want to hear how many legs have been broken this year!”

“Hast a spider for a husband?” he chuckled as he turned away with the letter towards the candles.

'That's what Wynn wondered!'

“That’s what Wynn wondered!” she laughed breathlessly.

Brandt unfolded the letter. He saw at once that the old woman’s hand was as steady as ever, if her mind wasn’t. He skipped over the lengthy Latin greeting, and then…

He saw that there had been some mistake. The entire letter was written in Latin.

He skipped over the lengthy Latin greeting, and then...

Father Brandt’s mortal life had already endured over half a century, and much of it had been spent in seeing others through mortal life’s great crises. By now he was far too wise to exclaim aloud over this discovery. If the loyal steward had told Edris he could not read the letter, there had to be a reason.

There had to be a reason.

Glancing over the letter, he soon found it. The word “fever” caught his eye, and from there it was led to the phrase “departed this life”. The rest was details and a few trivialities that Father Brandt privately thought rather out-​of-​place in such a letter.

Father Brandt privately thought them rather out-of-place in such a letter.

He folded the parchment up again and slipped it into his robe. Edris would not read it if he could help it.

“What does she say?” Edris asked eagerly.

'What does she say?'

Now that he knew, he heard the fear trembling in her voice.

She sobbed as soon as he turned to her. She knew—she already knew. The only thing she did not yet know was who. He would tell her simply so that it would be told quickly. He would be with her for what followed, as her faithful steward had intended.

'She sobbed as soon as he turned to her.'

“My dear cousin,” he said. “Thy son is well and sends his love to thee. Thy beloved husband took a fever and departed this life two days before the Kalends of May.”

'Thy beloved husband took a fever and departed this life.'