SYNOPSIS: Jerusalem 998-1000 The story of Ethelwulf of Arne, the Wanderer, winds to its end as he staggers alone and in despair towards Jerusalem, convinced that with the Second Coming of Christ, predicted within months, he’ll meet his destiny. But his life is not yet finished – a marriage, a child, a scarce-remembered cousin and a long-lost companion are yet to cross his path. Add to that a bloody climax of over twenty years of adventure when Ethelwulf realises his destiny isn’t quite as expected.
With extensive Factual End-Notes.
EXTRACT: 'Suddenly he doubted that. After all, Brother Anastasius, who’d been threatened with almost certain death at the hands of the heathen, should be safe by now, along with his cousin. Perhaps there’d be no Second Coming but was it all a question of renewal of energy in the service of God? Perhaps he’d been preserved just to ensure the survival of one good man. He could try and tell himself that as he breathed heavily in the darkness awaiting another attack from the outside but -
"You don't believe that, little man, do you?" mocked the voice of Gunnar Thorgeirsson so close to his ear that Ethelwulf turned expecting to see the giant Gall-Gael in the darkness. Then he dismissed the idea, for how could the dark-haired brute move with the silence necessary to sneak past the unbelievers outside.
"It might be, Ethelwulf. Remember God's purpose can never be known to us," comforted the voice of Ulf Ethwoldsson and he remembered the reeve who’d trained him to fight so long ago at Arne. He made no move to see the arms-master who’d perished over twenty years before. He knew it was just the pain from his wounds giving his mind full rein to wander and search for any comfort it could find.
"And you always have been true, darling," whispered the soft tones of Lydia, his wife, and he was amazed how these characters inside his head all spoke with a single tongue. He smiled, wondering what his mother would have ever made of the Syrian girl who’d borne her grandchild. Then he remembered the baby had been born dead, in the process killing its mother - and shut out such memories.'
END-NOTE EXAMPLE: 25. St Cyricus, the young child of St. Julitta, and was martyred under Diocletian on 16 June.
Although his name is the origin of St. Cyr, the tale of his being murdered by being thrown down steps was rejected in the West before 700 A.D.
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