Pula wondered if the gods were right… he wondered all the more if the gods spoke these rules then why will they not speak to him now? Ever since he could remember his people told stories of how gods made all things come to be. Where are the gods now when he has so many unanswered questions? “What is this silence between us?” he often prayed. In the deepest part of the night when even the crickets seem to be in slumber, he prayed this and many things. It seemed no answers ever arrived. A voice maybe? A dream perhaps? Nothing.” If he wasn’t meant to have these answers ,” he wondered. “Then from where did these questions come?”  So much wondering often leads to drowsiness so Pula decided once again to let it go and focus on the trail unfolding in front of him as the day was pressing on and there was no time for a nap.  He sensed an urgency in the pungent forest air around him.  With all of his questions, Pula did have one certainty inside him that burns since he was old enough to remember anything.  His people believed he was born to bring this prophecy to them and they honored his visions though he was not yet 15.  His people knew that young children barely weened from their mother’s breast could not make up stories that seemed to pour from Pula. An old soul, he seemed to possess a knowledge of words far beyond the stage of a three year old child. Bathing with the women of the village he would begin telling them about a day that will come.  “very soon” Pula often spoke.  The women would all stop in unison and silently examine baby Pula.  “What is this the child says?” Grandmother Fia  exclaims. “We must listen to the boy!” she urges everyone to pay attention.  ” soon!” Pula would burst forth as he splashed around the balneae.  “Amoveo”  he would say.Over and over “Amoveo!”.  “What is this amoveo he refers to grandmother Fia?” asked one mother.

     “Fia being a shortened version of the name “sophia” a greek name meaning “wisdom” and “knowledge” True to her name grandmother Fia counseled much “wisdom” over the years throughout the tribe and neighboring villages beyond Haemus Mons of the North. Raised by an herbalist grandmother herself, Fia learned all about the native medicinal plants of the land. She learned to propogate plants in order to travel with them and create tinctures and poultices for every ailment anyone might encounter.  She possessed a medicinal knowledge and a natural born intuition that allowed her to diagnose and treat almost anyone that came across her path. Her name and her insight travelled far across the land and  many times over the years she was summoned (often in the wee hours of the night) for various reasons. One particular snowy evening, as Fia was about to retire for the night there came the sound of a horn blowing  through the trees.  Fia thought it might be just the howling of the winds thrashing through the forest  but the sound was becoming louder and more distinct. Surely she has heard this call before? Stepping back out of her pallet of covers, she hurries to the door to investigate the sound.  Before she can reach the front room where the door is located, an explosion of noise erupts through the front of grandmothers Fia’s home and in rushes a large burly figure covered in snow and ice from head to foot. There was so much snow that Fia could not tell if this was a man or beast. Heavy panting persisted as the massive figure standing before Fia’s small frame tried to catch a better stream of breathing. upon quick examination , Fia noticed there were a pair of large boots sticking out of the cloak and a long snow covered beard dripping melted snow on her head as she sized up the frozen intruder.”May i help you sir?” Fia cautiously spoke. “Who are you and why are you here at this hour?” Still only heavy breathing came forth. ” I cannot help you unless you speak to me” Fia stated. Growing increasingly impatient and more tired from her already arduous day, grandmother Fia was about to begin shouting when the large cloak came down off the shoulders and hit the floor with a heavy thud. Beneath the cloak was a tall bearded man holding a young  woman with child and  heavy with labor pains. Despite her shock Fia immediately reached forward to help the man carry the woman to Fia’s bed across the room and lay her down. “i beg your pardon missus” the man spoke between the heavy pants. ” My young wife is in terrible need of a midwife and i was told you could help us” “I am not a midwife” Fia replied. “You have been misinformed sir” she added. Panic set in across the mans frost bitten face. “Oh but please you must help!” he cried ” I have carried her so far in this snowstorm and i fear i cannot carry her any longer NOR will the baby wait for us to find another shelter! you MUST help!” defeated, he collapsed to his knees and began to stroke his young brides wet hair as beads of sweat poured from her forehead.  From the looks of her, the young woman would not last much longer if Fia did not help her birth this child. Fia nearly jumped up and ran to the cabinet to gather some dry clean cloth. she handed them to the strange man kneeling over her bed and instructed him to grab the pot of water simmering by the fireplace and carry to the bedside. The woman screamed in agony.  Fia recognized  the sounds of danger and quickly raced to the woman with her bag of herbs entow. Inspecting the young woman , fia noticed a tremendous amount of blood flowing from her womb. “You must push with all your might!” yelled Fia. The mother pushes and pushes until Fia notices not a head but little tiny feet appear.  It is too late to do anything about this so Grandmother fia urges the mother to keep pushing with all she has until the tiny baby appears on the blood soaked sheets of Fia’s bed. As fia wipes the baby clean and turns to present the child to his parents, she notices the mother has slipped into unconsciousness. Passing the newborn child to his father , fia rushes to tend to his mother.  After some time she turns to the father and child with a sad expression on her face”i am very sorry but she may hav lost too much blood. There is nothing more i can do.” Fia declares.”We must let her rest”. Taking the infant boy back from the father , fia motions for him  to return to the bedside of his dying wife. “My beloved ” cries the man” the gods have smiled upon our love and blessed us with a beautiful son!” Barely able to speak , the young mother replies” I had a dream my love” “I dreamt i would have a son and he would be a part of a grand prophecy oneday.” “in my dream” she said ” there was much death so i never shared the dream for fear my boy might die.” The man brought the boy to his mothers bedside so she could see him.  “Where are we?”asked the mother in her still small voice. Fia appeared before her just then “You were very brave my dear” said Fia. “another minute lost and you may have had your baby in this storm!” The mother smiled wearily.”who are you?”asked the young mother. “Sophia “replied Fia. “Most people call me grandmother Fia” “and who might you folks be?”fia asked as she placed the newborn boy to his mothers breast “I am Xander and this is my wife Petra.” the man said.”We were seperated from our caravan of people just over the pass”he told Fia. “Then a storm hit and we were forced to find shelter in a cave not far from here.”he added. “i know of the place” said Fia. (She often kept her surplus stored there until spring so she would not have to venture over that pass once the winter arrived)  “You must be far from your people to end up in THAT cave. Fia told Xander. “Its a good thing you found me”. “Well” said Xander ” i am very grateful for your assistance with my wife Madam Fia and i do plan to repay your kindness one day”he told her.” If you would be so kind to let us rest for the night, i shall take my leave with my family at dawn” “Dear me” Fia replied.”your wife is very weak and is in no shape to travel come Dawn  AND this weather is not suitable for travelling with small infants”Fia told him. “Let us all get some sleep and we can figure this out on the morrow.” And with that she found some spare cloth in her chest and handed them to Xander to keep warm.She grabbed the baby and placed him in a basket next to her rocker so the new parents could get a little rest after such a trying turn of events. As she rocked back and forth in that dark little room, she remembered days long ago when Fia herself was young like Petra and married to a dear man from the plains. A war took him from her and after his burial she vowed to hold him in her heart forever but to love noone else ever again.  She found her contentment in caring for the people in her village and the surrounding areas as best she knew how. This became the joy that sustained her. She pondered this as she drifted off to sleep. She woke to the sound of her door slamming closed.  The baby lay sleeping quietly next to his mama but Xander was gone.  A note lay at the foot of her bed with a large horn atop the covers Fia had given Xander only hours earlier that now warmed his sleeping wife and child. Simply put, the note read “I promise to come back for you both” all my love X (to be continued….)