Chapter Three

Callitus sat at one of the ink-stained wooden benches in the noding abbey. He took a feather quill and a small glass inkwell and carefully scratched the qualities of his candidate onto a scrap of vellum. When he was done, he considered the result. "I need someone with the courage of Richard the Lion-Hearted, the ruthless dedication of Tomás de Torquemada, the wisdom of St. Patrick, Apostle of Ireland and the keen eye of Leonardo da Vinci." he mused. "It will take a miracle."

But miracles are a monk's stock in trade. In the springtime, after setting the monastery's affairs in order, Callitus set off. He roamed far and wide, seeking the perfect candidate. Yet from the brash General of the Army of Rome to a travelling mystic from the mysterious East, none were quite suitable. The closest he came was in early autumn, with the aging artist Michaelangelo. Michaelangelo seemed the perfect choice, yet upon grasping the sheer enormity of the task at hand, Michaelangelo fell victim to a stroke. This weakened him too much to travel, and indeed led to his death not many years later.

Dejected, Callitus returned alone to the monastery. After greeting his brother monks, he sought the fireplace to take away the autumn chill. Upon entering the chamber, he saw a new face, a tonsured young acolyte. The youngster was casually tossing vellum scrolls into the fireplace! Callitus was paralysed with horror ... but then he saw the youngster was reading each scroll, and only incinerating about every fifth scroll, carefully saving the rest.

Callitus saw that the man he needed was at hand. A miracle indeed! He rushed over to the young acolyte and grasped his arm. "What be thy name?" Callitus inquired.

"They call me Bones. Dem Bones." replied the acolyte. From the courtyard a strummed guitar seemed to underlay the acolyte's response with a haunting and somehow familiar theme.

Callitus explained his quandary and offered to elevate the young man to the position of Claustral Prior, second in command of the monastery. The young man named Bones considered. "I accept, on one condition."

"Name it." invited Callitus.

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