Tenderly Pero began to cleanse the most harmless wounds along his face and hand, grimacing with each light patting.
Druda wore her frustration…. She crossed the room sternly and retrieved a smaller wooden bowl with a tan, odorless paste. She returned and straddled the bench beside him. “This is powerful medicine,” she declared, snatching the towel from Pero’s hand. “You might want to look away. I won’t be gentle with you. I’ll treat you like I treat my rock-head boys. What needs be done, needs be done, and it needs be done right.” …
“What manner of concoction is this?” Pero asked, his tone skeptical of her prowess to benefit him.
If she was insulted by his words or his tone, she didn’t show it. She continued dabbing the cream on a particularly frightful looking gash across his right forearm… “The Good Lord has placed many herbs and plants on this earth to restore us. This is an old family recipe…” She blew lightly on the wound to hasten the drying process before wrapping it beneath a thick cloth bandage. “That poultice will alleviate some of the pain but not all of it. Time is still the best medicine. Leave it on through the night and I’ll rewrap it in the morn. Patience and prayer, son. If we don’t have time for those, we deserves what we get.”
Betrayal – Chapter 40

And we know now that Pero was neither prayerful or patience and before the night was over, ripped the bandage off and got sick as Druda said he would.

“Ready to eat?”
The room was bright. It took Pero another moment to readjust his eyes to the brilliance and find focus. He located Druda standing across the room at her prep counter in a common gown of green.
“Don’t be embarrassed,” she added. “You were exhausted. You might have risen sooner and in better spirits had you not been so foolish and ripped that bandage from your arm. I warned you. It got infected as I predicted. You had a fever and we could not wake you.”
Pero touched the fresh gauze on the wound…
“How long was I asleep?”
“A full day.”
Blue Grotto – Chapter 13

Druda Fabbro is a sixty-year old woman living in the sanctuary prison on Eagles Pass with her husband, Turstin, and their sons, Tomas and Dato.

When they lived in the capital city, in Parthenope, Druda was a religious woman who didn’t fit in well with much of the court’s intrigues.

Her marriage to Turstin was arranged. She thanked God he was not like his brothers. He was not ambitious or violent. He preferred to drink, eat and rest. Some considered him weak. For Druda’s part, she found him amiable, kind and devoted.

Turstin was also very good with numbers and served as Provost to his father.

Druda spent her time with Church-going folk and performing charitable works. She loved to pray and sing.

Druda was quite dismayed to learn her husband was part of the plot that assassinated his father but she understood he really had no choice in the matter for his brothers might have killed him had he not gone along with it.

Druda and Turstin struggled to have children. She suffered several miscarriages before giving birth to Tomas in 1182, twenty-two years into their marriage. She viewed him as a gift from God.

With the introduction of a new court advisor in 1189, a giant magician called Sinibaldus, things got more unstable. Gherardus was starting to mistrust Turstin and had him followed everywhere he went.

And then one night, in a tavern, drinking, out of his mind, Turstin apparently said some things he shouldn’t have said for he was arrested. Tomas was only seven and Druda didn’t know what to tell him, why his father wasn’t coming home. The soldiers had been there, breaking things, ransacking their stuff, looking for evidence to use against him. Druda was sure they would all be killed.

But Gherardus, after murdering his parents, didn’t want anymore Fabbro blood on his hands. Using the powers the giant wielded with his magic crystal, a sanctuary prison was created for them in a remote part of the wilderness beyond Eagles Pass.

The magician poisoned the land and the animals with his dark magic and the only way in or out was through him. Druda, Turstin and Tomas were loaded in a prison wagon and taken to this distant place, exiled.

Sinibaldus erected semaphores and enormous torches to give them room to move and protection from the wild animals. They could never leave. Still Druda hoped that one day her son would receive a reprieve of some sort.

In 1191, in her old age, Druda gave birth to another son, Dato. Dato never saw the outside world. He grew up in the prison. The only people he interacted with were his family and the misfit creatures that brought them supplies every month.

Dato glanced up at his mother with curiosity filling his eyes. “What were they afraid of?”
Druda smiled. “They were afraid of the unknown, Dato. Men are often afraid of the things they don’t understand or reason.” She looked to Pero as if he, being a knight, might believe the same as she. “But life is filled with mysteries and magic. There are spirits in the world we can never fathom. Sometimes things must be taken on faith… What about you, Pero? Do you believe a man can walk on water?”
Pero rose suddenly from the bench causing Druda and Dato to flinch. He realized he had startled them but he was irritated and feeling judged… “I need some fresh air. And I need to clean up.”
Druda nodded. “By all means. I don’t think Turstin and Tomas were venturing far today. They’ll show you where you can wash up.”
Pero bowed his head slightly, almost meekly before making for the door. He felt like a criminal and didn’t want to hear anymore of what the boy was reading.
The boy continued, however, and Pero could not get far away fast enough.
“And Peter answered Him and said, Lord, if it be Thou, bid me to come unto Thee on the water. And He said, Come.”
Pero slammed the door.
Blue Grotto – Chapter 13

Allen M Werner is the author of the epic fantasy tale The Crystal Crux

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