It has been two weeks since Father Lucas's letter. War has come just as he feared. King Wenceslaus has called the men to arms. They have even taken the boys from the village. The streets of Tepla are hushed, travelled only by old men and wives who fear the worst and mothers who grieve for what has already been taken.
Even the Brothers are afraid.
I was gathering the last of the ground cherries for Mother Agnes at the side of the cloister. It was not my fault the Brothers could not see me. I was not lurking in the shadows to hear what I could hear.
They say the death of Quarrelsome Frederick gives our Bohemian King the chance he has always wanted to claim Austria for his own. But the ambitious Holy Roman Emperor wants Austria, too, to help him hold against the Pope's newly crowned anti-king, Heinrich Raspe.
Excommunicated and called the Antichrist by his once-friend, Pope Innocent IV, the Emperor is a hunted man with nothing to lose and much to gain.
Many will die, the Brothers say. The blood will stain the Church.
I don't care about that. I want to know when Father Lucas is coming home. When I heard Brother Dusan ask where Father Lucas was now, I stopped the prayer of contrition running in my mind and held my breath that I might hear clearly. And when Brother Dusan gasped at the answer, I lay my face against the cold stone of the wall and slowly turned so that with one eye I could clearly see him as he crossed himself, closed his sad eyes and shook his head.
And I grew cold with fear, but what did it mean that Father Lucas was at Millstatt?