Cadfael and Oliver
Virgin in the Ice

[In workroom: Cadfael follows Oliver in]
Cadfael: There's wine on the table.
Oliver: And two cups.
Cadfael: You wouldn't have left your work unfinished.
Oliver: How did you know it would be tonight?
Cadfael: Well, with Hugh Beringer guarding his prisoner in the castle, what better time to get the children away? Yves and Ermina will be here presently.
Oliver: How can you be sure I'm fit to be trusted? You know nothing of me.
Cadfael: I know, perhaps, more than you think. I know your name. I know who you serve. I know you were born in Syria of a Syrian woman and a knight Crusader. I know that Ermina has set her heart on you. And by that amber stare, that you've set your heart on her.
Oliver: I fear she's somewhat deceived you. And herself. For Armina, every soldier of the Crusade is nothing less than a noble knight. My father was a simple man at arms of Robert of Normandy's force.
Cadfael: Ahh. And your mother?
Oliver: A good woman of Islam. I am their bastard. Got between faiths and peoples. But, for all that, I think myself well mothered and well fathered, and the equal of any man living.
Cadfael: Half humankind matches without ritual blessing, and not necessarily the worse half.
Oliver: I might imagine you speak of your own knowledge.
Cadfael: I was in the world forty years before I took this discipline for my cure. I've been soldier, sailor, and sinner. Even Crusader. At least that was pure, however the cause fell short of my hopes. She's dead, your mother?
Oliver: [nods] I would never have left her otherwise. She was a poor widow, who had a booth in the market of Antioch, in the street of the sailmakers.
Cadfael: What was your father like?
Oliver: I never knew him. They had been lovers long before when he came first to Syria, but he sailed for England from St. Simeon after their last meeting. He never knew he had a son.
Cadfael: What was his name?
Oliver: She would not tell me. But she often praised him as brave and kind. There cannot be much wrong with a mating that left her with such fondness and pride. My mother bore the same name as your lady Mary, though in our tongue it would be said Mariam. Perhaps you met her when you were in the Holy Land. Or knew my father.
Cadfael: Someone like him, perhaps. Once, long ago. But your mother. From what you've told me, I certainly should have remembered her [children come in: We're ready] all my life.

[In doorway: kisses Armina; hugs Yves]
Yves: Brother, we owe you so much.
Cadfael: Yves, between friends there is no owing.
[hugs Oliver]
Cadfael: My son. Go in peace.

[Church: kneels to pray]
Cadfael: This was an unexpected stroke. I never thought that so marvelous a creature could be in this world with my and Mariam's blood in his veins. Should I have told him? No. What need's he now of a father? But, by your grace, I've seen him. I have sat and talked with him of times past. I have kissed him. I have cause to be glad of him, and shall have cause to feel glad lifelong. What does it matter if these eyes may never see him again. And yet, they may.

[walks out of church preceded by Hugh]
Hugh: Those children are away then?
Cadfael: What else should I have done? Their safety was entrusted to Sister Hilaria, and I found her and that responsibility became mine. I would not have her mission fail.
Hugh: Well, they'll be with their uncle in good time for Christmas. My only regret is I never met their guardian, Armina's woodsman. Who was he, Cadfael?
Cadfael: He was.. He was a son any father would be proud of.

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