for the film 'The Navigator A Medieval Odyssey
Adaption Geoff Chapple
Layouts Emma Mortimer
Return to the Navigator
In the middle ages of the fourteenth century, a fearsome plague came out of the East.
The shadow advanced steadily across Europe, and though not exact records exist, it is believed that over half the population there died.
It was the worst epidemic in human history.
The Monks Codex
I, Brother John of the Minorite Abby in Kilkenny, buried the Prior and my thirty-four fellow monks, one by one, sometimes three a day, and was left. alone until I could bear it no longer, and with Flynn, my dog, fled.
I reached Dublin, where no death bells tolled, and I believed at first that God had spared the seal of the church in my native Ireland.
Soon enough, I discovered the bells were stopped only by city ordinance lest their continuous dolorous ringing plunge the population here yet further into despair.
Amongst the living, it is true that the Faith has sometimes receded, for I met men upon the roads who swung smoke Pots, and who sniffed fragrant herbs and who would tell you that fate is determined not by God’s will, but by chance and smokepots, and by seeking the high ground where the fatal vapours drop away.
Therefore, I did get myself a smokepot, and in the winter followed Flynn into the lakeland parishes of Cumbria where we were forced to live upon peapods and bran, for the plague was still so heavily upon their populations that there was no harvest and the wheat lay rotting in the Fields, and even the animals that live beneath the surface of the earth came out of the ground disturbed, as if drunk.
I travelled west to the uplands of Cumbria, and though the country here is more bleak, the snowdrifts deeper, the byways more narrow and the villages poor, still there was no abatement in the deadly work of the pestilence.
For amidst a snowstorm I came across a broken waysign and a settle- ment that was now little more than a ghostly outline upon the ground, and grave mounds, and the charred rib of a sunken vessel protruding from the lake alongside. Here Flynn’s low growl warned of the approach of a stranger up the same road of our travel, and my hair stood on end lest it was grim death itself that stalked me, for the man’s face was hooded and in shadow.
Yet he paid no heed and whistled a signal across the water.