Annais had to squint to see the abbot, silhouetted as he was by the setting sun as it dipped over the hills on the mainland. As ever, the abbot didn’t notice as he strolled along the neat cobbled path around the edge of the low bluff.
“I truly believe our Carthaginian overlords meant every word they said, brother.”
“Yes, my lord.”
Annais bobbed his head in agreement, although he knew the heavy cowl of his robe rendered the movement almost imperceptible.
Behind him, the skeletal walls with their wooden trusses of the incomplete abbey rose starkly against the darker eastern sky.
“When they told us we could have this island and as many men as the farms would support and build as we would, I didn’t believe them. I thought it was just a ruse. Now, what’s this idea you have for a causeway to link us to the mainland?”
“The northern tip of the island, my lord, almost reaches the land, only a hundred and fifty or so paces separate us from the mainland at low tide and never more than waist deep.” “I know . . . I know, that was how we came here was it not?”
The abbot’s impatience was showing, but Annais ploughed on. “Actually, my lord, the spot I am talking about is slightly further to the north. It wouldn’t take much effort to put the waste building stone there and pound it flat to provide a dry surface twice a day.”
“What use would that dry road be? This is an island and as a result defensible.”
“Yes my lord, from the land, but not from the sea. It occurred to me that once we begin converting these heathens, then perhaps many will be encouraged to make a pilgrimage to our abbey and we would be able to charge a toll to allow them to cross…”
The abbot stopped, almost in mid-stride.
He paused and looked at the younger monk, quite plainly reassessing him.
“I think your idea has merit and I believe you will go far in our order, brother, yes far indeed…”Click here to return to book