His name was Bishop Eugui, and he was nearing the end of his life. It had been by rumor I have come from the bright sun of the Khmer and to this remote town. Basque country was diverse and had many hands in the pot. This was not important though; this dying man was the key to answering if I needed to return the next cycle.
We sat in the town’s church where two young men held Eugui up by both arms and into his thick wooden seat. Even though the village is small, they decorated the church in the fashion of the Vatican. Gold inlaid on any article of clothing possible, including the dirty robes on Bishop Eugui. Ornate decorations and a crucifix covering the entire wall.
Eugui slumped in his seat, the curve of his back not melding with the flat end of his chair. Wrinkled and pale hands squeezed onto the handles of the chair as his long white beard covered the vast majority of his face. What used to be bright blue eyes faded behind a wall of gray.
“Bishop Eugui…. They told me you used to be the Bishop of Bayonne.” I asked, using an outside voice.
The Bishop’s eye’s widened his chapped lips stuttering.
“Sad… So sad…” He gulped while his lower lip quivered. “I… I was outside the city when it happened. Terrible day.”
I pulled myself a seat and moved closer to hear him speak, his voice barely carrying a few inches.
“What had happened?” I asked.
“I… I… I was on a mission trip. I was not in Bayonne.” His eyes darted back and forth, his head down to the floor. “They attacked!” Eugui yelled.
Eugui grabbed at his robes and hugged himself tight as his body shivered.
“Bandits… Bandits attacked us. They took everything. Everything…” Eugui trailed off.
Bandits? Was the story false? Have I come all this way for a bandit attack?
I reached for his arm, “What about the city? What happened to Bayonne?”
Eugui stopped hugging himself and placed a hand over the top my own.
“I… I walked back to Bayonne… Alone, cold… Naked.” He gulped again. “Everything was on fire… I could see the smoke from so far away.”
His hand squeezed harder on mine. I placed my other hand atop his and patted the back.
“They left no one? What did this?” I persisted. He didn’t respond; his body still trembling. “Was it a dragon?”
The shaking stopped. Eugui practically froze in place. The old man sat up and leaned back into his seat, sliding his hand out from between mine. Fingers were playing along with the arms of his chair. He took a large gulp and turned his smoky eyes in my direction.
“Who are you?” His voice no longer that of a feeble man. “Are you with The Council?”
I mouthed the words out, The Council? I shook my head.
“I don’t know The Council. Who is The Council? Are they responsible for Bayonne?”
“I never told… I never…” His mouth trembled as he spoke. “I never betrayed.”
I shook my head even more now taking the man by his arms. “Bishop Eugui. I am not with this Council. I do not even know who they are. Can you tell me who they are?”
His eyes wide open as if seeing me for the first time. Taking a large gulp his quivering chins settled.
“They are everything.”