The year is 1318 and Pope John is determined to end the divisions that plague the Franciscan order. Fabrizio is a Franciscan friar who has found a healing and peaceful life tending the goats at the friary of San Stigliano. When the pope sends inquisitors to San Stigliano, Fabrizio's home, livelihood, and belief in God are changed forever.
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The Fires of Autumn
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He had been sent by Gustave to the garden to pull carrots for the evening meal. Just before he entered the garden, two splendid-looking coaches drove through the friary gates and into the square, reining in their horses in a cloud of late summer dust. Several men on horseback escorted them. These dismounted quickly and hurried to open the coach doors.
Robed men emerged, dressed in Dominican black. As they stepped to the ground Fabrizio saw the toes of heavy, leather boots appear from underneath their robes. Strong boots with wooden soles. The kind that could crush a man with no shoes on. One of the men raised his head and called out, "Guardian Amadeus Walerian!"
It was a deep voice, a commanding voice. The Dominican that had called out paused and looked around the square, as if expecting to see their Guardian come scurrying out from some small door in response.
Instead, it was Kerstan who hastened from the library doors, bowing and motioning toward the library invitingly. He gave instructions to the drivers, pointing them to the stables. The rest of the men followed him up the steps and through the heavy oaken doors which led to the Guardian's study.
Fabrizio filled his basket with all the carrots ready for eating and returned to the kitchen. "There will be more for dinner, Gustave," he told the cook. "At least seven more."
Gustave looked up from the spit where he was tying a row of chickens, a gift from the mayor of the town. "The inquisitors have come?" he asked quietly.