over the hills and far away

"Damascus…"

Two brown-tanned bodies, gleaming with water that shines tawny in the pools and foams white in the falls.

"…Acre…"

Two boys on the edge of manhood in the last of the golden summer days.

"…Jerusalem - "

The older boy - older and wiser, too wise for dreams of crusades - will sell wool, and marry, and have five children, and die without leaving Trefriw. He snorts, and ducks his friend.

The younger boy – sturdier of shoulders, stubborner of jaw, young enough to dream of spices and swords – surfaces, spluttering.

"You're only going to Shrewsbury, Cadfael," says his friend.