Ahasuerus: France, Le 8 septembre 1217

The portal collapses behind me. From the warmth of an Egyptian night, I find myself in a brisk, fall morning. But where?

A castle sits on a rocky hill several uš away, two square stone towers and a curtain wall. The architecture is European, medieval or slightly later. A small town, little more than a village, lies at the hill’s foot.

I think I’ve been here before. The towers are familiar, and if there was a round tower just there, this might be the Château de Foix in south France. Perhaps the tower is yet to be built. Yes, that seems right. I scrape my mind, trying to recall my French. It comes haltingly but it’ll improve with practice.

I may be able to get away with my poor French but my clothing and the few pieces of Nubian gold I carry will both attract unwanted attention. Once, just once, it would be nice to begin a new life getting properly fitted by a tailor but I can’t risk it. This life will have to begin as all others: by stealing clothes.

I make for the town, keeping away from others’ eyes.

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