Brother Sebastian and Brother Peter each held one of the Abbot’s arms as they guided the gasping man into a chair. The Abbot’s face was blanched despite his rapid breathing and his eyes remained fixed on the patient quietly sleeping through the turmoil.
“Are you in pain?” asked the medico. “Any palpitations?”
The Abbot instinctively pressed a hand to his chest, but the veteran of three heart attacks shook his head. “No, no,” he told Brother Sebastian. “I am quite recovered. I have had a shock, that is all. But my nerves....”
The director frowned at Brother Sebastian. “You should lie down, Anthony. Let our able medico examine you. It may seem nothing but turn deadly serious without warning.”
“I am fine, Peter. If you lie down at my age, you may never get back up.” The Abbot smiled at Brother Sebastian. “You are frightening our young medico. He doesn’t want the first patient he loses to be the Abbot.”
“I assure you my medical reputation is the furthest....”
The Abbot raised his hand to silence Brother Sebastian. “I am certain your heart is where it should be. I was only teasing, one of my vices. Now, as to our patient here. Have you checked the DNA archives?”
“Of course,” answered the medico with a force that surprised even him. Whether spoken in jest or not, he still chafed at the previous remark questioning his charity and professionalism. Brother Sebastian was young and ardent and the abbey had not yet washed his soul of pride. He glanced at the director, who was busy taking the Abbot’s pulse, and consciously checked his tone. “We queried all the standard repositories. The results were negative, not even a close match for a relative.”
“I don’t doubt it,” said the Abbot.
“Most births in the land villages, among the miners and hunters and of course the nomads, go unrecorded,” said the director.
“This man was not born on Eclectia but on the Avenir.”
“You know this man?” asked Brother Peter.
The Abbot took a deep breath. “I believe I do.”