I met my brother that morning at the ford, where the river was shallow enough to cross with the flock.
“Jake, is that you?”
“I am so glad I found you. “
“You have not sought me out to take a vengeance?”
“Ye gods, no. You took from me, by your cleverness, a burden I couldn’t bear, never could have borne. You gave me, instead, my freedom. The only thing I ever really wanted.”
“I see.” Although I didn’t see. I was wary. Esse was not canny, but he could have learned to dissemble somewhere. He was clever enough for that.
“It is about Izzy. He finally has died this time. We need to bury him. Together—it is only right. Then I will finally be free of him and this family.”
“You mean you’d feel guilty if we didn’t do our offices?”
“I guess so.”
I was surprised. I didn’t think he had it in him. “Okay. Let’s go.”