Our time at school made the days pass swiftly, and I was able to spend some time with Samilla and learn a few things about baking. She was a cheerful teacher and I was a willing student.
She taught me to make scones which came from Scotland. She told me about the Bannock that they evolved from and how much tastier they were. We made scones with currants and other berries and they were well received. Then she taught me to make the Kipfili rolls that Father had enjoyed so much. I had stopped thinking of him as the master and now accepted him as my father.
Two days before Father and Mother were due back Lady Iris brought Valla to visit and inform us that Father and Mother had been delayed. She either didn’t know why or wasn’t telling. Either way it would be a two extra days or perhaps more before they arrived home.
Once they had informed us of the situation they decided to visit a dressmaker nearby and took Bolly with them as a bearer. The rest of us were doing our school reading and writing out reports about what we’d read. This was a daily event but Bolly hadn’t reached that stage yet. Once we were done we walked out to the small garden to await Lady Iris, Valla and Bolly.
Bolly was carrying a few bundles but he didn’t look over taxed. Lady Iris and Valla began crossing the street but Bolly paused to pet a small kitten. A loud clatter arose in the street at the top of the small hill. Bolly noticed it first and realized where it was headed. He dropped the bundles and raced to push Lady Iris and Valla out of the way. He was there just in time to push them into the garden of a neighbor’s house when some part of the wagon struck him and left him bleeding on the pavement. I was already running when the wagon leapt up on the pavement and crashed through two large stone gateposts coming to rest against the fountain in the garden of a neighboring house.
Olaf, Rilla and Kiva were a bit behind me and I reached Bolly first. He was unconscious and bleeding from a cut on his head and his left arm had a strange bend.
“Kiva, run back to the house and get the hatchet and some of the long kindling. Bring some cloth for bandages,” I instructed.
Olaf wanted desperately to pick up Bolly but Rilla held him tight.
“We must take him to the palace immediately,” Lady Iris decreed. “Our carriage should be back soon.”
Kiva returned with the items I had requested and Samilla in tow. I wrapped Bolly’s head where it bled and then trimmed some of the kindling to brace his arm. I tied it to him with the strips of cloth that Kiva had brought. I lifted Bolly’s eyelids and his eyes were rolled back. He was breathing and his heart was beating. I hoped with all my might and prayed to Iskaya to protect him. Iskaya is the guardian of children and the young of any species.
The Carriage drew up as I was folding a blanket to use as a litter. Olaf and I carried Bolly into the coach and Rilla and Kiva climbed on top of the coach with the driver and footman. I knelt on the floor and ministered to Bolly. The footman blew his trumpet to clear the way and we reached the palace in a very short time.
When we drew up in front of the entrance Lady Iris directed the guards to summon the court physician and bear the injured Bolly to a room with a bed. They didn’t even blink and it was done, the doctor was by his side in minutes.
I watched helplessly as the doctor cut away his clothing to examine him for other wounds.
His assistant handed him a vial and he took out the stopper and waved it under Bolly’s nose. Bolly snorted and coughed and then moaned in pain. He tried to raise his left arm but howled in pain when he did.
“Be calm child, your injuries aren’t grave but we will need to set your arm so it will heal properly. It will be painful at first but it will feel better almost immediately.
The doctor instructed Kiva and I to hold Bolly’s shoulders and legs and gave one swift tug on the arm and put it back in its proper alignment. Bolly screamed briefly and passed out again.
The doctor’s assistant wrapped the arm in something like cheese cloth and then mixed a large bowl of plaster of Paris, he applied it to the broken arm and then let it cure a bit and added a second layer. Then more light cloth and another coat of the plaster. He explained that it has to go on thin because it gets very hot during its curing phase. I learned later that it was a catalytic reaction caused by the lime. Soon it was a hard shell and Bolly woke up and asked what had happened. Valla explained what had occurred and how brave he was.
“A weak tea made with some valerian will help him sleep don’t you think doctor?” I asked.
“Yes, but a very light dosing of valerian. He’s quite a small boy. He will have to remain in bed for a week. The we will return and remove the cast and make another with his arm bent,” The doctor agreed.
We kissed Bolly and were preparing to leave when the Regent arrived and scooped up his daughter.
“We’re fine Papa, Bolly saved us, but the wagon struck him. His arm is broken, but the doctor says he’s doing well and will recover quickly,” Valla told him.
“It’s true my love, little Bolly is quite the hero,” Lady Iris added.
Valla kissed my cheek and said softly, “If ever I am sorely wounded such as Bolly, I pray you would be near.”
At that moment what I really wanted was to be alone so I could cry. I asked for the toilet and a page led me to one. My first response was to vomit and then I sat and cried for five minutes straight. I never cried that much except when my mother died.
Once I felt stable I returned to the room where Bolly slept. A nurse had been summoned and was beginning to shoo people out of the room including the Regent. When I arrived she nearly kept me out but the doctor interceded. I kissed Bolly good bye and told him to mend quickly. He was sleeping peacefully when I left.
When I stepped out of the room Olaf grabbed me and embraced me. “Thank you,” he repeated between sobs.
“I only did what you would do if you had the chance,” I soothed him.
“No, I don’t know any of the healing ways or the herbs and plants that make people better. I just want to thank you for helping my…our brother,” Olaf insisted.
“I love him too Olaf, just as I love You, Kiva and Rilla. We are true brothers now and we have to care for each other.” I assured him.
“When you are ready we will have the coach take you home. Please tell Samilla I said thank you,” Lady Iris told us.
“Thank you my lady, it is very kind of you,” I answered for all of us.
Valla embraced me and kissed my cheek. “I will make sure the nurse treats Bolly kindly. He is such a lamb,” Then she kissed my brothers but less forcefully.
As we rode back to our home I felt something in my waistcoat pocket. It was a note that read simply, “I would have kissed your lips but Mother and Father were there. V”
It was difficult to go to school the next day and some were surprised to see us there. Olaf delivered a note from Lady Iris to the schoolmaster and we went to our first classes.
It was difficult to concentrate but we managed as far as lunch time. While we were sitting at table waiting to be served a guardsman came through the door and called our names. We stood up, were escorted to the Regent’s coach and driven to the palace.
“Young Bolly and the Regent are asking for you,” Halvar the captain informed us.
We found Bolly propped up by pillows reading a book. He almost jumped up from the bed but he was tethered to protect him from sudden movement. We all kissed him and hugged him carefully.
The nurse told us not to excite him and left the room.
“So how is our wounded hero?” I asked.
“Sore but not as bad as yesterday. My arm aches a bit, but unless I touch the wound my head is fine. They say you took care of me after that wagon hit me. I was glad to know that Lady Iris and Valla were unhurt,” Bolly answered.
“I’m so happy to see you getting better,” Olaf choked out.
“I’ll be fine brother, the doctor says I will heal quickly and my arm will be just as strong as ever in a month,” Bolly smiled sweetly at Olaf.
“Why did you do that?” Rilla asked.
“I was the only one close enough to do anything. It was a risk, and yes I could have been killed, but I wasn’t. If it had hit her ladyship and Valla they would have died. How did the wagon get loose anyway?” Bolly continued.
“The Guardsmen said it was standing in front of the wheelwright’s shop and wasn’t blocked properly. It was full of turnips and sugarbeets and it went down the two hills quickly. The wagoner wasn’t arrested but he can’t leave the city. He and the wheelwright will probably have to pay for the damages caused by the wagon,” Kiva explained.
“Well he didn’t do anything on purpose, and who is responsible for blocking the wheels when you remove the team?” Bolly asked.
“That’s a question for the Watch and the Magistrate,” I speculated. “Perhaps we can ask the Regent.”
At the mention of his title the Regent knocked on the door and entered.
“How is our brave patient getting along today?” His Lordship asked.
“Much better Lord, it’s a little strange to have some stranger watch me poop and wipe my bottom but I like the baths and the massages. I will be terribly spoiled by the time I leave, they feed me anything I want,” Bolly giggled.
“I am glad you’re feeling better, as for the indignities, alas you must suffer those in good humor. The nurse is only doing what she needs to do to keep you healthy,” The Regent told him.
“Edrich, would you walk with me awhile?”
“Of course my Lord,” I replied.
We ambled out into the garden and looked at the plants and watched the bees buzzing about.
“Edrich, Bolly has performed a great service to the crown and myself personally. I wish to reward him. I plan to give him a medal for valor and one for royal service. In Denmark I am a prince, one of many. There would have to be a great bit of dying before I was in line for Christian’s throne. But as Regent and prince I am still a royal. What Bolly did was courageous even for a man, but he is but a mere boy. Is there anything you know of that he would like?”
“I can only think of one thing, and that is to be a King’s man like his brothers. He is in awe of our pins and studies them whenever he gets a chance,” I explained.
“Then he shall have that, I will have to caution him not to wear his sword to school though,” The Regent chuckled.
“Perhaps at his promotion ceremony he could wear it, the other students would be envious though,” I grinned.
“And now I must ask you, what sort of reward would you like, you have given possibly lifesaving treatment to the son of my friend and I wish to reward that,” the Regent told me.
“Perhaps a Pardon my Lord?”
“A Pardon, what on earth for?” The Regent asked.
“On my first visit here, I didn’t know the rules and I had my dagger in my sleeve. I have been waiting for the right time to confess my Lord.”
“Nonsense, given how little you know of courtly matters it is only a minor thing. No pardon is necessary, but you are an honorable man Edrich. My intent is to award you a medal as well. But I’ve never heard of one for giving care like you did. But there is a precedent for a Citizen Meritorious award bestowed in the times after the Vikings. My craftsmen are striking one as we stand here so I’m afraid you cannot refuse. But I have another reason for this. It is a demonstration of the Regency’s gratitude for anyone who renders aid such as you did with Bolly. Any unnecessary death or maiming is bad for the life of the city. This medal will encourage altruism and generosity. You would be a noteworthy recipient of the first of its kind,” The Regent explained.
“Then yes, I will accept such a medal. I didn’t mean to be rude before when I refused rewards for something I had already been paid to do. It just sounded greedy to me and I couldn’t accept in good conscience,” I shared with him.
“A noble reason indeed my boy. Now let’s go back and see Bolly before we’re banned by the nurse,” the Regent winked.
We returned just in time to kiss Bolly goodbye. The nurse was going to bathe and massage him.
The Regent hugged and kissed all of us and we went home. Valla was still with her tutors so I didn’t see her.
We rode back in good spirits but didn’t talk much.
The next morning we were swarmed by classmates and older boys who never spoke to us before. They were completely agog by the story as they had heard it. You’d have thought we fought off a band of ruffians and defended Lady Iris’ honor. We explained the facts, but they weren’t as interesting as the gossip they had heard and as we filed into the hall ten boys lined up on either side of the steps holding up their right arms as though they had sabres but as we passed between each set of boys we received a hearty slap on the shoulder from each. I expected that Bolly would receive a hero’s reception when he returned to school.
The masters all nodded at us as we passed in the halls but the classes themselves were quite normal.
When we arrived home at the end of the day Father’s banner was flying which meant he had returned along with Mother.
“We piled our school satchels in the usual place, hung up our cloaks and went to find Mother and Father. Samilla told us they were out at the stables so we hugged her and raced to meet them. As we approached we stopped in our tracks. A small boy stood with them holding a hand from each of them.
Father bent down and picked up the boy and they all walked to meet us.
“We’re so happy to see you boys, come give us kisses and we’ll sit by the trees and talk,” Father instructed.
We did as we were told, even kissing the boy we didn’t know.
“This is my nephew Ivarsk but he prefers to be called Ivy,” Mother began. My sister is very sick and we brought Ivy with us so she could concentrate on getting better. Will you mind having another boy in your room?” Mother asked.
“Of course not”, we answered in near perfect unison.
“It’s very nice to meet you Ivy, our other brother is at the palace getting better from an accident. He’ll be home in a few more days,” I told him.
“Yes, we have already been to visit, I hope you’ll forgive our lateness but we had to make a detour to collect young Ivy,” Father apologized.
“It was obviously necessary so there is no need to apologize Father,”
“No, I suppose not and I thank you for your understanding boys,” Father smiled.
“Why don’t you gather your things and take Ivy up to see where he’ll be sleeping,” Mother suggested.
“And if you’re going to bathe take him with you. We’ll start in the workshop Monday after school. You have the entire week end to yourselves,” Father decreed.
We led little Ivy up to our room and we all paused to pee before we undressed for our baths. Ivy needed help with his shoe buckles and his trousers. The rest he managed on his own. Although he needed to be prodded routinely to stay focused. We discovered that Ivy was six winters old. Probably a bit more than six years. We showed him how we heated the water and filled the tubs. He thought it was terribly modern, at home they still had maids bring buckets up from below twice a week.
“We bathe most days but you need one of us to get things going so wait for us please,” Rilla told him sweetly. With that he picked up the naked boy and stepped into a tub. During the next twenty minutes he was passed from tub to tub and was squeaky clean when finished.
We dressed him in soft linen short trousers and a loose shirt. I carried him down the stairs and we all sat in the parlor to chat with Mother and Father. Ivy went to sleep in my arms and clutched at my own loose shirt. Mother could only sigh with happiness. She hadn’t been sure if we would accept another boy so young in our room. Rilla sat with me and held Ivy’s little feet and examined his delicate pink toes. Kiva sat on my other side and stroked his fine blond hair. Olaf sat between Mother and Father and dozed off during the description of the honeymoon journey.
Father roused Olaf and I nudged Kiva. I carried Ivy up the stairs and prepared him for bed.
I couldn’t sleep but the others dropped off quickly, Ivy snuggled up to Kiva and I watched them sleep for a while.
I went downstairs and saw Mother and Father sitting quietly enjoying the quiet. Mother saw me and asked if anything was wrong. I explained that I couldn’t sleep and was going to steep some herbs into a tea as a remedy. I boiled water and steeped a few nettles and other herbs leaving out valerian because it would make me groggy in the morning.
“Does something trouble you my lamb?,” Mother asked when she entered the kitchen.
“I’m still trying to grasp how Father can love us as sons when we’re not his blood. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful but not many men would do that as far as my experience goes,” I explained.
“No, that’s true. But Karl is no ordinary man. He has seen much horror in his life and wants to alleviate the suffering of people when he can. He has a big soft spot for children and he rewards the ones who help him in his mission. He is a man of learning also, he has studied the world’s philosophies as well as mathematics and language. He’s the only man who read French poetry to me with any feeling or understanding of what it meant. Early next Spring you will have a new brother or sister. It will be a great joy for us all. I will ask Karl to speak with you privately and you can tell him your worries and perhaps he can dispel them. But I can tell you, his love for you boys is genuine and pure. He wants only the best for you,” Mother told me as I drank my tea.
“How does that tea taste?” Mother asked.
“Would you like a sip, it takes getting used to but nettles have a power to relax the mind if they are the right type and are picked at the right time,” I replied.
Mother took a sip and I chuckled at her expression.
“It tastes a bit like a green turnip, but if it relaxes you then it’s worth the suffering,” She smiled at me. Her smile was radiant and between that and the tea I was ready for bed.
“How do you know of this herbal medicine?” Mother asked.
“Most clan people know the herbs, some know more than others and my first mother was a pretty good healer. There are herbs, mosses and mushrooms everywhere. You just need to know what you’re looking at so you don’t poison someone,” I explained.
“That seems perfectly sensible,” Mother smiled.
“Do you have a midwife yet?” I asked. I was journeying into territory most men fear treading.
“Yes, she is the servants healer at the palace. She’s from the Sky clan,” Mother replied.
“You should talk to her about the children you carry, she can ease the discomfort of pregnancy and birth,” I told her.
“What do you mean children, do you mean my future children?”
“No, I mean these two, when you speak to the midwife she will tell you. I think I’d like to sleep now. Good night mother,” I bade her.
“Good night my child, sleep well,” Mother replied.
I made my way to bed but Olaf was thrashing about so I woke him.
“I had a bad dream about Bolly and the carriage, but he was hurt much worse and died. It was terrible and I couldn’t make it stop,” Olaf whimpered.
“Come to my bed and sleep with me, I will comfort you if the dream returns. Your bed is all asunder from your movements.
“I pulled him to my bed, slipped off my nightshirt and slid in beside him. We spooned and both dropped off to a peaceful sleep.
In the morning I felt refreshed, the tea had relaxed me and I slept as if dead. Olaf slept the rest of the night with no further bad dreams. I sat on the edge of my bed and contemplated what Mother had told me. I suddenly remembered telling her that she was carrying two. It was probably the effects of the herb tea making me sensitive to a woman’s smell. But I knew I was right, my mother carried twins and I wondered what she would say when the midwife confirmed it.
Ivy crawled out of Kiva’s bed and stood between my legs and snuggled.
“Do you need to pee?” I asked.
He nodded his head but it was obvious, his little twig was a stiff as they get. My own was pretty stiff as well. I led him to the bathing room where we kept the pails and jugs. I held a jug for him and he relieved himself and then I did the same for myself. It was difficult to hit the pail when you were hard. I helped Ivy dress and then saw to myself. Olaf woke and went to pee. When he returned he hugged me tight and kissed my cheek. He didn’t need to say anything, I knew what it was about. Between us we roused the others and then got them dressed for school.
After school we walked past the palace and collected Ivy before we went to visit Bolly.
We didn’t receive the best reception when we knocked at Bolly’s door.
“Get that little urchin out of my sight, you can’t bring him into a sickroom,” The nurse raged.
“Do not talk about Lady Ingrid’s nephew in that manner, I think you need to take a walk and calm down,” I ordered.
The nurse stormed out of the room but the noise had caught the attention of Lady Iris.
“Hello boys, what is the noise all about,” She asked.
“Nothing really, the nurse is probably starting her menses and I know it can put some women in a bad mood. But menses or not I won’t have her refer to Ivy as an urchin. And he is the Regent’s great nephew,” I explained.
“And how do you know what is bothering the nurse?” Lady Iris inquired.
”Her breath tells me she is near her time. Once she actually starts her menses she will calm down but little ones shouldn’t be shouted at because she is cross,” I said.
“You’re right of course, the midwife is going to take over for her for a few days but she’s speaking with your mother at the moment,” Lady Iris informed us.
She returned to Mother and the midwife while we boys looked in on Bolly.
“Hello little brother Olaf smiled at Bolly. He hugged him tight as he dared and Bolly absorbed the affection. We all hugged and kissed him in a gentle fashion and then I held Ivy up for him to meet.
Bolly held out his good hand and grasped Ivy’s for a moment.
“How are you today?” I asked Bolly.
“I feel fine. I don’t even have bad dreams anymore. The doctor said that they would recast my arm tomorrow so I could go back to school. I’ll have to wear a sling but I can still write things down. I might need help with quills and such but my friends will see to it I’m sure,” Bolly replied in his usual rambling way.
“It will be good to have you home, we miss you.” Rilla put in.
Kiva just gave him a hug and kiss and smiled broadly. We chatted for a while and Bolly whispered in my ear that his twig was hard all the time, especially when the nurse bathed and massaged him.
“We’ll see to that as soon as you’re home,” I told him and kissed his cheek.
“Hello my lambs,” Mother greeted us, “oh good you brought Ivy along with you. Would you hand him to one of the others, we have something to discuss,” Mother requested.
Mother led me to another room where there was a chaise and chairs. An older woman sat in a chair and smiled as we entered.
She wasted no time and just started talking.
“I am Asla the midwife. Come let me look at you boy,” She commanded.
She leaned in and inhaled my scent.
“Aaah, twelve winters, and you have your seed already. She slipped a hand inside my trousers and said, hmmm no hair.” With her hair pulled back I could see her brand. She was a master healer. She had been branded by her predecessor when she completed her training.
“I’m told you have a rare gift, you told your mother she carried more than one child didn’t you?” Ashla inquired.
“Yes Midwife,” I responded.
“And you knew the nurse was near her menses?”
“Yes Midwife, I could smell her.”
“I see, has anything unusual happened, have you eaten any wild foods?”
“No Midwife, but I made a herbal tea with nettles to help me sleep last night. That’s when I noticed Mother’s scent. Was I right?” I asked.
“You were indeed, it’s very unusual in a boy who already has his seed. But you are Forest Clan aren’t you?” She asked.
“Yes, and Mother, my first mother was Mountain Clan,” I answered.
Are you a good hunter?” She pressed.
“Yes and I was being watched to see if I was Warrior class when my father died,” I told her.
“Hunter and warrior are of the same stripe like the grain of oakwood. You should continue your study of herbs and healing, you know a lot but you have much to learn,” Asla declared. I will give you recipes to make for your mother, use only the best herbs and worts. In a month we will know if they be boy or girl children. Your Father’s seed is powerful and these will be strong healthy babies if my instructions are followed. I will test her water once a week and change my recipes to account for any changes in the children,” Asla told us. “Spring will be upon us when these two arrive, they will need looking after until they are safely born.”
It was a lot of responsibility for me. I would have to make time to find and stockpile certain herbs, leaves and worts, plus various tree barks. My healing pouch wouldn’t hold all of that so I would need to visit a joiner to make me an apothecary just to store it all. I would need glass jars, but there was a glassblower nearby, and he would be able to supply all we needed.
My mind raced with the preparations I would need to make, but I had plenty of time to get it all done.
Later that evening, I found myself in Father’s office room. This was where he performed his official business and wrote letters. It was immaculate. The ornate desk had a leather writing insert in the top. The room smelled of leather and paper plus Father’s own unique scent. It was a man’s room. We sat on a leather couch and Father began.
“I’m told that you are both a healer and a warrior, I suspected the warrior because of your valor and willingness to offer up yourself to protect your brothers. But I sense that you are reluctant to believe this is all real. What troubles you so my son?”
“I don’t understand how you can love boys who are not of your own blood. You didn’t make us with your seed, yet you seem to love us as if you did. I’ve never seen this before, the old one’s told me I might find a kind employer, but they wouldn’t care for me as family does. I don’t understand how you can do that,” I said reluctantly.
“I will admit it is unusual. The explanation is painful for me to recall but it’s important to me for you to understand this so I will tell you.
As you know I was a member of the light cavalry, we carried little and moved quickly. In Zhudzskie a warlord invaded a large village and took children hostage. We split our force and one half flanked the village and the warlord’s men. The warlord wanted to make sure we took him seriously. There were children tied to poles in the marketplace. He had twenty of them killed by having their throats slit. He was waiting to give the order to kill twenty more when I heard the signal that our men were in position, I loosed an arrow into the warlord’s eye. His men scrambled in terror and we killed as many as we could catch, we gave no quarter. Enraged villagers killed the rest and we did nothing to stop it. They had taken part in an atrocity of such magnitude, we were all heart sick to have seen it. We drug the warlord’s corpse back to his home village, I gave everyone half an hour to flee and torched the entire nest. There were very few children among the people fleeing the burning village. When we inquired about it we found the villagers tended to sell off their children as slaves.
After that I served my time in the cavalry and we won many battles. But Zhudzskie never left my mind. I swore an oath to help as many children as I could in any way I could. Many of my comrades helped to establish foundations to care for orphaned children without giving them over to the nuns and priests to torment. These weren’t religious workhouses but actual homes where children could learn their letters and numbers and basic tradecrafts so they could be apprenticed and not just cast out when they were older. In a way, that oath still compels me, and when I find extraordinary children like you and your brothers I make them apprentices. When the regent offered me this post I saw it as a way to put a few things right. Most of the monks were decent men, but the monastic hierarchy is almost always corrupt. Some of the monasteries in the north we gave to the protestants and many monks stayed and continued to try to do good works. I believe Father Michael will not be corrupted and after the example made of the previous hierarchy, no one will want to risk going against the Regent’s power. He’s not a tyrant as some other governors and viceroys have been in other lands. He is genuinely dedicated to making Norway a prosperous and happy country. In a hundred years it might be self-governing. As to my love for you and your brothers, I can only say that it is my true feeling, Ingrid feels the same way,” Father concluded.
“I believe you Father, I just couldn’t understand something like that. We people of the clans take in children but making them your own is rarely done.”
“Does this ease your mind somewhat?” Father asked.
“Yes Father, I’m sorry to seem so ungrateful in questioning this gift,” I apologized.
“No need for you to be sorry, of all the boys you are the most intelligent and introspective. You are analytical in your quest to understand. I don’t hold it against you,” Father smiled as he held me.
“Can I ask you another question?” I prodded.
“Certainly, what do you wish to know Son?”
“Why are there only boys here, didn’t you have any girls that could serve as scribes?” I asked.
“Only one, she served me well, she disguised herself as a boy but she didn’t want to be an apprentice to me. I took her to her mother’s clan and they took her in and she is learning the healing arts the same as you. She was a very sweet girl and very bright. It was not yet spring so I didn’t have to bathe or inspect her as I did you and your brothers. It is my hope that she is happy and learning her craft,” Father smiled happily.
I had been crying during his description of the battle at Zhudzskie, but now I wanted nothing more than to hug and kiss my Father.
Father gave me instructions for the next day, and I made preparations to carry them out.