“Now, now, young lady,” said the strange man standing in front of her. “You really must not be frightened. You have been chosen…” He then abruptly stopped and giggled. It wasn’t a giggle, actually, more of a chuckle. It was so extremely inappropriate to both the conversation and situation that it took Maggie aback.
Who chuckles after kidnapping a stranger? She had never experienced that behavior before.
I had better work on figuring this man out.
“You must become a follower of the Third Order. We know you have the iron crescent. You will give it to us.” He stopped and looked her over carefully. “I never thought it would be someone like you.” Again, he chortled. “Oh my.” He chortled again, shaking his head.
Is this man daft? Maggie’s eyes narrowed. Eleven pence and three farthings short of a shilling. She stood motionless, watching him intently.
The man composed himself and continued. “We will teach you the ways of the Third Order. The Third Order, the way it was meant to be.” He shook his head in apparent disapproval of something… Maggie was unsure of what. He then muttered something to himself as if he were carrying on an internal conversation. He shook his head again.
“You will follow the Rule of Life for the Third Order. You will live a life of penitence, poverty, and prayer.”
Oh, Lord.What have I gotten into?
“The first rule is simplicity of dress.” He walked over to a table a few feet away and picked up a pile of cloth that Maggie had not noticed before. “Here, these are now your clothes.” He handed the pile to Maggie. It consisted of a chemise, a long, plain skirt, and a tunic. The skirt and tunic were made of rough, hand-woven linen – the chemise was made from a lighter fabric, possibly cotton. The skirt and tunic were unbleached and scratchy. There was no waistband in the skirt, no zipper, and no button. What passed for a waistband was a sewn pocket laced with a thin cord for tying. The tunic was made from fabric rectangles sewn together to form front, back, and sleeves. There was no collar, just an edge left open to slip over a head. There was a thicker cord, apparently meant to tie around the tunic. The chemise was fashioned in a similar, primitive fashion. Drawstring neckline, drawstring cuffs. And that was all there was.
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