Darkness crept back into the cracks of the castle as dawn vaulted over the windowsills. The dream remained. She sat up, hand clutched to her chest, remembering the angel and his instructions.
Only Gregory could relieve the king’s madness.
Gregory, a man long dead to the dungeons at Khor Virap. Everyone knew that. But it had seemed so real.
The king now roamed the forest as a boar, his madness so profound it had caused his teeth to grow into tusks and his skin to sprout bristles.
She got up, covering her chemise with a wrap. This time she’d relay no one else the angel’s message. She left for the forest alone.
“Tiridates,” she called out. Every twenty paces she called his name to the sun dappled woods.
She froze at the sound of a grunt. She turned around. “Tiridates, it is Gregory who can free you from madness.”
This is inspired by the real life history of Tiridates III of Armenia. It occurred in the fourth century AD.
When reading such accounts, I always marvel when I come across things that are hard to reconcile with facts as we know them now–such as what is a madness that causes one to rip off their clothes and run and live in the forest… where they sprout tusks and grow bristles all over their bodies? Strange days indeed.