At 24, with most of his teeth missing after much manly battle fighting, Vecelin von Wasserburg was looking for personal transformation. His last name indicated that his ancestors dwelt on or near a moated castle, but whether such a place had actually existed or not, it didn’t now: Vecelin had no home of his own and was a vassal to the king. What further remained from that ancestral dominion was a watery disposition, an inclination to become tearful and fall into a sadness that he found hard to lift at times, not even by prayer or sword play. Vecelin had never known what brought it on but he was acutely aware of the need for change. In his environment, however, change was not welcome. Transformation was seen as, if not sin, then as dysphoria, a deep disagreement with the divine plan. Now, so close to the turn of the millennium, which could bring the Last Judgement itself, people high and low longed to bring their affairs to a close, not stir them up in the name of the moon goddess whom nobody liked to name though many kept her alive in their heart, the lady of the crossroads. And those who rejoiced at the idea that the world might come to an end were not the company Vecelin enjoyed: flagellators, repentant sinners, crazies in hair shirts – folks who weren’t just running away from sombre moods but who were enthusiastically burning up in the fire of their own rapture. When he explained the complex context of his ambivalences to a traveling gypsy, the king of the road said simply: perhaps you should have someone to warm your feet at night, Sire. A breast to cuddle up to will help you forget these sorrows.