I think i know who the murderer is and sort of what the person's motive is. This is starting to feel like a very bad imitation of Eco's The Name of the Rose -- the librarian did it! except there is no librarian in my story. The character has already appeared in the story. Of course the story could go an entirely different way from what i'm seeing now.
Joseph came to Esther's shelter by night. She awakened to his touch. Each could sense tears in the other's eyes and in a moment they were both weeping. Reuben had just informed Joseph of Elizabeth's death and he claimed to know nothing about it. Joseph had gone to Elizabeth to see her and to apologize. He had felt he owed Israel and Judea his life and had gone to try to save it or die trying. As the realities of politics were driven into his consciousness, he had come to see the corruption on all sides and became soured on the idea that anything he could do, anything the Iscari could do might save Jerusalem or the Temple or what they stood for. His task. as he saw it now was to stick by his sisters, and, yes, perhaps even stick by his idealistic Community and try to help them get safely through the horrors that lay ahead. But he had taken his vow, and even if the Iscari did not insist on it, he intended to keep it. He wanted to let Elizabeth know that he was wrong and that he loved her and that he regretted leaving her.
He had not come to Esther because he was ashamed, because she was the strong one, and because she would probably be able to convince him to break his vow and return to the Community. Had he known of Elizabeth's death, he would, of course, have come to her at once.
No, there was nothing Elizabeth had said or done that gave any kind of clue as to what would happen to her. She had spoken of Reuben and said that they would probably marry and that that would make her very happy, though she was very happy already, being, in her own mind, free of the limitations that other women seemed obliged to accept. Reuben was strong enough to accept a woman whose strength was equal to his own. She had also talked of leaving Galilee, perhaps following the path of King Alexander into India, and maybe beyond. The world was so full of places and ideas to experience.
Joseph would remain in Galilee for as long as he could avoid the Iscari to help Elizabeth discover what happened to their sister. Then he would make this person pay for his offense, finally the knife would be put to a good use.
Let's do one think at a time Esther begged. We do not know what really happened or why. I neither need nor want revenge and I hope you will come to see things my way. To add suffering to suffering does nothing to detract from suffering. For me, she said, knowledge will suffice and action may well be a luxury i do not wish to buy.
Yeah, and the meek shall inherit the earth. he snarled.
Yes, she replied, I am so happy that you remembered.
Joseph left as quietly as he had come. She knew he would stay close,
As would Reuben.