Author Archives: Vivienne Daguerre

December Wedding

1. Church Altar Decorated for Christmas“There is nothing like a wedding at Christmas time,” Vivienne thought to herself. She entered the Roxeter Abbey church and made herself comfortable in her usual place. Today was the day that the baker from Tanninhold, Paua, married Cowan McAlistar. They had been a little presumptuous in inviting the Countess to their wedding, but it pleased her at this time of year to be kind and generous.

2. Barnard Returns“So here I am,” she thought. Her mind turned to her own upcoming wedding, wondering what was taking Bryantt so long on his trip to France. She frowned, wondering if it would ever really happen.

“Greetings Countess,” a familiar voice said. She turned. It was Barnard. Of course he would have to come, no matter what the risk was to him. Paua, the bride, was his daughter. She nodded and returned his greeting curtly. On this day of all days, his banning would be ignored. It was the Christian thing to do.

The groom entered from the side door and took his place to wait for his bride, followed by the Priest. Guests arrived and took their places. Finally, it was time. She sat back and watched the wedding, forgetting herself and her troubles for a while. Occasionally she had to wipe a tear that was threatening to spill over and run down her cheek. Weddings were so beautiful.

3. Barnard and Desire

6. Wedding Karissa in Church

4. Sister Sara 2

12. Waiting

11. Groom Waiting

7. Cowan McAlistar

9. Father Franceso Agafiia

10. Cowan Waits with the Priest

14. Salome Sirbu

15. Here Comes the Bride

18. Wedding Vows

16. Beautiful Bride Paua

17. Handsome Groom Cowan

19. You May Kiss the Bride

20. Married

21. Cown and Paua McAlistar Wedding Portrait

Border Marches Christmas Dance

Gus and his Christmas Hats2013 Christmas 6Thanks to everyone who attended our Christmas dance and made it a fabulous evening for all! The Christmas outfits were amazing! The ladies were all after Gus to remove his hats! At the end of the evening he did, but sadly, there was nothing underneath! We assume the grinch stole whatever was there.

Gus won first prize among in the Best Male Christmas Outfit category!

Here is a full prize breakdown:

Best Male Christmas Outfit:

  1. August Bovarro 2500L
  2. Arealius Barbosa 1666L
  3. Bman830 833 L

Best Female Christmas Outfit: A three way tie!

  1. Desire Night 1666L
  2. Karissa Leimes 1666L
  3. Brandi McAuley 1666L

On behalf of all of us who enjoyed the night, I would like to thank Desire Night for hosting the event, DJing, and decorating! Here are some random photos from the evening.

2013 Christmas 5

2013 Christmas 4

Nice Viv

Naughty DJ Desire

2013 Christmas Karissa

2013 Christmas 9 2013 Christmas 8 2013 Christmas 7 2013 Christmas 3 2013 Christmas 2 2013 Christmas 1 Contest Winner Bim 2013 Christmas Templar 2013 Christmas Naughty Desire 2013 Christmas Nathan 2013 Christmas Ar 2013 Christmas 11 2013 Christmas 12 2013 Christmas 10 Drunken Snowman 2013 Christmas Santa

A Moment of Reflection

Wrapped tightly in her cloak against the chill in the air, Karissa walked through the woods and took the ferry over to the island. She climbed to the top of the rocks and sat down, looking over the docks at Roxeter.

It had been several weeks since Bryantt and Baylee had set sail for France on the Queen’s business. She missed them both terribly, but knew it must be important.

Karissa Sitting on Rocks

She loved coming up here. It was peaceful, quiet, and a good place to meditate. The town had been quiet recently. After questioning everyone he was suddenly absent. Jark, a traveling musician, had made himself a steady fixture in the town and the tavern. He had been most helpful, especially after the mysterious fire. Closing her eyes, she could still see the bright flash and the flames that took over. Jark, Desire, and many of the town people came to the aid to put out the flames. Desire helped poor Sally who was badly burned. Jark took over the repairs and completed them with the help of Will the blacksmith. Gregor took on the task of investigating the cause of the fire, but sometimes she thought he looked like he already knew. He had been busy with other things, but she was not sure what.

Karissa was grateful that he did. Her mind was far away these days. All she seemed to do was to drink herself into a deeper depression. Jark had shown an interest in her, but saw that her heart was aching for another.

The Countess had become somewhat of a recluse. She was not sure what she might be up to. She stayed locked in the castle most of the time since Bryantt left.

Karissa hoped that one day in the future the town would be the buzzing place it had once been. She thought of all the money coming in from Bryantt’s various businesses, and how much he would like that. “More money for the Countess to spend,” she thought, sighing softly. She knew she would have to do something to protect Bryantt’s interests, and that probably meant a trip to the castle to speak to Viv.

In Bryantt’s absence, the Castle Guardsman Roger had been taking on some of the duties of the Warden under Vivienne’s instructions. He had made short work of the warrant for Desire’s arrest to be questioned by Father Matthew. He captured her and threw her into the castle jail.

Karissa reached inside her pocket and took out the ring Bryantt had given her on the night of their handfasting. It was always with her. She twirled it around on her finger before sliding it firmly into place. She looked out over the water, took a deep breath, and closed her eyes. She exhaled slowly, trying to release the tension of the last few weeks. She stood and then made her carefully down the rocks. As she headed home, she said a silent prayer for Bryantt and Baylee’s safe return.

Border Marches Christmas Dance 2013

2013 Christmas Dance Sign

Reflection and Prayer

She wandered to North March that evening, her heart heavy, her mind reflecting on her life and her actions. She was a wanted woman with a warrant on her head. Why she walked to the abbey was still a mystery to her, but that is where her steps took her that night.

Desire in ChurchTaking a deep breath, she walked down the aisle and sat in the front pew. It was in this abbey that she eloped with Barnard. He left one night, angry with her for the warrant on her head. It had been weeks since she last saw him. She felt the need to come and sit in his once beloved abbey, if only to feel him.

She remembered that summer eve that he came to the town to bless Roxeter. His prayers had annoyed her. She reflected on her childhood–growing up at the convent, the nuns, the priests, when she ran away. She never wanted anything to do with religion again.

She knew why He was angry with her. The warrant could lead to her being burned as a heretic, a witch. He would lose her. That is where His anger stemmed from, and yet that night instead of accepting his anger she fought with him. The next day he was gone, leaving her cold words, “I need to fix your mess.”

“Watch over him,” she whispered. “Bring him home to me safely.”

Where is Father Matthew?

Capture of Father Matthew 1Desire wandered over to the island to talk to Gus. The subject of their conversation was Father Matthew. He was an inconvenience, meddling in their affairs, and he presented a very real threat. If he knew the whole truth about them, they would burn for heresy. He had some evidence about Desire’s activity and had a warrant issued by the Countess for her arrest. Something had to be done about him.

Gus looked at Desire contemplatively. “The man goes for a walk the same time each evening, following the same path. If we let him spot you, do you think you could lure him out of the safety of Roxeter into the Debatable Lands?

Desire laughed. “He is just a man. Of course I can lure him!”

“Then let us proceed,” said Gus. “But once we start on this course of action, there is no turning back.”

Desire nodded. “We have to do something.” She had no desire to be burned as a witch.

Capture of Father Matthew 2Right on schedule, Father Matthew took his evening stroll on his regular route. Desire was lurking nearby, and stepped out so that he could see her. He took the bait.

“Stop Lady! I have a warrant for your arrest!” the priest yelled. He was intent on catching Desire and did not notice the druid, Gus, lying in wait behind the trees.

Desire let him get close enough to almost grab her and then bolted. The man started after her and chased her into the Debatable Lands. He chased her a bit further and then stopped, realizing his mistake.

Gus called upon the elements and a shield of power wrapped itself around the priest, ensnaring him in a trap. Desire stopped running and turned to watch Gus cast the spell. As a look of realization came across the priest’s face, Desire smiled. She moved closer to the man, seeing that he could no longer move.

“You have a warrant for my arrest? Seems we have decided it is you who shall be detained this evening Father.”

Capture of Father Matthew 3The priest fell to his knees and began to pray. His prayers were unanswered, and he coul dnot break the magical bonds that held him.

Gus commanded Desire to stay behind and make sure that no-one from Roxeter came out to nose around. “We cannot have any witnesses, so if someone comes along the path, keep him occupied. In a bit, return to the island. You will know where to find us.” He looked at her knowingly.

Desire stayed along the road for about an hour before making her way back to the island. As she took the raft across the water, she wondered if they had done the right thing. Would this action cause them more trouble, or end the trouble?

When she found Gus, he had the priest bound, hooded and gagged, and locked in a cage.

“How does it feel, priest, to have the tables turned on you? How does it feel to be a prisoner?” Gus sneered at the priest, and then turned to Desire. “I am going to do whatever it takes to find out who sent him here, who he is working for, and what we are up against.”

He took her arm. “Come, let us go and ask about the priest and if anyone has seen him.”

Capture of Father Matthew 4

A New Home

LymanBrandy and Lyman worked to set up their new shop in Roxeter, sorting and displaying their merchandise. They had traveled a long distance, funded by a group of highland clans to sell their tartans, blankets and fine woolen dresses. They hoped to establish a good trade in the lowlands and across the English border. The welfare of many clans were dependent on their success.

They talked as they worked, excited about their new home. Brandy, a practising pagan of the ancient ways, and Lyman were not married in the church. They had been joined together by druid ritual deep within the highlands. Lyman reassured her that all would be well.

“Unless the priest finds out we are not truly married, my love.”

“I would suggest we keep our distance from the priest then,” he said.

“And what will he be thinking if you do not go to mass?”

“As far as he needs to know, our church is in Inverness. An occasional show should suffice here.”

Brandy nodded, thinking about the dire consequences if any should discover their secfret. She moved closer to Lyman. “Your clansmen all accepted me unconditionally Lyman. Why cannot others do the same?”

He pulled her close and held her in his arms. “The ways of the past can be deeply rooted. If one does not know the ways of the world, new ideas can be fearful. Besides, many here have never even been to Inverness, let alone beyond it!”

Brandy smiled weakly and turned back to folding blankets. “Well, my love, if we can sell these blankets and tartans we can bring back some much needed money to our people. Many are depending on us.”

“I feel our success here will depend a lot on buying from the locals,” he said. “Most of the crofters cannot afford our fine cloths.

“Yes,” she agreed. “Then we will send them what monies we can.”

“They are rearing some very fine sheep here. The markets as far south as London are crying out for wool and cloth. That is where the money is!” he said.

Brandy 2“I do not truly want to go to London, my love,” she replied, thinking of the highlands.

“I simply need to establish contacts, and then my second will deal with the day to day business,” he said. “I see the need for a couple of trips only.”

She smoothed a particularly fine dress over her arm. “Perhaps these fine dresses the ladies of Inverness sewed for me will not go to waste.

“Come to me,” he said, stretching his arms toward her. She felt her heart skip a beat as she moved into his embrace. “It will all work out,” he murmured.

She breathed his scent in deeply. His very presence gave her confidence that all would be fine. “Yes my love,” she said. “We have this place now, far from the clashes and political furor. We will work hard to send money back to the clans, feed the hungy. One day we will take back what is rightfully ours.”

Lyman lifted her chin, kissed her lightly. “There is no need to worry. All will be well.”

An Engagement

cowan_003Paua stood at the mirror, brushing her hair, listening to the rustling of the leaves in the darkness outside. In the distance an owl’s haunting call reminded her with a pang of her loneliness and her missing suitor, Cowan McAlistar, who had been gone for weeks with no word. She could not help but worry; she had grown quite fond of him after a slow start to their relationship.

She had felt forced into the courtship by her father, Barnard, who offered marriage to Cowan as the only alternative to being sent to the convent in North March. But Cowan had won her over with his kindness, strength and caring. And now he was gone off on a business trip to England and his return was overdue. She sighed, laid aside her brush, slipped into bed and blew out the candle.

Deep in her dreams, she thought she heard Cowan’s voice calling to her, and she woke with a start. The morning had sneaked up on her and her baking would late this day. She dressed in a hurry and went down to start the ovens. From the butcher’s shop next door she was certain she heard the sound of chopping.

cowan_001She ran outside and peered into the window of the butchery. Sure enough, Cowan was there, dressed in his butcher’s apron chopping at some meat. Joyfully she called out to him and he turned and smiled at her. He asked her to come for a walk with him after the morning’s work and she nodded, her mood lifted. The work was quickly done and she changed clothing and grabbed a blanket in case they sat by the river like the last time.

They met by the stream in the center of town and walked out to the river under the trees. They sat on the blanket and Cowan told her of his journey, a rough passage and some of the things that had held him so long away. He also said he had had time to think and he had come to a decision.

He drew her to her feet, then reached into his vest and produced a little box. Getting down on one knee he opened the box, offering Paua the most beautiful ring she had ever seen.

cowan_008“Paua, will you be my wife? If you will, I will love and protect you and cherish you always.”

Tears came to her eyes and she said to him, “I will be your wife, for you are my heart, Cowan.” He slipped the ring onto her finger, and it flashed in the sunlight. She trembled, looking at it and then at the man who was to be her husband.

For a time they sat, holding each other under the afternoon sun, making happy plans for their future together. Would they have a handfasting or a church wedding? No doubt her father would prefer the latter. For herself, she didn’t mind, as long as Cowan held her in his heart and she held him in hers, that was the important thing.

One request that Cowan made was that there not be too long before their joining took place, and, after kissing him, being close to him this day, feeling his hands on her, she understood and shared his wish to be together as soon as the arrangements could be made.



Bryantt and Karissa in Brothel 2Karissa’s heart was heavy as she stood at the docks looking out over the water. The night before Bryantt had told her was going away on a business trip. He had spent some time with her, holding her into the wee hours of the morning. Then he slipped out of bed, covered her up gently, and returned to the Countess at the castle.

Karissa had a restless night. Nightmares caused her to toss and turn. She awoke with a start and got out of bed her hands shaking. She moved to the window and stopped, frozen in her tracks. On a branch sat an owl, staring at her through the window. Who was it that had told her that owls were bad luck when they looked in your window? Was it one of the sisters at the abbey? She looked away, shivered, and looked back at the window again. The owl was gone.

Karissa at SunsetShe put another log on the fire. She shivered, unable to shake the feeling of dread she had had for weeks. She made some tea and curled up on the couch, watching the fire, knowing he would be leaving soon.

He had been mysterious about this trip, saying only that he was taking Baylee with him. She was hurt at first, but she had learned to trust Bryantt and knew better than to press him with questions. She dressed slowly, twisting the ring on her finger, and went downstairs to the tavern. She grabbed her cloak and told Sally that she would return soon.

She walked down the path to the docks, her mind far away. She stood there looking out over the water.

She heard voices approach and turned to see Bryantt and the Countess. She caught a look in viv’s eye, seeming to mirror her dread, sadness, and feelings of forboding. She watched Bryantt kiss Vivienne. She knew Bryantt loved them both and that she would never be the only one in his life.

Baylee on board 2Karissa moved to Baylee and hugged her tightly. She would miss her. Karissa had for a while been her boss in the brothel, but more than that, she was her friend through all things and at all times. She told Baylee she would miss her terribly and to be careful and to be safe. Baylee kept things lively around Roxeter. The place would not be the same without her.

She felt Bryantt’s hand on her arm, and she turned to kiss him with tears in her eyes. She tried to force a smile. She grabbed him and hugged him, unable to form words, holding on to him as long as she could. He gently moved her back and lifted a hand to brush the hair from her eyes. She looked up at him and whispered, “Stay.”

He said nothing, but turned and took Baylee’s hand and led her to the ship. Viv moved to her side and took her hand. She looked at Viv and knew that no matter what their feelings had been toward one another, they both loved him. She squeezed her hand lightly and let the tears she had worked so desperately hard to hold back flow. She closed her emerald eyes and said a silent prayer, that God might keep them both safe and bring them home.



Flashback – Karissa’s Baptism

Father MatthewFather Matthew had spoken to the nuns who said that Karissa was ready to receive the sacrament of Baptism. His concern for the woman was deep; she seemed a good, honest woman who had been tricked and deceived by evil.

He headed off to the tavern. “Good evening my child.” He blessed the tavern as he entered.

Karissa seemed to force a smile “Good evening Father ”

They sat and talked briefly. The priest explained the nuns’ report and the importance of baptism to a troubled soul. “It is an important step in saving your soul my child. God will wash away the transgressions of your past. The sins of the flesh that you committed will be forgiven. You will be able to start your life as a good Christian woman.”

As they spoke Baylee entered. Karissa half whispered to her, “Baylee, looks like there is gonna be a baptizing.”

BayLee turned quickly and asked “Whose?”

“Mine” she whispered. “Coming?”

“Should I?”

Karissa replied “If you want.” as she headed out after the priest. They passed Wooden and several peasants on the way to the Abbey. The priest arrived first at the Abbey and went to the fount to prepare it.

Bryantt Sands entered and shouted, loving the echo of his voice, “Good eve.” The priest blessed him, the two men making small talk. Bryant’s eyes reflected surprise that Karissa was about to be baptized. He moved slowly forward to the front pew and sat somewhat stunned.

“Come and stand by the baptismal fount Lady Karissa.”

She paused by Bryantt. “The Father says it will keep me safe from evil spirits.” Bryantt rolled his eyes and Baylee seemed visibly shaken.

Steeple and CrossKarissa shifted nervously from side to side. The priest began “Father, you give us grace through sacramental signs, which tell us of the wonders of your unseen power. In baptism we use your gift of water, which you have made a rich symbol of the grace you give us in this sacrament. At the very dawn of creation your Spirit breathed on the waters, making them the wellspring of all holiness. The waters of the great flood you made a sign of the waters of baptism, that make an end of sin and a new beginning of goodness.”

Wooden entered and watched from a distance.

“Through the waters of the Red Sea you led Israel out of slavery to be an image of God’s holy people, set free from sin by baptism. In the waters of the Jordan your Son was baptized by John and annointed with the Spirit. Your Son willed that water and blood should flow from his side as he hung upon the cross. After his resurrection he told his disciples: ‘Go out and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.’ Father, look now with love upon your Church, and unseal for her the fountain of baptism. By the power of the Spirit give to the water of this font the grace of your Son. You created man in your own likeness: cleanse him from sin in a new birth to innocence by water and the Spirit.”

Father Matthew touched the water with his right hand and continued. “We ask you, Father, with your Son to send the Holy Spirit upon the water of this font. May all who are buried with Christ in the death of baptism rise also with him to newness of life. We ask this through Christ our Lord.”

Karissa Leimes watched quietly, listening to the words.

Baptismal Font“If your faith makes you ready to accept this responsibility, take now the vows of your baptism. Reject sin; profess your faith in Christ Jesus. This is the faith of the Church. This is the faith in which you are about to be baptized.”

Bryantt Sands sat shaking his head slowly back and forth feeling a chill in the air.

Father Matthew continued “I will now ask you a series of questions Karissa. You respond “I Do. Do you reject Satan?”

Bryantt Sands listened intently

She responded “I do.”

“And all his works?”

Karissa shivered slightly “I do”

“Do you reject sin, so as to live in the freedom of God’s children?”

“I do”

“Do you reject the glamor of evil, and refuse to be mastered by sin?”

“I do”

“Do you reject Satan, father of sin and prince of darkness?”

“I do”

“Do you believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth?”

“I do”

“Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father?”

“I do”

Bryantt Sands sighed audibly.

“Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?”

Karissa looks around the room, half expecting something to happen before responding “I do.”

“This is our faith. This is the faith of the Church. We are proud to profess it, in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Karissa nodded as she listened.

“Is it your will that you should be baptized in the faith of the Church?”

AltarBryantt Sands put his hand on the hilt of his sword, knowing he would protect her from any evil she may encounter but he stayed silent.

“Is it your will Karissa?”

Bryantt Sands squeezed his sword handle harder.

Karissa glance over towards Bryantt. “Yes it is my will.”

“Lean over the fount and receive the Holy Spirit Karissa.”

Wooden glanced quietly around, always at the ready for any sort of trouble that should walk this way.

“Karissa, I baptize you in the name of the Father.” He scooped up water and poured it upon her head. “And of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

Karissa shivered as the water ran down. The priest than annointed her head.

“God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has freed you from sin, given you a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and welcomed you into his holy people. He now anoints you with salvation. As Christ was annointed Priest, Prophet, and King, so may you live always as a member of his body, sharing everlasting life. You are baptized and all your past sins forgiven my child as you have taken Jesus as your Savior.”

Bryantt sighed softly wondering where this came from.

“You are now a soldier of Christ in the war against sin and evil.”

The Warden cleared his throat loudly “ERMMMMM. Yes Father. Thank you.” Than he looked to Kris. “Are you alright Lady Karissa?”

She replied “Yes I am fine.”

The priest dismissed them “Go and live as a model of virtue to the other women in Roxeter.” Karissa tilted her head, eyes widening at Father Matthew’s words.

Wooden raised an eyebrow at the priest’s words to the Lady Karissa.

“I assure you Father the Lady Karissa is a model to all.” replied the Warden touching her hand.

As they parted the Lady Karissa told the priest she would be available if he had more questions. The priest proposed a celebration at the tavern.

Karissa unsure of the right words to use nodded, “Yes come Father, I just made a fresh pot of stew today, although I do need to find time to see Gus for some more fresh vegetables.”

Wooden smiled at the word “celebration”, as it usually involved some ale.

Bryantt and Karissa in TavernAt the Inn, the priest was all smiles as Karissa fetched Wooden and him bowls of her delicious stew. The men introduced themselves and felt each other out. Soon after Baylee and Bryant arrived. Lady Karissa began serving ale and tea to the party. The priest made a show of wanting to pay for the meal, taking coins from a small purse.

The Warden commented “I will remind the Countess to leave a bit extra in the tray next Sunday.” Small talked followed until Karissa asked the priest if he had visited Tanninhold.

His response started an interesting interplay with the Warden
“I have not gone south yet as there are more here i wish to question first.”

Bryantt replied quickly, “More? Here Father? Who?” Baylee squirmed nervously.

“Well, the Lady Baylee, the countess and yourself for sure. And the old farmer.”

“Me? I have nothing to confess Father,” was the Warden’s response.

Baylee questioned “Me Father?”

Behind them Karissa smiled thinking she would like to watch him question Gus. Wooden sat drinking and listening.

The priest answered the Warden “You all have seen the effects of the evil that was here.” Wooden looked up at the mention of evil.

“I have seen no evil to speak of Father. Men are men. Women are women. We have flaws, but evil?” Bryantt shook his head.
Wooden supported his friend “Aye, nor have I.”

The priest went on, saying that he had spoken to some of the peasants and they have seen or felt the presence of evil. Bryant dismissed this with remarks that the less fortunate needed something to believe in or to fear. The conversation continued with each man driving his point.

“As Inquisitor is my duty to track down evil and heresy.”

Bryantt retorted, “As you wish Father but I think you are wasting your time. There is no evil in Roxeter. There was an evil man, but he is gone now, never to return.”

The priest seemingly dismissed his comment “Well I must report to Rome and the Queen. I wish that report to be thorough and complete.”

“As you wish Father Seek out this evil.”

Tavern Gathering 4Karissa spoke up looking at the Warden “An evil man?” He looked at her and nodded as Baylee nudged him.

“You know who Lady Karissa.” Karissa lowered her head answering soflty “He wasn’t evil.”

The priest continued. “That I shall, as I have given my word to the Pope and the Queen.”

“I should like to see this encounter between the priest and what ever evil lurks.” commented Wooden.

“I thank you for the offer Wooden, but the smith Dom is assisting me.” He turned to the Warden “What man is this you speak of Warden?”

Bryantt rubbed his side, looking at Karissa. “He was a man Father. Perhaps an impostor but I do not know, He posed as a priest, but as far as I know HE was no priest. He was your evil spirit.”

“Ahh you speak of Father Barnard…”

“I will not speak the name of that person Father.”

Wooden seemed tp notice the Lady Karissa as her demeanor changed quickly when speaking of the other priest.

The Dominican continued “He is no longer a priest. I had in my valise that was stolen the papers from Rome and from the Society of Jesus releasing him from his vows. I have spoken to him briefly and I believe that, as with the Lady Karissa, that a greater evil was at work. I intend to find it.”

Bryantt felt his blood boil at the mention of Father Barnard.

Baylee decided to leave. “I have work to do down in your establishment Warden, so if you will excuse me? Wooden, the girls are looking for you, don’t be a stranger. Father good evening.”

Karissa looked to Wooden and said in a lighter tone “I guess your reputation precedes you Wooden.” Wooden smiled broadly. Father Matthew shook his head, knowing sin was about to be done.

He tried to shake it off so as not to ruin the celebration of a baptism. “The tea was delicious Lady Karissa but nothing compares to your stew.”

At Bryant’s invitation Karissa joined them. She offered them more stew before sitting down. Bryantt leaned back in his chair looking at Kris then the good Father, he decided to keep his mouth shut. He may say something he would later regret to the Good Father.

Karissa offered Father Matthew more stew. He declined. “No, if I indulge in your stew too much I will look like one of those old scribe monks in the abbey.”

Karissa’s laughed. “Sister Agatha’s cooking must be good!”

“Good? I am not certain. Fattening for sure.”

“Oh and Dom has completed work on some equipment to aid me in questioning heretics and pagans.”

“Oh he has? That must be where he has been hiding.” she commented.

Bryantt asked, “Equipment Father? What kind of Equipment? If I may ask.”

The response was brief “A rack.”

The Warden exclaimed, “A RACK!?”

The priest responded simply, “I had very good results in Spain with it.”

“What kind of questions do you need a rack for Father?”

“To get to the truth.”

Bryantt’s eyes widened as he stared at the Father. “I would hope you consult me before you use any ‘Equipment’ on any of our citizens.”

“Pagans and heretics often lie Warden. Surely you have experienced the same?”

Karissa shivered and dropped her head, “Surely you wouldn’t use such a …horrible device.”

Bryantt replied “I have Father, but I have not tortured anyone to get answers.”

Speaking to the lady the priest said “It is part of God’s work my child….to flush out heresy and evil.”

Bryantt in Tavern“Usually the answers you get are out of desperation, not honesty. I hope you will have no use here with such devices Father. We are a civilized people.”

“I have found it quit effective.”

Bryant thought of one person who might look good on a rack. “Father Barnard,” he whispered to himself.

Karissa glared at Bryantt.

Father Matthew thought of the whore with the attitude but said nothing. “I will keep you informed of any pertinent civil information I obtain Warden.”

“Please do Father. Please do”

“There are a few folks I have suspicions of already from my ‘interviews’ with the peasants.” the priest reported.

“Remember Father, they have nothing to lose and much to gain from well …lets just say they may not be telling the truth but just what they think you Want to hear.”

“Surely you want the area cleansed of pagans and heretics? This is a Christian community is in not?”

“Yes Father but if you take away all the people who have sinned we may have no one left. Besides I know of no Pagans or Heretics in this town Father. Only people working for a living. Sinners can be reformed.” he answered smiling at Karissa.

Karissa smiled and said, “Maybe we should start questioning the Countess?” A mischievous smile lit up her face.

Father Matthew continued, “Even some pagans can be converted but heretics……burning is the only way.”

Bryantt spoke up. “Father, the good Countess is beyond reproach. I know. She may have some flaws but she is a good woman with the good of the people of Roxeter at heart.”

The priest replied, “Well I was told before I came that she had a fondness for alcohol and gambling….two of the devils tools to pull good people astray”

Bryantt crossed his arms and sat back in his chair. “Well Father I knew of these traits in the Countess and she has mended her ways.”

“Well what I have learned thus far seems to collaborate that information Warden.”

The Lady looked surprised. “But Bryantt,” she whispered.

“I would like to know who told you these things father?”

The priest goes on “Plus her manner of dress is often scandalous. THAT I have seen with my own eyes!”

“Well I mean she is still in here quite often.” stuttered Karissa.

“She dresses as any lady of the court does Father, no different from the people in London, and yes Karissa she is here with me. As the Father said, a bit of drink hurt no one.”

“I can only tell you that I have multiple sources Warden.”

“I will contest those things Father” challenged Bryantt. “It takes a strong woman to run a town as she had before me. Now I am here to help her and to see to her bad habits. You can ask the Queen about that.” Karissa pressed her lips tightly together.

karissa's first meeting with Father Matthew“I thought you were to support me in the Inquisition Warden? There can be no special cases.” The priest looked to the Warden.

“It was the Queen who chose me to be warden. There are no special cases Father but I would not risk the Queen’s wrath. After all Father, they are cousins and she is close to the Queen.”

Snickering the priest retorts “I am well aware of her relationship to the Queen and your ‘appointment.’ But I prefer the wrath of a Queen to the wraith of God.”

“I prefer neither father.” smiled Warden.

The priest continued, “And the Queen fully supports my mission here.”

“I am sure she does Father, but we are far from the Queen and from Rome.”

“Her Majesty wishes her kingdom purged of heresy and pagans.”

Before the priest could say more, Bryantt said, “I wish you well in your quest Father but I will not have havoc in this town I am here to keep peace and order, and I will.”

“Remember Warden I am here as an Agent for both Church and Crown.”

“I am an agent of the good people of Roxeter Father. I was told to keep peace and it is MY duty to them to do so.”

“Your task is to support the rules of Church and Crown sir.”

“As long as they do not disturb my peace here Father, that is all I ask. I am a fair man. A just man.”

Karissa looked back and forth between the men as tension mounted. “Please enough.”

“And I shall see you do support Church and Crown,” the priest replied, looking the Warden square in the eye.

“I will Father. But just remember my words.”

“And you remember mine Warden.”

Neither man backing down.

“I am afraid business calls me Father. I wish you both well.”

“Remember you serve at the pleasure of the Queen Warden.”

The Warden looked at Karissa as he stormed out the door.

Karissa whispered a heart felt “I’m sorry Father.”

“No need my child.”

She tried to explain “He doesn’t really believe in any spirits and demons and stuff.”

The priest sipped his tea and mentally added the Warden to the list of suspects who do the devil’s work. “I am afraid I question his faithfulness to Holy Mother Church Lady. There are only two people I feel who are above reproach and we both sit here my child.” He smiled at her.

“I hope I do not disappoint you Father.” She frowned, worried about the words unleashed here today.

“I place more faith in the word of the peasants than your friend Bryantt. We need to speak more of the events about the demon and how he came to be here. Perhaps at the Abbey. You can try the nun’s cooking for yourself.” He smiled.

Karissa took a very long sip of her tea.