Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.


Father MatthewIt was an unusually warm day for this time of year, and Karissa had some heavy cleaning to do. While scrubbing the bar down, she saw a man pass by the window dressed in priest’s robes.

She wondered what he wanted. She slipped out the side door of the tavern and followed him to the castle. She did her best to stay out of sight. The priest entered the courtyard, where he found the countess. He introduced himself to her as Father Matthew.

From her place near the wall she heard little. Bits and snippets drifted to her on the breeze, talk of an inquisition. She had to muffle a laugh when the priest scolded Vivienne for not wearing modest clothing.

She turned to see Bryantt, Baylee and Dom enter the courtyard. As he passed, Bryantt gave her a stern look. Karissa knew that he wanted her to have no more to do with priests. Defiantly, she offered to show the priest around and help him get settled.

Not willing to let Karissa go to the abbey alone with another priest, he commanded Vivienne and Baylee to come along with him, Karissa and Father Matthew. He paused to grab Karissa’s elbow, “Do you mean to torture me for the rest of my life?”

Father Matthew and VivKarissa looked at his hand on her elbow, and then into his eyes. “Your betrothed is approaching.” Bryantt let go of her elbow. She turned quickly and moved toward the abbey at the priest’s side.

Dom followed along, eager to see if there were more work that might be required at the abbey, a chance for him to earn more coin. Stephanie saw the group walking and Vivienne motioned to her to join them and introduced her to the new priest.

As the group paused in the cloister, Vivienne appeared to be worried.

“I will be using the Abbot’s offices and shall see that all heretics are driven from these lands,” Father Matthew announced.

Vivienne asked, “Are you doing an inquisition into the people of this place? I thought you were sent to investigate the priest.”

“Surely if a priest can be so possessed, the people here are not safe until we find all who do the devil’s work,” Father Matthew replied.

Bryantt cleared his throat and looked at Karissa, and then back to the priest. “I am sure any evil spirits are now gone from this town.”

Father Matthew with townfolk at abbey“Sir You do understand I am here as an official Inquisitor,” replied the priest. “I have the complete support of Rome and obviously the Crown.”

Vivienne drew herself up to her full height and said, “I represent the crown here Father, so it is my support you need in that regard.”

Father Matthew smiled condescendingly at the Countess. “I think the Warden and I can handle the Inquisitions. I see in the manner the women here dress that the devil is hard at work.”

Vivienne fumed quietly while the priest discussed assistance that he might require from Dom to prepare for his inquisition. Then the priest asked if the Lady Stephanie could be spared to assist him in preparation for church masses, since she had so recently graduated from the convent school in France. Vivienne gritted her teeth and said she could spare her lady in waiting for the time required to do that.

Baylee, feeling in a mischevious mood, said boldly, “I don’t see any demons here.”

Father Matthew looked at her coldly. “Do you have a mirror child?”
Father Matthew 2

“Will I be your first test Father?” Baylee asked, smiling mischieviously.

Dom leaned in close and whispered in her ear, “Watch yourself lass, this one is trouble for you.”

The group left the priest to get settled and gathered at the tavern. Most of them were troubled. Karissa blamed herself for the trouble that had come to their town, and was subdued and she poured them all ale.

Baylee playfully quipped that she could handle the priest, since after all, he was a man. She knew men. It was her business to know them.

Dom warned her again not to poke at the priest. Vivienne said that she had heard some terrible stories of the Spanish inquisition, horrible tales of torture and suffering.

They drank more ale, trying to revive some gaity and enjoy the evening. They did not quite succeed.

Tavern Gathering 3

A letter from the Queen

Queen Mary JuliannaTo: Vivienne Daguerre, Countess of Roxeter

Dear Cousin:

I was distressed to hear about your hunting mishap, and hope that you are recovering well. I will visit you on Wednesday, 26 June. To celebrate my visit and your rescue, I instruct you to throw a feast in my honour. Invite all the residents of Roxeter. Times are hard and this will serve to boost general morale. Send a special invitation to the Warden of South March, Sir Maverick, and the people of Tanninhold in appreciation of their assistance in the search for you.

I have received your letters with your request for a warden and for a remedy to your financial situation. I have been displeased with your impulsive actions and reckless behaviour. Against our wishes, you rejected a marriage that would have promoted our interests and chose to follow your heart, with disastrous results. I hear that you have developed some bad habits of your own, in particular a fondness for drink and dice. In your last letter you indicated that you have come to your senses and are willing to be guided by me. As your sovereign, I expect no less of you. I am sure you will not disappoint me in future.

Nevertheless, we are family and we do take care of one another. I believe I have a solution to your problems. I will announce it at the dinner.

With affection

Mary Julianna Stewart, Queen of Scotland



GossipsGossip, gossip, gossip! It never stops! As I was embroidering in my quarters, I was mildly entertained by the chatter of two of my ladies in waiting. It seems there is a mysterious stranger staying at the abbey. No-one knows where he is from or anything about him, except that his name is Will Crowley. They managed to get that much out of one of the nuns. They were clucking away like old hens, imagining the best and worst things possible.

I scolded them a bit. Cannot have my ladies talking about strange men in a way that makes them blush. Eleanor was not to be stopped. She went on to tell me that there is a new priest at the abbey, Father Bernard. She said she heard the kitchen maids gushing about how handsome he is, much too handsome for a priest. These wicked girls were cooking up wicked fantasies to confess to test his oath of celibacy.

I was shocked! Can you believe they could be so wicked? I will have to go to warn the man as soon as possible.