Growing up in the convent had not been an easy life for Desire, and no one would talk about what had happened to her parents, just saying that they were “gone” and she was given to the nuns to care for. Every day was filled with hard work. The nuns were exacting and they did not spare discipline on the rebellious girl.
Their goal over the years was to raise her with the ambition of being a nun and working in an Abbey. They taught her how to read the Bible along with the art of healing, and she worked with them tending the sick that came to the Abbey. In addition to their teachings, Desire made it a habit of sneaking down to the church library at night and reading the books that were forbidden to women, books on such topics as healing, medicine, herbs, and anatomy.
When she ran away from the Abbey she hid her knowledge because she would be questioned why a woman of lower class might be so learned. Her tasks at Roxeter were simple–find a job and report back the activities on a regular basis to the Tudor Queen. She had learned cooking while at the convent and becoming the baker seemed a natural enough cover for a woman that had another agenda.
When she moved to Tanninhold for her own safety, due to that meddling blacksmith Dom almost finding out what her true business in Roxeter was, she again sought employment as a baker. The money was not as good in Tannihold as it had been in Roxeter, but she did not have to rely on that money to support her.
What she didn’t know is that the Warden of the South had been watching her. He knew that the woman seemed talented and somewhat educated. He had watched her intently handling some of the Priests affairs while he sat in prison. After the trial, he spoke to her and said, “The healer we had has been absent. Would you consider taking over as healer here? I believe you possess some knowledge in that area?”
Desire faltered for a moment, wondering how much he had observed, but after a bit of thought she agreed to take on the role of Healer in Tanninhold.
They spoke briefly about the bakery, and the apprentice Paua that had been working with her the last few weeks. Paua was Barnard’s daughter. Desire had felt it her duty to teach the girl a trade and give her a home in the bakery, even if it was only a cot on the floor. She couldn’t wait to share the good news with the girl!
When the girl woke up, Desire shared with her the good news. Her father was released from prison, and he was now Lord Bailiff. Paua asked if she had to call him Lord and Desire assured her “father” would be fine. The mans ego was big enough as it was, no need to further inflate it. They both had a laugh over that. Desire asked the girl if she was happy being the apprentice at the bakery, and Paua assured her she was. Desire then asked her, “Do you enjoy it enough to become the towns next baker?”
Paua’s eyes lit up and she clapped her hands, jumping up and down. “Ohhhhh Miss Desire! I am so excited.”
Desire smiled and then shared with her the secret recipe for her famous “sticky buns”.
After Desire got Paua settled into she walked up to the infirmary, stocked some of the shelves, and made a list of herbs that she would need from Salome. “I guess Barnard’s ex-wife and I need to figure out how to do business together,” she muttered to herself. Gazing around the infirmary she could not help but smile. All of those books she had read in secret, the knowledge finally could be put to use.