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?”
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“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.

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