1617: xix

“And what will become of me now? Can I come to Paris?” Hope tinged the last of her words.

“No, not now,” Gilles replied bluntly. He glanced over and saw her frowning. She let out a long sigh as her shoulders slumped.

“The timing isn’t right. All the pieces haven’t come back into place since the last upheaval of court,” Gilles said without going into detail.

“What has this all even been for? Why did you even take me from the convent and put me in house with a woman you don’t even trust? Why was my education even important? Madame says all these skills are foolish and useless. Other girls never learn these things. She would have had me demurely working on embroidery until she married me off if I hadn’t escaped…been rescued.” Aimée huffed angrily. She folded her arms and stared at the fire. “I don’t understand what the point was.”

“All this talk about what Madame and other girls would do. What do you want, Aimée?” he asked. “Because if you want to improve your embroidery skills, I can certainly leave you to it if that will make you happy.”

His words stung a bit and Aimée thought about what she wanted. The charging cavaliers passing the carriage came to her mind as she searched for the right words. She sat up straighter before she spoke.

“I want a more noble cause than filling court gowns and producing heirs. I would rather travel freely and defend something honorable and right with my sword.” She frowned at the thought that now her sword was gone. She did not know how Madame had disposed of it. She shook the thought from her mind and looked at Gilles. Their eyes locked for a moment. It was that strange unspoken connection that occurred occasionally between them

“You will have a noble cause soon enough, but you must be patient,” he said finally.

i         xviii        xx

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