1614: v

Aimée sat in damp darkness. In her confinement, the rough embroidery of a doublet pressed into her cheek. The smell of sweat and horse permeated the bit of air that surrounded her. She sat behind the man she had thought of as Brother Paul with his cloak tossed over her. The only shield she had from the pelting rain.

In the exodus, she had hung on for dear life as they bolted out of town. She had never been aboard a horse before and the pounding of the hooves as the ground swept by below her was more than she could bear. She closed her fists around whatever she could get ahold of and clenched her eyes shut tight. She was unsure of the passing of distance or time. It wasn’t until thunder rumbled overhead that the hooves slowed their stride.

“Aimée,” the charlatan Brother Paul said. He gave her a shake and started to pry her fingers free. She slowly opened her eyes to see that they had stopped. Dark clouds hung in the sky and she was overwhelmed by the strange surroundings of the countryside. In a daze, she allowed Gilles to maneuver her to sitting behind him. The cloak shrouded her in darkness moments before the sky burst with rain.

The horse began to move beneath her and she grabbed Brother Paul to keep from tipping over the backside. There was nothing she could do except be swept along. At almost thirteen she had never been far outside the convent walls. She had no money and knew she would never be able to find the way back on her own. As Aimée hung on, she began to cry until she finally made herself tired. She leaned against the back of her captor and a tiny voice started in her head.

“Do you even want to go back?” it asked. She was scared and wanted to go home. It was all she knew. However, a tiny sliver in her mind thought this was the most exciting moment of her life.

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