1618: iv

The Abbess swept past Aimée into her study. Aimée hurried back to her own room with Sister Teresa on her heels.

“Who is it? A messenger from the Count?” the Sister asked breathlessly. Aimée’s mind was trying to sort through the new information she had received. Is it possible that she had finally found her family? What did this mean for her now? Who was this Bishop? Did this have anything to do with Gilles?

“I’m not sure of anything, Sister,” Aimée replied numbly as she took a seat in her room.

“What happened? Tell me what she said,” Sister Teresa said eagerly. Her hands were clasped together as she tried to contain her excitement.

“Shut the door and sit down,” Aimée whispered. Teresa obediently did and perched on a stool as Aimée related some of the details of what had occurred in the Abbess’s study.

“Is this your Count’s doing?” Sister Teresa asked when Aimée had finished. The young woman shook her head.

“No, she said it was the Bishop of Luçan. Have you heard of him?” Aimée replied. Teresa’s eyes widened.

“You really do not know?” the nun exclaimed. “He was the protégé of Concini and Foreign Secretary for the Queen Regent. However, after Concini’s assassination, he was banished along with Marie de Medici.”

That must have been what Gilles meant when he said things were too upset at court for her to join him. There must be some connection between the Count and the Bishop.

“I was not aware of that,” Aimée mumbled. Her brow was furrowed with thought. “I will be dining with our guest this evening. Afterwards I may know more about what she intends.” Sister Teresa studied Aimée for a few moments before she rose from her seat. The young woman was unlike anyone she had met before. She had a boldness about her and very different interests. Not many didn’t know about the court scandals in the convent, even if the Abbess frowned upon gossip. The nun left Aimée alone with her thoughts.

Aimée opened one of her drawers and took out a small box. She lifted the lid and plucked out its contents. The weight in her hand was reassuring. She took her key and wound the clockwork bird before setting it on the desktop to flutter and peep. When the fragile gears stopped she tucked it in the pocket of her skirts.

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