I used to dwell on the past. Wondering endlessly what I could have done differently.
I have stopped centuries ago to try and turn back the hands of time.
There was no way I could have avoided that fate.
At some point, my lord decided it was time for me to spar with him.
He was known to be strong. I naively thought I could impress him.
But a stronger man, I had never met.
I only fought with my stubbornness as an ally.
It would always end the same way.
And yet he said I got better.
Summer settled in and very often, I found myself looking for Agnès’ company.
For some reason I couldn’t fathom, she didn’t seem to like my lord.
When I asked her why, she hesitated.
She said he had weird notions. I thought she meant his research about astronomy and the universe, which was a rather modern idea at the time.
Then she reluctantly added it was him who made her the King’s mistress.
I didn’t know what to say.
So, up in the granary, amidst the wheat that had just been harvested, I listened to her. Her story wasn’t much, really. She had been trained to become a lady-in-waiting at the court.
She told me that she had liked me from the start.
I told her that I loved her.
I still believe it was not a mistake.
One day, she brought me to an abandoned cemetery on top of the cliff.
She said my lord often came here. I didn’t understand, what could he want in such a place?
“He’s looking for bones” she half-whispered.
To say I wasn’t surprised would have been a lie. But then again, I knew my lord was ahead of times. There were certainly things he had to do in the name of science.
My lord had often mentioned a ‘laboratory’ in which he prepared some potions and ointments. One day, he asked me to follow him to the cellars of the castle.
He had a whole room full of strange books and ingredients. The smell was musty and pungent.
“What is this, my lord?” I admit I got scared. This looked more like witchcraft than traditional alchemy.
“Didn’t you say you wished to help me with my research?” I hesitated and he didn’t like it. “Then go away.”
I couldn’t step back. “I’m sorry I doubted you, my lord. I will of course assist you in whatever way possible.”
“Then read the ingredients for me.”
I decided to turn a blind eye. After all, wasn’t Baron de Rais the powerful leader of the French military?
Besides, I had other things to occupy my mind…
Fall was closing in. And so were the English.
His Majesty Charles VII was talking more and more about ending the war with a powerful strike.
Lord de Rais was going to lead an assault against the Rainefort fortress.