Chapter 1

The rest of the story has been temporarily removed so I can finish the thing, and repost. I won't change the story that was already posted, just tidy up the spelling and typo's, I have however tweaked parts I never got to post that I lost, rewrote, and then lost. Nothing significant I just couldn't remember every word and my notes are just keywords and weird drawings that mean nothing now.

Timeframe, about a month. Special thank you to anyone still interested; I'm so sorry.

Mother Superior stared at the letter with a frown, unhappy with what she had read, but more troubled by her own feelings upon the matter. This particular novice to the order of St. Osburga's, near Cotonsbury, England, had always bothered her, although she could never quite define why. Certainly the woman had done everything required of her, subjugated herself to God, acted in a pious and humble manner, and dedicated her time to God's will. In fact, if anything she over achieved what was required: when the prayer bell rang an hour before sunrise, it was not uncommon to find her already with bended knee, saying the rosary and giving thanks for God's grace. If required to tend some of the land, used for provisions in the kitchen, she would be there, before and long after she was needed, doing often back-breaking work without comment or complaint. But where her real dedication came, was with the sick. Many folk came to God in their final days or weeks, hoping for a cure or at least redemption, when sickness was upon them. Some of the younger sisters found this duty difficult; especially those who had no experience of men outside of their former families. Being required to care for their failing bodies required a certain sensibility, but also a level of practicality as the outcome was often beyond their skill. Many of those desperately ill creatures came to St. Osburga's, had been shunned or forced from their homes because of the fear their illnesses or disabilities brought. Yet novice Alisse, had not balked once: not at the sight of often gut wrenching injuries; not at those whose mind had gone and who could no longer feed or care for themselves, but also not at the ravishes and challenges of pestilence and disease, such as leprosy or the pox, from which the only protection for themselves, was prayer.

Every task asked of her was performed beyond all expectation, with no thought for her own safety or needs. Mother knew she should find the woman a comfort, a source of support and a potential ally when it came to guiding the newer novices and even the less able, fully dedicated nuns, but something about the woman made her take pause, and Mother had never been able to determine why.

Women came to Holy Orders for many different reasons; some discarded by their families, or fleeing their expectations. Others came, as although not a wealthy order, they ate regularly and lived unmolested inside the stout stone walls. Others came in answer to a genuine calling, and often these women were the most devout, you could almost see the glow of fervour around them. Yet not Alissse, instead there was a stillness, a distance maybe, that could not be defined, and which, even the Mother's gentle nurturing could not break through.

Hearing the soft knock on the door the Reverend Mother sighed, and put down the letter. It didn't matter what her personal feelings were, the decision was not hers; all she could do was believe it to be part of God's great plan. Yet somehow she couldn't shake the feeling that she was betraying the tall, dark haired, French woman in her care...