[Date to be added later.]
Mother and Father sat me down this morning and “suggested” that I should consider a vocation. When I informed them that I did not yet feel called to the holy orders, they pressed the point, speaking of the benefits of the ecclesiastical life. (My protestations that this was traditionally a path reserved for the younger children fell on unlistening ears.) I eventually had to simply tell them point blank that I realized that they wished me out of the way so that Margarite could begin courting in earnest, and that while I did not object to being packed away, I did object to life-long vows at this particular time. I conceded that, perhaps, I would do well to travel some. My current teachers in healing and herbalism are in agreement that there is much more for me to learn … and very little more in which they may instruct me.

Father has an elderly aunt, for whom I am named, to the south and east of us, near to the border. He speaks fondly of her as a remarkable woman who, he thinks at least, would have quite a bit of wisdom to impart to me. I suppose we shall see, as my trunks are being packed as we speak.

I am somewhat astonished at the speed with which I am being sent away. Margarite must be closer to her wedding day than I had realized. A knight, Sir Berringer of the Sentinels of the Flame, has been summoned to be my escort. From the gossip of the servants, my honored Mother called in a number of favors to extract his acceptance of this duty. I realize that I am ill-favored, but they are acting as if Margarite’s suitors are deadly allergic to my visage. A pity that is not the case; I am certain she could extract much more favorable marriage contracts if she merely had to threaten them with the glower of her sister.

[Date to be added later]
Sir Berringer and his squire -- a very young man named Gerard -- arrived this morning. I do not believe that we shall be leaving straight-away; Father appears to wish to prove his reputation as an excellent host. I anticipate that we shall have a day or so of feasting, that Father Michel shall have ample time to exhort us to guard our souls against the darkness, and that we shall depart in three days -- or just before the first of Margarite’s suitors arrive. I must make a point of seeking out Father Michel to ask his blessing before we leave. I know that he recoils from the sight of me, but he shall not deny the blessing of Heaven to one of the God’s children -- even one so marked as I.

[Date to be added later]
We have left home. I feel as though I should be more melancholic over this than I am, but in truth the keep was starting to feel a bit confining with all of us there. There is much to be said for travel. During the day, things are quite lovely even if spending the night out of doors is more unnerving than I had anticipated. I am certain to be at my prayers with perhaps a bit more fervor than when safely surrounded by stone walls. Still, Sir Berringer assures me that he, his squire, and the four hired guards will be sufficient to see us safely to Grand-Aunt Agnes’s residence. We shall see.

[Date to be added later]
While I realize that Sir Berringer believes that studying weaponry of any sort is beneath my position, the presence of one of the walking dead this evening appears to have convinced him to at least permit me some basic study. Clara, the guard who was injured in the fight, will pull through without much danger, but her injuries mean that we are down one set of eyes during the night. This is unacceptable to me. My instruction will begin tomorrow before we break camp.

[Date to be added later]
We have arrived at Great Aunt Agnes’s house. She is all that Father said and perhaps then some. Although she is most elderly and frail, her mind is brilliantly sharp. I do not know how long she will wish to house us, but until that time is up, I am pleased to be here.

[Date to be added later]
Days like today make me grateful that I have not bothered to learn all of the appropriate courtly manners. What good is being able to correctly consume a bowl of soup when one’s dinner partner can not stop staring -- aghast -- at one’s face. It is not as if I do not know that I have a stain on my features. Did he expect me to curtsy and thank him for the information? In any case, I stand by my statement. I would rather be stained than look like a toad. He had worse manners than a toad; he’s lucky that I stayed my tongue at the milder thoughts that came into my head. Pompous, conceited, judgmental ass. I hope God will forgive him; I am not sure I shall. (Of course, I also hope that God shall forgive me. I am less certain of that some days.)

[Date to be added later]
Great Aunt Agnes is ill. She is not certain if or when she will recover, and she does not wish me present to witness her decline. In light of this, she has made arrangements for us to travel to Mistierie where she has provided us with a letter of introduction to a physician who she believes will be most helpful in continuing my studies. We will be traveling with a group of caravans as there is greater security in numbers. I realize that I have much more to learn -- both as a healer and as a warrior -- my skills are sufficient to qualify as a paid member of the caravan instead of a paying. Sir Berringer objected to this, but eventually conceded that this should be an excellent way for me to obtain experience without an excess of danger.



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