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Rose and Nora

Rose and Nora

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Rose and Nora

88 pages
1 hour
Jul 23, 2019


When Sister Rose finds out that Sister Maddy was put on trial and might be dead, Sister Nora offers her a shoulder to cry on. As months pass with no word of Maddy, Rose and Nora grow closer and realize they have feelings for each other that go beyond friendship.

As their love deepens, Nora sees herself growing old with Rose, but Rose isn’t as enthusiastic about the idea. Will Nora’s love for Rose survive her feelings of rejection, or will she give up on their relationship?

Rose and Nora is about how Sister Rose and Sister Nora got together. It begins while Maddy is on her journey to Heath and continues past the events that took place in The Salbine Sisters.

Jul 23, 2019

About the author

Sarah Ettritch writes science fiction, fantasy, and mystery stories featuring female main characters. She’s a certified story junkie who spends more time than she should making stuff up, reading, watching stories on Netflix, and pretending to be other people in role-playing games. Sarah lives in Toronto, Canada. To find out more about her, visit www.sarahettritch.com.

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Rose and Nora - Sarah Ettritch


Sarah Ettritch

Published by Norn Publishing

Distributed by Smashwords

Copyright © 2019 Sarah Ettritch

All rights reserved. No part of this ebook may be reproduced, except for brief quotations in articles or reviews, without written permission from the author.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination and are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.


Disturbing News

A Romantic Confession

Troubled Waters

A Long Shadow

Love’s Courage


Rose carried her breakfast porridge and empty mug to her habitual place in the communal dining hall, but meals hadn’t felt the same since Maddy had left for Heath. Nobody had taken to sitting in Maddy’s place, leaving an empty space next to Rose that was symbolic of the missing piece in her life. She missed her best friend terribly and sometimes despaired that Maddy’s return was still months away. When she prayed, she made a point of expressing gratitude for what she did have: a safe sanctuary, a comfortable bedchamber, food to fill her belly, her lessons, the friends sitting at this table, and most importantly, her faith in Salbine. But she still wished Maddy were here. If she’d known what would happen when Maddy began her fire training, she would have prayed that Maddy not be malflowed.

Where were you last night? Grace asked.

Using one of the jugs on the table, Rose filled her mug with milk and picked up her spoon. What do you mean?

We were all at Abigail’s studying for the mathematics test this afternoon.

Why initiates had to study mathematics was beyond Rose, but she wasn’t one to question. I went to bed early. I’m ready for the test, anyway.

Gwendolyn rolled her eyes. That’s why we didn’t invite you. You already know everything.

Abigail tutted. I wanted to invite you, but you weren’t in your chambers when I knocked.

I must have been in the privy. A lie. When Abigail had knocked on her door, Rose had remained still and willed her to go away, not that she’d known it was Abigail specifically. She’d suspected it was one of her fellow initiates, wanting her to study with them because they knew she was studious and would already know the material. But study sessions usually transformed into gossip sessions. Everyone would pester her to explain what they didn’t understand—especially with mathematics—until they’d had enough and gossiped. Still, she usually joined the group because she’d finished studying for whatever test was coming, but since Maddy had gone, she sometimes couldn’t face it.

I’m sure you knew we were studying somewhere, Grace said.

Most of you aren’t on my floor, so how was I to know you were studying? Once I was back in my chambers, I didn’t leave them again. She spooned porridge into her mouth, hoping that was the end of it.

Well, you missed some really juicy gossip last night, Abigail said. Jonathan’s back.

Rose gaped. Jonathan? No, that can’t be possible. They haven’t been gone long enough to reach Heath yet. And if Jonathan had returned, Maddy must be back, too! Where’s—

You haven’t heard the best part yet. Abigail took a long sip of her milk. If she was doing so to torment Rose, it was working. Rose wanted to shake her. Abigail plunked her mug down and smacked her lips. Mistress Lillian left the monastery this morning.

Gwendolyn nodded. We heard Mistress Bertha talking about it in the porridge line. Left after early morning prayers. Rode right out the gates, with Barnabus, apparently.

Rose’s mind was in a whirl. Why?

Maddy didn’t come back. With Jonathan.

Her surroundings spun. The chatter around her sounded distorted. She didn’t realize she’d dropped her spoon until it thumped to the table.

We think the mistress has gone to get her.

But that wouldn’t make sense. Where would Maddy be that she couldn’t return with Jonathan but could with the mistress?

I’m sorry, Abigail said. I didn’t mean to drop it on you like that. We had a chance to talk about it before you came. We were over the initial shock.

You were later than usual, Nora said.

Only by five minutes, and only because her hair had been temperamental this morning and taken longer to pin into a neat bun. She stared down at her porridge, then doggedly spooned some into her mouth and forced the tasteless lump down. She needed to eat, to ask questions. Where’s Maddy? Why has the mistress left?

That’s what we’ve been wondering. Gwendolyn crossed her arms. We’ve been wondering if Maddy’s dead.

Abigail gasped. Salbine preserve us. Do you have to blurt it out, just like that?

She’s going to think it anyway, and she’s not the only one who cares about Maddy.

Rose’s fingers tightened around her spoon. She wanted to glower at Gwendolyn, but then she realized that Gwendolyn wasn’t being her usual abrasive self, perhaps because she was concerned.

If she was dead, the mistress wouldn’t have left, Nora said.

Grace nodded. Jonathan would have returned with her remains.

A horrible thought struck Rose. Perhaps he had. Are you certain Mistress Lillian left because of Maddy? Perhaps Jonathan is ill, or he needed to return for another reason.

Grace and Abigail exchanged a glance. Why else would Mistress Lillian and Barnabus leave? Abigail said. It must somehow be related to Maddy. Think about it. Mistress Lillian leaving the monastery. With Barnabus. He’s the abbess’s shadow. If there’s nothing wrong, another defender would have gone to replace Jonathan. But since Mistress Lillian and Barnabus went…

Maddy could be dead? No, Nora was right. If Maddy had died, a funeral pyre would have reduced her to bone and ashes, the fate of sisters who went to Salbine’s realm while travelling. Jonathan would have carried her remains back to be interred in the catacombs, to rest with sisters who’d died here.

Perhaps Mistress Lillian wanted to be with her and the abbess decided to send Barnabus as her defender, Gwendolyn suggested. The mistress is powerful, but she’ll be out of her depth outside the walls. Perhaps that’s why the abbess sent Barnabus with her.

Gwendolyn, trying to be positive and helpful. She must really be concerned, increasing Rose’s own worry. Perhaps this, perhaps that. She blew out an exasperated sigh. We should be told. We’re her friends.

Those around her shifted in their

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