“I told you, it was the nanny!” The priest spoke with a thick Italian accent. His heavy eyebrows hung wildly over his eyes. He stroked them constantly, a nervous tick. “That woman -- the nanny!” He glanced at Ava. “Who are you?”
She breathed a sigh of relief as the knight took in his words. “You don’t know this woman?”
The priest shook his head, and glanced to his right. They were in what must have been the dining hall of the castle, set with tile floors and lavish tapestries. At the moment, however, it was an impromptu courtroom. The knight stood to the side, presiding, and three other robed monks sat at the table in a line. They looked at Ava with disgust -- she realized her jeans and boots must look horribly inappropriate in this era-- but they were even more disdainful of their brother, the nervous eyebrow-comber.
"Then we’ll deal with her later,” a nasal-voiced priest decided. “You, Brother Antonio, have been charged with the murder of his Lordship Giuseppe, aged twenty-three months at the time of his death. Eyewitness account has verified --”
The priests all turned to Ava at her question, as if just remembering she was there. “What?” the nasal-voiced priest asked with irritation.
“Who’s the eyewitness?” she pressed, although she already had a suspicion.
“He’s gone!” Brother Antonio cried in distress. “He testified and fled, the cowardly stranger, and you, my brothers, take his word above mine--I tell you, the Lord’s nanny is responsible--”
"Enough!” the knight roared. “Your actions prove…” But Ava didn’t hear much else of what he said; she was too busy trying to figure out what she would have to do. If her grandfather accused this priest of murder, then clearly she’d have to absolve him. That was the only way to put things right.