Quelles Misérables

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Paris

March, 1634

 

Armand-Jean du Plessis, priest, bishop, Cardinal-Duke of Richelieu and of Fronsac, and chief minister to His Most Christian Majesty, King Louis of France, thirteenth of that name, stood at the window and gazed at the gardeners at their work in the early afternoon. He watched as they plied their craft with spades and trowels and snips. He admired their skill and focus, and from time to time he was even a bit jealous. There were days where the thought of having honest dirt on his hands and the smell of honest manure in his nostrils appealed to him more than the spiritual reek of the court. But then, there was no one who could do his work as well as him, so if he didn't do it, things would become even worse. Although he was beginning to have hopes of young Mazarini.

"Your Eminence."

Richelieu looked back over his shoulder to where Servien stood inside the door.  He raised his eyebrows.

"There . . . is a visitor, Eminence."

Richelieu considered his intendant. If he didn't know better, he'd have thought that Servien was . . . uncertain. And that was a condition he had seldom seen in his intendant in all their years together.

"Has this visitor a name, Servien?"

"He is one Abbé Jehan Mercier, Eminence."

A low-ranking cleric. Perhaps he was wanting to speak to the cardinal rather than the chief minister. That might be refreshing.

"Is he one of our informers?"

"No."

Richelieu frowned. "Who did he bribe to get this far?"

"He, ah, carries an introduction from your niece."

"From Marie-Madeleine?"


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About David Carrico

David 2013-03-03 small

David Carrico made his first professional SF sale to The Grantville Gazette e-magazine in 2004. His stories have also appeared in the Grantville Gazette and Ring of Fire anthologies from Baen Books and in Jim Baen’s Universe e-magazine. Baen Books has published a story collection by David entitled 1635: Music and Murder, and two novels written in collaboration with Eric Flint: 1636: The Devil’s Opera, and The Span of Empire, which was nominated for the 2017 Dragon Award for Best Military SF or Fantasy novel. David is currently working on a solo project.