“Elfleda, only you and I are here. Can we put my majesty to the side and talk as two friends? I need your help. I’ve decided we must obey the pope and restore Wilfrid.”
“You can’t do that,” I gasp. “The entire kingdom will be up in arms.”
“Wilfrid is an old man, and I’m gravely ill. We’ll both be dead before anything changes. Promise you will bear witness to my last words. I decree that Wilfrid be forgiven and that the papal directives be followed. I don’t want Wilfrid on my conscience when I greet God.”
If Aldfrid forgives Wilfrid, I have to do the same. I don’t want to forgive Wilfrid. He destroyed the Columban church. He hurt my brothers and Abbess Hildeburg.
“Is it such a hard promise for you to make, Elfleda? How many times did Jesus say we should forgive? Once? Twice?”
I swallow. “Jesus said we should forgive up to seventy times seven.”
“You must agree Wilfrid hasn’t wounded us so many times as that.” Aldfrid tries to smile.
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