Agatha’s Story so far…
Queen Maud covered her mouth with her hands as best she could, trying to shield her face from the sand kicked up by the guard as he struggled with her across the beach. Once inside the dark tent, set off from the rest of the camp, Maud pulled away from Calen, the King’s sergeant of arms.
The garrison officer had been with King Rajá in the catacombs when the spirits ravaged his sanity. Calen escaped the tunnels, and stayed in the king’s retinue. First it was to protect his damaged monarch, then to shield his queen and her son.
“What were his orders this time?” Maud sat among the plush cushions on the tent floor, spreading her skirt out wide. “Am I to be whipped, strangled? Perhaps a rib broken?”
Calen took his place beside Maud, reaching out to take her hand.
“He wanted me to bring him one of these.” As Calen stroked her long, elegant fingers, he kissed each tip. “I convinced him that only breaking one would be better.”
Maud smiled, her arm tingling from Calen’s caresses. Their fingers intertwining, Calen turned serious.
“I’ve saw the local wench entering your tent, she and the prince.” Calen didn’t release Maud’s hand. “You don’t know her, and can’t trust that she isn’t Rajá’s pawn.”
Despite her standing as Queen, Maud’s life in the castle was unsettled. She never knew who to trust, who she could confide in, until Calen.
“Yes, I do know her,” Maud said, taking back her hand. “You know her too.”
Maud started pacing around the tent, fretting with her sleeves.
“I have never been to this region, how would I know this woman?” Calen frowned at Maud.
She faced Calen, took a deep breath and told him her secret.
“You know her from the catacombs,” Maud tried to gauge his reaction. “She was the one who got away.”
The news stunned Calen, causing him to almost trip over the cushions as he rose from the floor in surprise.
“Agatha? She is here? How?” Calen blanched, all color draining from his face. “I thought she was dead.”
Maud knelt in front of Calen, trying to reassure him.
“The spirits gave her safe passage through the tunnels, they favored her and continue to protect her.” Maud kept her voice steady. “She is willing to help us, help Duncan.”
Calen stilled, considering what he was hearing. He realized the significance of Agatha’s presence in this seaside town when they needed allies to carry out their coup. A ghost from Rajá’s worst nightmares could be just the thing to push him completely over the edge of reason.
“She is our perfect solution,” Maud said. “We don’t need to seek anyone else to execute our plan.”
Maud held out her hand to Calen.
“I suppose we should get this part out of the way.”
King Rajá squirmed in ecstasy when Maud’s anguished screams reached his ears.