Agatha was waiting when the sergeant knocked on her door. He barely recognized the woman standing at the threshold.
“Are you ready?” Calen took Agatha’s satchel.
Agatha checked her apron pocket for her ever-present string of beads.
‘I am,” she said. “Let’s make Rája wish the spirits kept him in the catacombs.”
Calen and Agatha ambled down the trade road in silence. The sergeant was taken back to when Agatha was first brought to the castle. King Rajá chose her as his bride, a commoner, but already skilled in mysterious arts.
Younger than Queen Maud, this woman had the soul of an ancient. Why else would the spirits give her safe passage through the castle catacombs, the burial tombs of the entire royal lineage?
She had escaped a life of torture and degradation with the help of the spirits. It could not be a coincidence that the King and Agatha were once again brought together, a battle brewing for control of the kingdom.
“What is your plan?” Calen drew along beside Agatha.
“I have no plan.” Agatha looked straight ahead, not breaking character. She was disguised as an old woman, belying her true age. The King won’t suspect a seer beyond his years.
Calen reined in his steed, and took hold of Agatha’s horse’s lead.
“No plan?” Calen pulled her horse around so he could look at Agatha’s face. “Maud’s and Duncan’s lives hang in the balance, and you are going into this unprepared? You have no strategy?”
Agatha took back her reins.
“I didn’t say there was no strategy, I said it wasn’t my plan.”
“I will have no compunction about killing you to save Maud and Duncan.”
“There will be no need for that,” she said, pressing her knees into the sides of her horse to goad it forward. “The spirits will soon tell me what to do.”
Calen made a warding sign, clicking his tongue at his horse, its cue to follow Agatha.
“Tonight the spirits will hold their conclave,” Agatha said. “Their intention will be made clear.”
“Then, I will be there too,” Calen took the lead, passing Agatha on the narrow road.
“No, if you come, they will not appear,” Agatha pulled along side Calen, her horse matching Calen’s steed’s gait.
“You cannot attend their council alone,” Calen said.
“I won’t be alone, the spirits want Duncan to attend too.”
“Is that wise?”
“Duncan is the King’s heir, and the spirits’ scion, they want to see him for themselves,” Agatha said. “He will not be harmed.”
“How can you be sure of that?”
“They need him, as much as he needs them, if Duncan wants to seize the throne.”