Monday 27 – Tuesday 28 August 2012
‘Knowledge is a dangerous thing, Francois,’ her voice echoed through the great expanse that was the dining room. The servants had been promptly dismissed upon completion of serving breakfast to Queen Josslyn and Francois, and now, Her Royal Highness was alone with her most trusted advisor.
‘I almost certainly agree. Do you believe that your life is in danger?’ he asked.
‘My life is always in danger. That, my love, is the most perilous aspect of being Queen – someone, somewhere, will always believe that can bring me down. Many have tried, and all have failed. Fear not, Francois, if there is an attempt to be made upon my life, those who perpetrate it will not succeed in anything more than signing their own death warrant.’
She reached her hand across the table and placed it on Francois’ forearm. His smile hid the dangerous knowledge that he was privy to.
‘What will you do about this threat?’ He hoped that his interest wouldn’t arouse Josslyn’s suspicion.
‘I have carefully considered my next move, Francois. I believe that my only choice in this matter is to strike upon the village again. This time, they will all be executed for high treason, and it will serve as a lesson to anyone else who gets it into their mind that they can take my life. And I will order that this ringleader, Patrick Miller, is the last to die. He will witness the deaths of all of his family, and all of those he knows and loves in that village. And only when every last soul is extinguished from there, will he be put to death.’
Francois abhorred Josslyn’s malice but continued to smile as she described her plan. It would not serve the cause if she were to discover his true identity, and relationship to the real leader of the rebellion. He had to maintain his position inside the castle walls, close to the Queen, in order for the assassination to have any chance of success. They could not fail; everyone involved had already lost too much at the hands of Queen Josslyn.
‘You approve of my strategy?’ she asked him.
‘Do you need my approval, my lady?’ he replied.
‘No,’ she snickered, ‘but I would like your approval.’
‘Then, my lady, you have it.’ He was repulsed by the words he’d had to utter.
‘The sooner the deed is done, the better,’ Josslyn said.
‘I couldn’t agree more,’ Francois nodded as he replied, his thoughts focussed on getting word to Elle before Josslyn quelled the rebellion, and made examples of everyone involved.
His opportunities to slip away, however, were crushed by royal duty.
‘Today, my love,’ Queen Josslyn lowered her tone despite there being no one other than she and Francois in the room, ‘you will accompany me on my travels to the outer villages. My people must see me in person, and strong. Your horse is being saddled, and we leave presently.’
Francois’ heart sank in his chest, and he wondered, for just a moment, if Josslyn might have some idea that the rebels had inside help.
. . . To be continued . . .