Sunday 9 – Wednesday 19 September 2012
The moment Elle had been waiting for was within reach. Francois had seen to it that their death squad had taken up watch outside the throne room, and he had escorted Elle to Lucy’s chambers where she had changed into some of the Lady-in-waiting’s clothing. All that was missing was Queen Josslyn’s presence in the throne room, and Francois had that under control as well.
Elle stood alone in the room analysing its dimensions and considering her egress beyond the reach of their planted death squad. Should things go awry, everyone involved would need a quick escape. She ran through the plan in her head while she waited for Francois to deliver the prize to the throne room. Controlling the adrenaline coursing through her body was Elle’s biggest concern now. If she was over-zealous, Queen Josslyn might quickly suspect a set-up and all of their hard work and planning would fall flat. The two sets of footsteps that echoed through the corridor and into the throne room announced the arrival of Francois and Queen Josslyn.
‘Bow before your Queen,’ Josslyn barked at Elle. It was well known throughout the lands that Queen Josslyn needed to assert her authority over everyone, and was especially hard on new members of her court. As much as Elle despised the woman who was entering the room, she did as she was ordered. It was, after all, what a good and loyal citizen did in the presence of their ruler. And should she not, Elle would lose any chance of exacting vengeance.
‘Ma’am,’ Elle quietly said as she curtsied.
‘You are replacing my Lady-in-waiting?’ she snapped.
‘Yes, ma’am,’ Elle replied.
‘Not for long, I trust?’ Queen Josslyn directed this question at Francois.
‘Not at all. Just for today,’ he replied.
‘Step forward so that I can look at you,’ Josslyn spoke as she lowered herself into her throne. The moment was now only minutes away.
Elle slowly stepped forward, her hands securely on the sword concealed beneath the Lady-in-waiting’s dress. She followed Josslyn’s eyes as they set upon the place where the sword was hidden. For a second, Elle thought that Josslyn had seen the opening that she’d had to make in the side seam of the dress in order to hide the weapon; that she’d seen Elle’s hand firmly gripped around the hilt of the sword.
‘Well? Come now, step closer,’ Queen Josslyn demanded.
The would-be assassin was watched closely by the Queen’s most trusted advisor, and Francois too, had positioned his hand upon his own sword in what he hoped was a casual manner. Elle was now not more than eighteen inches from the vicious ruler, and she smiled knowing that her quest was almost at an end, and that the cessation of the reign of the most hated woman in the land was imminent.
‘And your name, child?’ Queen Josslyn asked.
Josslyn’s eyes widened with understanding and acknowledgement of the identity of the young woman standing in front of her. The Queen looked to Francois for reassurance and found none.
‘Ahhhh, suddenly I see clearly everything that you have put into place. You have been very busy for such a long time,’ Josslyn reclined against her throne and waited for her adversaries’ next move.
. . . To be continued . . .