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Dark Days

Author(s): R. J. Hore

Young Queen Nefasti’s hold on her throne is tenuous. Her powerful neighbor to the west has declared war, and her other neighbors want something in return for their offered aid, such as her hand in marriage and her kingdom. Assassins lurk in the shadows while handsome suitors try to bribe her with gold and jewels. Her best friend and protector is leaving and one of her favorite ladies-in-waiting is threatening to commit suicide. Could anything else go wrong?

Excerpt


Lady Ignara slowly got to her feet and sat in the chair opposite the queen. “You are most gracious, Your Majesty.”
 
Get on with it.It’s almost time for my dinner. “What can I do for you, Lady Ignara?”
 
Ignara peered around the room at the queen’s ladies and large pets. “It is a rather delicate matter, Your Majesty.” The patterned shadows of makeup on her cheeks and brows lay almost thick enough to hide her eyes.
 
Nefasti smiled reassuringly. “We have no secrets here. Please present your petition. I have a rather busy schedule this afternoon.” Actually, other than spending a leisure hour in a hot bath, and a quiet dinner with her ladies, she had nothing planned. She looked forward to a quiet evening.
 
“My apologies, Your Majesty, I’ll be brief.” Lady Ignara looked almost reluctant. “I have a scroll for you outlining the linage of our family back several generations. We are fourth generation with a link to the Twentieth Dynasty of the Royal House of Vadio.”
 
“How interesting.” It isn’t really, as there are probably forty others in Grandeur City with the same claim.
 
Lady Ignara hurried on. “I’ve a son, a marvelous youth, extremely clever, who has been involved with my husband’s business since he learned to walk. He’s proven his bravery journeying with two caravans traveling to distant lands beyond Vadio.”
 
Nefasti could sense a frown forming. She clenched her jaw.
 
“He is most handsome. Everyone knows there’s been much unfortunate pressure on Your Majesty to marry. I wish to put forward his name as a proper suitor for your hand in order to retain the crown within the royal lines of the high kings of Vadio. I have a portrait of him here.” She held out the scroll.
 
It took a moment for Nefasti to recover her control and allow her to speak. “The matter of my prospective betrothal is closed. I am...no longer interested in marriage.” As if I ever considered it. Controlling the tremble of anger that threatened to take over her hand, she took the scroll and was about to wave a curt dismissal when Lady Ignara continued.
 
“I‘ve also brought you a gift. This treasure has been in our family for generations. It is our desire to have it in your possession for it belonged to one of your illustrious ancestors and is far too valuable to reside in our humble villa.” Lady Ignara held out a small package carefully wrapped in shimmering red silk.
 
Nefasti shook her head to refuse, and found the package placed in her free hand. It weighed heavy and she admitted to herself she was curious. “You shouldn’t…”
 
“Oh, but I should…” Lady Ignara whispered, leaning forward, a gleaming dagger making a sudden appearance in her hand. It slid swiftly out from her sleeve. She lunged at the queen.

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ISBN (Print):
ISBN (Electronic): 9781771550970
Genre: Fantasy
Date Published: 02/28/2014
Publisher: BURST

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