I watched Sarah as tears streamed down her cheeks. I wanted to comfort her, to tell her that I was there. But I could not even do that. I was powerless now, and it was hard to believe that just a few days ago I had been the powerful person in the kingdom.
I was about to turn and leave when one of the royal messangers stepped into the kitchen. I was surprised. Messangers never went into the kitchen. Usually we would simply send a servant.
"His Grace, Duke Artemidorus, has summoned the daughter of Erin and Fredrick Dunn to the throne room." .
Dunn? That was Sarah's surname. But why would she get summoned to a meeting with the regent? I followed a bewildered looking Sarah out of the kitchen and to the throne room.
My brother was playing with a wooden horse, rolling its tiny wheels along the armrest. He did not understand what was going on, but there was an absurd rule about how the king had to attend every summoning, no matter how old he was. I had never gotten around to removing it. The Dunns were already there, lying almost prostrate on the ground, and Sarah joined them. Artemidorus leaned foward.
"Do you know why you have been summoned?"
"No, Your Grace." Sarah's father's voice was slightly muffled.
"We learned from a... source that the late King William proposed to your daughter before his death." Artemidorus said these words with unconcealed contempt. Fredrick and Erin looked at their daughter in awe. Sarah turned a deep scarlet.
"According to the law," The duke continued, "Since the king died before they could perform the marriage, she must marry his brother, King Lawrence." Sarah eyes widened. Her parents looked amazed.
"But Your Grace, we are from humble beginnings," said her father, obviously unable to believe his luck, "Surely that rule does not apply."
"In the royal records, it says that you are from the noble House of Dune and that you were put into servitude during the reign of King Daniel in order to fulfil a debt. However, you were never stripped of your title. Therefore, the rule does apply."
I felt the blood drain from my face, or, at least the sensation of blood doing so. Sarah was going to marry my little brother and it was all my fault. I wished that Artemidorus had kept it a secret, but he was always so stringent about the rules. He would not be able to bring himself to lie about something like this. I only half listened to them talk about when the marriage would be official. I just watched Sarah kneeling between her excited parents, looking just as unhappy with the situation as Artemidorus was.