Chapter XVII

By the next day, the whole court knew of the death of Erl Annesdale and his young family. In the records, it was classed as ‘accidental death’, verified by Erl Durithar, but everyone had their doubts. A whole household, a whole mansion, all the servants – burned down before they could call for help? The nearest town was barely a mile away – hardly five minutes riding.

Beatrix really ought to have been riding, considering the good weather, but after her encounter with Aaron the last time, she was disinclined to risk another. And the library… Well, besides her, there was only one person who knew of Annesdale’s actions, and that was Quigley. It didn’t take much to work out who had betrayed Annesdale.

Somehow, this felt like a personal affront. She’d always felt… Well, that he was somehow different to all the others who thought they could just treat her as a puny, weak woman. She had felt that he saw beyond the title and the face that everyone else saw, into the person she really was. To begin with, she’d avoided him – unable to cope with the idea that her soul could be bared so easily when she worked so hard to avoid people seeing how she really felt – but gradually, as she’d lost those last few ounces of emotion, she’d come to appreciate those snatched moments when she could be herself.

And now he was a traitor to the cause.

The cause? Since when had she decided to join Annesdale in his hopes of re-instating Owain?

Since she’d known that there was a chance.

She knew her cousins. She knew that Owain would never hurt anyone willingly. She knew that she didn’t trust Aaron.

And now their only chance of returning justice to Disnarta had been ruined by a mere librarian!

Anger flared inside her. How dare he!

‘My Lady?’ Carla said, surprised at Beatrix’s sudden change of mood. ‘Is there something wrong?’

‘Yes. There are lots of things wrong, Carla. But hopefully I can change that.’

And so it was that Beatrix found herself striding purposefully down the corridor to the library, all sorts of accusations whizzing through her mind. But when she rounded the corner, they all disappeared simultaneously.

The End

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