Myrischka clenched her fists and let her eyes roll back for a few moments. But only a few. Showing emotion was a weakness. She hated women who tittered with excitement and dramatized each second with outbursts of meaningless tripe. Rather than ladies-in-waiting boring her in a bowery, Myrischka preferred to surround herself in the social company of men in the library or a downstairs study, perhaps. However, participating in this activity too regularly was unsuitable for a woman of any station. So, Myrischka engaged herself in sporting events that men pursued – ice fishing, hunting – when weather permitted, of course.
On the rare days her husband stirred himself to join them, Myrischka feigned an abrupt excuse not to attend. She found the snow, the crisp air, the frozen icicles hanging from the trees, and just being outdoors, liberating, invigorating. But to see her husband waddling around, his boots punching squeaky prints in the snow, waving his arms about as if he were some formidable force to behold, nauseated her.
Now, Myrischka was just annoyed. She opened her eyes and gestured with her hands impatiently. “Up.”
She rolled her eyes. “Up, up! That’s enough!”
Nabol’s head emerged from beneath her white, fur-trimmed silk gown, his face glazed. He looked up at her from the floor where he knelt, as a puppy looks eagerly at its master for praise. She wanted to kick him aside as she would a puppy, but Nabol had proven far too useful to toss aside just yet.
Myrischka waved him with exasperation in the direction of the water basin. “Go on.” That been fair at best. She stalked toward her table and donned her white fur mantle. She heard Nabol splashing water across his face from the bowl across her chamber. Myrischka could not help but take immense pleasure in knowing that the tongue that spoke to Munsolrysche by day was the same tongue that licked her whenever she pleased. And that fat bastard didn’t even suspect. She permitted herself the faintest of smiles, one of deep satisfaction.
Although it had taken Nabol at least four months to get it right. But, Myrischka conceded, it wasn’t as if she had the equipment he really preferred to wrap his tongue around. And if she had, then she would be King, not that stupid bastard who sat on the Gold Throne now. She sniffed with disgust.
Nabol appeared at her table before her, his hair wet from where he’d slicked it back with water. He truly was an idiot, she thought.
“Now tell me again, did he actually use the word ‘warmongering’?”
Nabol nodded. “Yes, Your Majesty.” His innocent child’s expression was more than she could bear now. She had to plan the next move.
Myrischka’s idiot spouse had never been accounted for as a consideration. That he had discovered this at all was the worst luck, to an absurd degree.
“Go. You may go.” She dismissed Nabol with a curt wave in the direction of the door to her quarters. “And Nabol –” Myrischka added. “As always, you will tell no one.”
Nabol nodded solemnly as he closed her door without a sound.
Myrischka flipped her mantle up as she sat into a cushioned chair before the crackling fire. She stared into the dancing flames. That fat fool had no idea those birds he sent would fly directly back to her. At least there was that small boon. But he knew of the whole plot now, or some of it, and was planning a war of all things. What an ass. When it had taken her so long to finally get King Hewart to get off his pacifist, cushioned throne to move against Romeny on his own, now? Now? Now Munsolrysche wants to declare war on Ambsellon? Fucking idiot!
Myrischka’s spies riddled Ambsellon, and she had finally placed them as high up as to whisper into King Hewart’s ear the benefits of moving on his own into Romeny. It had taken her nearly two years, but finally her fruits were ripening.
How that damnable message got sent to Munsolrysche, Myrischka could not imagine. That was what came of trusting Ambsellon men, she supposed.
But the Romeny man they planned for this mission was so well-placed, a torturer, what could possibly have gone awry, Myrischka fumed as she glared at the fire, where the remnants of the message lay in ash. She had a network of men in Romeny as well as Ambsellon, though Ghiverny was harder to penetrate.
And finally, just as Romeny would have been taken unawares, with a lack of men, no troops from its Shield, Ambsellon would have sacked Fairview. Taken the Palace, killed the King, and even with luck, his pups.
But her fat fuck of a husband had to find out. How, how, how…. Myrischka racked her brain. Or who? Ambsellon, perhaps? Betrayal? She arched an eyebrow, leaning her chin on her fist, her lips pursed as she considered numerous alternatives. And none seemed plausible.
To have read the original message wrong, backward, in fact. Myrischka sniffed with disgust. That, too, was a small boon.
Wherever, whoever had survived, if either or both of them had, they were waiting here in Ormon, waiting to spring on anyone but the aforementioned designee, the cub. And soon enough, the information they had learned in Romeny would be in her hands, via the cub….