I sat there shocked at Ginette’s revelation, gaping like a fish. I didn’t understand her meaning at all. I shook my head and looked at her with concern.
“What do you mean? Who plans to kill me? Surely you must be joking, if so, well played. Please refrain from that sort of jokes from now on.”
“No, no, Missus! This is no joke! I overheard the Lady an’ the Stranger! He wants ya blood for some nasty purpose! He even called the Lady a witch!”
I shook my head again, in denial. “She is no witch, Ginette. Not a black witch, white witch, nor sorceress. She has no magic, as I have no magic. One does not gain magic through knowledge; it is passed on down family lines.”
“I beg of ya Missus, listen! They’ll be slipping a sleeping draught in ya wine tomorrow night at dinner! Then they’ll drag ya somewhere and gut ya like an oinker!”
I got up and came up to her, prepared to go as far as to smack her to have her stop spewing madness. “Mother would never have me killed. Locked in a tower, fine, but murder? She cannot get over my late father!”
“Missus she said it ‘erself! If ya don’t believe me, ask Sir Aindrias when he comes! He gone told me to tell ya this!”
“Sir Aindrias? Did he too hear of this supposed plot to murder me?”
“Yes Missus, he did he did!”
The door opened and closed, Sir Aindrias coming in. A knight from the Order of the White Stag, the King of Alamer’s personal knight, has been a visitor to Irinis for as long as I can remember. As my father became sickly, Sir Aindrias often acted as a truer father to me. The gray hairs in his tawny beard spoke the many months it had been since I had seen him last.
I opened my mouth to speak and he immediately shook his head.
“Do not speak, Lady Alys. I do not have much time, and I must speak to you. Ginette speaks the truth, your Lady mother has plotted to have you killed. However, I have a plan. Tonight, you will be escaping. I have arranged for you and Ginette to be taken to the Vale. When I leave this room, pack only the essentials. Ginette will bring you a servant’s gown for you to change into.”
He looked to the door. “I must go. They’ll be back in a moment.” He placed down a small wrapped package with a wink before raising his voice. “Happy birthday, Lady Alys, tonight I shall drink to your name.”
I watched, understanding that the guards must have switched out outside my room, as Sir Aindrias left, Ginette following him. Emotions swirled around in my mind. My escape had been arranged without my knowledge? My mother and the Stranger wanted to kill me for some nefarious purpose? Questions swam around and around my mind, so much I felt overwhelming dizziness.