The Tale of Edgar and Essa
Essa hates being pregnant.
It’s exactly as hard as she thought it would be.
What she’s finding hardest is the being-Dean-at-the-same-time.
And being a Dean that has to negotiate with everything else – the wolf in the dungeon, the princess locked up in a room and the four students who know everything – is near impossible.
“Essa, we need more food,” Echo walks towards her..
“Tell Merlin to get some out of his hat,” she replies impatiently.
“It’s on strike again.”
“How can a hat be on strike?”
“I don’t know, but somehow it manages.”
Essa laughs. “Ask a nymph.”
“They don’t know where to get anything.”
“She told me to ask you.”
Essa hates the petty little problems that keep popping up wherever she looks. “Just sort it, okay? I’m pregnant. I can’t be expected to do anything.”
“You need to stop using that as an excuse.”
“It’s not working?”
Echo casually gives her the finger, but walks off, sighing. “Fine,” she calls over her shoulder.
Bette walks into the dining hall the next morning for breakfast – or, to be more specific, to serve breakfast. “What are we waiting for?” Rhian snaps.
She murmurs an apology and serves the toast, glancing around the table. Lady Anastacia and her parents; King Rhian and Queen Sophie; Lord Rowan. Rowan winks at her, and she smothers a giggle. As they eat, she begins to notice their tells – Lady Irene’s left eye twitches whenever Rhian makes a comment about their kingdom; Lord Mortimer immediately steers the conversation away from the topic, preferring to talk about Camelot; and Lady Anastacia keeps pressing a hand to her head, as if sick. Bette doesn’t know if it means anything, but Rhian seems to be noticing it too.
“Anastacia, why don’t you go to your room?” he suggests delicately.
She just nods and walks up to her room.
Anastacia sinks to her bed, her head pounding.
She hears a noise from under her bed, and jumps up, ignoring the pain in her head. “Who’s there?”
A little girl,no older than seven, crawls out from under the bed. She executes a shaky curtsey. “Milady… I’m sorry.”
Anastacia nods. “Yes, but what is your name?”
“I’m Tilly, milady. Matilda.”
“What were you doing under the bed?”
“Bette told me not to get found,” she says, in her plaintive, seven-year-old way.
“Oh, honey, tell me.” She pats the couch next to her.
“Bette says that I’m not allowed to be here. She says that I’m supposed to stay out of sight.”
Anastacia studies her. “And Bette is your…?”
“Sweetie, could you tell her to see me?”
Tilly nods and scurries away. Anastacia likes to think that she is at least a bit reassured.
A few minutes later, her sister walks in. “Please, please don’t tell anyone about Tilly. I don’t know where to put her -”
Anastacia smirks at her. “Oh, honey, I’m not going to tell anyone. Honestly, who do you think I am?”
Bette smiles and bobs a curtsey, trying to leave the room quickly, but Anastacia stops her. “You need to get your sister out.”
“What do you mean?”
“She’s not allowed to be here, and you’ll find that not everyone is as forgiving as I am.”
“You’re talking about Rhian.”
“There is nowhere she can go.”
“Anywhere is safer than here.”
“How do you know that?”
Her head whips around as she hears something. “Never mind. Leave now, before anything else happens.”
Bette nods, her eyes alight with curiosity as she leaves the room.
The man is woken up early in the morning by soldiers pulling him out of his bed. He frantically runs through any causes for this in his mind. He can think of plenty of reasons for the arrest, but why not his wife, or her children?
All of the things that he could possibly be arrested for, he shares the blame with others. Perhaps those others are being arrested right now.
He tries to pull his arm away, but the soldiers are strong, and they do not move. “Stop struggling,” one of them snaps. He immediately stops. He knows what the soldiers can do to him if he does not comply.
He is taken through the back streets towards the castle, his mind still frantically thinking. Why would they take him to the castle and not to the prison?
The soldiers pull him in through a back door, up the stairs, through a corridor, through a finely decorated room and into a stone room. What am I doing here? he thinks.
Comment any theories on who this man is below!
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