Their plan was so simple that it seemed borderline ridiculous.
Gwen continued to hover near the bedroom door, feeling a touch nervous. A few minutes ago she'd sent Faryl, one of the two knights who had been standing guard by their door, running down the hallways calling for a healer at the top of his lungs. Alwyn would learn of it shortly. If Bryn also had people watching their room, as both of them suspected he did, then it probably wouldn't take long for him to make an appearance as well.
The prospect of seeing her father was both exciting and terrifying.
She briefly wondered how Gavin was making out with his side of things, but refused to allow herself to become anxious about it. There likely wasn't anything to be worried about at this point - the plan was extremely simple, and if things had gone wrong on his end she'd have probably heard about it by now. If things had gone as planned, however, then it was mostly over now anyway.
"Gwenwyn?!" she heard her father call loudly through the door just before he began rapping his knuckles loudly against it. "Daughter? What is the matter? Is everyone okay? I've brought a healer and his assistants - I'd heard that something terrible had happened!"
She rubbed her eyes thoroughly to make it appear she'd been crying, briefly inspecting her work in the reflection of a nearby silver bowl. Then, after giving the lone figure sitting beside the bed a quick nod and a reassuring smile, Gwen slowly opened the door and walked out of the room, her head bowed.
Her father was standing in the hallway, along with a small retinue of scholarly-looking men. Bryn's expression was both alarmed and solemn, practically oozing fatherly concern. If Gwen didn't know her father as well as she did, a part of her might have actually believed that he was worried about her, or cared a little.
Upon seeing her, he appeared the slightest bit relieved, and then began barking orders to those he'd brought with him.
"Quickly, inside! What are you just standing around for?" Bryn said, waving a gesture at the open door. "Something must be wrong with Prince Gavin! Attend him!"
The small group of healers hurried inside, leaving Bryn and Gwen standing in the quiet hallway. The silence between them didn't last long.
"Speak, daughter," Bryn murmured quietly.
"What would you have me say?" she asked coldly, her voice little more than a whisper.
Bryn chuckled. "That's good enough. Well then, the deed is done. You've kissed him. You'll do and say nothing more unless I tell you, Gwenwyn, if you know what's good for you." His instructions were followed by a self-satisfied sneer.
Gwen turned away from him, head still bowed, hoping that she looked morose and defeated. As she had guessed, it didn't take him long to begin gloating.
"Well, in addition to being newly widowed, you're now a queen, daughter!" he said quietly, his voice containing a touch of mocking laughter. "How does it feel? You really should try to enjoy it while it lasts. We'll be attending service tomorrow, you and I, and if the goddess doesn't approve of your actions here today, yours could just be the shortest reign in history."
She continued to stand there, keeping her face as impassive as she could.
"Of course, what you did may not be criminal, and you might continue to receive her blessings. I've got plans for that eventuality as well." He gave her a nasty smile. "Later, once this is all sorted out, I'll be sure to tell you all about what is going to happen if Eirene still considers you fit to be queen. You may prefer banishment, now that I think about it."
As her father was finishing his gloating, a commotion at one end of the hallway attracted his notice, and he hurriedly re-affixed the look of anxious concern to his face.
The bearded form of Gavin's father, Alwyn, was leading a second small group of scholarly-looking people, all walking quickly down the hallway towards the two of them. His face was almost as panicked and worried-looking as Bryn's.
"What's the matter!?" Alwyn called to them from half a hallway away. "I'd heard something had happened . . . someone calling for a healer! I've brought my own personal physician, just in case he might be of some-"
His eyes fell on Gwen, and the old man stopped dead in his tracks.
Keeping a straight face was decidedly difficult just then. Gwen could almost see the exact moment when Alwyn's play-acted guise of confusion became a very real one.
"King Alwyn! I myself have only just arrived," Bryn said, now wearing an expression that had doubtlessly taken him hours of practice in front of a mirror. "I was woken by calls for a healer or mender, and I came to see what the matter was. I fear-"