44. Roshani

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Soraya's armies had not made it in time.

Roshani's forces overwhelmed the city almost immediately, defeating the meager forces that were left behind in its defense. The forces had been small, yet they'd seemed prepared at the same time, as if they'd been expecting the attack.

Roshani felt her triumphant feeling wither at the thought, her mind in turmoil as she mulled over the implications.

The first suspect in any leaked information or spying should, by all accounts be princess Farah. Roshani knew that, logically, in her mind, but she couldn't bring herself to believe it until she had concrete evidence.

She'd instructed Youtab to send spies to watch Farah's every move from now on. Even if Farah had been sending sensitive information to her father, however, Roshani doubted she was stupid enough to continue doing so when there was such suspicion on her. Hopefully, though, the action would find some sort of results proving her suspicions to the contrary.

The members of the royal house of Varaz who remained in the city had been apprehended by Roshani's primary troops and confined to the chambers of Goshtab himself, in the upper wing of the palace.

It was a sort of ironic justice, Roshani thought, that Goshtab's family be imprisoned in his chambers. She smiled with a morbid sort of glee at the thought of his reaction to hearing about all that had happened, and his fatal blunder.

Roshani walked through the palace halls with Youtab and Farah following close behind, a troop of soldiers staying close to guard them as they went. Not that there was anyone to guard them from anymore.

The Varazi troops were either destroyed, fleeing, or prisoners of war, the city's citizens and palace servants completely subdued and under her command. The only ones who had any power against her now were the ones she was walking towards right now, and even they weren't a threat anymore.

Roshani glanced at Farah out of the corner of her eye as they turned corners in the palace halls, ascending towards the high wing. It was her family who was imprisoned there- her family who would have to be executed.

For there really was no other option with them, not like there had been with Farah. No second chances, or opportunities to prove their loyalty. They'd had that chance and still engaged in open rebellion against the throne. Their deaths were inevitable at this point, and Farah had to realize that.

The members of House Varaz who were left had been reported to Roshani as soon as they'd been securely captured. Prince Zohar, Princess Vanda, and Princess Elnaz were the older children of Goshtab himself who had been captured. None of them were of particular import out of Goshtab's dozen children, but all still were powerful names in the empire and would make valuable captives.

Farah's mother, Princess Haida, was reported to have fled the city before Roshani's forces closed in. Farah had kept her face expertly neutral at the breaking of the news, but Roshani knew better than to think that meant she didn't care- there was undoubtedly a hurricane of emotions running through the princess's mind at the moment, and Roshani had no way of knowing what those thoughts were.

There was one captive in particular who was of much more value. Roshani had not believed her luck when the general had incredulously reported to her that Prince Azad, youngest son and heir to Goshtab and all of House Varaz, was amongst her captives.

She would have thought that Azad would have been the first to be sent away at the sign of danger, his importance as crown prince too valuable to risk- it's what she would have done without a second thought had Kasra ever been in danger at the palace. But if reports were correct, Prince Azad had refused to leave behind his mother and the others in his family.

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