Chapter 8

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Lyn sat on the cot, an open letter in her hand. It was no ordinary letter; it was a proclamation sent out by the King. Lyn wiped her nose and tear-stained face. She looked over to Ezra beside her, tears spilling over once again.  Their lives were going to change. Even more sad to her, she knew Ezra's would change for good. He would never know what it was like to live inside the palace; she just knew it. Felt a knowing pange in her gut as her worst fears became a realization before her. 

And she still had to tell Callum.

...Should she tell Callum? Lyn ran her arms up and down her sleeves, considering this. Yes, it would be absurd not to.

No...I can't bear his reaction right now. I couldn't handle it.

She stuffed the letter deep under the mattress. She believed it to be what was best, for now. Lyn sighed and held her face, rubbing her forehead. She figured she should prepare extra provisions for need of possible escape. They may not be welcome in the palace much longer.

Lyn was assigned as head mistress of the west corridor. It was an easy and fitting job, she found. She had always had a knack for organization, so she worked with the maids to plan the best working schedule between them. The corridor was always kept neat and tidy under her. She didn't worry much about Ezra, as other kind servants promised to watch him. She found her new title esteeming, and even liberating. She couldn't help standing a little bit taller. She told Callum about her promotion, and his chest filled with pride for his wife. His wife.

As she walked through the hall, mindlessly taking in the now familiarity of it's decorum, something appeared quite less familiar. A figure leapt from behind the tapestry, seizing her by the throat. Before she could make sense of it, the hooded man dragged her into a dark corridor, holding a knife to her throat. She gasped, trying to remain calm.

"Who are you...?" She managed to choke out. She tried to slow her breathing as the cold steel of a knife pressed against her throat.

"Shut up!" He whispered forcefully. "I will do the talking." She felt his hot breath against the back of her neck. It made her cringe.

"One bit of noise from you and I'll slit your throat. It doesn't make a difference to me...got it?" He tightened the knife against her. Lyn bit her lip and nodded, holding back her cries. 

"You're helping to choose a new Queen, right? Right...?" 

Lyn nodded quickly, eyes shut tight.

"You're going to do exactly as I say." He held his body close to hers. "Come on- augghh!"

Lyn shrieked and broke from his grasp, distancing herself from him quickly. She saw a guard had arrived, holding his drawn sword. The hooded stranger lay on the floor, out cold. The guard had hit him with the helm of his sword. Lyn exhaled as tears streamed down her face.

"I noticed you weren't in your usual place at this hour, and knew something was wrong." The guard explained.

Lyn realized the King had dispatched guards to watch over her. She was glad in that moment he had. 

"Men, take him down below for questioning." Guards came rushing in, heaved his limp body and carried him to the dank dungeon corridors. Lyn, shaking, just wanted to find Callum.

"Mistress," a guard stood before her. "King Markson would like an audience with you in his chambers."

"The King's chambers...how unusually informal..." She speculated, wringing her hands.

"He is not well right now. He is waiting."

"Okay," Lyn spoke hesitantly. Her expression was grave. She knew what was to follow may not be the best news.

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