Miserable Travel

"Please, Caresse, take it away." Margot requested, miserably. "I will not take something that makes me ill when I am already distressed.

"Poppy. Princess." Desrianne returned, "You must keep up your remedies if you and the Lord are to continue to … share accommodations."

"That is the least of my concerns at the moment, Desrianne. I tell you I will not drink the tea. Even the scent of it makes me want to empty what little contents I have in my stomach." She was trying not to be terse, trying to be well-behaved and kind; but whatever changes had occurred in their route had begun to take its toll on all aspects of her being.

"Some mulled wine please… and a few biscuits. Nothing more."

By now, her complexion had turned the ashen color of someone suffering from a terrible flu and her energy waned. She did not wish to be a burden to anyone, so, she kept her needs quietly to herself. That was, until Rory or Desrianne had appeared without summons. How they knew she was in need, she had yet to figure out; but she had hardly needed to think of calling for them and they had arrived, already well stocked with what may soothe her misery.

Margot could do little more than rest in her bed with her beloved Qur snuggled closely. From time to time, she would pick up her book and read a few pages aloud before her vision would cross and vertigo would swirl her stomach in a terrible fashion. Only when her body started to ache did she rise from her bed to glance out the portal, hoping that the watery existence just beyond the membrane would provide some solace; but alas, it only seemed to stir her illness further.

Soon, Margot was refusing food and drink. Both Desrianne and Rory each had their own way of persuading her to relent, but not without tremendous effort. She continued to refuse her prophylactic tea; the thought of swallowing something that already made her ill when she was ill caused an automatic gag-reflex.

A tap comes to the door, before Dara shows herself in to look upon the mess, the state her suppose Mistress is in. "How are you feeling, Milady?"

"I have been in better health," Margot replied, turning away from the portal, her arms wrapping her torso. "But, it is not unbearable." She attempted to put forth a strong outward appearance; moving once more to the Captain's desk to look at her book despite the fact that the written word severely impacted her vertigo and motion sickness.

"How fares the world beyond my comforts?" she asked. "Will travels continue to be … disagreeable?"

"Not with your help, perhaps," is the reply. "In this place we're soon to be, your Pattern may in fact help."

Walking over, Dara starts to inspect any of Margot's bare flesh looking for signs of form breakdown.

"Where we're going is much like your mother's Veil back home; a border, a trap. But you may have some control over it due to your birthright."

Margot allowed Dara to examine her, uncertain what the woman was looking for but willing to comply for the moment. "What is this trap and how would I be able to assist?" The question formed did not suggest that the young woman would not comply, merely she was uncertain what she could do to ease their travels; something she most certainly desired at this point.

"A dead place, stagnation to all forms of movement and energies."

"What are you looking for?" Margot asked as Dara's fingers ran along her skin.

"For signs of disruption, of flesh going pandemonium." Dara answers. "Any of its forms would no doubt prove fatal to you."

Seeing Margot still doesn't know what she is talking about, Dara explains further. "Its like your cancer, when we push our bodies too far. The cells go wild, becoming in-effect bits of raw chaos that soon try to consume anything near." She nods to whatever dark thoughts Margot is thinking. "Yes, its very messy, and very dangerous."

"But… how? Does that mean that I have the capacity to master these cells? Control them and change my form as you or Kendall do?" Margot was surprised, frightened, but mostly intrigued by the dark thought of her own body taking on a mind of its own.

"Without doubt, you are of the Blood." Dara councils. "Its my belief that your living in Amber just dampened the ability. Once in Chaos with some treatments, you should regain that gift."

"I suppose, there is benefit to my time in Amber being so brief… " Margot mused softly. "What would these treatments entail?"

"Pain," Dara says with a smile, as she fluffs up a pillow.

Margot laughed, the display quite natural and unintended, "Dara, I suspect everything that involves what you will teach me involves pain in one form or another." She moved to look out at the water beyond the portal, "Could you be more specific."

"Agonizing pain," Dara replies. "Of the worst kind, yet isn't always the way for birth?"

"Birth?" Margot repeated, "I suppose… but, that is yet an experience for me to speak to first hand…" she turned to regard the other woman, "And these treatments, they will begin once we arrive at our final destination?"

"I would think a rebirth would be what you're seeking, being so unhappy now." Dara says. "As to the therapy, best we wait for Chanicut's healers to give you a once over before we set a Cycle. It could be, we need to wait or undergo some training first. Rushing in to this isn't something I would advise."

"I am hardly intimidated or discouraged by the opportunity," Margot explained, "I merely did not understand your choice of words. I will require a physical to determine if I am healthy enough to experience this transformational training?"

"Yes, I would think if we are dealing with Chanicut. For Hendrake, we would merely pump you full of whatever and see if you could survive. But in either case, it will be very painful as they awake each of your cells to their new heritage."

Margot blinked a couple of times, returning her attention to Dara and abandoning the calm of the sea. "Pump me full of whatever and see if I could survive?!" she asked, "What exactly constitutes 'whatever'? How does this awakening occur?" Perhaps it was morbid fascination, but Margot was keenly interested in the whole process, from start to finish. "How does one stimulate dormant characteristics at the cellular level?"

"Yes, its the Hendrake's way… the strong will survive, the weak." She shrugs, uncaring. "As to what compounds would be used, tis up to those more experienced then I. As to the rest, I find myself unwilling to grant such knowledge knowing likely you let your passions take control and you end up harming yourself."

She raises a brow to the look on Margot's face. "We both know you would take all I know, and attempt it just because of him. But there are some things, you need to be careful with and this is one of them. We could do real harm to your body that you could never recover from."

"I assure you, Dara… despite what you may believe, I'm not going to do anything irresponsible… especially if it's going to be life threatening. Of course I want to awaken this gift… of the Blood."

"Milady, not to be disrespectful but to say I'm not going to do anything irresponsible. Those are the words of the Young, even I once used them before I did terrible wrong just a few Cycles older then you. All the answers, all the outrage, and the arrogance of the untested. I did something horrible, that even Hendrake, a House famed for its bloodshed… was appalled by."

She reaches into her multiple colored robes, to pull out a box with a achromatic serpent upon its top. Showing Margot the seal, before saying. "All you need is in this box, which I will leave in your care. Pandora do I name, the box, and you. Lets hope, you do better then she…"

"I appreciate that you are cautious, Dara." Margot answered with sincerity. "But, please know that I seek practical application of this Art, not something to add interest to the bedchambers. For example, I have been wounded a number of times on this journey; Kendall has healed me each time. Would I not benefit from that knowledge and ultimately that independence?"

"He merely sped up your healing," Dara corrects. "I've fought your family for many years, and well-aware of your mending rates."

The Princess accepted the box, wary. "Why give me this if, like the myth of Pandora, it is not to be opened? If it is something needed, then why lock it away? What contents are hidden beneath the seal?"

"Questions only for you to answer. You asked that I trust your judgement, that you won't do anything that would endanger your life. So there is my mark, the line, for once in Chaos so many others will be offering more. I do, wish to trust you but in Hendrake we do not give a Maiden a army simply because she thinks she's ready to lead. You do not need to earn my trust, merely justify it, Margot. For once in the Courts, we will be at war… you and I, so I need to know you will listen to me when I tell you _no_t to do something."

"Very well." Margot replied simply. Moving to where one of her trunks with her garments had been stored, she unlocked it and inside one of the secret panels for gems and other items that should remain hidden, she placed the box and locked it in. Locking the trunk, she set the keys in the Captain's desk for the time being. "Tell me more of how I may be of service to … shorten our travels." She did not like feeling ill, she did not like having games played about her. The sooner to Chaos, the sooner to see what dastardly prizes await her beneath the seal.

"Lord Kendall and I agreed that there was a chance that by using your admirable skills in Pattern, you could do a shadow walk and bring us to the Black Zone much sooner." Dara studies the younger woman's features, gauging her mistress's distastes. "But most of these decisions I must leave in your hands, Milady. You are our resident expert on Pattern use…"

Margot laughed. Dara's comment struck her with tremendous amusement and for the briefest of moments, she had forgotten how ill she had been. "Expert?! Surely you use that term loosely and with a hint of irony attached to it. You, Sister, are far more versed in the ways of the Pattern; I simply have its power rushing through my veins."

"I could read a thousand books, spend years talking to your family, and the Mad Priest… and never would I equal, to the words you just used. The Pattern, as much as I learned, is a creature of Heart unlike the Logrus. If you believe, then its possible. If you desire, even more so. You are our expect, because you have walked it and survived. Even Lord Kendall, is a bit awed by that…"

The young princess took the warrior's words to heart. "And that is how it is… the power of belief and will…" That explained much to her; even as she still felt helpless in offering the ship assistance. Nodding slowly, "Thank you for that insight," she stated, a contemplative expression on her face. It took a few moments, as Margot moved to where her carafe of wine waited, filling a glass for she and her guest. She offered the goblet to Dara, "Why do you say that? The statement that Kendall is awed… what have you observed to indicate such things?"

"Because he would be a fool if he wasn't… and House Chanicut has little tolerances for fools."

Waving off the offer, Dara goes on. "You traversed something so alien and deadly to we of the Courts," She merely shrugs. "As I said, a fool if he wasn't."

"I see…" Margot frowned, finding it odd that people would find her intimidating. "Until I am called upon, speak to me of courtly behaviors that need mastering. I would request a spar, but I do not know that I am up to the challenge, no matter how light the exertion."

"Milady, if you have no faith in yourself… how can you ask others?" Dara shares, her eyes going to the vent over the offering. "As to your spar, choose anyone you wish but I would advise to wait till we're further off the Road. Then you should feeling better, since I or Lord Kendall have the desire to travel by Pattern till you feel at your best."

"Of course, thank you." Margot would have been happy to spar with Dara, but the travel illness was taking its toll and she could feel her endurance waning. "What sorts of things do I need to note once we are in the courts? For example, you had dressed me in the style similar to Hendrake without offending the House. What are other … nuances that I should familiarize myself with so that subtle messages or alliances are not lost upon me?"

"The Courts are vast, so we should narrow down your objectives first." Dara advises. "House Chanicut, for you are their guest. Hendrake prehaps, for you could find no stronger ally. Certainly more help, some consultants from the more neutral minor Houses." Giving Margot the look-over, she adds. "But you do not have the necessary confidence to wear Hendrake at this time, later prehaps but not right now. Neither do I think, you wish to show so much naked flesh till your relationship with Lord Kendall is better… defined."

"My current wardrobe, based upon your critical eye, is unacceptable," Margot observed, recalling how Dara fretted and redesigned one of her gowns to make it 'passable'. "Is there something more appropriate that would find balance between proper and provocative? Enough to garner both respect and recollection?"

"Since our first field will be in Chanicut, we can work with what we have here. But with Chanicut being a very conservative house, we should keep a few of your things unaltered to amused. But once with their modiste, we can work on finding your own style. Lord Kendall's older brother for one, will need his eyes open to your desirable if you wish to get beyond Lord Kendall's detachment. For nothing fuel one's cravings more then having another sibling desiring the same."

Margot frowned as she contemplated what Dara stated, "Why would his brother - a name I know not - find interest in me? Or… would it be a simple matter of … the temptation of removing that which belongs to his younger brother?" She was not fond of games; and had never dared play any to manipulate Kendall's affections. Yet, regardless of her desires, it was possible that she may be trapped between a sibling rivalry; and this was not something she had considered or anticipated. "Tell me of his older brother."

"His eldest is a hound, like all men. But I would allow him to sniff if that's his desire. As elder, his position is more secure and so more helpful to our plans. WIthout a doubt, he is better then your Kendall in every way and would make a much more desirable lover if it wasn't for your true feelings. So if you wish to call it a dance, " With a nod, she acknowledges Margot's feelings. "Then it is, but it doesn't lessen any of the steps or motions. If you wish better for him, then you must decide ally or foe of his brother and sister."

"Of course I wish for Kendall's benefit." Margot replied, barely restraining her temper. "Aside from his brother's hungers for flesh, what else is there for me to know about him? Strengths, weaknesses, position, opinion in the Courts…"

"Flesh… only if it was that easy." Dara sighs. "Never blind yourself, even if you think you know the facts. His brother could just wish the time, with you, which denies his brother the same. But don't heck like a old hen, for both of you are young so copulation is expected. But of the rest, he is a more polish form of your dear sweet Kendall. He knows his mind better, his desisions come quicker, and even more dangerous. As for opinions, it mirrors his father's till you show up. Beyond that, who knows… but he will take his eye and afix it to your gown till he figures out what you and his brother are up to. Its always possible, Kendall could overcome him and take the role of heir-apparent."

"Under what circumstance would such a fate occur?" Margot asked, intrigued. She thought for a moment, "I'm afraid I do not even know his brother's name."

"Only if Kendall proved himself to be the better choice. House Chanicut has always about the cream rising to the top, even more then we of Hendrake. And posions and daggers in the night are for the imcompetent, like our dear Countess. In this, you need to be even better then your mother. Its not about likes or dislikes, or schoolgirl's desires or some sort of happy ending. His brother will look at you as a tool, trying to find where you fit or what use Kendall has decided on. Like a key, he will do his upmost to fit you into different locks till you click. But you could be a posion key, or false, or true to his beastly desires. Its not what's best, or what's true, its about what you need to do before you can take the next step."

"What is his name, this… heir-apparent to House Chanicut?"

"Cedric, if it really matters right now. We could have easily called him that other handsome guy." Dara replies. "Add to that, his sister Diona who loves her little brother more than she should. Cedric may want to play with his brother's toys, but Diona will break you beyond repair if you dare step into her spot." She smiles, enjoying thoughts of conflict.

"As for the father, he's careful and will lay out a countless number of hoops for you to jump thru. Kendall's mother, she sees even more and says even less. Her, I always liked… not that it will gain us any favor. She, if you prove your bloodline is a plus, then all your dreams with Kendall will come true." Then with a shrug, adds. "But if you prove to be lacking, or annoying, motherly claws will sink so deep I doubt even I will be able to keep you alive pass a Cycle."

"Then it seems like we have a good deal of work ahead of us." Margot stated, with a simple resolve that spoke of an earnest desire to embrace the challenge. It was simple; if she was to have all that she desired, she would have to prove her value to the Matriarch… of course, while not offending the beloved sister and while keeping the Heir-apparent interested; all while charming the Patriarch and following rules documented and protocols ingrained in the Chanicut Way.

"Tis a three way lock, the father, mother, and either brother or sister. Turn each the right way, and there is nothing that you could not gain. Fail with a single one, dear sweet Kendall could ever be beyond your heart. Those are the stakes we are playing for, Love or Death…"

"It will be worth it…" Margot said, mostly to herself, resolve setting in. "Teach me the ways of respect and honor, as one would address Lord and Lady of a major house. I want to know all the social nuances, from posture to eye contact to body language. What knowledge of their history and the history of Chaos as a whole must I know so well as I should know it by heart. To whom are their allies and enemies; and what of their histories… I will absorb it all, but we have little time to waste." She turned, meeting Dara's gaze with a renewed conviction. "What are the aspects, the characteristics, that are praised versus those that are dismissed."

"I can do that, but it will be as a equal and not as a supplicate." Dara meeting Margot's stare. "As a Hendrake's War Maiden, it was the only role I could play. For you, it would never fit because you do not yet have the hunger for battle. That was why I had hope you and Diona first meeting would have gone better. She knows the Ways of the Serpert's Tail better, how to flow around the opposition and crush out agreement. The task she was chosen for before she was even conceived, so never think just because you're an Amber Princess you are her equal or better."

She gives Margot a grin. "But never mourn the fallen, as my sisters say. So first we need to get Lord Kendall to start with the information I did not learn, or cared to remember. But you could teach your pet to response to mere words, which doesn't do us any good besides to entertain. As they say in your Earth… a monkey in a tux, is still just a monkey in a tux." She bows her head just a bit in respect. "So you need to focus more, not on just the act but the reasons behind them."

"As my Lady in Waiting, it is your role to see me prepared." Margot returned, unwavering, "But, in these private moments of tutelage, you are Sister and equal… beyond that, you are wise and knowledgeable. Understand, however, that for all the rest of Chaos and any other who cares to take note, your role is your role."

Margot let the words sink in, "I, too, would have preferred the first encounter with the Lady Diona to have been far less… distressed. Nevertheless, what's done is done and there is nothing to erase it." She watched the Hellmaiden carefully, "I have never assumed that I was Diona's equal or better. I am fully aware that Amber is little more than a hamlet; born on the backs of dissidents. I highly doubt that my visit will be seen as the return of a lost daughter of Chaos."

The princess rose, filling a glass with wine in hopes that the elixir would settle her roiling stomach. "Surely there is more than enough that you are aware of that you may instruct me in before we bother Kendall with queries and quests."

"With Thelbane, I could… those are shared customs for all the Houses." Dara explains. "But with Chanicut, I would still explain things as a Hendrake. Even outdated, in the more personal aspects about varies members. But my real fear, is to share too much which may distress you with their details or causing a opinion that becomes counter to what's best. If I told you of Hendrake, filled your cup to its brim, you would end up hating us without a doubt. For we're a house of conflict, and will apologizes to none but Lord Serpent. But Chanicut is a house of words, yet still their halls are just as bloodstained as ours."

Getting to her feet, Dara walks to a window with that slow stride that lets her take a moment to examine each of the things in her path.

""And to the problem, you may mix things up like the youngers of our own Houses. You be surprised how often it happens in Thelbane, with varies matters. I'm sure Lord Kendall has his own stories, when he first appeared with his Uncle at the Royal Courts. We send our young there just for that reason, since any mistake there is usually forgotten after a dozen Cycles. In your House, as surely you know, family rarely forgets your mistakes."

She pauses in mid-step, to pivot back to look upon her mistress.

"How do you wish others to see you?" Dara asks. "Once in the Black Zone, you be the Lady of the Manor… Having just arrived to your court, want do I see?"

Dara pauses, wondering a bit if she hasn't pushed this young amberite too far. Yet matters will only get worst as they get closer to the Courts, so she adds to counter any hostility

"Margot, in the end if you only wish to be fat, happy and pregnant with Kendall's children… I will support you as much as I can. As sisters, and women, never would I cast scorn upon motherhood. But we, you and I, your mother and many of your aunts… are made for greater things. Even if being the Queen of Chaos holds no call for you, there's always the possibility of being at his side when Kendall secures the leadership of Chanicut. Both, if you can believe it, hold about the same level of power in the Courts."

Margot was drawn out of her own thoughts, uncertain of what in fact she did wish to project. "I was not reared for greatness. I was reared to be managed." she admits at last, the sadness of innocence lost flavoring her voice. "That does not mean I cannot or will not change; I… just do not how to proceed. What do I want the courts to see? A noblewoman worthy of Kendall's companionship; but more… I want people to see someone who will represent House Barriman with pride, dignity, strength, and honor. With the exception of my uncle, I do not know if any other exists and I will not have his actions slander and destroy that which once was."

"You may be surprised, but being managed isn't held in contempt upon in certain Houses… and is prefered when dealing with the Royal Court. Chanicut being one, as you see in Lord Kendall… he was raised much as you. Managed, so to speak by his mother. But one can have pride, dignity, strength of will, and even honor, and still be managable if one values all those. As to your Uncle, till he presences himself at Thelbane, before the Royal Throne…. his averments mean nothing till that moment, even if he claimed he was the royal bath sponge of House Beriman. That was something we never shared wtih your grandfather, aunt, and Brand. He only found out about if after a whore fell in love with him, and betrayed the Courts."

"I do value the traits named, and a compassionate heart is … I suppose a gift or a curse, depending upon how one looks at it." Margot sighed, not out of desperation, but simply out of malaise. The ride along the Black Road was having its toll on her. "Where do I begin?" she asked Dara, the expectation that lessons of some fashion would begin post haste.

Dara listens, letting none of her inner thinking surface besides a minor nip of her lips as she waits till her Mistress is finish. Once done, she raises a brow to ask. "We begin when you make that decision. Because unless you let those become your wings, its best we just strip you bare now and let you run around naked. For you must realize, everything thing you wear will give any keen eye a statement. To your moods, objectives, even hopes… tis another level of the game. And don't start shaking your head, for we all play games even when we think we aren't. "

Then Dara stops, to listen to something Margot can't hear. "We could start with what I know best, but I can't see you dressed as a Hendrake. For we take a room's attention by force, letting none but a few stray. But your eyes are only for him, his flesh, his touch.. never a inch of flesh for another Lord. That would mark you, and we could use it. Yet that won't get us closer to the other goal, for none would support Kendall to assume control of Beriman. None, not even his own House…"

With those words hanging, its surprising to see Dara move so quick.. like a cat, she jumps up on a chair to dive head long into a vent. The flowery vines that act as a grate snap under the force as screams and curses are heard as Dara fights with something within before kicking herself out and pulling out a dirty, bloodied child, half-naked and the same Margot saw above on the deck.

Throwing the thin girl upon the floor, Dara says with a smile. "But a Tinor, a child like she, she might be the right choice for you."

The child hisses at Morgot watching her, then gives a low growl to Dara in warning… her fingers now claws, looking for escape.

"A Tinor let their child be so, so their passions when older are more controlled yet higher then yours or mine." Dara explains, using a foot to kick over the bowl of blood and bone. "Nasty little creatures if you ask me, but she still have the fashion sense of a Tinor which could become useful to us."

With a sniff like a wild animal, the girl-beast goes about giving the dish a cautious lick before sinking her fangs into the meat to rip off mouth-fulls and chew with a look of joy that doubtful even a night of sex with Kendall would produce on Margot's own face.

"Uncaring fashion, wild and unreadable, is perhaps what we need."

Margot observes with neutrality; mostly to hide her utter dismay and disgust at the beast and her behavior. “So… we work to mold the exterior before concerning ourselves with knowledge, strategy, and understanding these ‘cues’ you keep referring to.” There was no accusation in her voice; merely reciting what she heard back to Dara to confirm she had managed to understand what the woman was suggesting.

“That seems like the easier and less arduous task. I would think we would worry more about avoiding faux pas and insults in the Courts than what garments I wear or what fashions I favor.” Another observation expressed as the princess watched with morbid curiosity the filthy child relishing the raw meat.

“Mysterious. Sensual. Lush, free; even going so far as licentious and untamed… these are aspects of dress I can appreciate for their … value and assets. But, I will not look like some … ragamuffin that was plucked off the back alleys of some impoverished land.” Margot intoned, “I will be the first to admit that my gowns are … modest to say the least. It is the fashion that I was expected to wear. I am more than happy to consider a new style; but not at the loss of dignity or respect.”

Dara doesn't aim a kick at the child, but her eyes say she wish she could. "On the day you picked-up a sword, I doubt you expected to defeat your teacher. so while I can give you the basics, without anyone to practice on it could take years before you even have a tenth of the skill Kendall did when he was in his teens. I am Hendrake, so that's how I would react even if I was trying to act like a Chanicut or Tinor. We are of our Houses, all of us. So stop trying to be us, and be yourself… be House Beriman even if you don't yet know what that means. Then outside of the most outrageous faux pas or insults, it simply be the Beriman way."

The Hendrake amazon pauses her, to palm a dagger as she moves slowly for a better angle on the hissing child.

"And once trained better, the child's color sense will be invaluable to us while we pick the designs. Add to that, I believe you have assumed a misconception with the Courts. Each House has its own style, even in fashion, so if you wish to appear ragamuffin… who in the Courts tell you its not the fashion tradition of House Beriman?"

A hint of amusement touched Margot's lips. "Be myself and that will become the Barimen way." She found the irony of the statement magnificent. "I do not wish to become Hendrake or Tinor or Chanicut; I want to _understand_ protocols and social norms. I am more than happy to be myself - but, truly - do you believe a soft-hearted, compassionate princess will last a heartbeat in your Chaos?" Her eyes moved to the beastly child gnawing on the gift of blood. "Do you think she would welcome my nurturing ways, as the children of Amber's castle did?" The smile remained, but there was a steely tenacity, resilience, in her eyes. "I will be true to myself… but I need to understand the rules. That was one failing that I suffered already and I am not prepared to suffer it again."

"Sweet child, there are no real rules in Chaos…. only understanding and agreement."

Margot moved to pour herself some more of the wine, hoping it would eliminate the dry mouth and churning in her stomach. "As for fashion, I've always been fond of diaphanous fabrics and bare shoulders an neck. It was far too risque in the shadow I grew up in, but the Grecian Gods that were captured wore the most gorgeous folds of fabric… sumptuous and sensual, teasing the eyes at what awaited to be unwrapped beneath the layers while maintaining one's modesty."

"Then draw them out, for once in Chanicut, we will have a army of dressmakers to assemble your closet." And testing the edge of her knife, Dara adds. "And by then, we have this rat cleaned-up and house-trained so she isn't trying to eat your face ever time you try to sleep."

An arched brow turns toward the feral child once more. "Indeed." She paused a moment, sipping at her wine. "I will do just that… designing the gowns of my preference. I would conjure images, as I did with my Fae blood once before; but I fear that will cause more harm than good now that I am marked by the Pattern."

Another sip allows Margot a chance to think. "Understanding and agreement?" She sighed, "Ah, yes. That was how things were to be when I arrived in Amber. Freedom of will; except, that was an untruth and I was severely punished for my innocence. And that was at the Queen's blessing and then the Queen's hand to deliver the … gift of incentive and learning …" there was a cool bitterness as she spoke the words. "As I am without family, it seems natural and logical to believe that such … leniency … will not be granted a Stranger in a Strange Land."

Steps from the top of the stairway herald another arrival, preceding the younger Chanicut Lord, who walks around and around the spiral stairs. He looks over the railing to take in the current tableau, but waits until he reaches the bottom before nodding to acknowledge both Dara and the princess.

Back to the list of Kendall's threads.
Dear Princess: A Favor

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