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Dark Lady, 2

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Young Queen Nefasti survives assassination attempts, threats of war and discord from within her own kingdom. But can she avoid marriage?

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    Young Queen Nefasti’s hold on her throne is tenuous. Her powerful neighbor to the west has declared war, and her other neighbors want something in return for their offered aid, such as her hand in marriage and her kingdom. Assassins lurk in the shadows while handsome suitors try to bribe her with gold and jewels. Her best friend and protector is leaving and one of her favorite ladies-in-waiting is threatening to commit suicide. Could anything else go wrong?


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    Dark Days-print

    Dark Days-print

    Young Queen Nefasti survives assassination attempts, threats of war and discord from within her own kingdom. But can she avoid marriage?



    Lady Ignara slowly got to her feet and sat in the chair opposite the queen. “You are most gracious, Your Majesty.”

    Get on with it, Nefasti thought, it is almost time for my dinner. “What can I do for you, Lady Ignara?”

    Ignara peered around the room at the queen’s ladies and large pets. “It is a rather delicate matter, Your Majesty.” Her patterned shadowing on cheeks and brows was almost thick enough to hide her eyes.

    Nefasti smiled reassuringly. “We have no secrets here. Please present your petition. I have a rather busy schedule this afternoon.” Actually, for a change, other than a leisurely hot bath, and a quiet dinner with my ladies, I have nothing planned. It is to be a quiet evening.

    “My apologies, Your Majesty, I will be brief.” Lady Ignara looked almost reluctant. “I have a scroll for you outlining the linage of our family back several generations. We are fourth generation with a link to the Twentieth Dynasty of the Royal House of Vadio.”

    “How interesting.” It isn’t, as there are probably forty others in Grandeur City with the same claim.

    Lady Ignara hurried on. “I have a son, a marvelous youth, extremely clever, who has been involved with my husband’s business since he could walk. He has proven his bravery journeying with two caravans traveling to distant lands beyond Vadio.”

    Nefasti could feel a frown forming. She clenched her jaw.

    “He is most handsome. Everyone knows that there has been much unfortunate pressure on Your Majesty to marry. I wish to put forward his name as a proper suitor for your hand in order to retain the crown within the royal lines of the high kings of Vadio. I have a portrait of him here.” She held out the scroll.

    It took a moment for Nefasti to recover her control and allow her to speak. “That matter is closed. I longer interested in marriage.” As if I ever was. Controlling the trembling anger that threatened to take over her hand, she took the scroll and was about to wave a curt dismissal when Lady Ignara continued.

    “I have also brought you a gift. It is a treasure that has been in our family for generations. It is our desire to have it in your possession as it belonged to one of your illustrious ancestors and is far too valuable to reside in our humble villa.” Lady Ignara held out a small package carefully wrapped in shimmering red silk.

    Nefasti shook her head to refuse, and found the package placed in her free hand. It felt heavy and she had to admit she was curious. “You shouldn’t...”

    “Oh, but I should...” Lady Ignara whispered, leaning forward, a gleaming dagger suddenly appeared in her hand, sliding swiftly out from her sleeve. She lunged at the queen.

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