Thursday, August 30, 2012


Moira shivered and hugged her arms against her chest.  The dampness of the alley seemed to seep into every  pore in her body and she checked her watch again.

They were only five minutes late, but it felt like hours that she'd been standing there. Every second was closer to discovery.

A change in the light caught her eye.  Looking up, she watched a single figure cut through the fog and approach the entrance to the alley.  She was alone, but Moira knew she wasn't really.  There would be guards no one could see.

Moira bowed as low as she could. "Madam Archilada."  She kept her eyes lowered. Madam Archilada's ties to the royalty were strong and her power was great.

Madam snapped, "Get up, I don't have all night, girl.  Did Mother Elizabeth explain what is expected of you?"

"Yes, ma'am.  We're to go into the forest, but I'm to raise the queen's child as my own."

Madam looked into the girl's face, searching for something. Finally, she snapped her fingers above her head.  A guard rushed forward out of the mist, placing the bundle from his arms into Moira's.

Moira parted the blanket to look down at the naked babe.  She looked up in surprise.  "But, it's a boy!  I don't understand...  I thought the King was waiting for a son."

"It isn't the King's son."


"Look at him in the morning light and you'll see.  What do you think would happen to the child... and the queen... if the King knew this?"  Madam's eyes narrowed.  "Leave at once.  I expect to never see your face here again."

"Yes, ma'am."  Moira curtsied and backed away toward the other end of the alley.  She looked back once to see Madam and the guard shrouded in mist as they disappeared toward the castle.  A dark form melted from the shadows to walk in step with her.

"Did you get the package?" the figure asked in a low voice.

"It's a baby, Jeffrey.  Not a package." Moira ran a finger along the child's cheek with tenderness.  "A sweet innocent baby."

A warning came into the man's voice.  "He's a pawn, Moira, not a child.  Don't get too attached."

Moira narrowed her eyes.  "You can tell the Duke I have his son and he will have his precious war."

"See to it that he does, Moira."  Jeffrey's voice softened.  "We're counting on you."

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