Along their journey north, Régan had dictated a dozen letters summoning her closest allies in the Court. Her assistant, Brennan, had been instructed to polish and dispatch them. Upon receiving her father’s message she went directly to the servant’s quarters and ordered a maid to retrieve Brennan.
__He appeared within moments. ‘Come,’ she commanded, and lead him to her rooms.
As they entered, he warned the ladies-in-waiting of the Princess’ volatility with a quick hand gesture. They dropped their smiles and promptly disappeared.
__The Princess stood before a boxed window, chest heaving, waiting impatiently as Brennan ensured the rooms were deserted. He returned and awaited her furore.
__‘I have been compelled to silence.’ The Princess glared through the window. ‘Muzzled.’
__She threw her eyes to the roof. ‘Please. We are not in company.’
__He closed his mouth.
__‘“Exposing delicate matters”…’ She glared at Brennan. ‘A message came: speak, and be executed.’
__Frozen anger ruptured. ‘That tyrant. Of course the public will resist trading with Miggest! Even without the prospect of drought! And as successor am I not entitled to an opinion on such matters? Will I not inherit this disaster—if we are not overthrown?’
__She was vibrating.
__Brennan braced himself.
__‘What manner of barbaric—monstrous—’ she clenched her fists— ‘depraved and empty-hearted dictator—’ her fists released like wings opening, shattering the ornaments of an adjoining shelf— ‘would threaten to publicly murder his own and only child for counselling against so dangerous a treaty?’
__‘One with higher regard for himself above all else, it would seem.’
__The pressure of her fury was relieved. ‘Quite.’
__‘I assume you would like the letters destroyed.’
__‘And the debris tidied.’
__She examined the shards of glass and porcelain. ‘By and by.’
__‘Perhaps a glass of wine.’
__She took a seat in the window box. ‘Two. Then sit, for I desperately need a thinking ear.’