January 21-22, 1027 YD
Régan was escorted on foot from the docks through a maze of alleys, tunnels, and corridors. Carriages and horses were in short supply, for the Custodin was dispatching his resources north to evacuate the people and granary stores ahead of the blaze. The vicious wind had carried the smoke even to the city, and the warriors amassing in Offenure Plás wore coverings over their mouths.
When the Princess arrived in the castle, she was briefly acknowledged by her father before being passed over for Lord Carrick, whom Màtac deemed more useful in such a crisis. High Priest Alsandul noticed Régan’s indignation and quickly found her side.
__‘Let it pass,’ he murmured, placing a hand on her shoulder and walking her toward the Great Hall’s magnificent windows. ‘He has cut down the High Commander this morning, and banished your mother to her rooms. Be wise and observe carefully his faults. Consider what your own movements would be—and bide, Your Highness.’ On the last he squeezed her arm with gentle force to ensure his words were marked.
__Régan conceded. She noted the Custodin’s emphasis on preserving the grain, and the unspoken outrage this germinated in those present; in his short temper, and how this tightened the lips of those best suited to give advice; and how the urgency of the situation was given inadequate focus, diminished by the ignorant with louder voices.
__Employing her residual seasickness to keep quiet her tongue, Régan quit the hall after several hours of such observations, taking solace in Alsandul’s praise—expressed in a small rub of her back. The sun had now fallen and rest would best prepare her for the following day.
Yet no rest could have girded her against what would unfold.
The day burst into being with marching footsteps, a series of thumps against her chamber door, and Alsandul letting himself into her rooms without awaiting invitation.
__‘Rise, Your Majesty!’ He stormed toward her shutters, splitting them to admit the piercing dawn. ‘Brennan has been seized.’ He collected a cloak from a stand as he came to her bed, checked discreetly that she was garmented, and passed it to her as he drew back the covers. ‘He is being taken to the Great Hall, and may be there now—a maid discovered him this morning with the Charge of Darkness, on the Northern Tower. He will be charged with High Treason.’
__Régan uncoiled from her pillows, drew the cloak over her bedclothes, and tamed her mane of hair into a brass clasp. ‘What was he doing on the Northern Tower?’ She made for the hall, Alsandul at her arm, ‘And which maid discovered him?’
This was not the expected response. ‘Régan, he was found reading the Charge of Darkness.’
__She did not stop as he did, answering with: ‘Isn’t that a private matter?’
__When she saw he had halted, she also paused.
__‘No. It is not.’
__She met the High Priest’s eye momentarily, then continued on. ‘I don’t care if he was reading my father’s own journal. I would like to know which maid discovered him, and why she was also on the Northern Tower.’
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