Betrayal is a bitter pill
|The Lonely Tower
Victoria surveyed the darkened countryside from her lofty terrace, wondering how it had come to this. She was Queen of a ruined land, married to a man she despised. Her father, the Duke of Nellium, knew that only a marriage of houses would spare their people from war and he was probably right. But the King was a cruel man, vicious and cunning, acquiring the throne through betrayal. For him, their vow was a mere business transaction meant only to solidify his power. So, from her lonely tower, she reminisced over better days, running the train of her silken dress through her fingertips. She missed the countryside…the quiet little house she would visit on holiday. The castle was so cold.
Suddenly, there was a shuffling in the courtyard below, soldiers rushing to the keep. Then, footsteps in the stairwell brought a knock at the door. “Yes?” Victoria answered.
The Captain entered and dropped his gaze. “Your majesty…”
“What is it?” she wondered.
“The king is dead,” he reported and she felt as if a weight had been lifted from her.
“Betrayed by Edmund, my lady, the King’s own swordsmith.”
“So, what happens to me?” she asked, now suddenly anxious.
“Your highness?” he was stumped, then recognized her concern. Immediately, he dropped to one knee and declared, “You are Queen, of course!” he replied. Thankfully, her kindness had long since earned the army's loyalty.
“And what of Edmund?”
“He’ll hang for his betrayal, Your Majesty.”
“No,” she commanded. “He'll be banished to the land of Nellium. Send word to my father.”
“And the King?” the Captain asked.
“The betrayer is himself betrayed. Let the wolves have his body.”
He nodded and took leave.
So Edmund, Victoria’s secret lover, had received her clandestine message after all. Now, things were going to change.