Teaser: Shards of Memory, #5

I’m sitting at 36k right now, just 14k short of my 50k goal. As I wrote on Twitter earlier, things are starting to get REAL, so I have a feeling that things are going to pretty much write themselves for this last bit. (Fingers crossed. I’ve probably just jinxed myself.)

I haven’t posted a teaser in awhile, so I’ve decided to post one. It’s completely unedited, so brace yourselves:

When I reached the library later that afternoon, he was already there. I found him in the history section, staring at the shelves of books that lined the back wall. His hands were locked behind his erect back, and he didn’t move at my approach; and yet, as soon as I drew closer he said, “How much do you know about our country’s history?”

“It depends on what part of our country’s history we’re talking about,” I replied. “Some of it interests me more than others.”

“How much of our early history do you know? Specifically, the part surrounding the fate of our country’s last Queen?”

“Queen Freya? I just finished reading her journal. It sort of just…ends. She disappeared, didn’t she?”

“Yes. Paving the way for the Calypsones to take the throne, almost four hundred years ago. And ever since, the throne has passed from father to son, or brother to brother, in an unbroken line. Until now, I suppose.”

“Why is there so much of an issue with Ethan inheriting?” I asked. “He’s the King’s brother’s son, right? According to the order of succession, that’s how it should go.”

“Because the supporters of Sir Edgar – my uncle chief among them – have reason to believe that Francis Calypsone – the Count’s father – wasn’t actually the son of Henry Calypsone – which means that Francis had no place in the succession, and therefore Ethan Calypsone doesn’t, either.”

My mouth literally opened and then shut again with no sound coming out.

“I haven’t heard that at all!” I said.

“Well, of course you wouldn’t,” Mr. Orion said. “Just look at who you’ve been surrounded by your whole life – everyone has an agenda, Milady, your father especially.”

“Don’t call me that,” I snapped.

“Don’t call you what?” Mr. Orion asked.

“Milady,” I replied. “My name is Calanthe.”

Mr. Orion shrugged. “Well fine, then, Calanthe. Don’t you think any of the rumors would’ve been shielded from your precious, virgin ears?”

I glared at him. I didn’t want to believe him – it seemed too ludicrous to be true – but he’d been honest with me so far – at least to my knowledge.

“What, exactly, do the rumors say?” I asked.

“His Majesty’s mother, Queen Isabella, took a lover sometime after he was born,” Mr. Orion said. “King Henry recognized the second son as his own, but there were whispers that he was actually a bastard child.”

I’d heard about Queen Isabella in finishing school, mostly as an example of how not to behave. But I’d never heard the rumors that Ethan’s father wasn’t actually King Henry’s son.

“But King Henry recognized him,” I protested. “Why would he recognize a child who wasn’t his?”

“Who knows?” Mr. Orion replied. “But Queen Isabella was also a mage, and would have been fully capable of casting spells on her husband. What if he didn’t recognize the boy of his own free will?”

“But – it’s against the law to use magic to influence someone’s will, especially in affairs of international significance,” I hissed.

Mr. Orion chuckled. “You’re not really that naïve, are you, Calanthe?”

He was right. Just because things were illegal didn’t mean people didn’t still do them.

“Why does Freya’s disappearance interest you?” I asked.

Mr. Orion – or Vantandal, I supposed, since we were on first name terms now – took a book from the shelf and took a seat on the floor. I stared down at him and he raised his eyebrows, as though waiting for me to join him. With a sigh, I plopped down on the ground.

“Right around the time she disappeared, she married a soldier – a clandestine marriage, obviously, since there was no way she’d gain the approval of the Council to do it properly. But still, it was legally binding. And the Council wasn’t pleased when they found out.”

I remembered my dream from last night, the scene in the garden…

“They had to hurry, because he was leaving for the war again,” I mused.

Vantandal looked tired. “I had that dream last night, too. Except, I don’t think it was a dream.”

“Of course it was,” I said, although I only half-believed the words. “What else could it possibly be?”

The whole bit with Ethan’s lineage was something I was unaware of until this point, which is probably unsurprising, given how much I hate outlining. That’s definitely something I’ll be developing more when I rip this sucker to pieces.

Okay…now, back to watching everything hit the fan in my WIP. Heh.

Currently Watching: NCIS
Currently Reading: XVI by Julia Karr