Lady Roselyn stepped into the front doorway immediately after Captain Tamir left. She looked directly at Lady Morrigan while keeping her face as unreadable as possible. “If you’re going
to learn anything helpful in fighting this plague, it will be from me or Evon, not Captain Tamir.”
Morrigan smiled. “He was telling me the story of their prophet, Doran.”
“I see.” Roselyn waved back into the building. “The sick are in there.”
Lady Morrigan followed Roselyn across the lobby toward the hall leading to the sickroom. Roselyn stopped outside the door and turned to Morrigan. “Must you seduce every man who comes
“Just the good ones,” Morrigan replied smiling. Then appeared to notice how rigid Roselyn was. “You’re interested in Captain Tamir?”
Roselyn did not reply, but turned and opened the sickroom door.
Morrigan said, “You are!”
Roselyn spun around to face her. “He’s a good and honorable man. I don’t want to see him hurt.”
“And Beowyn? You don’t want to see him hurt either?” She grinned. “You can’t keep them all. They’re not dolls.” Morrigan put her hand on Roselyn’s shoulder.
“Beowyn’s in love with you. You’re in love with him. Why not marry him and be done with this nonsense?”
“Don’t be ridiculous. Beowyn isn’t in love with me. I’m just his bossy cousin. If you said that to him he’d fall down laughing.”
“And I suppose you’re not in love with him.” Morrigan shook her head and looked at the ceiling before looking back at Roselyn. “I hope you’re better in matters of this sickness than you
are in matters of the heart.”
Holding her temper in check, Roselyn turned and walked into the sickroom. “First we need to check to see if anyone has a fever.” She stopped at the first bed, occupied by a young woman
with long red hair, and touched her forehead with the back of her hand. She shifted the hand to the side of the woman’s neck just below the ear. Then she looked over her shoulder at
Morrigan. “Use the back of your hand to feel. The skin of our palms is too thick to feel a slight fever.” She straightened up and looked at the woman with her head tilted slightly
to the side. “Note her face isn’t flushed. When someone has a fever their skin tends to get a little red. Since she has red hair, she has a slightly lighter complexion to begin
Roselyn turned back to the woman. “How are you feeling? Any aching? Chills? Tiredness?” When the woman shook her head, Roslyn smiled, patted her hand and moved to the
When they were done checking the patients, Roselyn led Morrigan to the preparations room where Neima was making the medicines they would take with them. Roselyn began mixing potions while
explaining over her shoulder to Morrigan what she was doing. She hoped it was clear to Morrigan that she considered the issue of Beowyn closed. She wasn’t going to discuss the way she
felt about him with her under any circumstances.
Lady Roselyn turned to Morrigan to show her the finished potion, but she wasn’t there. Now where did that foolish girl go? She sighed and walked out of the room.
Morrigan’s skirt disappeared around the corner headed for the bedrooms and Roselyn followed. By the time she got to the corner, Morrigan was entering Evaughnlynn’s room. She walked
quickly to the door, but stopped because her cousin’s voice in her mind said, “Wait outside. She won’t speak if she knows you’re there.”
Roselyn heard Morrigan speak. “Your cousin still hasn’t brought Sir Beowyn to heel and she’s still angry with me. They’re both refusing to face the truth about the way they feel.
Have I your permission to try and set that right?”
Anger and suspicion flooded Roselyn’s mind. What is she up to now? How is she going to turn this to her advantage?
“If you can unravel that knot, I’d be grateful. I have no experience in that arena.”
“Grateful enough to let me pursue Captain Tamar without interference?”
Roselyn stepped back before she heard her cousin’s reply and blindly walked down the hall. She was hurt by Evon’s interference in her life. It was no excuse that her cousin knew she was
listening. Her desire for Beowyn, which had been sealed away in her mind, arose and conflicted with her recent contemplation of marrying Tamir, making these ideas the silly dreams she knew
Daydreams of life in Bar Krouth as a dru while Tamir went to sea and came back regularly, of passing on to her daughter the secret stone of power she bore, had flashed through her mind many
times. So many silly dreams, and all of them impossible. She sighed and stopped to lean against the wall. Her eyes closed. I’ll end up in Anglia with Evon and
Beowyn will end up married to some Baron’s daughter in place of the son the baron lacked.
Eyes closed, she hid in the darkness of her mind, afraid to think about the future. But images of middle-aged Anglian men smiling at her would not stay away, nor would the panic caused by
visions of her uncle telling her he has arranged a very good marriage for her.
“There you are.”
The sound of Beowyn’s voice jerked her out of darkness to see him standing at the start of the hallway. She snapped, “What do you want?”
Beowyn’s head went back as he leaned away from her. “Whoa. What got into you?”
She fought back tears by holding her face rigid. If he just wasn’t so beautiful, or so brave, or so funny and kind. She sighed and let her shoulders slump as she turned
away. Why can’t you love me? “I’m tired. Last night was exhausting.” She took a deep breath and faced him again.
He looked like he was about to retreat. “Have you seen my uncle? Evon carted him off before I even had a chance to talk to him.”
“I don’t know. Maybe your future bride does. She’s with Evon in her treatment room.”
“Oh, thanks.” His voice dripped with sarcasm.
Roselyn gave him her most outrageous smile. “You’re welcome.” She walked away. It took a few seconds to realize that she was coming back to the front entry of the mansion.
Several servants and guards were standing around. She didn’t want to talk to anyone and strode through the room with her nose in the air in her best imitation of her mother. She walked
out the front door into the outer courtyard and its garden.
Her frustration and anger had faded as she walked through the mansion’s rooms to be replaced with an overwhelming melancholy. Once outside she found a bench in a small alcove at the corner of
the front and side walls and sat down, trying to keep her mind as blank as she could. She hadn’t thought about her problems since leaving Bar Krouth. But now her feelings wouldn’t go
away. Everything had been find, until she’d shown up and ruined it. Why did she have to come here?
Roselyn tried to avoid thinking by reviewing formulas for various potions. But then she heard Morrigan’s voice.“Let’s go out here. There’s a garden and a beautiful
“If you wish, Milady.”
Oh, no. Why did she have to bring Beowyn here? Roselyn looked around, fighting down panic. She was in a small alcove in the corner of the garden. They would have to
be right in front of her to see her. I thought she said she wasn’t interested in him. I thought…
“So why haven’t you asked Lady Roselyn to marry you?”
Shock hit her. Then Beowyn walked into view directly in front of her and her heart froze. He turned back the way he had come. “What? Me marry Rose? You’ve lost your
mind.” Roselyn felt her stomach sink into the ground. Beowyn put his hands on his hips. “Is that the important thing you wanted to discuss when you asked me to go for a walk?”
“She’s still mad at me because she thought I was trying to trap you. She won’t quit hating me until you marry her.”
“I’ll never marry Rose.” His hands fell to his sides. “That’s out of the question. She’ll probably marry Captain Tamir or some great noble in Anglia.”
“But you love her. Why shouldn’t you marry her?”
Roselyn felt tears welling up. She knew what his retort was going to be. That he didn’t love her, that she was just his cousin.
“Because she can do a lot better.” He shrugged his shoulders and sighed. “I know it, and she knows it.”
“A lot better? Why?”
“What do you mean, why? She’s not some idiot daughter of a baron without sons. She’s the king’s niece. She’s beautiful and brilliant and a dru, and—and...”
“Too good for you?”
“Exactly! Marry Rose? Why, if I told her I was in love with her she’d burst out laughing.” His voice broke. Then much softer, he added, “I’m her idiot cousin, and that’s all
I’ll ever be to her.”
“But you’re in love with her. Don’t deny it!”
“Of course I am!” His shoulders slumped. “She and Evon have ruined me and Phalon—Faolan.” He shook his head. “I’ll never get that right.” He looked around, but not
toward where Roselyn sat. “He won’t look at anybody but Evon. And I—I trail along behind the most beautiful, intelligent, hardheaded and irritating girl in the world, wishing it could
be otherwise. But it won’t ever be.”
He’s in love with me! She felt like her whole body was floating.
Just then Beowyn looked around again, but still with his back toward the niche where Roselyn sat. “Why did you bring me out here to talk about Rose? I thought there was something
important you wanted to talk about.”
“There was,” Morrigan said laughing. “And I did. Turn around.”
Beowyn turned back toward Morrigan. “What?”
“I said turn around. You were facing the house. Look the other way.”
Beowyn then turned around, facing first the house and continuing until he was now looking the opposite direction to Morrigan. “What?”
Morrigan giggled and then yelled, “He is beautiful, and brave, and very gallant, but he’s as thick as a brick! He’s all yours!”
Beowyn turned around again, his eyes passing over Roselyn as he faced Morrigan. Then he turned back to Roselyn sitting on the bench in the alcove. He went bright red. “You heard
Roselyn stood up, holding herself under control and keeping her face blank. “I did. And you’re in big trouble.” She started walking toward him. “You just admitted you’re in
love with me. Now, you have to marry me.”
“You’d marry me?” He shook his head. “I’m not good enough for you.”
“That’s true.” She continued walking toward him slowly, resisting the urge to rush.
“You’re twice as smart as I am.”
“Also true.” She stopped about a foot away from him with her hands at her sides.
Beowyn looked right and left and then at Roselyn. “I—ah didn’t mean it, when I said you were hardheaded.”
She took another step so that she was just a shadow away from him and looked up into his eyes. “Yes, you did, and I am.”
“You’re not irritating, I swear.”
“Yes I am. Now kiss me and then tell me you love me again.”
He looked into her eyes. “The king is going to kill me.” Suddenly, his arms pulled her tightly to him and he kissed her gently on the lips.
© Copyright 2020 R. M. Keegan. All rights reserved.