To hell in a hand-basket . . . the continuing story of Lucia Brabante and the masked ball.
To hell in a hand-basket with everyone. I feel as if I’m in a vice, with Percy on one side and Niccolo on the other. Who can I believe? Niccolo who says his brother is evil? Or Percy who has, with the Lady Marguarite, been my friend since I took up residence in Veniche, but who hasn’t told me that Niccolo is his brother.
I’m not scared that they are Other. Living in this strange world of Eirie, these odd folk flit back and forth amongst our lives and we have known nothing different. We live by rules in order to protect ourselves and those of us who play the game the right way can benefit from contact with these eldritch types. But as I stared at myself in my mirror, I saw eyes that were shadowed and a mouth lying in a disgruntled line as I ground my teeth. I rubbed at the frown marks because I certainly have no intention of aging prematurely while these men joust for position. I would have liked to say jousting in their petty ways, but there is nothing petty in any of this . . . nothing at all. I have a raw place in my belly as I think on these two brothers vying for ownership of such things as charms and amulets, no matter the motivation.
I would dearly have liked to confide in Parthenope and Sarina but I suspected I should hold my whist. And thus I roared with frustration, throwing the (mercifully dry) inkwell across the room. It hit a panel in the door to my balcony and a crack slithered diagonally over the glass. ‘Aine! What else can go wrong,’ I yelled, knowing my staff were used to such eruptions from my chamber. I have a reputation. It pays to enhance it as it keeps everyone on their toes.
But what to do?
The fact is that I am unduly attracted to Ser de Fleury. He is . . . simply . . . breathtaking.
And Percy . . . he and Marguarite have been like family, have supported me, indulged me. I suppose in their own way, they have loved me like a sister.
I tell you, I am confused enough to need a mentor and yet my own, my dearest Robin with whom I grew up, has disappeared to the Trevallyn forests close to Sherwood and they say he robs from the rich to give to the poor.
Ah me, I am lost . . .