Darkwitch Rising by Sara Douglass

Darkwitch Rising by Sara Douglass

Author:Sara Douglass [Douglass, Sara]
Language: eng
Format: epub, mobi
Tags: General, Fiction, Historical, Fantasy, Great Britain, Epic, Fantasy fiction, Brutus the Trojan (Legendary character), Alternative histories (Fiction), Charles, Great Britain - History - Civil War; 1642-1649
ISBN: 9780765344441
Publisher: New York : Tor, 2005.
Published: 2006-01-08T05:00:00+00:00


Eleven

Whitehall Palace and Idol Lane, London

Charles’ journey from London Bridge to his palace at Whitehall was a living nightmare. The procession took several hours to reach the palace precinct and, once there, Charles endured two further hours of speeches in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

Through it all he smiled and waved, and spoke pretty and gracious words. It had been the most difficult thing he had ever done in…well, in all three of his lives thus far. Noah’s pain had abruptly ceased when he was but a third of the way down Cheapside. Charles hoped it was because she had mercifully fainted.

Now, finally, at ten at night, he and Louis and Catharine had managed seclusion within the royal apartments. The instant the door closed behind the last servant Charles sank down into a chair, dropped his wearied face into his hands, and muttered, “Gods…”

Louis was standing on the far side of the sumptuous chamber. He watched Charles for a moment, then turned to a table, meaning to pour himself a glass of wine. His hands were shaking so badly he dropped the decanter, sending red wine spilling over the beautiful parquet floor.

He swore, the obscenity rolling across the room, and Catharine gave a single sob and sank to the floor by Charles’ chair.

“Is she dead?” she said.

“Is she dead?” Charles said. “I do not know. Louis?”

Louis had been trying to pick up the larger pieces of the glass. Now he dropped them again, and walked over to Charles and Catharine, wiping his fingers over his lovely silver doublet.

“No,” he said, “she is not dead. Weyland would not allow her that mercy. She is alive…just.”

“You must not blame yourself, Louis, for not—” Charles began.

“I blame those damned giants!” Louis yelled. “If not for them, if not for their cursed interfering—”

The door to the chamber opened, and Charles half rose, his face flushing as he prepared to shout at whichever servant had chosen this terrible moment to enter.

But it was no servant, and, as they saw who stood there, Charles swallowed his anger and walked over to where Marguerite and Kate stood just inside the door.

He embraced them fiercely, and then Catharine ran to them, and Marguerite and Kate enclosed her within their arms. Louis also came over, and in turn was hugged by the women.

“Oh,” said Marguerite, “that we should meet under such circumstances. Matilda, it is so good to see you once more, but—”

“You felt it too, then,” said Charles.

“Aye,” Marguerite said. “We were riding into London when we felt it. Gods, Noah—”

“But are you well?” asked Charles. “And the children?”

“We are well indeed,” said Marguerite, “if saddened by the day’s events.”

“The children do marvellously,” Kate finished. “They remain in Woburn village, Charles, with a kindly neighbour.”

Charles nodded. “When matters have settled, I shall send for them to attend court.”

“What this natter of children and babies?” said Louis. “We should instead be talking of—”

“Louis,” Marguerite said, “Noah knew that something of this nature was going to happen.



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