Tales of loathsome tyrants and prophesied saviors aren't nearly so appealing when you are a royal bastard with a prophecy hanging over your head.


My heart lurches in my chest at Ygrain's expression when I tell her Silva's drunk ambrosia. Professionalism promptly chases away the shock, but that panic remains too long for me to believe her calm when she regains control of herself.

"Has His Majesty been informed?" she asks briskly, moving quickly to add different things to her healer's pouch, but I can tell at a glance that she doesn't have anything that'll help against magical poison.

I bite my lip and pull my pouch of linashor from under my skirt. Ygrain freezes when I offer her a pinch. She looks at it, at me, then back at it. "What is that?" she asks, but her tone says she knows full well what it is.

"It's supposed to negate active magic." The 'supposed to' is a lie. I know it works. I think it'll only affect ambrosia poisoning if somebody's guiding the ambrosia, though—and not many mages care to mess with that kind of magic. Sending magical illnesses and poisons to specific targets has a tendency to backfire unless you're more careful than reckless, and mages interested by that kind of magic tend to be more reckless than careful. Father mainly maintains the spells his uncle set up before Father killed him, though I know the concept of using magic illnesses and poisons as weapons fascinates Carling. "That's what my godmother says, anyway."

Ygrain studies me. "You have a faery godmother."

I've already told Cook and a kitchen full of maids, so it's not like I'm hurting anything to nod. "Fael Honovi."

She considers that, then nods. "She has a reputation for meddling with elfin royalty, I believe." Specifically felfin.

"That's one way to put it." Mother once said that Queen Yuoleen's elder brother had not been the kindest man alive, but he'd died with suspicious abruptness after ordering one of his chambermaids beaten for coming with child out of wedlock, despite her lack of consent in the conception.

Ygrain takes the pinch of linashor I offer her in the palm of her hand, and carefully puts it in a clean little vial. "Think this will work?"

Silva easily succombed to the sprite last winter. I shudder. "Yes," I hope, but I force a smile on my face when Ygrain looks at me.

Because I just realized that those pitchers that held the water were decorated with felven designs. If the linashor does work on Silva, Father or Carling put the ambrosia in the water.

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