My sister spent days, months, years wandering The Wilds, searching for the lost God of Time. I grew older, raised my children, but she did not age a day. But, one day, she decided it was time to move on. My sister went to our mother’s homeland, the Great North. That great block of ice that only briefly thaws for a few weeks every year. It’s bitterly cold, but they have great cities under domes to protect from the worst of the cold. My sister said it was still frigid, but much better without the wind’s chilly blow. She spent days marveling at the edges of the domes, watching as snow swirled outside, growing inch by inch to rest against the glass. But it is Glass Kingdom glass, and it is indestructible.
Camille had barely released the piece of glass around her neck when she swiftly rose and spun away from the kitchen table. Without even a word to Helene, who glanced in her direction in surprise, she grabbed a servant’s cloak from beside the door and quickly left the kitchen and slumbering Manor in a whirl.
Her father would eventually miss her, but not Muriel. She’d given Muriel a strong sleeping draught, but, unfortunately, the wretched woman would wake. Camille had no idea how she would be able to slip between the Manor and the castle, but she had promised Abigail.
The morning was cold and her hands quickly went white, but she didn’t pay attention to them. Her heart was pounding as she realized what this could mean to her. Fortunately, the king’s executioner had been stayed by the queen, but there was no avoiding the fact she wasn’t going to the castle to tell the king his son had run away with the mermaid’s handmaiden.
More pressing, though, was how she was going to get into the castle.
As she walked along the empty streets, the frigid winter air biting into her exposed skin, she could have been contemplating her poor decision to step out in a simple russet gown and a cloak. Slippers, too, instead of sturdy boots, her feet were quick to remind her as the snow melted against her sole.
But she wracked her brain instead for a plausible story of what she was doing in the castle and roaming the halls. Even as a distant cousin to the king, there was no good reason for her to be there, snooping around.
Camille sighed harshly as her sister’s frequent warnings that her penchant for diving head first into things was going to come back and bite her came to mind. This wasn’t the first time, and it probably wouldn’t be the last. But she and Abigail really were complete opposites. Where Abigail would linger and consider, Camille jumped. This time, Abigail needed her, but Abigail really needed a sister who could stop and think.
“Unfortunately, I’m your only sister,” Camille muttered.
She continued on, stepping on packed snow and ice, headed for the castle, hoping a plan would come to mind soon.
Just as she was approaching the long drive, though, the city alarms sounded. Her heart in her throat, Camille hiked up her skirts and raced to the guards at the gates.
“Halt!” one cried, thrusting his pike at her.
“I’m Lady Camille, of Olidan,” Camille said, failing to soothe the anxiety from her voice. “My father is the king’s most trusted relative. What has happened?”
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