Sisters of String and Glass, Part 150

Chapter Thirty-Eight – continued

First things first, she had to see to Geoffrey, Violet, and Helene. Then she would head for the castle for Adrian and Kyanan.

She was disheveled, her skirts wrinkled and torn and her hair tangled. She hadn’t slept much, either, so knew she must look at least a little haggard. But that didn’t matter. She had no idea what had happened to the staff who had raised her, and she would kill Muriel if she had dared to anything to them.

The entrance hall was quiet as she made her way through the manor. Quickly, she headed for the kitchens. There would surely be noise and people there.

Sure enough, the kitchens were bustling. It seemed every servant was milling around, all dressed in black. Many were moving quickly, stress lining their faces and eyelashes blinking quickly to dislodge the tears. Others were huddled in chairs and near the fires, their eyes hollow and red. Amidst the mourning, Helene was barking orders, Violet was holding what looked like a small meeting with three maids, and Geoffrey was hopping from place to place, checking in with all the staff.

“Camille!” Geoffrey was the first to spot her. He quickly bounded over, his face full of concern, and grabbed her hands. “You shouldn’t be up and about.”

Camille blinked at him. It was unladylike and her mother would have given her a look, but it was the only word that stumbled from her lips, “What?”

Geoffrey frowned. “Lady Muriel said you had taken ill and the manor needed to be quiet for you to recover. She told us the death of your father had taken a deep toll on you and we were not to disturb you.” He glanced around the kitchens. “With fewer places to clean regularly, the kitchens have been a bit full.”

Anger surged through Camille, and she began to shake. “Muriel is an imposter,” she spat out. “She is as confined in Madeline’s rooms as I was.”

Horror dropped over Geoffrey’s face. “Confined?”

“My father married an imposter. Muriel was not a merchant’s wife. She was a merchant’s daughter, and Madeline her younger sister. When news of my father’s death arrived, she knew she would be turned out, so she and Madeline conspired to lock me in Madeline’s rooms and coerce me into signing my title over to her.”

“That snake!” Geoffrey’s outburst drew the attention of everyone, but he hardly noticed. “You said she is in Madeline’s rooms? Don’t worry, my Lady, we will take care of her.”

Camille wanted to flinch at the venom in his voice. But her heart also surged at the protective streak he showed.

Before Geoffrey could move, she clamped her hands down on his. There was information still to relay. “Where is Madeline?”

By then, Violet and Helene had hurried over. They shared an uneasy look with Geoffrey, and Camille’s heart plummeted.

“She went to the castle,” Violet whispered. “She said you were ill and asking for Abigail, so she went.”

Ice laced its way through her heart. “No,” she whispered, her hands tightening on Geoffrey’s. “No, Abigail was kidnapped last night.” She turned and her eyes sought Helene’s. “She’s trapped in the fae tower.”

Helene’s hands rose and covered her mouth, a horrified look stretched across her face as the blood drained away. Then, she spun around, shouting, “Gather all the fae you can find! There’s a tower in the woods. Send them there!”

“I don’t understand,” Violet whispered.

Camile shook her head. “It’s a terrible story, Violet. Please, hold things steady here. Muriel is locked in Madeline’s rooms. I suppose she’ll need food and water once in a while.”

Mutely, Violet nodded. But there was a pinched determination to the set of her lips and fury in her eyes. Camille had no idea what that would mean for Muriel, but she didn’t really care.

“I must get to the castle,” Camille said. “If Madeline returns, bar her from the manor.”

“Of course,” Geoffrey said, his voice strong and steady.

Camille flashed him a smile as she squeezed his hands. Then she dashed out the door, grabbing a cloak as she passed. She ran out into the gardens and into the woods, hoping the guards at the door Violet had showed her would admit her into the castle.

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