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Wednesday, August 5

Castle Ambrose: Part 13b – Alchemistry Laboratory

Camilla entered the throne room, her nightgown dirty and torn, her hair stringy and damp. She held the Stranger’s robe tightly to her breast.

Her gaze wandered until she saw Aldones. She smiled broadly, paused a moment, and then danced around the room, waving the robe in the air like a flag.

“As if summoned, she appears,” said Naotalba in wonder.

“Great joy, father,” shouted Camilla, “for the Yellow Sign is found! Great joy to all who see it! Great…”

“Traitor!” snarled Aldones. “You sell us to the priests and the mob! What price your treachery? What profit your crimes?”

Camilla stopped, uncertain and confused. “Dear father…”

Aldones turned to Cassilda. “It is a simple matter, your majesty. If she is mad, that’s one thing. But if she simply acts of it, if she is indeed a traitor, then we must stop her.”

Cassilda eyed her daughter as she spoke to Aldones. “Your explanations wheel like a flight of sparrows, Aldones. I am growing impatient.”

“Hardly,” said Aldones.

Naotalba ignored him. “Did she not see Carcosa’s rising tide?”

”No one sees it now, priest,” said Aldones.

“She, like her brother before her, has dropped your dynasty’s veil behind,” he responded to Aldones. “So crossing from your destiny to mine.”

“So she’s with you, then?”

“Surely she has chosen madness wisely—”

“Riddles!” shouted Aldones. “Riddles! While war wages about us, ruin closer by the minute, you rhyme and preen and gloat! I’ve had enough!”

“I am content to wait,” said Naotalba. “The time cannot be long in coming.”

“But father, how is Uoht?” asked Camilla. “I had him arrested…“

Aldones interrupted her. “The traitor admits it!”

“…as you asked me,” she finished.

“Calm yourself, Aldones,” said Cassila. “She sounds to me as though her madness retreats a little, if such a thing were possible. Hear her out.”

“If you will not defend your dynasty, I will!” Aldones grabbed a musket from a guard’s hands and aimed it at Camilla.

Naotalba dove to the ground. “Save us!”

Cassilda rose to her feet and screamed. “No!”

Aldones fired. The musket flashed with fire and smoke and Camilla crumpled to the ground. As the explosive sound echoed away, absolute silence reigned.

“So. ‘Tis true. ‘Tis all true,” said Cassilda, resigned. “After a fashion.” [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 8:51 PM


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