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Disenchantment excerpt

From Chapter 4. Might as well continue going in order.


Aelis found a secluded corner in the banquet hall and covered Lyra up with one of those ludicrous and pointless curtains while she went to find a servant to bespell into directing her to the dungeons. Since the glamour had affected the servants on the way to the balcony, it must be that the reason her magic didn’t work on Lyra was a defect with the girl herself rather than Aelis’s own powers.

She felt vindicated when the successful spelling of a girl of about fifteen proved that Aelis’s suppositions were correct. She was less pleased to discover the manse had no dungeons.

No dungeons?” she exclaimed louder than was wise, glamour or no glamour, spell of compulsion or no. “What sort of manse is this, not to have dungeons?” Honestly, where had the lords of old done their torturing? Particularly in what had started out as a fort, by all the celestial spirits?

The servant’s gaze wandered past Aelis constantly, not truly focusing on anything. “No dungeons, Lady,” the girl said in a monotone. “It’s the land, you see. Not stable enough for digging underground. It would cause the building to collapse.”

Aelis chewed her lip as she tapped at her thigh with a finger. “Well then, where are prisoners held?”

If at all possible, the girl’s blank look turned blanker. “Prisoners?”

She clenched her teeth to keep from throttling the bespelled girl. Then she would have two bodies to take care of, instead of just one. “Yes, prisoners! Enemies of the barony to be held for questioning, thieves, you know, prisoners!”

Yaric doesn’t get prisoners, Lady.”

And the girl went back to sweeping the stairs, as she had been doing when Aelis had placed the spell upon her. Aelis had half a mind to slap the girl into obedience, but instead spat out a spell of forgetting and wheeled about on her heel to reascend the staircase. She wasn’t accustomed to relying upon physical force to induce unconsciousness, so she had no idea when Lyra might start coming to again. And that she couldn’t allow.

Her mind spun as she tried to think of a plan. If Darnett could see her now, he would give her a thorough tongue-lashing. His philosophy was that one should always go into one’s endeavors with a plan, and a backup plan, and another backup plan in case the first failed. And even then, one ought to remain flexible.

Well, she had remained flexible, which was what had gotten her into this spot of bother in the first place.

The girl was still breathing when Aelis returned to her. Drat. She’d half-hoped her blow had been severe enough to kill the girl. But of course if an annihilation spell were to work, that would be far superior, as she would be left with no corpse to contend with. Death by brute force would warrant either hiding the body or coming up with a scapegoat to blame the murder upon.

The things she did for love.

Aelis froze, limbs stiff, but then forced herself to relax.

She would just have to deal with that particular epiphany later. Now, she must focus on what to do with the girl.

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