A Proposition from King Neopar, from Fen's Memoirs

King Neopar's hand remained on my shoulder as he led me off to his sitting room. He called for his servants to bring food and wine as he attempted to comfort me.

"It's all a game to her," Neopar said as he poured me a cup of wine. "Don't worry, no harm will come to the boy." He paused and studied my face. "How long have you been here now, Fen?... While the Queen and I have been gracious hosts, I believe it is time for you to face the fact that you're not going back and to do what you can to control your circumstances."

"I have been a diligent lady in waiting for over two years now."

"Yes, and I know how exasperating it is to spend that much time with the Queen, but look at trouble that has brought upon us all. No, my child, I believe you would fare far better with me."

He let me think about this while he ate. My hunger won out and I sat to dine with him.

"You remember my mistress Delcine..."

"That the Queen had beheaded."

"Yes, but not because she was my mistress. Delcine was stealing from the Queen. Dophe was well within her rights to punish her, as if a Queen needs to justify her actions to anyone. But you're getting me off point."

"So sorry, King Neopar."

"Call me Ompar, please." His gestures were quirky and he was incapable of subtlety, but I found him not in the least bit threatening.


Neopar smiled so warmly that a few drops of wine dripped from the corner of his mouth. I leaned toward him and wiped it off with some linen, thus beginning my tenure as new and final mistress. Upon receipt of the news of my new court appointment, King Roarke sent a congratulatory letter along with Eyre Nalev's former page who was to be my new guard.

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