Captive and Captivating, from Zbinka's Musings

Months passed with no news of my husband. While it might seem cruel to say, I had not completely ruled out the possibility that he had gotten himself desperately lost after the surrender at Gelassi. Nalev, as a good Eyre, had learned how to surround himself with those that possesed skill in strategy, logistics and geography allowing himself time to do what it was that he did best: rally the troops and pray for peace. For the most part Misha's prior service to Eyre Savlii proved to be very good training and despite being treated as part of the scenery, Misha was adept at learning far more than anyone realized.

In all honesty, I was firmly convinced that Nalev was being held somewhere in Cznorh. In time I hoped I would be permitted to see him, and did my best to placate those who held me captive. It was rumored that Rad'en' had turned traitor and was plotting with the Houseborne and Kanabulan. While that didn't bode well for my favor in court, I certainly prayed that it was true. Surely someone, somewhere was going to put the country back in order.

Roarke was much relieved to receive regular letters from Prince D'Hir still at the court at Belaurii. Yet even good tidings added to his distress as he knew that Paynor and his allies somehow held the young man's life in their hands. Personally, I was even grateful for any word about that damn precocious Lady Fenwick and her taunting of Misha. I knew him well enough to know the extreme frustration he must be facing to be a palace guard. It was far to difficult for him to keep his thoughts to himself, and I had to smile every time I pictured him there. King Neopar in his attempt not to distance himself from Eltesnian policies and outdated laws had offered Misha citizenship to Belaurii before he could even accept his position. Wherever Nalev was, he would be proud that his country-less page now had both Kanabulan and Belaurii to call home, even if it was no more than empty words on paper, it was a start.

With so much despair around me, I did my best to keep up my inherent jovial nature. I made every attempt to regain the semblance of a functioning monarchy and established myself as acting Queen. After the absent Prince Arbanji D'Hir, I was next in line to the throne. Roarke vanished for days and even weeks at a time to his private study in the towers. I had seen it with Roarke's older sister and again with my father; I feared that one time he would not return and there seemed little I could do to change that.

But there were those people and outcomes that were within my power to affect. I concentrated on those efforts my every waking moment...

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