29th day of Harvest, South of Molash, Bechia

I tried to forgive him, I truly did. But once a traitor, always one, I suppose. Now he’s set the whole bloodthirsty island on my heels.

When I woke, I found my otterskin case open. The box had been in there – the box that Mother and Father had died to protect, the box that had contained the most astonishing news I had ever read – that of my inheritance, the Brucian kingdom – was missing. And Meramon was gone.

I sealed the case, cursed Meramon, and ran from the inn. I slipped my cloak off and wrapped it around the otterskin case. If Meramon was looking for me, he would try to spot me by my cloak or the otterskin, since I always were both. I had to make myself unfindable.

A buzz of rumor had already hit the streets. “The king is among us, he is here!” and “Find the king!” and various confused comments such as “What does he look like?” echoed among and excited the crowds to a frenzy. “He will save us!”

No, he won’t. Their king is dead, and a queen has taken his place. She and the Wyvern Lords are their salvation, not me. They sent these people across the sea to safety, and will follow after. I am not going to be involved. My place is with Eliana, who was very nearly savaged by these people.

Yet now I am driven from the city and the docks, lest someone recognize me and turn the crowds on me. I am as likely to be torn limb from limb as placed on the throne. These people would only turn my title into a crown of thorns.

I found a farmer’s barn to rest in, though I didn’t let the farmer or his family see me. Although it is a little drafty here, it is warm enough, and I’d rather this itchy straw than all the royal pillows in the world. Silky, voluminous pillows with daggers hidden between them.