- Author: Christopher Nuttall
Read book online «The Right Side of History (Schooled In Magic Book 22) by Christopher Nuttall (ebook pc reader .txt) 📕». Author - Christopher Nuttall
The Right Side of History
(Schooled in Magic XXII)
Christopher G. Nuttall
Twilight Times Books
The Right Side of History
This is a work of fiction. All concepts, characters and events portrayed in this book are used fictitiously and any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental.
Copyright © 2021 Christopher G. Nuttall
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, except brief extracts for the purpose of review, without the permission of the publisher and copyright owner.
Twilight Times Books
P O Box 3340
Kingsport TN 37664
First Edition, February 2021
Cover art by Brad Fraunfelter
Published in the United States of America.
Table of Contents
THE THRONE ROOM STANK OF FEAR.
Constance, Lady in Waiting to Queen Francoise of Alluvia, pulled her dress around her as the noise from beyond the walls grew louder. Night had fallen, but the city outside was cast into sharp relief by towering infernos. The riots had become a revolution, crowds of rebels and thugs throwing lighted torches into the homes of the great and the good. She huddled closer to the rest of the royal companions as the queen stared at her husband. He’d once been a great man and a greater king. He’d chucked Constance’s chin and whispered promises of royal favors if she wished to become his. Now, he seemed almost diminished. The kingdom was fading alongside its king.
It had all happened so quickly! Constance could barely keep track of each piece of news - bad news - before the next arrived. There had been fights over bread in the marketplace, of all things, fights that had turned into riots. The Royal Guard had arrived to break up the fighting, the City Guardsmen had turned on them and... Constance wasn’t sure what had happened next, but the king had lost control of his city. The castle gates had been slammed closed, wards snapped into place by royal magicians, but it hadn’t been enough to save everyone outside the walls. She’d heard a messenger screaming a warning about mansions going up in flames. The mob was running rampant, tearing through the aristocratic walls and hunting down the money-lenders and speculators. Constance had heard a tale of horror from the guards on the battlements, before the queen had cut them off. The money-lenders had been marched to the embankments and thrown to the rocks below. Their wives and daughters hadn’t been treated anything like so kindly.
She shivered, helplessly, as the shouting grew louder. The mob was calling for blood... royal blood. Constance herself was a very distant relative of the king - her family lands were on the other side of the country, near the border with Red Rose - but she was sure it wasn’t enough to protect her. The bodyguards and chaperones her father had sent with her, when he’d allowed her to enter the queen’s service, were nowhere to be seen. She hoped they were safe, wherever they were. But she feared the worst.
“Get out there.” Queen Francoise’s voice cut through the stifling tension. “Order them to disperse.”
Constance winced and tried to hide it. The queen was a sharp-tongued woman, more of a man – even though Constance would never dare say that aloud - than her husband. Her position was unassailable. She didn’t have to produce a male heir - her predecessor had produced two boys who’d survived to adulthood - and she’d given the king two daughters. The king could hardly refuse to treat her with the respect she’d earned, even though he had no compunctions about taking mistresses and then discarding them. And yet... Constance could tell that the queen was making a mistake. Her husband was trapped between fire and water, unable to confront the crowd or lead his men into battle against the mob. All he could do was wait.
“If only Dater was here,” Queen Francoise snapped. Her favorite stepson, according to rumor, had been disbanding his army when the rioting had turned into full-scale rebellion. “He would teach them all a lesson.”
“Dater is a long way away,” the king said, mildly. “And I sent Hedrick out as soon as the trouble began.”
“You should have sent him to deal with the crowds.” Queen Francoise frowned. “And now they’re at our door!”
The king turned away from his wife, his fists clenching with anger. Constance understood. A king could not be a king if he couldn’t exert authority over his wife and children as much as his kingdom. Everyone knew it was just a matter of time before the Crown Prince, perhaps pushed by his stepmother, started to demand more power and authority than his father could reasonably give. Dater was old enough to rule and young enough to make his mark, if he inherited the throne. He was certainly prominent enough to seem a viable replacement, if the king lost too much face to rule. It wouldn’t be the first time a king had ‘voluntarily’ surrendered his power and gone into exile.
Constance looked at the stone floor, trying not to attract attention. The king’s temper was starting to