The King and Queen listened with amusement to Elerde's tale. The Queen could have listened forever to stories of her little children, but Lawrence was mainly amused by this odd couple; a man often supposed by courtiers to be the Queen's lover and the King's bastard - friends!
Drifting from Elerde's tale, Lawrence uneasily pondered a question which bothered hi much lately. This was the fact that so many of a certain sort of people were taking leave of the King and disappearing. He theorized that they were off to San Sebastian to keep company with a lord more in favor with them, Duke Gaylorde. This worried him, but he took comfort in the fact that Christophe Cocuer Saint hand returned to court. Gesturing to the Frenchman, Lawrence leaned over on his elbow to talk to him.
"Monsieur, I received a letter from your king, Charles, today. He is a remarkable man. (There should Gauls like him.) He is a German, is he not?"
Christophe looked haughtily annoyed. "He is, my lord, a Frank."
Lawrence mocked regret. 'Oh, forgive my error. But is still a remarkable man. He has some wonderful ideas for the future, and swears he wants to deal peacefully with all o my people who chance to visit France."
Christophe bowed, turned, and sat in his seat displeased with his king's friendliness with a Saxon as well as the obvious insults.
The Queen turned from Elerde. "Dear, why did you speak to him that way?"
'I don't know, lovely. That man is so disgustingly proud it is almost a pleasure to bring him down," Lawrence confessed.
At that moment a few people came in at the entrance. One man was particularly striking. He was remarkably tall and good-looking, with red hair and mustache and tho' his clothes were well made, it looked as if he'd worn no others for weeks. Sean turned his eyes casually over from where he sat near the King but blanched when he saw the man, much to the King's and Queen's surprise. He whispered to Emily who seemed to gasp and they both glanced at poor Jo with a pitying look which frightened her. Seeing this, Lawrence wisely suggested they retire. With a light kiss on her hand he suggested that she go to her chambers to get ready for bed an he would go to his an await her. She smiled an nodded and they took leave of the court holding hands.
The Queen dressed hurriedly in a beautiful nightgown. But all the while mused over the stranger. She lithely tripped up the stairs to Lawrence's chambers but stopped when she heard Sean's voice.
"The Queen mustn't know!" Sean was saying. "Does she know this man in particular?"
"Killed Rory? No, I don't think so. But she'd find out soon enough anyway…"
He was interrupted by screams coming from his privy stairway to the Queen's chambers. Rushing to the door, he found Jo trying to keep from fainting unsuccessfully. He managed to catch her just in time. He carried her to his bed where she regained consciousness.
In the novel, Finnegan is altered to Finn O'Donnell, still an old acquaintance of Shannon's and Rory's but now part of the cabal that seizes Affynshire. He does still order Rory's hanging for espionage, but there is an entirely new reason he wants Rory dead. Why I had him come all the way from Ireland to visit Lawrence's court is as much your guess as mnine. Drama, I suppose. In any case, I am still looking to see if there is some sort of conclusion to this story.