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.Cefwyn took measures to ensure that the Quinalt would approve the marriage and the treaty by which he would agree to put Elwynor in the hands of Ninévrisë as lady Regent, independent of the Crown of Ylesuin.The barons retaliated with an attempt to limit the monarchy over them.And if Tristen had been feared in the south, he found he was abhorred in the north.He kept to the shadows… for Cefwyn, fighting for his right to wed the woman he loved and trying to wrest back sovereignty in his own capital, feared Tristen’s being caught up in the fight.Obscurity, however, only increased the mystery.The barons saw Tristen as an influence on Cefwyn that must be eliminated.On a night when lightning, whether by chance or wizardry, struck the Quinalt roof, a penny in the offering in the Quinaltine was found to be Sihhë coinage, with forbidden symbols on it; and the charge was forbidden wizardry, attacking the Quinalt and the gods.Cefwyn suspected that His Holiness the Patriarch was devious enough to substitute the damning coin, and Cefwyn moved quickly to force the Patriarch into his camp.But the coin together with the lightning threw the wider court into such alarm that Cefwyn felt compelled to remove Tristen from controversy.In what he thought a clever and protective stroke, he sent Tristen back to Amefel not as a refugee in disgrace, but as duke of Amefel… a replacement for the viceroy he had left in charge.Now this viceroy was Parsynan, appointed on the advice of some of these same troublesome barons, notably Murandys and Ryssand… for Cefwyn had exiled Orien Aswydd and her sister to a Teranthine nunnery for their betrayal, and had never appointed another duke, until now.Hearing that Tristen was going to Amefel, and that Parsynan was recalled, Corswyndam Lord Ryssand panicked, fearing that certain records might fall into the king’s hands.So he sent a rider to advise Parsynan of his imminent replacement.Corswyndam’s courier rode hard enough to reach the town of Henas’amef, the Amefin capital, ahead of the royal messenger bearing the official notice.Parsynan quite naively brought his local ally Lord Cuthan, an Aswydd by remote kinship, into his confidence, since this man had supported him against his brother earls before.Cuthan, however, was in on a plot by the Elwynim to create war in Amefel, a distraction for Cefwyn, and the plan was to seize the citadel, on the promise Elwynim troops would then invade and engage with the king’s forces.Cuthan not only failed to warn Parsynan it was coming… but he also said nothing to warn his brother lords that a detachment of the king’s forces was about to arrive.One or the other would happen first, and Cuthan meant to stay safe.So, ignorant of important pieces of information, certain Amefin lords, led by Earl Edwyll of Meiden, seized the South Court of the fortress of Amefel to wait for Elwynim support.In the same hour, losing courage, Cuthan told the other earls the king’s forces were coming, and there were as yet no Elwynim.The other earls failed to join Edwyll… which suited Cuthan: he and Edwyll were old rivals, and now Edwyll was guilty of treason, sitting in the fortress with the king’s forces approaching.And none of the rest of them were guilty of anything.In a thunderstroke, before anyone had thought, Tristen arrived and, to the cheers of the populace, moved swiftly uphill to the fortress to take possession.The earls of Amefel rapidly set themselves on the winning side.Edwyll, meanwhile, died, having enjoyed a cup of wine out of Orien Aswydd’s cups, untouched since the place was sealed at her exile… and whether Edwyll’s death was latent wizardry attached to Orien’s property, or simple bad luck, the command of the rebels now devolved to Edwyll’s son, thane Crissand, who was forced to surrender.Tristen now had the fortress in his hands.Not satisfied with the death of Earl Edwyll, however, Parsynan, in command of the garrison troops, seized the prisoners from Tristen’s officers and began executing them [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]