Secrets can be agents of destruction, Queen Beza learns after three-hundred years of ruling. Unable to produce an heir, and on the hunt for a sibling who should have never been born, Beza struggles to understand what the Gods and Goddesses have planned for her. Unable to come to terms with past discretions, she pushes away what might be her last chance at love, focusing only on the murder and betrayal going on all around her.
Immortal as Beza might be, she soon finds her life, and queendom crumbling underneath the burden of a brother, so named the lost king, who holds more legitimacy to the throne than she herself. Can she find him before his shadow becomes her devastation?
Kaci Morgan is the author of The Queen Immortal Series. She found her passion for writing later in life, but for the last eight years she has worked on honing the craft to the best of her ability by attending local classes, seminars, and reading books about the craft and in the genre.
As a wife and mother, she feels that writing has helped her to find a sense of purpose, and to understand that hard work and determination are the keys to unlocking our dreams.
Queen Beza and Zola strolled by the pond with Higald following close behind. Beza noticed a woman up ahead walking toward them. There were many people walking the grounds now, but unlike the lackadaisical stroll that the gardens seemed to imbue on everyone, this woman was in a hurry. Higald quickly put himself in front of the queen.
The woman held her hands up and shouted across the quickly closing distance, “I no’ mean any harm to queen! I ha’ waited my whole life for dis moment. I can’t help but be in rush!”
The woman was obviously uneducated, but she seemed harmless enough. “Higald, let the woman see me.” Beza put her hand on his hard shoulder. He stayed put, like a brick wall between Beza and the woman.
“So long as her hands stay up . . . She’s in too much of a hurry,” he responded.
The woman finally reached Beza, and Beza thought she noticed tears in her eyes.
“Oh, Queen! I do no’ be’ieve this is happen to me.” The woman kneeled at Beza’s feet and kissed the tops of her shoes. When she rose, Beza got a better look at her. Her skin was red and splotchy, she had seven or eight teeth missing, and her auburn hair probably hadn’t ever been brushed. A sour smell emanated from her, and most likely her clothes, including a very smudgy apron, that had not seen a wash since it’s inception.
“I ha’ something for ya,” the woman said. Beza couldn’t place her accent. Maybe she was from down south. Varinus? Grexas? She couldn’t be sure.
The woman reached into her lumpy pocket, which took up nearly half the apron. But before she could pull her hand out again, Higald jumped behind her, grabbed both her arms, and held them behind her back. The woman squealed and squirmed.
“Higald! Let the woman go!” Beza shouted, angry at him for his overreaction. But he did not let go.
The woman’s face blushed a deeper red than her splotches, making her look like a bruised apple. “I so sorry, Queen. I mean ya no harm. I simp’y wish to give ya somethin’,” she replied. “Yer guard can reach in me pocket, but I tend to keep more ’n just change in there.” She laughed, displaying gaps in her mouth. She probably had difficulty speaking for that reason alone.
“Higald.” Beza gestured to him. She shouldn’t have been surprised that he didn’t seem phased in the least by having to hold both of the woman’s wrists in one large hand and reach into the depths of a dirty apron pocket with the other hand.
He first pulled out a half-eaten roll.
“Oh, no’ that,” the woman said to Higald, blushing again. “Tha’s me lunch.”
Higald put the roll in the woman’s mouth, since he was running short on hands, and reached back into her pocket. Beza tried hard to keep from laughing, and from the corner of her eye, she noticed Zola looking at the ground, struggling with the same dilemma. The woman quickly chewed her large mouthful as Higald continued to search. This time he pulled out a small piece of parchment that had been crumpled and stained.
“Ye’ve done it,” the woman replied giddily through the roll. “Tha’s the one, for Queen. I sorry for no’ keepin’ it nice and straight for ya. I ha’ no’ p’ace to keep it other than me pocket.”
Higald held out the parchment to Beza. She quickly took it and attempted to straighten out the creases. As she read the few words on the parchment, her heart thumped. She noticed Zola’s curious eyes trying to look over at the writing. Beza quickly put the paper flat against her chest and looked at the woman. “Where did you get this?” Beza demanded.
The woman swallowed the last bits of roll, her hands still grasped in Higald’s large grip. “Tis a long story, Queen.” Her face turned to an apple again.
Passing citizens slowed, trying to listen in, as they overheard the conversation. Beza’s patience was running thin.
“Let us make our way to the castle. We will get you some lunch, something better than half a roll, and you can explain exactly what this is and how you came across it. Have you shown this to anyone?”
“No, Queen. I canna read much, but I saw the firs’ word and thot the whole thing look to be somet’in’ that belonged to ya.”
“Let’s get back to the castle, then, and quick.”
Higald nudged the woman forward, matching Beza’s pace. Zola struggled to keep up with them, but at this moment, Beza cared about only one thing.
Keeping the parchment a secret.