Heart's Magic

Free Heart's Magic by Flora Speer

Book: Heart's Magic by Flora Speer Read Free Book Online
Authors: Flora Speer
Tags: Romance, Historical, with magic
apologize, my friend. That was not meant
as a reproach. You know I trust your judgment. But we tread a
dangerous path here. We cannot depend on anyone at Wroxley.”
    “Of that I am not certain,” Hugh responded.
“The situation is more complicated than we realized. After you quit
the great hall in such haste this evening, I spoke with several
men-at-arms and then I betook myself to the kitchen. In any
household the servants always know more of what is transpiring than
their masters do. This axiom holds true in every land.”
    “And?” Ordinarily, Giles would have chuckled
at Hugh’s last remarks. Not tonight. He understood the gentle
censure in Hugh’s words. The plan had been for the two of them to
ask questions but he had allowed himself to be overcome by anger
and by a more primitive emotion. He and Hugh had become close
friends because Giles had seen the damage uncontrolled rage could
do. Sickened by battle and by the religious intolerance of both
sides in the war in the Holy Land, Giles had known he must mend his
soul or go mad. Too much blood had been spilled in the various
names of God, too many bodies had been dismembered, too many women
raped… In desperation he had asked Hugh how it was possible to find
peace within himself, only to learn that Hugh was also seeking
inner peace.
    “The people of Wroxley are divided,” Hugh
said. “One camp consists of those who are still loyal to the memory
of Lord Udo and who await the return of his son and heir, Gavin. A
small cohort favors Lady Alda and will do whatever she commands.
The largest group has been won over by the improvements in their
lives during the year since Sir Brice came here as seneschal.”
    “From what I learned from Mirielle,” Giles
said, “I suspect much of the improvement is her doing. Certainly,
Lady Alda is not of a character disposed to care for common
folk.”
    “I think Lady Mirielle is careful to give all
the credit to Sir Brice.”
    Giles nodded his agreement with this
statement. Rising, he began to prowl around the room as if it were
a cage.
    “Sir Brice has been captured by the charms of
a certain woman,” Hugh remarked.
    “We already knew that. I do not need to hear
it again.” Giles paused to send his friend a frowning look before
he resumed his pacing.
    “Lady Alda is not Brice’s only interest,”
Hugh said. “There is another woman.”
    “What?” Giles swung around to stare,
disbelief written on his face.
    “Obviously, Lady Alda does not guess at the
affair, else the woman would be dead or, at the very least, turned
out of Wroxley wearing only her shift.” Hugh’s tone was dry.
    “I do not doubt your information, Hugh, but
how did you come by it?”
    “As I told you, the kitchen servants know
exactly what goes on in any household and, invariably, they love an
excuse to gossip. A soft word, a cup of wine containing just a
pinch of the right powder, and an understanding companion who
listens well can work wonders in loosening a tongue already more
than willing.” Hugh’s smile came and went.
    “This mission grows more complicated by the
hour,” Giles exclaimed. “Now there are three women involved.”
    “One of these women is honest, though not on
our side,” Hugh said. “Of the other two, one is false, as we
know.”
    “Even if the third woman should prove
honest,” Giles added, “especially if she is honest, then she, too,
will be opposed to what we do.”
    “As I am your advisor in this,” Hugh said,
his quick smile appearing again, “I would suggest that you befriend
the honest women, while perhaps you ought to make love to the
dishonest ones.”
    “The problem,” Giles mused, “lies in
discovering which woman is which.”

Chapter 5.
     
     
    We have followed too much the devices and
    desires of our own hearts…we have done
    those things which we ought not to have
    done…
    General confession
    Book of Common Prayer.
     
     
    Certain herbal medicines require frequent
attention during

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