Chapter Eighteen - Reflection

Though it was a wrench to leave the area, Eithne knew it was for the best. Seated on the donkey, it was easy to pretend she had been born to poverty. Flavius had taken his leave of them some leagues back and the two women made their way to a distant village largely in quiet companionship.

Jocasta often whispered to her own beast of burden but she had no inclination to do the same.

“I hate him,” she said, on one occasion as they stopped to top up their water flasks.

“Who? Your brother?”

“Xander,” she replied, not meeting the older woman’s eyes.

“Did he beat you, pass you to other men? Was he a vicious and brutal lover?”

“I – ” She could not frame the words now, knowing she had probably gotten off lightly, though not by the standards of royalty.

King Stephen had talked often of a code which meant that invaders with breeding would afford their peers respect. As a princess she had not expected to be treated like a common slave. Well, now she knew how the other half lived. Maybe she could
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