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I knew, of course, that there was no justification for what I was doing. Oh, I could tell my protesting conscience that I hadn’t ever, in fact, sworn myself to Tirais or to the Queen, for that matter, but I knew that was mere quibbling. I was enough my father’s daughter to know that the oath itself wasn’t the important part.

I could say, with perfect truth, that there wasn’t the time to waste trying to get someone to believe me, that Connor’s safety lay in my ability to get to him in time, that a host of warriors would only slow me down, or that I owed Elowyn this service far more, but it was all nonsense.

I wasn’t doing it for Connor, at least not completely. I did like him. I did want to save him. I thought with horror of what he must be going through, and prayed to the Goddess he would be safe.

I wasn’t doing it for Keraine, though I could see how disastrous this night’s work would be if Angharad succeeded. Nothing in my life conditioned me to accept a Camrhyssi victory while I still breathed, and I couldn’t have let it go without a fight, but that was away in some misty future, and I wouldn’t have claimed it as motivation had I been tortured and racked to do so.

I wasn’t doing it for Elowyn either: she might already be dead, for all I knew, and revenge does nothing for a corpse.

I was doing this for completely selfish and petty reasons. I thought of Angharad’s words, standing in the gallery the night before. She had cost me some bad moments with her lies and her witchery, had made me doubt any number of values that I held dear, and had very probably turned the Queen’s mind against me so that I had been sent away.

And for that, I intended to kill her.

– from “A Spell in the Country”    Available from Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, B&N, and Smashwords     Paperback from Createspace/Amazon

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