Jalyn shook her head as she kneaded the bread dough. Push, fold. Push, fold. The rhythmic movement soothed her mind. The kitchen was sweltering with the heat of the hearth where all of the cooking for the Tower was done.
Nothing was proceeding as it should. There was definitely something blocking her attempts to manipulate that brat, Thomas. She had worked at Red Dragon’s Keep for a very long time, waiting for just such opportunities as she’d had in the past months. Even the spells worked against some of the squires seemed to have failed.
She wiped the back of her hand across her sweating forehead. Her gray hair was drawn back into an unattractive bun and dirty tendrils fell down across her forehead. Small, dark brown eyes glared out of an obese face. The fat on the back of her arms jiggled as she moved. She liked to eat.
She hated the Arachs with every fiber of her being. Before the Duke had been confirmed as the holder of Red Dragon’s Keep, she’d been the chatelaine and ruled with an iron hand. No one was allowed to shirk under her purview. She’d thought that the Duke’s father might have married her after his first wife died.
Now she was the cook. How she wanted to get back at the ones who had taken her former life from her.
She briskly shaped the dough and folded it into its pans. She walked to the bread oven, clumsily skirting the table where apprentices chopped and sliced the meat and vegetables for dinner, ramming her hip into the corner. She slid the pans into the oven and lifted the slate cover over the opening.
Jalyn walked back toward the hearth, stopping to taste the stew that simmered in the pot hung over the kitchen fire. She’d prepared a special dinner for the high table.
Looking around to check if anyone was watching, she slipped a small glass vial from the side pocket in her voluminous skirt. She unstoppered it and poured the contents into the stew. That should send those who thought themselves above her scurrying for the toilet. Maybe it would be enough to kill.
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