Winter found himself back in the dungeon.  No special treatment this time.


He wondered how long he would be there.  He could make plans inside the prison if he could get word out.  Bribe the guard?  The Foxgroves would help.  His daughter had married into the family…


Back at the castle, a conference was held.  Nikko, who had returned from the barracks, was concerned at the security.  He was relieved that at least Maynard had been there.

“This time Winter must be executed, my queen.”


Valenzuela reluctantly agreed.  It had to be done.


It was a difficult decision, and the queen reflected quietly on the necessity of it in the royal chapel.


The queen had made another decision.  Maynard was knighted for his services to the queen.



I proclaim you “Sir Maynard”.  He was the first real knight of the realm.


Winter was to be executed on the following Tuesday.  Elle was permitted to visit him in prison the day before.

The family received the news with sadness.  Winter had, meanwhile, missed his granddaughter’s birthday.


Winter also received the news, and was dressed in more appropriate attire for a traitor.


But it wasn’t just his mental health that had suffered.  Death came for the physically weakened Winter.



He tried to plead for his life, but it was not to be.  He was just 63.

Sir Maynard gave the news to Nikko the following morning,


and then told the queen.


They were relieved.


It was another day of quiet reflection for Valenzuela.  At least she had not been directly responsible for her cousin’s death.


Nikko reaffirmed his love and allegiance to her, swearing that more guards would be trained to protect her.


Winter was gone, but what of his son?  Would he make a claim?  The queen had to find out.

Sir Maynard appeared to be toughening himself up, half-naked yet warming by the brazier outside.  More weapons and armour would be supplied to the barracks.  He was glad of it.


Elle, when she heard the news, was naturally devastated but unsurprised.  She went back to wearing black and tried to comfort herself in the education of her grandchild.


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