“Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. ” - Carrie Fisher -- RecklessPrudence
There had never been a more elaborate plot to advance a child in the history of anywhere. It was so elaborate that it didn't come to light until years after the fact, when they found Chatelaine Fairweather's diary.
It began, as most things do, with a snub. Chatelaine Fairweather's daughter was passed over for advancement to the Lady's Maid, or even one of them, in favour of a cousin with all the brains of a mayfly. And the worldly experience of one, too. But since the Lady's Maid was also the feast's cup-bearer for the Lady and her staff, the Chatelaine came up with a plan.
First, she gained a favourite cup, and instructed the witless Lady's Maid to always bring her drinks in that cup. But she made certain that nobody else heard the instruction. It was a cheap thing of gilded bronze and glittering glass, appropriate for the Chatelaine's station.
Then, she started discreetly adding nightshade essence to her wine. Nightshade that she made certain that the Lady's Maid procured for her. She claimed distress in her vitals, and urged the maid to keep it a secret from everyone. Including the apothecary who made the nightshade essence.
Publically, Chatelaine Fairweather pleaded for her daughter to be considered. She said that the witless one had her merits, certainly, but her own daughter had far more. All while the vacant cousin was serving as decoration in the room.
And she made a present of a Virtue Knife, come the feast day for maidens, to the witless Lady's Maid.
All the while, she showed increasing signs of nightshade poisoning.
Fairweather never said anything more against the Lady's Maid, other than her campaigning in favour of her daughter. She let other gossips' tongues wag. And wag, they certainly did.
Everyone knows she visits the apothecary once a week.
Everyone knows that she has it out for the Chatelaine's daughter.
Such a dedicated mother, trying so hard despite her illness. That girl of hers definitely has more smarts.
I wouldn't hurry to say that, dear. It looks like our maid has more wits than you think. Haven't you noticed the Chatelaine's failing health? Why, she falters after every feast day. Regular as the tide.
On the night she died, just as she planned, she had tea and cakes brought up to her room, and invited the Lady's Maid. She had told her friends that it was time to make peace with the girl. Once away from prying eyes, Chatelaine Fairweather asked to see the virtue knife, to be sure her gift was well-kept. Then, she feigned an attack, sending the Lady's Maid running for assistance.
And finally, after carefully kicking about her room to make it look like a fight had gone on, Chatelaine Fairweather slit her own throat and stabbed at herself. Her last act was to throw the bloodied knife towards the door.
She drifted in and out of consciousness. The castle healers did what they could for her, and she lived long enough to accuse the witless Lady's Maid of stabbing her. She said, "I only wanted peace between us... and she... cut me... with the very knife I gave her..."
Chatelaine Fairweather lived long enough to see the Lady's Maid hanged for her treachery. Weeping and bawling about her innocence all the way to the gibbet.
Ironically, it was her daughter, elevated to the status of Head Housekeeper, who found the diary and her mother's plan. Since both parties involved were long dead, the bones of each were treated accordingly. The bones of the innocent Lady's Maid were pardoned and interred on holy ground, and Chatelaine Fairweather's remains were ground to powder and added to the general, malodorous contents of the moat.
If you like my stories, please Check out my blog and Follow me.
Send me a prompt [12 remaining prompts!]