I unlock my bedroom door with a hairpin and sneak out as soon as the hallway empties. Harp notes and laughter drift in the air from the night festivities downstairs. But that’s not where I’m heading. Mingling with the drunken nobility without my grandmother’s protection will only get me married to my cousin by morning.
Candlelight frames the door of Aryeea’s chamber, and I squeeze through the narrow opening to avoid announcing my presence with creaking hinges. Eyes closed and ocher hands folded over her chest, my grandmother seems at peace. She is only half the Baroness I knew in my childhood. But her dark hair is still as black as mine. Tribal blood pumps strong in our veins, no matter what we do to hide our descent.
As she lies, resting on a bed brought by my grandfather from across the sea, I try to believe Aryeea is dead.