Sobbing so convulsively that she could not speak, Tata Sous-sus hugged herself as she rocked back and forth on the stool. Just a few hours earlier, the palace guards had conveyed her to the North Tower of the Old Castle “for further questioning.” The real reason was because of a concern that, if left alone, she might make an attempt on her own life. In order to secure her safety, three women in eight hour shifts were sent to her cell as “companions.”
The women were chosen for their empathetic natures, and each attempted (in vain) to encourage her to eat. They sought to divert her attention from her fate by offering to play cards, or to read to her, but they failed in these endeavors also. Tata’s fear was understandable because while many were taken to the tower, few ever left.
Because some of the guards referred to her as the “old crow,” her codename was Crow. Her female companions were charged with the duty to submit daily reports to the Captain of the Guards of what she said and did. These reports were reviewed by the Captain, who abstracted them. Whatever was considered relevant was and whatever was considered relevant to the case (of the murder of Lady Greenmeadow) were sent to Queen Pirouette for her personal inspection.