The search for Madam Blutovsky was on. Agents of the Court for Religious Conformity, as well as a cadre of the Queen’s secret police, began in the slums of the capital. From there, they fanned out, knocking on doors, peering into windows, questioning merchants, but to no avail. In their defense, these officials had little to work with- no physical description or address. All they had was the hand-written note. From whence had it come?
“Well, we know that we’re not looking for a woman with a halo,” said the Chief of the Secret Police to the Chief Judge of the Court.
“How was the Queen supposed to contact this woman?” Asked the Judge.
In reply, all he got was a shrug.
At the gathering of the Queen’s Privy Council, the Prime Minister always sat in the center of the broadside of the conference table; however, today he sat at the head where Her Majesty was wont to sit. In front of him was a thick pile of papers which he began to pass around to the other councilors. A collective sigh rose from the others. It was most unusual for Queen Pirouette to be absent from these discussions.
“Gentlemen,” said the Prime Minister, “shall we begin?”
“Without the Queen?” Asked le comte de Ploo.
“Her Majesty is indisposed,” replied the chief minister.
Entering the Prime Minister’s office, Lady Abigail curtseyed primly with her eyes downcast. In her hand, she held a note that Queen Pirouette had scrawled on the back of Madam Blukovsky’s unwelcome offer. While the Queen’s most trusted advisor was busy with state policy, Her Majesty’s best friend nurtured a secret crush for him. Her heart always skipped a beat when the oblivious politician gave her the slightest glance. Holding her breath, she handed him the Queen’s instructions.
Taking it in his hands, he read aloud, “My lord, please have this woman arrested and delivered to the Court of Religious Conformity.” Confused, he looked at Abigail inquisitively.
“Turn it over,” said Abigail.
Pirouette pulled the small piece of paper that was hidden in the strange envelope with a nervous hand. She’d set her candle on the floor, so she went down on her knees to hold the note closer to the dim light. It read:
Most Gracious and Noble Queen- Your servant in all things grieves, with the rest of the country, over your profound loss. Will you allow me to assist you in your search for Monsieur le comte? God, in His Mercy, has granted me certain powers that allow me to perceive the hidden and explain the most profound mysteries of the Universe. I shall await your Majesty’s most Royal response. Yours in Christ, Madam Blukovsky, Necromancer and Seer
Without giving it a second thought, Pirouette held a corner of the note to the candle flame and watched as it was consumed by the fire. She held it away from her person and let the ashes fall to the floor without even thinking of cleaning the black shreds. “I must remember to have this heretic arrested,” the Queen murmured.
There was a quiet knock on Queen Pirouette’s bedroom door. “Your Majesty?” Queried Lady Abigail Hoffenhoff. “I’ve brought you some broth. We are all worried.”
In the darkness of her bedchamber, Abigail’s voice was like a trumpet blaring in Pirouette’s ear. She couldn’t find the motivation even to reply to her best friend and chief lady-in-waiting. While she appreciated her friend’s concern, she didn’t want any intrusion. All she wanted was GarGar, her lost love. Without word of his whereabouts, her mind was wandering into places that she never knew existed. Hellish scenarios played out in her imagination. Am I going mad? She asked herself.
“Your Majesty,” persisted Abigail. “I have a note here that might interest you. I shall slide it under your door.” With a single lit candle, Pirouette examined the envelope on her floor. It was embossed with strange patterns that were exotic, yet familiar.