When Tata Sous-sus saw the expressions on the faces of the Captain of the Guards and his lackeys, her heart began to beat so rapidly that she found it difficult to draw a breath. Indeed, it felt as though that little pump was beating against her chest. As she rose from her seat, she knocked over the cup of tea. She emitted a little cry, “Oh! Oh, my!”
“You needn’t worry about that. When I leave, I’ll ask your maid to clean that up,” said the Captain, annoyed.
“Murder?” Replied Tata. “What would I know about any murder?”
“It has come to our attention that the Baroness was in possession of some information that could seriously damage your standing at court.
“N-n-n-no!” Sputtered Tata. “I’ve no idea of what you are talking about. Information? What kind of information?”
“Come now, your ladyship. I needn’t remind you of that melancholy day from the past. Hm?” His eyes narrowed to veritable slits. “You know exactly what I’m talking about! I already know the answer, but I want to hear it from your mouth. Out with it!”
“What is the question? I’ll be happy to answer anything.” She clasped her hands together as if in prayer.
“Very well,” said the Captain. With his snub nose, and rather pointy ears, poking out from his plumed helmet, he looked very much like a pig. Tata was alarmed at how quickly his face turned turned a crimson shade of red. “Did you or did you not know that the Baroness was well aware of the fact that you gave birth to an illegitimate child- a child that was immediately taken away from you and put up for adoption?”
Tata was shocked speechless. She bit the back of her hand in an effort to suppress a scream.
Summer was over. Daylight was becoming more and more scant. While the days were still fairly warm, the nights were growing colder. Already the leaves on the trees were changing color, falling to the ground, creating a soft carpet on the forest floor, filling the air with the pungent odor of decay.
For Pirouette, it was a sad time. It seemed that all of the bad things that ever happened to her occurred in the Autumn. It was hard for not to wait for the other shoe to drop at this time of year. Looking at GarGar, asleep in his reading chair with an open book in his lap, she thanked God for the hundredth time for bringing him into her life. Here was somebody who loved her for who she was, not for her wealth and power. For the thousandth time, she crossed herself and asked God to bless him.
GarGar sighed and put down his field glass. From what he could see, no one was going in or out of the city. The walls were unmanned; however, the gates were closed, no doubt bolted shut. They were waiting for him. This is a disaster waiting to happen. He mused.
He rode over to the siege equipment. There were the towers that would be pushed against the walls, from which his men could shoot missiles down onto the defenders, scaling ladders to allow others to climb the walls. Then there was the carousel with its thick ropes and giant hooks. Once the hooks were attached to the tops of the walls, teams of men would push the carousel around, thereby pulling down the walls one stone at a time.
GarGar, le comte des Deux Chats, chose the spot for his performance because it was directly beneath Princess Pirouette’s bedroom window. As he began to strum his lute, a small gathering (mostly female) formed around him. He cleared his throat and began to sing.
Skies would be grey for me, if I didn’t have you. Each hour of the day for me, if I didn’t have you. What could I live for, tell me, what could I do, if I didn’t have you?
At long last, Pirouette appeared at her window. It was a large window and afforded the small gathering a good view of her person. She pushed open the glass and tossed a handkerchief, weighted with a small diamond ring. “There’s no excuse for this kind of behavior,” she laughed. “Now be off, or I shall summon the guards!”