After Nanowrimo, the trip to Italy, publishing my fairytale, and the Christmas holidays, I’m slowly getting my routine back. Journey to the City of Men is under revision and I should be done with it shortly. Then it will be placed in the capable hands of my trusted beta readers. Then, re-writing, editing, proofreading, formatting, copyrighting, publishing, marketing… head spinning, hiding under a rock, etc. Rinse and repeat.
Anyway, Allegra and Julius are still at his parents’ and she has a tête-à-tête with his father. From X:
“Care for a stroll outside?” Carolus took her arm under his in a paternal gesture. “In all of this… we’ve forgotten to enjoy the little things, haven’t we?”
Allegra didn’t answer since she didn’t know what ‘all of this’ meant and looked back at Julius who was several steps behind and engaged in conversation with his mother.
“Shall we?” Carolus gently tugged her and she followed his lead.
Nobody else did and she found herself with the Right Hand of the king all alone, without knowing what was the protocol with a person of his station.
“Allegra, may I call you Allegra?” He looked at her from his considerable height.
She nodded, taken by surprise.
“Good. Allegra, I heard you didn’t find your family…”
She nodded again.
“I wish I could tell you what happened to them, but the truth is I know little.”
There was only one thing Allegra wanted to know. “Are they alive?”
Carolus didn’t answer right away. “If they escaped soon enough, they might be.”
“What do you know, sir?” Little knowledge was preferable to not knowing at all.
“The Malady is something that affects our brains—” Carolus caressed his chin with his free hand. “It makes people see things.”
“What kind of things?” The image of the terrorized boy they had met outside her house came back to her.
“Haunting things. Worse than nightmares.” Carolus’s voice wavered. “People commit suicides to stop seeing those things.”
“What is it?” The boy’s eyes were vacant, but Julius had seen through him and she had felt the horror he had experienced. “How are people infected?”
“We don’t know. That’s why cities are walled and exed. We’re trying everything in our power to stop the Malady from spreading.”
“Why wasn’t Cartaghena walled?”