Penelope Cargan had run out of chances. She’d boozed and partied her way through what she had taken from her family in Thys, and it had been by sheer virtue of carefully courting several of the higher classes of her new home that she wasn’t out on the streets. That was until they all spoke to each other and figured out what was going on. That was her last chance.
It hadn’t been chance, though, that she met adventurers from Acryn. She was certain it hadn’t been chance that she heard them talking about Cargans having returned to Acryn. And without a doubt it hadn’t been chance meeting the man she did in the harbour.
She’d not seen him again since, but that one meeting was all it took. He talked calmly, he talked carefully, and he talked about Acryn. He talked about the state of the city, and about keeping it in one piece.
He talked about doing what had to be done, and she listened. She hung on his every word, and he told her the one she’d call Her Lady. He told her who she could talk to in Acryn to find out more, and gave her the name of a way to get there. So she took it. One last chance.
There was a loud smash as the bottle broke against the wall. The glass shards flew across the room, the clear liquid inside dripping down the wooden surface of the wall to mix with the blood on the floor. The girl stood slumped in the doorway, opposite the wall the bottle had struck, her figure silhouetted against the light spilling in through the open door.
She stumbled into the room and collapsed onto the floor. Her hair was matted with blood and tears, her clothes were torn to shreds and there were dark rings under her eyes that told she hadn’t slept for weeks.
She took the screwed up papers from her hand and read them through again, not caring for the order of them but shaking her head and reaching for the bottle again for a moment before remembering what had caused the field of glass she currently sat in.
He still didn’t get it, did he?
It wasn’t about who married whom, it wasn’t about any of that.
It was about so much more than any of that.
She shook her head, trying to clear it, but perhaps for the first time in a long while it was clearer than it had been. It wasn’t about her, or Armand, or Francesco. It wasn’t about Cargans or Graveses… It was about Her. It was about what she’d DONE to Her.
She was shaking. Shaking as much as she had been when she realised what it meant when she was holding the still-beating heart of her cousin in her hand. But she knew what she had to do.
What must have been hours after she entered the room, she pulled herself up on the beaten up chair to sit on the broken bed. With blood slowly dripping from the scratches on her chest from where she’d tried to dig her own heart out, she shakily picked up a pen in her hand, her nails dry with her own blood and began to write.
A note was posted under the door of Armand Cargan-Graves. On one side it read “Not that I reckon you’re reading these.”, on the other it read in large, shaky, hand-written letters, “IT’S ABOUT HER. I BETRAYED HER. I NEED TO FIX IT… HELP ME?”.
Then in smaller letters, “You’re my last chance.”