Princess Eirwyn curtsied and tried not to cringe before her mother. “You called for me.”
Wintermill’s queen jumped from her throne and motioned for Eirwyn to follow. Eirwyn could barely keep up with her mother’s long stride as they entered the courtyard and traveled outside the palace.
In the distance, Eirwyn spied delicate smoke snaking from chimneys. Rumors floated to the palace staff that other kingdoms had their subjects live right against the castle. Eirwyn couldn’t imagine such a thing as she peered up at her ice-coated palace in the middle of the frozen lake.
Her toes curled in her fur boots, and she conjured a warm breeze to keep her face from freezing. Mother hadn’t said anything yet, and Eirwyn chewed on her lower lip. Something bad had happened, but what? She hadn’t heard any news.
The queen spun around so quickly that Eirwyn nearly slipped on the ice. Instead of the slap she’d expected, her mother handed her a vial filled with pinkish-tinged liquid. “On your first night in Foxwick, pour this into Prince Javen’s goblet.”
Eirwyn’s fingers trembled as she took the vial. Who was this prince and what was her mother planning to do to him? “Foxwick? What does this vial do?”
“It’s a love potion. Foxwick will soon be a part of our kingdom.” Mother grabbed Eirwyn’s chin, and Eirwyn reluctantly met her gaze. “Don’t screw this up.”
Eirwyn slipped the vial into her cloak’s pocket. The love potion weighed her down, but she couldn’t let guilt stop her. Although she didn’t want to travel to Foxwick, she feared her mother’s wrath more. “As you wish.”