If you have read the first two books of Wyld Magic, you should recognize Pelagia as one of the villains. She was a Councilor who plotted against Korinna’s father, Duke Basileos, and seized control after his death. After she was banished from Kyratia, she helped her son sneak back into the city for the magical spell that caused gryphons to attack and the marewings to go mad. But things aren’t going well for Pelagia these days and now she’s worried about her son, who has been missing for two years.
Pelagia Has a Meeting
Pelagia leaned back against the plush couch with a heavy sigh. Even though a rented chair had carried her all the way up the hill to the palace, she still felt exhausted from the trip. Her old body couldn’t handle much strain anymore. She’d already been forced to cut back on her consulting hours at the Merchants’ Guild Headquarters, so she was earning less. She feared that she wasn’t saving enough money for her inevitable retirement.
This wasn’t how she’d planned to spend her golden years. She didn’t have a large family to care for her, but once, she’d been too wealthy to worry about that—as the head Counselor of Kyratia, she’d had enough money to own half the city. But she lost everything when Warlord Galenos had taken it all for himself. For his revenge, he’d seized all her property and forced her into exile, along with every ally she’d cultivated in her years on the Council. A lifetime of careful planning had been wiped away by a single battle.
She’d found refuge here in Sympaia and work in consulting for the local merchants, but she was too old to start over. She’d hatched a plot to bring down that usurper, Galenos, and sent her only son to carry it out. But when the plan failed, her son, Xeros, had gone missing somewhere in Kyratia. She didn’t know if he was dead or rotting in some dungeon.
So once a month, she made the journey to the palace to meet with Kleon, the duke, who also wanted to take down Galenos. Oh, sure, he’d promised to notify her personally if he heard anything about the location of her son, but she knew he didn’t tell her everything he knew. The only way to see when he was lying was to speak with him face-to-face, and this monthly audience was the least he could do for her. After all, he shared some of the blame for the failed mission that had lost her son.
He liked to keep all of his appointments waiting, so she had time to recover her strength. Servants had already brought a lavish array of refreshments—just one more display of his wealth, along with the gaudy decorations and the sheer size of the palace that rose above his capital city like a crown jewel, more ornamental than defensible. She noticed that since her last visit, he’d had the upholstery changed from red to purple, following the latest fashions, and the paintings on the walls were all new. Noticed, but didn’t allow any of it to impress her. Anyone who had to flaunt his wealth so obviously only revealed his insecurities.
When she was finally admitted to the duke’s audience chamber, Pelagia had rested enough to stomp in with a lethal glare, thumping her cane along loud enough to make a noise even on the plush carpets.
Kleon was reclining on a couch with a bowl of grapes. “Has it been another month already?” he said in a bored tone. “You could have saved yourself a trip, Pelagia. I will let you know as soon as I have any news about your son’s whereabouts.”