Elsebeth trembled. She looked at me with barely contained tears in her eyes. I swear I could see the apology there as she pointed her shaking index finger, not at me, but at the triumphant turtledove.
“No!” I cried, collapsing on the floor in despair.
“It seems I have been hoodwinked,” Andrien said coldly.
“No, Andrien, you don’t understand!” I shouted. In a blur of motion, Adelind was before me and I was greeted with the hot sting of her jeweled fingers slapping my cheek.
“How dare you speak to your prince in such a manner!” I was too shocked to respond.
“Have this filth taken away and thrown in the dungeon!” the king bellowed.
“Please, no! It’s not true! Please! Listen to me!” I yelled helplessly as armed guards grabbed me and hoisted me up. My pleas fell on deaf ears and I was carted away, my mother’s dress collecting dirt from the floor as they dragged me.