“The Story of Jasmine” notes continue:
Within the fire, an image of the Queen appeared. She glared at Rogan with burning eyes. Before she could utter a word, Rogan launched into his prepared speech. As he bowed low, he professed his allegiance and deeply apologized for his failure to respond sooner. “I have been in the company of a most suspicious and difficult woman,” he found himself saying about Thorne, “she never gave me a moment’s time to myself. I could not risk her suspecting my true motives. The task has proved to be more difficult than we anticipated…”
The Queen regarded him through the licking flames but remained silent and impassive. Her dancing orange-yellow grew brighter and more intense. He could not look away. Then he became aware of the intrusion of her focused stare. The sharp energy pierced him in the forehead, like an arrow. Fortunately, he had the mental rigor not to give over to fear. His defense was to call up and concentrate his thoughts on how forthright and dependable he was.
He quickly launched into consciously visualizing his intended report. Good thing he had most of the morning to consider how he wanted to convey his information. Soon, he conjured up several powerful thought images of Thorne. In his mind, he showed Thorne as greatly upset over UR’s demise and how she beat her fists on a chair in frustration.
Melantha laughed, and broke her gaze. Due to the timing, Rogan wondered if he had been effective in limiting Melantha’s mental probing. He was unsure about how well he had been able to block her from his mind. He wanted to believe his visualization was successful, at least to a degree. Not knowing, he was finally at a loss of what to say.
“Your thoughts betray you, Rogan the Red.” She said at last, “What would your poor family think if they knew you covet this v-e-r-rr-r-y captivating woman?” Rogan bristled at the mention of his family. He had tried not to think of what torture Melantha would impose on them if he failed to carry out her schemes. The freedom of his homeland was also at stake. According to their pact, the evil Queen would not move against Roth as long as he worked as a spy against the Armildian people.
His agreement with her had been deceptively easy to make. He knew nothing of these boastful maidens who lived in the south. It meant nothing to him to spy on their country. His idea of a spy was to stay in the mountain passes, hiding behind rocks and trees to report the movements of people and supplies. But his assigned task proved to be more difficult than he bargained for.
Melantha told him to mingle among the battle maidens and befriend them. He was ordered to make himself indispensable. To achieve that, he had to spend time with them. The longer he stayed in their lands among them, the more admiration and compassion he felt for them. As he witnessed the honor and valor of these people, he could not help but to respect the Armildians.
That only made his task that much harder. He really wanted to help them, but the needs of his own country would always precede. All Rothians knew first hand how Melantha could suck the life-force from the land and its living creatures. Her slow advance had been methodical, but deadly. Nothing but a black wasteland was now left of the three Kingdoms that used to stand between Medrylthorn and Roth.
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