The contact had stopped again by the time she had exited the Long Gallery. Typical.

Rather than return to Madoc and Llewella, she decided to head for her rooms. She hadn’t really made much use of them lately, but there was certainly a very nice large bath that she planned on making use of now.

The next attempted Trump contact came in like a hammer against her skull. She physically staggered against the wall, and a concerned servant warily approached her offering assistance that she could not hear.

She accepted automatically to stop the impending head trauma of doom from taking hold.
Caine’s concerned face swam into view.

“What? What? For the love of the gods WHAT??” she snapped at him.

He raised both eyebrows in surprise.
“Sorry, I was led to believe you may be in some kind of trouble.”

“Caine, when am I not in some kind of trouble? Well aside from right now. Which is incorrect, because I am in some kind of trouble, but not the kind you think…I think.” She sighed. “Sorry. what did you need?”

“Me? Peace and quiet for a bit, followed by a good intrigue without too much family drama, oh, and a decent bottle of Sangiovese would be nice…You don’t look so great.”

“Really, thank you. I am hungover, Caine.”

“Ah yes, the demon drink and all it brings with it.” He hid a chuckle. He hid it badly.

“Caine, not that I don’t love to chat with you, because mostly you know I do, but what do you want?” She was becoming a little peevish. Came with being tired, hungover, upset and overwhelmed.

“I genuinely don’t want anything, cousin mine. Julia has been trying to contact you with no success. Thought you might be in trouble, asked me to check in on you…she quite likes you, you know. In her way.”

“Oh. Julia. right.” she released a large pent up breath as she rapidly came to the conclusion that a bath and a good lie down were just not in her immediate future.

“You were just busy, weren’t you?” Caine asked, smiling gently.

“You could say that. Getting admonished by Brand, telling Madoc to back off and promising things I can’t deliver to Llewella. Bit busy.”

“You should have a bath and a good lie down, cuz.” Caine recommended sagely.

“Shut up.” She responded and cut the Trump contact.

She found herself lying down on a short longue in the hallway, with a servant standing a safe three feet away peering at her cautiously.

She smiled at him reassuringly.
“I’m ok, all ok. All good. Yep. Yep, good” hauling herself to her feet and waving a hand at him. “You should go do things. Whatever the things are that you do. I’m all good.” wobble. “Totally fine.”

He didn’t quite believe her, but any excuse was good enough to toddle along and not become involved. Discretion being the better part of valour, he took the offered out and promptly disappeared.

She sat down on the next flat surface that came along. Small side table, probably never had this much weight placed on it, but damn it, it was up to the challenge and it wasn’t about to let the team down.

Sioned selected Julia’s card from her trump deck and reached out for a contact. She got one almost immediately.

“Where are you?” Julia was blunt. it was part of her charm?

“Not even a ‘hi, how are you?’ ” There was a blank look and silence. Sioned shook her head slightly. “I’m at the palace, I’m fine, I just need to have a nap or something.”

“Yes, you don’t look very well.” And that observation wasn’t getting old.

“Yeah, I get that. What can I help with?”

“Your schematics. We need to take to trial stage. You should come back here.” It wasn’t a suggestion as much as it was a statement.

“OK, yes. yes. I agree. I would like to be on my best game for this, so I’m going to need a few hours to…enhance my calm, so to speak.”

Julia looked a little confused and pondered for a few minutes.

“I understand.” She nodded. “I will contact you again in a few hours, and you will answer, yes?”

Sioned breathed a sigh of relief.

“Absolutely, yes, I will answer, I promise. Swear to gods.” She smiled. “You’re the best, Julia.” and cut contact.

The warden blinked rapidly for a few minutes. She was the best? The best at what? She must remember to ask.