Mercy

Author:Mari NessSource:dailysciencefictionRelease time:2018-10-23

In the end, they did not shut the princess up alone.

In the end, they did not shut the princess up alone.

It had been discussed. But a few of the advisors of the king's court had seen prisoners dragged from cells after years of speaking to no one but their guards, if that. Prisoners who had not seen the sun. The princess was disobedient, yes, but she could still be useful--perhaps. If she was not driven insane.

If she still had some capacity for human speech.

If she could be reminded that she was still a princess.

No. She could not be imprisoned in the darkness alone.

That left the choice of her companion. A member of the nobility--one familiar with the proper manners that the princess would need to maintain, afterwards--would be the best, and certainly, the court had more than enough duchesses and countesses of questionable virtue whose imprisonments would be--well, perhaps not justified, but understandable. On the other hand, many of these ladies had powerful relatives, or could--potentially--be useful. Politically, at least. No one wanted to chance losing that. And of course, such ladies--even those in royal service--would know nothing of the daily chores of caring for a princess. Not that these chores would be all that burdensome, in those five tiny rooms, in the dark, without a single hint of sun or stars.

But still. Appearances had to be maintained.