Antigone Gorice sat very straight in her chair. This was because she was tied to it, her hands strapped behind the chair’s back. This was not the most dignified of positions and Antigone really wished that she could be alone while she was in it. However, she was not. Eurydice le Fidèle was in the room with her, staring at her with a look that mixed bewilderment and anger.
It was exceptionally uncomfortable. Antigone glanced away. She had enough to feel guilty about, what with failing the Necklace. Dealing with Eurydice on top of that was simply too much.
“How could you?” asked Eurydice, her voice dripping with accusation. “How could you… do this?”
Antigone thought about not saying anything, but decided Eurydice deserved an answer. “Quite easily. I just used everything I picked up working here for the last eight years to help my… associate. But I think you meant ‘why did I do this?’ And that’s easy.” She looked Eurydice in the eye. “My name should be Antigone de Gorice. After the holding in the south. But it isn’t. My family lost EVERYTHING to the Cthoniques and the True Folk. And why? Because we got tired of Lord Shaddad’s madness, and declared for the Ashurana! And what happened to us after that? We were thrown out of our land! My father hung himself! And me and my mother--we got to come here and do housework for them!” A sarcastic grin covered the former Magnate’s face. “Lucky us.”
“There’s nothing wrong with housework,” said Eurydice, with a frown. “Loyal service is a joy and an hon--,”she began.
“Oh, you tell yourself that,” said Antigone. “You tell yourself that all the beds you make are some sort of--sacred duty. That you are something more than a chambermaid with delusions of grandeur.” She glared at Eurydice. “My family were Magnates! Great people! We held the lives of our tenants in our hands! And I have had to--play nice to a girl who is proud that her ancestors have spent the last few centuries cleaning rooms.”
Eurydice was silent for a moment. “I thought we were friends.”
Antigone snickered. “You thought wrong. I know who my real people are.”
Eurydice nodded. “Murderers, thieves and liars. Nice folk.” She stepped forward. “You’ve got it wrong, you know. My ancestors… the first Fidèle took a bolt for Marduk Cthonique, on the Scarlet Field. Marduk practically adopted his children. A Fidèle served as Enkidu’s squire at the Triumph of Night. When Choas had to leave during Marsilion’s siege, he left a Fidèle to keep Castle Terribel. During the Retreat and the Rising, my father did the same thing!” She leaned towards Antigone. “That’s the family you’ve insulted! Men and women who have lived and died for the Cthoniques--men and woman who have made HISTORY, while your family was lording it over your sad little fief! My father is a great man! Yours was a drunk who hung himself over GAMBLING DEBTS! And your mother wasn’t much better! I seem to recall she drank herself into a grave! One paid for by all of us worthless peons that you’ve been polluting yourself working next to!”
Antigone bit her lip, and glanced away. “You--you--don’t you dare! My family--it’s in the blood! You and your Cthoniques can turn things around as much as you want, but you can’t change that!”
Eurydice looked away. “I suppose not.” She sighed. “I wouldn’t change places with you, you know that? Even if you still had your chateau and your fief--I’d stay with changing sheets in Castle Terribel.”
“Yeah, sure,” said Antigone darkly.
“Oh, I‘m serious,” said Eurydice. “Any lifestyle that could produced someone as two-faced and rotten as you is something to avoid.” She glanced at the captive furtively. “Was any of it real, Antigone? All the smiles--all the jokes--all the nice moments--were they all lies?”
Antigone was quiet, and then gave a bleak nod. “Pretty much.”
Eurydice shut her eyes. “Ahh. Well.” She choked back a sob. “That--definitely puts a new spin on the last eight years of my life. For a start--Echidnae is apparently my actual best friend…”
“I’d say you have my sympathies, but I’d be lying again,” said Antigone.