Summer ripened, and so did the Queen; her health returned, better than ever. Harsin had planned to stay in town for the summer, but instead accompanied his wife and daughters to High Haven, the royal family's retreat in the mountains above the Capital. To their surprise, Ansella's brush with death rekindled their passion for one another. They spent their nights rediscovering each other's bodies, though long-exposed nerves still ached. Ibbit never left Ansella's mind, but her emotions changed from heartbreak and bewildered anger to implacable hatred--not just for her own sake, but for the unborn baby she carried. Ansella could almost understand it if Ibbit had tried to kill her from jealousy, but trying to kill the baby? For that, Ansella would see the woman dead.
A whisper ran through the Hearth that night, carried from one sympathetic mouth in the Healer's House dispensary to various sympathetic ears until it reached a young Sister who worked in the kitchens; she nodded, setting her stubborn black cowlick bobbing. When she returned to her work, she picked up a dinner tray and walked the long stairs into the basement to Sister Ibbit's chilly cell. She gave the renegade her evening meal and murmured, "She is with child, Blessed Ibbit," before she turned away.
Ibbit tore her bread into hunks, the hunks into chunks, the chunks into shreds, the shreds into crumbs. She threw them into her soup and ate with deliberate intensity until the same black-haired Sister came back for the tray. "Tell our friend in the dispensary I have a task for her. Carry it out, the both of you, and then flee," said Ibbit.
Ansella suffered in ways Temmin didn't understand. Yes, she had loved Ibbit, but Ibbit had proved false. Ibbit wanted Temmin dead. She wanted his father dead. Oughtn't Mama to be more angry than sad? She stayed in her rooms, avoiding both the morning room and the dinner table. Miss Hanston swore she ate, but "Her Majesty is in a kind of mourning, sir, and that's a fact."