Castile: "There are many reasons, the most prevalent would be he is next in line for the throne"
Malia: "The most obvious suspect would be someone with an - arguably - equally valid claim, hoping to remove competition," Malia mused, but cast a glance at Sarnai and, with almost too much ease, dismissed the possibility. "Clearly not."
Sarnai didn't even bother to try and hide the scorn in the dark glare she shot the Duchess of the North. The change in the woman's demeanor tonight was downright shocking and the only conclusion that the Consort could draw was that Malia was just now beginning to see her as a threat. Sarnai wasn't sure whether to be flattered or insulted that it had taken this long.
Malia: "If there is no king and no rightful heir, power becomes decentralized from King's City." People would look to their Dukes and Duchesses instead. "It would allow quite a bit more…. freedom to lower nobility." … "Which means the next suspects would be the Dukes or Duchesses…."
Regardless of Malia's additude, Sarnai was appreciative of the explanation - not that she'd say as much aloud. The finer points of politics were still a struggle for her to understand and without Philip to help explain things in the moment, or her handmaiden after the fact, Sarnai was a bit out of her depth.
Feeling a touch smug that her earlier thoughts hadn't been too far off the mark, Sarnai's eyes went from one face to the next once again. None of them here seemed to be acting particularly guilty and without Sanya here to chime in . . .
Malia: "Where is the Duke of the South's daughter?" … "She is a…. student, is she not?"
Sanya's absence was beginning to look suspicious in light of where this conversation was going and Sarnai found herself shifting uncomfortably in her seat, one hand going to her belly as a mild contraction tightened her middle. Sanya had been nothing but kind and supportive toward Sarnai, ever since their first meeting, but then so had Malia . . .
"She is," Sarnai answered, leaving the implications of her confirmation hanging there in the air above the table. If Sanya had anything to do with this, it was likely at her parent's behest, the young Southerner silently rationalized.
"Francesca," she said suddenly, turning her attention to the pale Duchess of the West. "Have you any theories?"