‘You haven’t heard the news?’ Harry Wharton lounged against the fence post, one ankle crossed over the other and regarded Matho with mock surprise. ‘The King of France was clapping his heels so loud you could hear it from the cliffs of Dover on a windy day.’
‘There’s nowt new about siring bairns.’ Matho’s long muscles moved easily as he continued the rhythmic grooming of his horse. ‘Hereabouts folk manage it wi’ nae trouble.’
‘It’s taken Dauphin Henri and Catherine de Medici ten years. People say witchcraft is involved.’
‘Aye, a new French prince will put everything on a different footing. There’ll be new plans hatching.’ Matho hooked one arm across his horse’s back and regarded his well-born friend. ‘The Dowager Queen of Scots will marry her daughter back into France. That will send King Henry into a rage because he wants her to marry his son. Arran wanted the bairn for his own son, so he’ll be annoyed. Cardinal Beton hates the idea of being under French control, so he’ll be stamping and spitting around the Scots court.’
‘You appear to know her well, this Dowager Queen.’
Matho looked down at the brush in his hand and pulled a few tufts of hair from the bristles. ‘Aye, well. Ye tend to remember a woman when she gives orders to take yer head off next morning.’
These are the opening words of my as yet untitled sequel to Abduction of the Scots Queen.