Castel Steep was masterless, with the death of Lord Jago five winters since leaving only a ten-year-old daughter to inherit.
The gorsedd-appointed castellan was an ambitious man of some forty summers who quickly determined the castle was his by right. Accordingly, on the eve of her fifteenth nameday, he called the Lady Melangel to his study, where she stood with folded hands and downcast eyes.
“Tomorrow we announce our betrothal.”
“If it is my lord’s will.”
As her nameday dawned, Melangel offered blood.
The stones took her offering, while a hungry sending ripped out the castellan’s throat.