A/N: Tada, how about another chapter? I actually found this chapter sort of fun to write. I think I might try and write a little more Nostradamus, he's rather interesting. Though I think I need a little work on capturing his essence, hopeful he isn't too awful. I wanted to thank you all for your response to this story so far, I'm amazed by how many alerts and reviews it has already, it means so much to me. Thank you.
Disclaimer: I do not own Reign.
"Bash," the words were out of Francis' mouth before he was even in the room.
Bash raised his head from Mary's hand and turned to see his little brother standing in the door, frozen in place.
"What- Mary?" Francis cried as he stumbled forward, his body suddenly going into overdrive as he saw his fiancée lying so still on a sick bed. Bash had to jump up in order to catch his brother as he trip over his own feet in his rush to reach her bedside.
"She's fine. She's asleep. She had a bit of a scare," Bash told Francis, easing him into the chair had had previously been occupying. Francis' hands shook a little as he reached out for Mary's, taking over watch as Sebastian had been doing just moments before. Bash almost felt cheated, he had been the one to come to Mary's rescue, yet when she opened her eyes again, it would be Francis there, acting as protector.
"What happened?" Asked Francis, his eyes scanning Mary up and down taking inventory of any apparent injuries, finding none, he finally turned to look up at his brother.
"There was the head of a slaughtered deer above her bed when she woke this morning," Bash explained, knowing full well what this meant, but not wanting to burden his brother with all the details. He had hoped that Nostradamus would arrive first so that he might be able to speak with him. Out of everyone in the castle, he would know best what they were dealing with. At least, what he was dealing with. This should not have happened, he had been the one to remove the bodies, and he should have been the one to bare the consequences.
"The head of a deer? Who would do something like this?" disgust rightfully colouring his words. Bash should have known he wouldn't be able to hide something like this from his brother, but there had been hope nonetheless.
"The Pagans in the wood," Bash told him, his eyes searching his brother's face, waiting for the accusations. He already knew that Bash knew one of their prayers, and he was sure his brother would suspect that he knew what was going on now, which was true. Bash did understand what the deer head meant. That Mary had become the chosen sacrifice for his mistakes.
"The Pagans? Why would the Pagans wish to scare Mary half out of her mind?" Francis' face held an accusatory look, one which Bash couldn't' blame him for. The older man sighed and began to pace across the floor.
"They've chosen her. She's to have her neck slit, and hung upside down like some sacrificial lamb," the venom in his words was obvious. As soon as the words were out of his mouth, he stopped his pacing and turned to his brother, ready for his wrath.
It took a moment or two for the words to sink, but Bash saw the moment they did. Francis' face changed into an expression that could rival a demon's as he stood up so quickly the chair he had been seated on tumbled backwards. "A sacrificial lamb? What have you done?" and there it was. The accusations that this was all Bash's fault, without knowing the whole story, Francis knew, just like that.
"I took the bodies from the wood. Colin, that Scottish boy, I took him down as they were bleeding him out, the same with Olivia's driver. I wasn't going to leave them hanging there. One of the Pagan's came to me a few nights ago, saying I had to pay my debt and chose someone to sacrifice. I refused and they said they would choose someone for me." No sooner were the words out of Bash's mouth than Francis had his hands fisted in the collar of his linen shirt, and Bash allowed him. He knew he could easily throw his little brother off, but he didn't. Whatever he had coming to him, he deserved it.
"You need to remedy this," he spat, fire in his eyes. The young prince was pulling back his arm as Nostradamus walked in, taking in the sight before him.
"What the Hell is going on here?" asked the giant of a man, walking over to the two brothers and taking them both by the arms to pull them apart, not much caring that one was the future King of France.
"Fix this. If anything should happen to her," Francis allowed his threat to be left open for interpretation. Unable to look at his brother any longer, he turned back to right the chair he had been sitting on and took hold of Mary's hand again, holding tight, as if he were afraid the Pagans would show up at any moment and attempt to rip her from his very grasp.
"The Pagans have marked her for sacrifice," responded Bash to Nostradamus' unasked question as they stood there together looking at Mary and Francis.
"How do I stop this?" Bash questioned, finally able to tear his stare from two of the most important people in his life.
"Why her?" Nostradamus questioned, rather than answered. Bash immediately felt trapped. Should he tell the older man what had happened? Or should he lie? With something this serious, he was afraid of what his lies could mean, what misinformation could mean, but he knew, that he needed to protect Mary's reputation, so he merely shrugged.
"I care for my brother, and he cares for her?" Bash gave his reply, holding strong, hoping the Seerer wouldn't call his lie. If he noticed something was off, he said nothing, instead rubbing the rough hairs at his chin.
"You must choose a sacrifice, find someone to replace the Queen," Nostradamus told him, though he seemed unsure in his response. It would seem that Bash was on his own, as the only man who might know more about this than he, had little idea what he needed to do to prevent Mary from dying.
"I will not have blood on my hands," Bash said, making up his mind as he began to walk out of the room, hearing Nostradamus calling out to him, asking for his plan, though he chose not to share. As soon as his mind had been made up, he knew he they would attempt to stop him. He made directly for his room to retrieve his boots and sword. He and the Pagans were going to have a little chat.