In seconds everyone in Therakles’ remarkably extensive quarters was awake, even Cassiope who came to the window pulling on her tunic.
“Not so close that anyone on the outside can see you please, ladies.” Therakles unfolded himself from a shadow in the heavy drape beside the window, still in the clothes he’d been wearing the previous evening. “You should be a surprise for whoever did this.”
“Who was it?” Hesiope asked the question as she did up the ties on her jerkin.
Therakles’ answer was forestalled by a short, syncopated knock on the door of his quarters. “I have to get this, excuse me.” He almost skimmed across the floor, the snake looped around his shoulders becoming obvious for the first time. He unlocked and opened the door, bowing to the man who came through it pulling a blanket wrapped woman behind him. “Majesties.”
“You were right and I was wrong,” admitted King Perdikkas. “Half-brother, may we shelter with you and take counsel to end this threat?”
“Of course,” Therakles closed the door and locked it behind them. “I am loyal.”
“Our body servants are dead,” Queen Semestra reported. “Poisoned probably. Do you know of any other moves against us?”
“They tried to kill your couriers.” Therakles smiled, “But I‘ve spent my evening surrounded by beauty, so they failed.”[i]
[i] Therakles’ familiar is a pantry snake/grass snake hybrid. Essentially this is a Lamprophis/Opheodrys hybrid. It is green with copper/red patterning.