“This involves all of you,” Queen Galina surveyed her nieces and their surviving husbands seated on the other side of your desk, “so thank you for coming.” She sighed and fiddled for a moment with her reading glasses. “Citrine was not always the person she is now. I’m sure that she was,” another pause, “more flexible and not convinced that only she knew what to do when we were younger. I don’t know when or how she changed.” Another sigh. “You were right to be concerned about your father’s death.” The sisters held hands, reaching across their husbands to do so. “She didn’t so much kill him as wilfully deny him treatment. He had his heart attack in another woman’s bed.”
The eldest sister, Princess Gudron, exchanged a glance with her husband. “That was kept very quiet,” she commented. “What about the other woman?” Followed by a hard swallow.
“Intimidated but unharmed,” the Queen assured her. “I am trying to come up with a suitable form of apology for the intimidation and threats.”
“Were they together long,” Princess Birgitta glanced left and right at her sisters. “Do we have half-siblings?”
“She has children,” Galina told her, “but from well before she met your father. Actually,” she picked up a pen and made a note, “scholarships for her grandchildren is a thought. Thank you.”
“And what about Jaime?” Princess Alexandrina’s question wasn’t tremulous but she sounded as if she was expecting a particular answer.
“Yes,” Galina nodded in confirmation. “He was murdered. It wasn’t just an antique airship accident.” A feral grin crossed her face. “He must have made a good account of himself because he took the entire team of pet thugs she sent to do the job with him. He was a great loss to us all, my dear.”
“Thank you,” Alexandrina was verging on tears.
“Citrine,” Galina went on grimly, “had files on each of you, gentlemen. Any threats she made to your wives were not empty. Henryk,” she spoke directly to Birgitta’s husband, “your problems last June were poison, not bad seafood.”
“Indeed.” Henryk Heimfjord’s eyes narrowed. “So what didn’t she want me to see in Helgograd?”