May contain plot details
|“||The odd thing about ambition is this: you can acquire it like a fever, but is it not so easy to shed.||”|
–Jude Duarte, The Cruel Prince
Jude Duarte, also known as Jude Greenbriar née Duarte, High Queen Jude or Queen Jude, is a human and the High Queen of Elfhame. She is the daughter of Eva and Justin Duarte, foster daughter of Madoc and Oriana, daughter-in-law to Lady Asha, half-sister to Vivienne, twin sister of Taryn Duarte, foster sister to Oak, wife of Cardan Greenbriar, great-granddaughter-in-law to Mab Greenbriar, daughter-in-law to Eldred Greenbriar, sister-in-law to Balekin, Elowyn, Dain, Rhyia and Caelia Greenbriar and the aunt of Taryn's unborn child. High Queen Jude is also the current leader of a spy group called the Court of Shadows, where she is known as The Queen.
Jude has auburn hair, described as the color of a willow tree, which she tends to wear in up-dos. The most prominent hairstyle she wears is the horns shaped from her hair that is done by Tatterfell when Jude and Taryn go to Court.
She is also described as having softer features in comparison to the fae, such as her heart-shaped face. Jude's skin color is pale. Her eyes are described as the exact color of walnuts. Her face has been referred to as pretty by others, and she has been called beautiful by Locke. Cardan finds her mortal beauty unique. The top of her ring finger on her left hand is missing, for it was bitten by one of Madoc's guards when she was a child. Both Jude and Taryn have fuller breasts and larger hips in comparison to their older sister Vivienne due to their human heritage. Jude is also implied to be of a medium height and taller than Vivi. Lady Asha reveals that Jude resembles her mother, Eva, very strongly.
In the official art of the characters in How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories Jude is depicted with a slim figure, walnut-colored hair, full lips, and light skin color.
As a mortal raised with the Gentry of the Folk, Jude is determined to prove herself suitable for the Court. She is bold, pushing her fear aside in all situations. When she's scared, she tries to remain cold and never let others see her fear. She is stubborn, hard-working, ambitious, and thrives on strategies. Jude is very smart. She enjoys the lessons she attends with the children of the Gentry. She likes answering her teachers’ questions cleverly because it is something no one can take away from her. She learns about strategy and war from Madoc. Jude even tried to slowly take small amounts of poison to help her be immune to poison, saying that she has to work twice as hard then the fae.
Jude loves the faerie realm and never gets tired of the spectacle and pageantry of the Court. She believes that, as a human stolen from the mortal realm, she shouldn’t love faerie, but she does. Since she is human, Jude can lie, unlike the fae. This she uses often to her benefit. She is also very cunning and clever. She is good at various forms of fighting, especially sword fighting. Jude resents the people that have hurt her or her sisters and will protect them fiercely. Although she denies it at first, Jude develops a thirst for bloodshed. The Roach tells her that she likes playing games with the Folk. She likes pulling their strings and seeing how they dance. He imagines that she’d like doing this to mortals as well, but the Folk are what she’s practiced in, and perhaps some of them offer her a particular savor.
Cardan commented on that Jude often feels she needs to prove herself over and over again. Feeling as though she has to earn her crown as High Queen again and again.
When Jude was seven years old, she witnessed her parent's deaths in the mortal realm and was taken under the ward of Madoc with her sisters, Vivi and Taryn. It was a difficult and dangerous lifestyle being a mortal in the realm of Faerie. When she was nine, one of Madoc's guards bit off the very top of her left ring finger and when she screamed, the guard pushed her hard enough that her head smacked into a wooden post in the stables and made her stand there while he chewed and ate the piece of her finger that he'd bitten off, telling her exactly how much he hated mortals. When he was done, he said that Jude better keeps what happened a secret because if she didn't, he would eat the rest of her. Feeling so terrified by his threat, Jude never told another soul. By the fae she was seen as simply an object to play with, leading to many experiences similar to this.
School and BullyingJude and her twin sister, Taryn, attended classes with the children of the gentry, but, being mortal, were targets for relentless bullying.
At school, one day, one of their classmates, Cardan, kicks dirt onto Jude and Taryn’s food. He threatens to ensorcell Jude into eating the dirt, telling her that she doesn’t belong in the upcoming Summer Tournament because it’s not for mortals. She must withdraw or she will wish she had. The next day Jude sneaks some salt in Cardan and his friends’ lunch in retaliation for the day before. After lessons end, the group attacks Jude and Taryn on their way home. Valerian grabs Jude and Locke grabs Taryn, throwing them in the river. Valerian sneers at them that there are nixies in the river and that if the nixies found them, they would pull them under the water and eat them. Valerian, Nicasia and Locke take turns throwing the girls’ belongings into the river while Nicasia tells them “it’s just a game, but sometimes we play too hard with their toys and they break.” Valerian adds that “it’s not like they drowned them themselves.” Cardan tells Jude to quit attending lessons with them and to abandon the Summer Tournament. He wanted her to tell Madoc that she didn’t belong with them, who were her "betters". If she agreed to do this, he would save her from the nixies. When Jude refused, Cardan turns to Taryn and offer. That if she kissed him on both cheeks and promises to not defend Jude “by word or deed,” leaving her to die in the river, he wouldn’t hold her accountable for Jude’s defiance. Jude told her sister to do it, that she would be fine but is still hurt when Jude pushes Taryn to agree, but is still hurt when she carries through. Before leaving, Cardan taunts Jude once more that they would break her because she is mortal and fragile and that she should give up. Jude defiantly replies to him that she will never break.
At dinner that day, Jude informs Madoc of her wish to fight in the Summer Tournament as an eligible candidate to become a knight. She was tired of being powerless and wants to become a respected member of the Court. However, Madoc refuses her, telling her that she was no killer and that the role didn't suit her. Meanwhile, at school, the bullying continued, however, Jude began to stand up against Cardan more.
Joining the Court of ShadowsAfter the Summer Tournament, Prince Dain visited Jude at Madoc's Stronghold and tells her he found it incredible to watch her lie. He asked her to be a spy for him and to join his Court of Shadows. In exchange, Dain put a geas on her that protected her from all faerie glamour and enchantments except for any from him.
On the next day of lessons, Nicasia was bullying Jude for not being able to see at night and slapped her across the face. Valerian shoved faerie fruit down Jude’s throat and begun choking her with the apple, watching with an expression of mild curiosity. Jude stopped fighting back because she doesn’t want to hurt him while feeling so happy, due to the effects of the fruit. Cardan shoved Valerian off her, saying that if she died, his prank would be over before it began. After mocking her, Cardan stabbed her finger making her bleed. As she sucked on her injured finger, she realized the salt in her blood had stopped the effects of the faerie fruit. Locke took her home, and when asked by Jude why he hangs out with the group, told her that there “is a pleasure in being with them.” He told Jude he wanted to see her again because she was “like a story that hasn’t happened yet” and he wanted to see what she will do and be “part of the unfolding of the tale.”
In her room, Jude found servant's clothing and instructions for her first mission from Dain: sneak into Prince Balekin's stronghold, Hollow Hall, as a servant and bring back evidence of treason. During her search, she stumbled into Cardan's room and realized he lives with Balekin. She took his copy of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, as she remembered her mother telling her the story. She then found her way into Balekin's office and copied a letter of suspicious content. Before she could make her retreat, Balekin and Cardan came in and she hid. She saw Balekin physically and emotionally abuse Cardan and realized that Cardan had come by "his cruelty honestly in Balekin's care. He has been raised in it, instructed in its nuances, and honed through its application." Jude went to visit Dain in the Palace of Elfhame and he takes the copied letter. Dain suggested that she research mithridatism. He summoned the Roach to bring her into the secret passages and chambers inside the palace to meet the other members of the Court of Shadows: the Ghost and the Bomb.
When she returned to Madoc's Stronghold, Locke was waiting there for her and the two nearly shared a kiss before Jude's sister Taryn interrupted them. After Locke's departure, Taryn told Jude that she was seeing someone and that the person was going to ask for her hand at Prince Dain's coronation.
Over the next few weeks building up to the coronation, Jude learned spycraft from the other members of the Court of Shadows and went on two more missions to steal information for Dain. She trained in swordsmanship and strategy with Madoc and began engaging the mithridatism, which she's learned is the process of poisoning herself to build up immunity. She began a relationship with Locke, as well. At some point, she overheard Nicasia ask Locke if he’s enjoying himself, telling him that Cardan wouldn’t forgive him for what he was doing with Jude.
A few days before the coronation, Jude falls asleep in class and Valerian pushes her to the floor. She wakes up and he shows her that he took her necklace of rowan berries, thinking that now he can compel her. He tells her to call Cardan and tell him that he has won, and then to jump from the tower. He says, “After all, being born mortal is like being born already dead.” Jude is shocked by the violence and finality of his command. She realizes he’s been planning her murder since the day he choked her. Because of the geas from Dain, she can refuse. He becomes furious and yells at her about being mortal and how little her life matters. She doesn’t let him bait her. He begins to choke her, and she stabs him with the cold iron knife she’s started carrying, escaping.
Locke brings Jude to his estate to cheer her up and shows her around the empty and lifeless manor. He persuades her to stay for a party and to pick a dress from the wardrobe of his deceased mother, Liriope. Jude feels uneasy when wearing the dress to the party. She finds a golden bauble in the shape of an acorn inside the dress and pockets it. Jude sees Cardan at the party and notices he is drunk and that two female faeries are all over him. He can't stop staring at her. Locke and Jude spend most of the party kissing and she spends the night. Before leaving his estate, Jude runs into Nicasia who tells her that "he ruins everything." Jude thinks she's talking about Cardan.
She catches up with an upset Taryn in class. They head home and Jude inspects the acorn. It contains a message from Liriope to a friend telling them to take care of her son when she dies. Liriope had died of poisoning from blusher mushrooms. Jude immediately thought about the letter that mentioned blusher mushrooms in Balekin's study and wants answers so she goes to Hollow Hall again, but she finds no evidence of Balekin's role in Liriope's poisoning. However, she does come across some letters from Madoc to Balekin about coronation security, but she thinks they are unimportant. Frustrated at the lack of information, she is about to leave but impulsively rescues an overworked and glamoured human girl named Sophie. She asks Vivi for help returning her to the mortal world. But the girl cannot accept reality and throws herself into the sea during her ride back to the human world.
Disheartened by the girl's death, Jude sleeps fitfully. The following afternoon she wakes to a summoning from Dain. He is furious about what happened with Valerian. He uses the geas to compel Jude to pick up a dagger and stab herself through the hand. He removes the compulsion so that she will stab herself willingly. He wants Jude to prove her devotion to him with blood and bone. She is furious at being in this situation. She decides that if she can't be better than the fey, then she is going to stop being afraid and become something to fear instead. On the night before the coronation, Valerian sneaks into Jude's room at Madoc's Stronghold. He is clearly drunk and is furious with her. He attempts to kill her, but Jude manages to kill him instead. Jude buries Valerian near the stables, but outside the paddock so that even the most carnivorous of Madoc's sharp-toothed horses are unlikely to dig him up and gnaw on his bones.
Later that night she and the Ghost intercept a messenger sent by Balekin to the palace, only to learn that they were tricked by Balekin. Jude recognizes the messenger as one of Madoc's spies. She does not tell the Ghost, as she does not believe in Madoc's involvement with Balekin.
The Coronation CeremonyAfter little sleep, Jude is woken up for the preparation for the coronation ceremony. At the palace, she dances with Locke, and he asks her whether she loves him enough to weep over him when he hurts her. She replies that if he hurts her she would not cry, she would hurt him back. Cardan steps between them and chides Locke, but Jude does not understand his meaning. When the ceremony starts, the entire royal family stands behind the throne except for Cardan, who is nowhere to be seen. Eldred, the High King, gives up the power of the crown and prepares to crown Dain. However, Balekin stages his coup with the support of Madoc. Balekin kills Princess Elowyn and Madoc kills Dain. Balekin beheads Taniot and runs his sword through Eldred. The High King can only be crowned by someone of Greenbriar blood, so Balekin turns to his two remaining sisters and tells them to crown him. Princess Caelia is willing to do it in order to stop the bloodshed but is shot with a bolt from the Ghost. Princess Rhyia kills herself rather than make Balekin High King. Balekin is given three days to become High King by Lord Roiben, or the courts will leave without pledging loyalty to the crown.
The revel continues as if the slaughter did not happen. To her luck, Jude encounters a drunk Cardan under the long banquet tables. He reveals to her that his father despised him. She lets him lead her up to the palace floors before threatening him with a dagger. She forces him to come into the lair of the Court of Shadows and ties him to a chair. The Roach and the Ghost arrive, and with a prompt from Cardan, the Ghost admits that he was the one who poisoned Liriope with orders from Dain, because there was a prophecy saying if the child of Liriope was born, Dain would never be king. It was known that the child Liriope was carrying had been sired by Dain. She leaves Cardan in the Ghost and the Roach's care while she returns to Madoc's estate.
Fallout with TarynIn her room, she changes into a tunic and straps on her father's sword, Nightfell. Going downstairs, she hears that Locke is in Madoc's study asking for Taryn's hand in marriage. She pieces the story together. Locke is the faerie that Taryn is in love with and who was going to ask Madoc for permission to marry her. Everyone except for Jude knew what Locke was doing. Locke told Taryn that if she could endure what he was doing with Jude it would be a test of love and prove to him that she was like the fey and not like mortals. The day Jude saw Cardan making Taryn cry was when Cardan was telling Taryn that it was her fault he kicked dirt onto Jude's food. Locke had tricked them into thinking it was Jude who stole him away from Nicasia. So, it was Jude they were punishing. Cardan told Taryn that Jude was suffering in her place and that if Jude knew why, she'd back down to him, but Taryn couldn't tell her. Jude is disgusted and feels betrayed by Locke and embarrassed that everyone, even her sister, was in on the joke at her expense.
Jude challenges Taryn to a duel and even allows her to fight with Nightfell. In the middle of the duel, they are stopped by Vivi who uses a glamour to make them freeze. Jude is not affected due to the geas from Dain but manages to pull back before harming Taryn. Madoc speaks with Jude and Taryn, while the girls refuse to speak to each other. Madoc tells Jude that he is willing to make a trade between him and Jude for Cardan, because Madoc thinks she knows where he is.
The next afternoon Jude tries to talk to Taryn but she is not in her room. Jude goes to Oriana's room to ask about Taryn's whereabouts but notices the golden acorn identical to the one she found in Liriope's dress, lying on Oriana's dressing table. She deduces from all the clues that Oriana is the friend Liriope mentioned in the acorn message and has the answers she needs. Jude asks her if Oak was Liriope's son and Oriana tells her the story of what happened over eight years ago. Liriope and Oriana were both Eldred's consorts and had a deep friendship. When Liriope started her relationship with Dain, she did not expect to get pregnant with his child. Dain heard of Liriope's pregnancy and poisoned her because of a prophecy that claimed he would not be king if the child was born. Oriana got Liriope's message and cut Liriope's child, Oak, out of her body to save him. She married Madoc to hide Oak's identity as a descendant of the Greenbriar line.
Once she understood Oak's origins, Jude sees through Madoc's plan to rule Faerie by putting Oak on the throne and ruling himself as regent. Jude does not want this to happen because a Faerie ruled by Madoc will be full of war and bloodshed, and Jude wants Oak to have a chance to grow up and be what he chose to be, instead of a political puppet of Madoc's. Jude starts to formulate a plan to beat Madoc at his own game.
Plotting with CardanShe returns to the Court of Shadows and interrogates Cardan. When she asks him why he hates her so much he avoids the question, until Jude threatens to shoot him with a crossbow. He tells her that he envies her because Madoc loves her despite her being his step-daughter when Cardan’s own father despised him. He also envies her because she doesn’t have an abusive older brother. Another reason for his hate is because he believed that she stole Locke from Nicasia, making her cry. Jude asks him about the piece of paper she found on which he wrote her name over and over again with such intense hatred, but he hesitates to answer. After a little more pressing from Jude, he then admits that he is attracted to Jude and thinks about her often, and hates himself for wanting a mortal. Jude then kisses him and he kisses her back.
Cardan proposes a bargain where Jude will tell Balekin that Cardan will crown him, and in return, Balekin shall give Cardan lands and gold and give to Jude whatever she wants. They form a sort of friendship. He tells her he does not want to be the High King. Jude ponders her options and decides on what she will do. On the third day after the royal massacre, Balekin is going to host a feast at Hollow Hall. With the courts gathered at the feast, someone of Greenbriar blood will have to be crowned before the courts leave without swearing fealty.
Jude tells the tale of how Oak came to be of Greenbriar blood to the Court of Shadows and Cardan. She tricks them into thinking that she is going to make Cardan crown Oak, then whisks the young boy to the mortal world where he'll grow up without faerie cruelties. She persuades Cardan to swear himself into her service because she tells him she cannot trust him with the crown of Faerie in his hands. Cardan pledges himself grudgingly, giving Jude the power to command him to do anything she wishes and which he cannot refuse, but only for a year and a day.
Jude tries to persuade different courts to support her plan. She convinces Severin, son of the Alderking, to back her during the plan which will happen at Balekin's banquet on the following day. She then makes a deal with Roiben the lord of the Court of Termites, trading a promise of any one thing to obtain his support during Balekin's banquet. At dawn, Jude briefly visits Madoc's Stronghold to pack necessities from her room and tells Vivi her plan and asks her to prepare Oak for his role in the coronation of the new High King. She tries to talk to Taryn but she shuts her bedroom door in Jude's face.
Hollow HallAt the feast at Hollow Hall, Jude walks in on Cardan’s arm, shocking everyone present. Balekin does not immediately seize Cardan as he now knows the importance of a willing participant in a coronation. Madoc walks up to the pair with a disapproving look. Jude pours two glasses of wine, both laced with poison and holds them up for Madoc to choose between. Madoc downs one and Jude drinks the other. Jude lures Madoc to a secluded hallway and they fight. Jude had been taught swordsmanship by Madoc, so she is quickly overpowered. However, the poison starts to take effect on Madoc. It makes him unconscious, but Jude stays on her feet due to her mithridatism. Jude and her fellow spies tie him in one of the rooms upstairs, where he will wake in a few hours when everything is over.
Jude returns to the banquet sporting a few bruises. She joins Cardan at the dinner table and gets ready for the explosion the Bomb is about to create. When it happens, the Roach shoots bolts at Balekin to distract his guards while the Ghost steals the Crown of Faerie amidst the chaos. The Ghost mistakes Taryn for Jude and throws the crown at her. Jude wrestles the crown from Taryn and gives it to Oak. Jude tells Cardan to show Oak what he should do as the one being crowned, and Cardan kneels, beckoning Oak to do the same. However, Jude commands Cardan to stay completely still in his kneeling position Oak performs the coronation ceremony and places the crown on Cardan’s head, as he had practiced with Vivi, and Cardan becomes the new High King.
Now Jude has absolute control over the most powerful being in Faerie for a year and a day. Cardan is furious at her betrayal, as he does not want to be High King. Oak is sent to live with Vivi and her girlfriend Heather in the mortal world. Cardan appoints Jude as his seneschal while also telling her that he has not yet forgiven her.
Seneschal to the High KingIt has been five months since Jude tricked Cardan into becoming High King. She is at a revel advising Cardan on various matters brought before him. Grimsen the Smith asks Cardan for an end to his exile, which Cardan grants. Then a hag named Mother Marrow attempts to trick Cardan into marrying her daughter, but Jude catches her. Locke asks Cardan to make him the Master of Revels. Jude wants to command Cardan not to, but can't risk revealing her power over him. Cardan agrees to Locke's request and Locke announces that he has plans for a Hunter's Moon Revel full of "glorious debauchery." Jude turns away and speaks with the Bomb who has intercepted another message from Balekin to Cardan. Jude decides to visit Balekin to find out what he wants.
Balekin is imprisoned on the lowest floors in the Tower of Forgetting. He greets Jude and tells a guard of the Tower, Vulciber, to slap her pretty face. He does, quick and stinging, and Jude bears it. Balekin dodges Jude's questioning and outright refuses to confess his motives in trying to meet Cardan. He says Cardan would soon know of the messages the Court of Shadows intercepted, then tells Vulciber to escort her back. Jude walks past the cell of Cardan's mother Lady Ashs on her way out. Asha recognized Jude for her resemblance to her mother Eva and catches her leg through the bars of her cell. Jude slips on the stairs and freaks out, climbing up and away hastily. At the gates, Jude tricks the guard Vulciber into being alone with her and pricks him with a sedative needle.
Jude brings the subdued guard into the lair of the Court of Shadows and interrogates him. She probes Vulciber on the bargain Balekin wanted to make with Cardan. Vulciber admits that he doesn't know, but offers a different piece of information. He tells them that the Undersea is sneaking into the Tower and leaving shark teeth and shells for Balekin. And that messages are being exchanged, but the guards can't figure them out. Vulciber discloses that there are rumors Queen Orlagh will break her agreement with the land and use whatever information Balekin has to destroy Cardan.
Reuniting with TarynWhen Jude gets back to her chambers, she finds Taryn. Taryn asks her to come to her wedding and dance there. Jude accepts halfheartedly. Taryn then offers to send Jude's old gowns and jewels from Madoc's Stronghold. Jude assumes that she does it in place of an apology of how both she and Locke deceived her. Taryn left, on good terms with Jude once more. Jude sleeps fitfully because of her mithridatism, the action of taking small amounts of poison so that one would become immune. She is woken by the Ghost and the Roach, and they tell her Cardan got into trouble again. She makes her way to his chambers, where he already has company. Somebody shot him through the side and he has set fire to his rooms. She finds a secret passageway and discovers it was Nicasia who shot Cardan. Nicasia explains that she saw Cardan with another girl and shot at her with jealousy, though she, unfortunately, missed because she does not have good aim. Jude decides not to tell anyone and returns back to Cardan's room, telling them that the attacker had gotten away. She then brings Cardan to her room where he asks her to kiss him, which she refuses.
At a banquet, Nicasia sits next to Jude. Nicasia tells Jude that she belongs to this world while Jude does not. It seems to bother Nicasia that Cardan likes Jude over her. Jude bargains with Nicasia to tell her what she has over Cardan if Nicasia will tell her about Cardan's mother, Lady Asha.
Jude goes back to her rooms and Tatterfell and Taryn are there. Taryn brought her things from home. Taryn tells Jude that she doesn't want Locke to be the Master of Revels and she wants Jude to stop him. Jude lies, saying that she'll talk to Cardan about it.
Being Crowned the Queen of MirthDuring the night of the Hunter's Moon, Jude is crowned Queen of Mirth. The Queen of Mirth is a mortal girl who is drunk on faerie wine and kisses. The fae would convince the Queen of Mirth that she is honored while insulting her at the same time. When the fae gives Jude a ragged dress, Jude takes off her own, Cardan then at a loss for words. After dancing for a long time, Jude asks Cardan to dance with her in mockery. Cardan mentions that he hadn't planned for Jude to be humiliated in front of everyone. Jude then asks to be dismissed and as she is leaving she sees the Undersea coming to the revel. The Undersea want a marriage between them and the Land. They threaten the Land if they don't have a marriage. Cardan then orders Jude to assemble the Living Council for a meeting. When Jude goes back to her rooms, Madoc sends her a note asking her to meet her in the war room. Madoc wants Jude to betray Cardan by killing the head of the smaller courts. The Living Council wants Cardan to take Nicasia as a consort to give the Undersea an heir. When Madoc says that he wants to hear from Jude, the Council turns on Jude and accuses her of not telling them all of what she knows. Jude reveals that she knows the Undersea are communicating with Balekin. Sending him gifts and messages.
Cardan speaks with Nicasia and informs her tell her mother that if Queen Orlagh threatens him again, he'll imprison Nicasia.
Jude arranges to speak with Asha, as Asha told her that she knows things about her mother. Asha reveals that she knows secrets about Eve. She tells Jude how her mother hated having to live without items from her past life. She then says that she and others would sneak across the border and steal things that Eva missed. Perfume and chocolate. Asha mentions that when Eva was pregnant with Vivi, an old hag came and delivered a prophecy to Eva. The hag told Eva that her child was destined to be a greater weapon than one that Justin could make. Eva then thought it was the child in her belly and left to protect the said child.
After a meeting with the Living Council, in which Madoc suggests using Oak as bait for Queen Orlahh, Jude is summoned to the High King's throne room where there is a revel taking place. Jude sees Taryn asleep on a rug next to a pixie boy. Cardan then leads Jude to a small room behind the throne used for intimate meetings. There Cardan reads a message Balekin sent him about visiting. Jude proposes that Cardan charm Nicasia to get more information from her. Cardan procedes to seduce Jude. Asking her if he should do this to Nicasia. They later lay down on the couch, but Jude reveals that they didn't go all the way.
Taryn's WeddingJude goes to visit Locke and threaten him. She informs Locke that he can't humiliate Cardan or Jude and that he needs to be faithful to Taryn.
Jude goes to Grimsen and requests something for Taryn as a wedding gift. He gives her a pair of moon and star earrings, claiming they'll make the wearing more beautiful. For payment, Grimsen asks for a tear and for Jude to make an offer to the High King. That should they go to battle against the Undersea, he'll craft armor and swords for Cardan. Later, Cardan comes to Jude's room and reveals that seducing Nicasia worked. She told Cardan that her mother would act on the night of Taryn and Locke's wedding. Cardan then tries to mention the other night, but Jude cuts him off. Claiming that they both did it get, 'get it out of their system.' Cardan accepts an audience with Balekin. Jude then has a note sent to Lady Asha just as Balekin is being led out of the Tower. The note is about freeing Lady Asha.
Balekin requests that Cardan let him out of the Tower. Cardan asks why he should that as he doesn't need Balekin, Balekin then replies, saying that Cardan locked him away because he feared him and that Carden should not punish him for deaths that he does not regret. Balekin goes onto explains that Cardan could give him the all tasks that he gives Jude. Balekin then follows up by saying that Cardan is nothing without him.
As Jude is riding over to spend the night before Taryn's wedding with Taryn, Jude is attacked by a group of seven riders. The riders attempt to herd Jude away from Madoc's Stronghold. Her house bucks when one of the rider's horses bites it, Jude then climbs onto a tree branch. As Jude is jumping from the branches, she is hit in the thigh by an arrow. After she kills one of the riders, the rest of them leave. When Jude finds her things, her pack is gone, her horse is dead, and only her sword remains. She makes it to Madoc's Stronghold where Oriana is the first to see her. Oriana then questions Jude on if it is truly best for Oak to be away from her. As Jude is taking the arrow out, Vivi comes and finds Jude. She gets Jude thread and a needle to stitch up her leg. Vivi tries to convince Jude to come back to the mortal world, which Jude tells her that there would still be danger there. The next morning Oriana comes and gives Jude a dress. To Jude's dismay, the dress reveals a lot of cleavages. On the way to the wedding, Taryn asks Jude if she is happy for her. Jude replies, "I want you to be happy. Today and always."
Cardan finds Jude and she informs him that he shouldn't be alone. She then commands him to not be alone at all until tomorrow morning. Madoc overhears her speaking with Cardan and has now made Jude his opponent.
Jude enters a maze and gets lost, she demands that the walls open up and that leads her to a stone. There she finds a crying Heather. A fae casts a spell on Heather, making her have cat ears, whiskers, and slight fur. They can find the fae who did it and get him to reverse the spell. Heather is left wanting to go back to the mortal world. Vivi then glamours Heather into thinking she'd just hurt her knee. The Ghost appears at Jude's side and informs her that the Undersea has made their move against the Land. She is then told that she is needed at the Tower of Forgetting. When she goes to kiss Taryn goodbye, Jude sees that Taryn is wearing the moon and star earrings. Meaning that the riders were Locke and his friends.
When Jude arrives at the Tower, the knights are all drowned. Jude frees Lady Asha. The Ghost calls Jude and she turns. He is beside three sea Folk. Jude discovers that the Ghost betrayed her. When Jude asked him why. He replied that he serves Prince Dain and not her. She is then knocked out. Jude comes to under the sea. She finds Nicasia at the end of her bed, Nicasia hits Jude in the stomach, claiming it is 'for Cardan.' Jude realizes that she cuffed to heavy iron balls that keep her down on the bed. After Jude unwisely taunts Nicasia, Nicasia says something that takes away Jude's ability to breathe underwater. Jude then goes unconscious. When Jude wakes up again she is at first alone. She starts to think in hindsight. Telling herself that she should have kissed Taryn's cheek or not trusted the Ghost. Eventually, a merman enters the room, he tells Jude that he will get her ready to see Queen Orlagh and that she should not give him any trouble or he'll knock her out. They dress her and lead her to a banquet room that has no ceiling. Queen Orlagh is seated at the end of the table, Jude remarks on how regal she looks and how Queen Orlagh has been in charge for longer than a whole generation of mortals. Nicasia sits next to her and Balekin at the opposite end of the table.
Imprisonment in The UnderseaOrlagh tries to glamor Jude, not knowing of Dain's geas, Jude decides to play along. Orlagh then attempts to make Jude think that they are her friends. That she loves them, and that she won't tell anyone. That she is loyal and would do anything for them. Jude lies and says yes. Food is then brought in and Jude eats all she can. Nicasia asks Jude if she kissed Cardan. When Jude tells her she did, Nicasia asks if she kissed him more than once and if Cardan loved her. Jude replies with, "More than once, but no. He doesn't love me." Jude realizes that the Undersea plans to have Grimsen make another crown like the Blood crown and place it on Balekin's head. Orlagh then questions Jude on what Cardan offered Jude for the crown, thinking that Cardan is seducing Jude to him. Jude lies and says that Cardan offered her the job of seneschal.
After that, Nicasia leads Jude to a cave. Inside of it is a cage. It is full of air and once she is in, Jude has to cough up water. Nicasia tries to glamours Jude into thinking the cage was a beautiful bedroom with a comfortable bed and tea. The tea is really a cup of saltwater. Jude realizes that if she drank the saltwater, she would quickly become dehydrated.
The sea Folk question Jude on Madoc and her parent's murder. She pretends to be full and be drunk when they tell her and allow them to hit her without crying. Jude eventually wonders if she will break. If there is a limit to what the Folk can do before she fights back. There are cages in the water, cages with mortals. The drowned ones. Jude thinks that she sees the mortal servant she tried to save and who tried to drown themselves instead.
Balekin asks Jude why Cardan stole 'his' crown. Jude tells him that she doesn't know, Balekin then pushes her to guess why. Jude confesses that Cardan didn't seem to be disciplined. That he did what he wanted all the time. Balekin then says that Cardan did want Eldred's attention, which Jude replies that he might want to be High King for or to spite Eldred. Balekin then questions Jude on who is better suited to be king which Jude lies easily, saying that he is. Balekin inquires her if she would go to Cardan and stab him 'till his blood ran out.' Balekin demands that Jude kiss him. When she does, he then requests that she kiss him like how she would Cardan.
Cardan made a bargain for Jude. Jude ponders over all the commands she gave him and how he didn't have to get her back. Balekin glamours Jude to repeat her love and loyalty to them and her plan to murder Cardan. He visits her in the cave and tells her that she will meet him in Hollow Hall when she can. Should he need her, he would drop a red cloth in her path and expect her to come quickly. He also wants Jude to get Cardan to trust her and then get him alone to kill him. Balekin also makes Jude promise to steer clear of charms. Including rowan and bundles of oak.
The merfolk get Jude ready to go back to land. Leading a procession. Jude is seated on a turtle. When they reach the surface, Cardan is seated on a grey steed. The trees are full of archers and knights. Cardan immediately looks at Jude. Queen Orlagh announces that since Cardan paid her price, he can have Jude back. She also announces that Balekin is their ambassador. Jude is later lead to Madoc's house despite her wishes. There Tatterfell helps Jude into a nightgown and gives her food. Jude falls asleep on the rug. Jude wakes up to Taryn shaking her. Taryn informs her that Tarrerfell thought Jude had a mortal sickness and that is why she called Taryn over. Taryn reveals that Jude has been gone for a month. Taryn helps Jude to get dressed and feed. Just before Taryn is ready to leave, Taryn gives Jude a hunting knife and a charm. She then makes Jude promise not to do anything rash. Jude then falls asleep with her hand on the knife. Jude wakes to arguing. She stumbles out of her room and finds Dulcamara. Jude at first thinks it Lord Roiben calling in his favor. Dulcamara remarks on where Cardan's loyalties lay. When Jude asks her what she means, Dulcamara tells her that Cardan allowed the Undersea to attack the Court of Termites and has forbidden them from attacking back. Lord Roiben's consort, Kaye, was hurt badly. Jude then responds by saying that Elfhame will send them knights as an apology, Dulcamara tells her that Balekin held a grudge against the Court of Termites and has now set a target on them. Dulcamara then informs Jude that she should kill Balekin, even if it means going to war.
"Spying" for BalekinJude later jumps off the side of the balcony in her room, determined to talk to Cardan about the Ghost, Grimsen, and Balekin. However, when Jude arrives at the palace, it is revealed that Madoc banned her from the palace. Jude then concludes that Cardan had Madoc refuse her audience as he could not because of Jude's command over him. Jude starts to think that Madoc and Cardan played her, realizing that Madoc cut her out of the picture to help rule the throne. Jude runs to the Court of Shadows entrance which she finds destroyed. It appears that an explosion of some kind happened. When she asks Val Moren for help getting into the palace, Val Moren replies by saying that he made a promise to Eldred not to put a mortal before a faerie. Jude makes her way to Hollow Hall, where the door knocker refers to Jude as, "My prince's lady." The door opens, allowing Jude to enter. When Jude enters Hollow Hall, she meets with Balekin. He informs her that tomorrow there will be a masquerade ball and there Jude will poison Cardan. He gives Jude the vial of poison to keep until she can get Cardan alone. Jude then goes to Cardan's old rooms and sleeps there.
She wakes and heads to Cardan's current chambers, which are underground. Jude climbs a hill and then enters the brugh. Cardan is sleeping but wakes when Jude places her hand over his mouth. At first, he fights against her, but then relaxes when he realizes who it is. Jude tells Cardan that Balekin sent her to kill Cardan. Cardan grabs Jude and pulls her onto the bed beside him. Jude warns Cardan that Balekin and Orlagh are plotting his death, he asks her why he woke in the first place. She replies that she is hard to control. When she questions Cardan on allowing Madoc to bar her from coming to see him, Cardan states that Madoc told him Jude was resting. Jude then further questions Cardan on the price Cardan paid to get her back, Cardan tells her that Queen Orlagh, Nicasia and Balekin should believe Jude is important to him than them thinking they can do anything to her and not have consequences. Cardan then confesses that he wasn't nice to many people, and that he wasn't sure if he wanted Jude or wanted her gone, but that when she was gone he hated himself. The Roach and the Bomb then appear before Jude and the Roach aims a crossbow at Jude. They reveal that they had been tracking Jude and saw her leave Balekin's house. They indicate that Jude is going to kill Cardan. Jude denies it and the Roach points out Jude isn't wearing any charms. He doesn't know she has Dain's geas. The Roach then orders Jude to empty her pockets and when she gets to the vial, interrogated her about it. She explains that Balekin tried to glamour her to kill Cardan so he could get Grimsen to create another crown for Elfhame. To be safe, they have Cardan attempt to glamour Jude, he tried to get her to crawl to him and when she doesn't move they believe that she really can't be charmed. Jude then in return asks why she should trust the Bomb and the Roach as the Ghost betrayed her. They reply that they didn't know what was going on. They tell Jude that it was the Ghost that activated explosions that destroyed the Court of Shadows entrance along with part of the castle. They also admit that they don't know where he is. Jude and the Roach consider killing Balekin, but Cardan tells them they can't as he is the ambassador for the Undersea. Cardan reveals that he had researched the history of the land and the sea. He tells Jude that Queen Orlagh is hoping for a new leader that she can control.
Jude goes to the Mandrake Market in search of something to wear to the ball. There she finds a mask of an unsmiling human face and decides to get it. The shopkeeper gives it to her in exchange for if the High King compliments Jude, she'll allow the shopkeeper to make him one. Jude agrees and the shopkeeper makes alternations to the mask and it looks more like Taryn. After that, Jude gets lost and passes Mother Marrow. Mother Marrow invites her to sit and have soup which Jude accepts hesitantly. Mother Marrow asks Jude what she was looking for and Jude answers that she was looking for a dress. Jude drinks the soup and it reminds her of her early mortal childhood. Mother Marrow then bargains with Jude for a dress, Jude gives Mother Marrow the earrings she got from the Undersea, and Mother Marrow gives Jude a walnut which Jude takes and departs.
Becoming High QueenAt Hollow Hall, Jude cracks the walnut and a dress comes out of it. Upon putting it on, Jude finds hidden pockets in which she places the poison. Jude lies to Balekin that she can and will kill Cardan. Jude enters with Balekin, she runs into Locke whom she threatens for trying to kill her. Taryn appears and asks them what they're talking about. Lord Roiben interrupts them. He asks that he and Jude be excused. Lord Roiben tells Jude that she'd better find a way to allow the Court of Termites to attack back or he'll call in his debt. He leaves her and Jude watches the courtiers dance. She sees a horned woman and is surprised to realize it is Lady Asha. Jude and many others have noticed that Cardan appears to be missing. He then appears and seems to be very, very drunk. When Jude approaches Cardan, he grabs her and tugs her into a dance. Jude orders him not to drink anymore which he happily complies and kisses her. Through the kiss, Jude can tell that Cardan has been poisoned. Jude goes to lead him back to his chambers to find an antidote, Balekin then announces that Cardan has been poisoned and demands for Jude to empty her pockets. Due to her having a geas, she doesn't obey and Balekin realizes she'd been playing him the whole time.
In his chambers, Cardan sits down on the couch and Jude gives him a glass of water to flush him out. Cardan pukes and the Bomb appears. She gives him clay that will draw out the toxins in the poison. The Bomb informs Jude that Balekin asks for the crown in return for the antidote. Cardan could draw strength from the land, but he doesn't know how to and he is weak. Jude decides to get the antidote but doesn't take the crown. Jude meets Balekin in the garden, there she tricks Balekin into giving her a mouthful which she spits into the clean poison container. Balekin then challenges Jude to a duel, she stabs him in the neck as he surrenders. Killing Balekin.
Jude comes back to the room and there Cardan admits that Taryn had been in the room pretending to be Jude to get Cardan to give Madoc half the army and free him from his oaths to the crown.
Cardan is later brought back to his own chambers so that he can rest, but he sends for Jude. There he proposes that she marries him in exchange for her to release him from his vow of obedience. Jude agrees though Balekin's murder haunts her. After they trade vows, Jude and Cardan then go to sleep together.
Being Sentenced to ExileThey are awoken when Queen Orlagh finds out about Balekin's fate and demands justice. She requests that the murderer will be handed over to the sea. Queen Orlagh proposes war and tells Cardan that he may not win. Cardan replies by saying that under the sea there is always land, and to prove his point he raises a new island. He has Nicasia take up the role of ambassador and then questions Jude on if she killed Balekin. When she doesn't deny it, Cardan sentences Jude to exile in the mortal world 'until she is pardoned by the crown.' Jude protests, saying she is the Queen of Faerie, Cardan and the others laugh as she is being dragged away. In the epilogue, Jude is living at Vivi's apartment. She was dumped off and had to stumble her way to Vivi. Jude finds out that Heather left. Vivi encourages Jude to stop moping and work to hurt Cardan back. Saying that, "revenge is sweet, ice cream is sweeter."
Exile in the Mortal RealmWe first see Jude in Vivienne's apartment where she mostly spends her mornings dozing in front of daytime television, watching cooking competitions, cartoons, and reruns of a show where people have to complete a gauntlet by stabbing boxes and bottles plus cutting a whole fish. Madoc tries to recruit her several times, but she always refuses, and ultimately Madoc's attempts stop. In her afternoons, she trains her brother Oak and in her evenings she runs errands for the local faeries. Jude mentions that she misses Faerieland a lot and wishes for a way to break her exile. She watches her brother use glamour on the local schoolchildren unknowingly and later chastises him for it. That evening, she is hired to kill a faerie that is killing and eating other fae. She later learns that this faerie is Grima Mog, the legendary general of the Court of Teeth. Grima Mog, recognizing Jude, offers to tell her information about Cardan if she wins a duel between them. Jude is curious, so she accepts, and they fight on the roof of the building. Jude eventually prevails, but she is very severely injured. Grima Mog tells her that the Court of Teeth, along with Madoc, have created a plan to dethrone Cardan and that this plan will be put in action before the next full moon. Jude returns home with the bus, when she arrives she sees Heather sitting on the steps. Heather tells Jude that she is trying to work up the courage to go inside. Jude sits outside with her, but then Heather insists that Jude needs to tend to her injuries, so both of them go in and Jude is shocked to find Taryn talking to Vivienne. Taryn explains how she needs Jude's help, Jude is furious and at first, refuses, but then Taryn tells Jude how she killed Locke and that she needs Jude to pretend to be her and lie about what happened to Locke (since Jude cannot be glamoured because of her geas). Jude agrees and leaves the next morning.
Returning to FaerielandShe goes to Taryn's estate to get ready to go to court. When she enters the brugh, she is questioned by Cardan Greenbriar, but when Jude (posing as Taryn) denies killing Locke, Nicasia demands that they check her for any charms that could allow her to resist glamours. Cardan, who unbeknownst to Jude knew she was Jude and not Taryn since the moment she first stepped in the brugh, announces that he will personally search her in his rooms. Jude is furious but she can't resist otherwise her cover would be blown. The guards begin to escort Jude to Cardan's rooms, but on the way a servant crashes into Jude and secretly hands her a knife, telling her not to worry because her father (Madoc) has a plan to get her out. Jude realizes this is because Madoc believes she is Taryn. Jude goes to Cardan's rooms, and the guards stay outside. When they're alone, Cardan reveals to her that he knows who she is, he asks her why she didn't reply to any of his letters. Jude, confused and afraid of what Cardan will do, steps away from him when he tells her to come closer. They're both very confused and Jude starts to pull out her knife, before any explanations can be given, there are explosions and Madoc's people begin to attack. In the chaos, Madoc drugs Jude and she falls unconscious.
When she wakes up, she is in woods she doesn't recognize, covered in heavy blankets with Oriana, who thinks Jude is Taryn. Oriana kindly explains why Madoc took her away from court. Jude asks what happened to Cardan, and Oriana tells her that Madoc was unable to get to him, and Jude is secretly relieved. Jude weighs all her options and thinks about the letters Cardan claims to have sent her, and how he was treating the topic of her exile as a joke. Later on, Madoc joins them in the carriage and tells Jude that three days have passed (Madoc also thinks that Jude is Taryn). He also tells her how he lost half of his knights; Cardan was fighting hard to keep her. They arrive at the Court of Teeth, and Oriana helps Jude get settled in their tent. Jude washes her face and changes her clothes, Jude walks around camp and decides to stay so that she can learn about Madoc's plans and trade the information for the end of her exile. Jude, Madoc, and Oriana dine with the Court of Teeth, where Jude meets Lady Nore, Lord Jarel and Queen Suren (a changeling that grew up in the mortal world so she wouldn't have to pledge herself to the Blood Crown). Jude is horrified by how the young Queen has been bridled by her parents. No one pays Jude much attention, not thinking she is important because she is mortal. Grimsen is also present, and Jude talks to him, flattering him so that he will tell her details about Madoc's plans. Grimsen is pleased by Jude's flattery and invites her to visit his forge the following day. Jude is frustrated because she wanted the information right away. The next day Jude wakes up and decides that she would escape that very same day. Oriana suggests that she goes foraging in the woods instead of doing needlepoint with the Court ladies. Jude agrees and as she begins to leave, Oriana warns her against visiting Grimsen. Jude goes to the woods, where she can finally relax and think through her options. She hikes through the woods until she is on high enough ground that she can see the whole camp. There she can see the forge, the pavilions, and the hub of activity. She also spots a cave far away from camp, at the base of the mountain; two guards are guarding it.
Jude goes to visit Grimsen, asking to see his work. He is pleased that she is interested and invites her inside. Jude then learns that Grimsen is rather annoyed at Madoc because he doesn't appreciate the work that Grimsen is doing. Jude uses this to her advantage and manages to get Grimsen to tell her how he curses everything that he makes; the Blood Crown, the earrings that Jude is wearing, even the gift that Grimsen gave to Cardan when he came back to court. This causes Jude to be angry, but she hides it for the sake of her facade and asks if she can visit him again tomorrow. Grimsen agrees.
Jude goes back to the woods to actually do some foraging. She takes her pent-up anger out on the berries, wood, mushrooms, and rocks. When she is calmed, she goes back to camp where Madoc spots her and invites her to sit with him. Jude (obviously still posing as Taryn), converses with Madoc; he tells her he thinks he can win against Cardan and that he will do it via a duel for love and duty. Jude is perplexed, and Madoc explains that there is a prophecy stating that Cardan would be a bad king, that this prophecy hangs over Cardan's head, and that he thinks he can charm his way out of it. Jude proposes that they look into what she, Jude, did to control Cardan. Madoc replies that whatever power Jude had over Cardan was taken back by Cardan. He also mentions how he gave Jude many chances to help her family to which she refused. Madoc then tells Jude/Taryn that Jude was the rebellious child and that Taryn and him had the same thing in common. Bad marriages. Madoc reveals that he knows it was Taryn who killed Locke. Jude asks Madoc why he killed their mother. He answers by saying that he can control his battle instincts, but those instincts can stay long after the battle. After pausing, Madoc compliments Taryn in saying that their parent's death was the fire they were forged in and that in the blood none of them broke. She hardened. He then guesses that that is why Taryn killed Locke. Madoc tells Jude/Taryn that it is his fault and she should give him the guilt. Jude is flustered and excuses herself by giving Oriana the basket of food. As Jude gets up to leave, Madoc makes Taryn a promise. He states that he won't forget her loyalty and placing her family first. He claims that when the war is over, she can request any reward and he'll make sure she gets it. Jude feels jealous that it isn't her he makes the offer to. Jude plans on escaping that very night. Jude stays by Oriana's side when she prepares dinner, Madoc eats with his generals while the Court of Teeth keep to themselves. Jude starts to scheme and has a plan when Oriana urges her to bed. Jude plans to steal a mount from a soldier near the cave. She then plans on navigating by the stars. Oriana remarks on how Jude looks cold and comforts her by saying they'll be home soon. When Oriana goes to bed, Jude puts a knife in one pocket and matches in the other. She then goes to bed and waits for Oriana to fall asleep. Once Oriana is, Jude slips out of the tent. She is stopped by a knight. He asks where he should tell Madoc she is if he asks, Jude answers that she'll be using the woods as a bathroom. Jude stumbles to the cave. Once there, she finds three guards. When she tries to lure a reindeer out, Jude hears a cry from the cave. It seems that Madoc is holding someone captive. Jude changes her plans and decides to drop into the cave entrance. When Jude drops, however, she drops with a thump. Alerting the guards. A guard walks by Jude, looking for whoever made the sound. When they don't see anyone, they move on. Jude moves down the cave and enters a new chamber, she finds the Ghost. He is chained to plates on the ground and looks bruised. Jude instantly feels hatred towards the Ghost as he allowed the Undersea to take her and he destroyed the Court of Shadows. Jude asks the Ghost why betrayed them. He replies by reminding Jude that he was the one who poisoned Liriope. The Ghost goes on to explain that he was so ashamed he went to Locke and offered his name, true name, and protection. If someone in faerie were to know your true name, they could control you better than with a vow. The Ghost confesses that Locke didn't ask for anything for a while, and then he asked for small things. Spying on people. He didn't think that Locke wanted danger, only mischief. Though the Ghost realized that Locke didn't want that when he ordered that the Ghost take Jude to the Tower and let her be taken. When the Ghost tried to distance himself from Locke, knights found him leaving Insmire. He then finds out that Locke had given Madoc the Ghost's true name as a dowry from Taryn's hand and to have a seat at the table when Balekin came to power. Jude tries to get figure out how to get him out and the Ghost replies by saying that he'll show her how to kill him. When Jude protests, the Ghost asks her to remember what it was like before Prince Dain's geas. How it felt to be powerless. He processes to tell her that "it is not life to always be under someone's control..." Jude gives the Ghost food from her bag and schemes. Jude decides to postpone her escape and asks the Ghost how to open his chains. The Ghost answers that Grimsen has the key.
Jude returns to her tent and finds that Oriana is awake. She questions Jude about where she was and Jude tries to lie, but Oriana already knows that she is not Taryn. Jude pleads with Oriana to help her get away. When Oriana says that Madoc will figure out that she helped Jude escape, Jude offers that she writes Vivi a letter. They proceed to talk about Lady Asha and her being back. Oriana later tells Jude that her mother was friends with Lady Asha, to which Jude replies that she didn't know Oriana know her mom. Oriana reveals that due to a prophecy, Eldred didn't much like Lady Asha. Oriana explains that Cardan was born under an 'ill-favored star'. Jude comments that she knew Lady Asha didn't take care of Cardan much. Oriana replies that he was adored and fed well, but then forgotten. Soon after, Oriana sends an owl with Jude's letter. In bed, Jude plans to steal the key from Grimsen and then escape with the Ghost. She plans on using what she knows about Madoc's intent to bargain with Cardan to end her exile and Taryn's inquest.
The next morning Oriana keeps Jude at her side, not trusting her to be alone. Oriana has Jude take food to Madoc as he asked for her specifically. When she enters, Madoc and his generals are moving model ships on a map of Elfhame. Jude sneaks a glance at it. She then returns to Oriana and Oriana informs her that she will be leaving the next day. She tells her that Vivi replied and would be there at dawn to pick her up with friends. Oriana asks Jude to leave a note for Madoc and to make it seem convincing.
Being Rescued from Madoc and the Court of TeethMadoc requests that Jude dine with everyone else. Jude doesn't excuse herself out of it as her escape is very near. She is kinder that evening and laughs louder as a cover-up. That night, She wakes to a hand over her mouth. Jude elbows the person and reaches for her knife. She then finds out that it is the Roach and Cardan that have come to save her. When Jude asks them how they found her, the Roach explains that Vivi went to them, thinking the letter from Oriana was a trap for Cardan. Cardan mentions that he talked with them after Madoc took Jude away and that he found Taryn at the apartment. Jude pauses, telling them that she can't leave with them just yet. She explains that she needs to free the prisoner. Jude then asks Cardan to give her safe passing into Elfhame and to lift her exile. Cardan agrees and Jude explains that it is the Ghost who is held captive. She informs them that he was being controlled and that is why he betrayed them. The Roach offers to go with her to free the Ghost, making Cardan agree that should they be spotted and set after, he'd go back to Elfhame and put his safety first. Cardan reluctantly agrees.
They sneak out of the tent, creeping to the forge. The Roach questions Jude on if she's seen the key. Jude tells him it's a crystal one and that it is large. She doesn't know exactly what it looks since it was being crafted when she last saw it. While they're getting the key, a trap springs open. Metal needles hurl at them and sound an alarm. Cardan moves in front of Jude. Using his invincible clock Mother Marrow gave him to protect Jude. The Roach was not so lucky. He was hit and the needles were poisoned with deathsweet-a type of poison. Cardan pleads with Jude to abandon the Ghost and ride back with him to Elfhame. Jude refuses. She points out that Vivi and her friends, possibly Taryn and Heather, won't know she left and they'll be caught. Cardan gives her his cloak and returns to Elfhame. Jude heads for the cave. She lied to Cardan when she said she'd go to Vivi and the others. There, where the Ghost was, is Madoc. Sword in hand and dressed in his armor.
Madoc admits that he didn't realize it was Jude when he should have. That he hadn't really been looking. Jude asks him where the Ghost is. Madoc reveals that the Ghost's true name is Garrett and that she won't stop him in time. Making Jude think Madco sent the Ghost after someone. When Jude asks whom the Ghost is going after, Madoc mocks her with her loyalty to Cardan. Calling Cardan her weakness. Madoc demands Jude surrender to him. She refuses and runs off into the snowy forest. Jude runs into the woods, trying to lose him. He doesn't let up. Jude tries to stab him with her knives but hits the armor he is wearing. Madoc slaps Jude and she falls onto the snow. He then swings his blade at Jude, making her block. He tries to wear her down. When Madoc's blade hits Mother Marrow's clock, Jude hits Madoc's hand. He grabs the clock and stabs her side. She slips and falls to her knees, bleeding out. She stays kneeling, waiting for him to kill her, as she thought he would. Madoc raises his sword but pauses. Three arrows fly at him. Striking his sword arm. Vivi, Taryn, and Grima Mog appear.
Madoc offers to bring Jude to his camp, she refuses. He leaves, telling her she will die. Jude informs Vivi and Taryn that they need to sew her up. She instructs them to pack leaves and dirt into the wound. She remembers being told that the High King can draw strength from the land. She, however, leaves things out when telling them. Vivi reveals to Taryn that Jude married Cardan. Jude asks Taryn to be the one to stitch her as Taryn has the best needlework. They sew her. Vivi, Taryn, and Gima Mog seem in awe when it is done. When Jude goes to stand up, she sees that white flowers are dotting the cape Gima Mog set down for Jude. Baphen once told her that when the High King's blood falls, things grow. Jude is stunned for a moment, half believing that she was a fake queen. She then remembers that she needs to go to the palace, assuming the Ghost is going to kill Cardan. She gets onto a ragwort pony despite her sister's protests.
When Jude arrives at Elfhame, she contemplates charging in and demanding to see Cardan, she fears, though, that a knight might kill her and then carry her message. Jude heads for Madoc's abandoned stronghold that contains Vivi and Taryn's old clothes. There she changes into a pair of pants, a jacket, and a black scarf. She hopes to be unrecognizable. Jude writes a note that there will be an assassination attempt and takes a lute. She exits the stronghold and keeps close to a group of musicians. A fae player, Edir, compliments Jude on the lute. She offers to give it to him if he gives her note to a member of the Living Court.
Jude climbs into a rafter, sitting on the part that curves into the ceiling. There she strings some bows and looks for the Ghost. She worries for a moment if she'll become like Madoc. Jude watches as Cardan enters and is handed a note, her note, he waves it off, however. She then notices a flicker of movement. The Bomb. The Bomb sees Jude and thinks she is the assassin. The Bomb aims her bow at Jude. In the same moment, Jude realizes that Madoc never sent the Ghost to kill Cardan, it was a trap to get her killed. The Bomb shoots and Jude dodges, but it hits her foot and she falls off the rafters.
Onto a banquet table. People surround her. They conclude that Jude broke her exile to kill the High King. When Cardan stalks near, looking at her in fury, she informs him that she lost his clock. He calls her a dirty mortal liar and Randalin orders that Jude be chained. Just as a guard grabs her hand, Cardan orders that no one touches her. For a long minute, no one says anything. Randalin asks why and Cardan reveals that Jude is the High Queen and definitely not in exile. As the crowd cries out, Jude passes out.
Being Released from ExileJude drifts in and out of sleep. At one point she wakes up in the High King's chamber to Cardan wiping her hands of blood. She finally wakes up for real and finds herself alone. Stumbling, she takes a pitcher of water and down the whole thing. Jude takes a bath and feels better afterward, she then makes her way to Cardan's closet for clothes. She wraps herself up in a fur cloak and hurries to her old chambers. There she finds Tatterfell and Oak playing Uno. When Jude asks Oak why he's here, he replies that Vivi, Taryn, and Heather are here as well. Tatterfell informs Jude that they're at dinner with the High King. Upon questioning, Tatterfell tells Jude that she had been awake before, but they'd drugged her. Jude goes and gets dressed, asking Tatterfell to do her hair. Once Tatterfell is done, Taryn, Vivi, and Heather appear. Vivi scolds Jude for always getting into danger and that Jude almost died a second time. They tell her that the High King went to their apartment and seemed like he would tear the whole place down to find her. Taryn admits that she is confused about why Jude would marry Cardan. Saying that she thought they hated each other. Cardan then knocks on the door.
Cardan orders Jude to walk with him, telling her that the Living Council is anxious to speak with her. Jude walks with Cardan, asking him how the Roach is. Cardan replies that the Bomb has not found a way to wake him. Cardan notifies Jude that Madoc sent a letter to him, blaming the supposed death of Jude on him. Cardan also tells Jude that Madoc went to the lower courts and urged them to go to Elfhame and witness him taking defiance against the crown. That is why the Living Council wishes to speak with Jude, to ask her all she knows about Madoc's camp. However, she pauses him, saying that the Living Cort can wait. Cardan and her need to talk. Jude says to him that he should just straight up tell her what he is planning, what he is holding over her head. She tells him to make his threat to her. Cardan then agrees that they need to talk.
They head to the rose garden. There Cardan mentions to Jude that he knew it wasn't her trying to kill him, as the note was in her handwriting. She replies that she thought Madoc had ordered the Ghost to kill him. Cardan confesses that it was scary to watch Jude fall. He was unused to being afraid for her. Jude questions Cardan on the said 'messages' that he had told her about when she had been dressed like Taryn and he'd taken her to her chambers. Cardan gives her a mocking smile, tells her that it was mostly pleading for her to come back. Jude demands Cardan to stop playing games, that he sent her to exile. Cardan reminds her that at one point she had said that it was a trick. He asks if she meant marring her, making her his queen, and then sending her to the mortal world. Jude confirms that. Cardan points out that tricking people is what she does. She tricked Madoc, Balekin, Orlagh, and him. Cardan then admits that he thought she'd admire him for being able to trick her. Since Jude murdered Balekin, Cardan has to make a plan hasty. He sent her to exile and thought that when she understood the riddle, he'd have made a treaty with the Undersea already. He reveals that since it said, pardoned by the crown, the King of Faerie or the Queen could have pardoned her. Meaning Jude could have come back at any point. Jude pauses and then and starts to walk away. Cardan runs after her and grabs her arm, she slaps him. Cardan explains that he didn't think he would hurt Jude or that he could hurt her. He didn't think she'd be afraid of him, but when she asked him if he enjoyed it. Cardan paused. Jude admits that Cardan does scare her. She also agrees that sending her to exile was a right-side-up idea. Cardan replies that he understood what she thought, and tells her that he does trust her. Cardan tells Jude of the prophecy looming over him. The prophecy states that he would become a monstrous thing. He says that he'd always thought that if he fulfilled his terrible fate, Jude would stop him. She replies that if Cardan was a threat to Elfhame she'd pop his head off. Jude then agrees to meet with the Living Council.
Cardan leads Jude back to his chambers, hers now, and there she finds the Living Council waiting in Cardan's rooms. Jude recreates Madoc's camp for the council. Recalling everything she can. The council takes up arguing about why Jude is back from her exile. Not knowing the real reason why she even killed Balekin. Upon questioning, Jude tells them that she did kill Balekin, after he poisoned Cardan. Cardan dismiss the council once they got angry at Cardan for not consulting them before he married. The Bomb then knocks on the door and informs Jude that she needs to take out her stitches. She tells Cardan that he needs to leave. Cardan retorts that it is his room and Jude is his wife, to which the Bomb says that so he's been telling everyone, and it might not be a pretty sight. Reluctantly, Cardan leaves the room. While removing the stitches, a messenger comes in and informs Jude that Lady Asha requests a visit with Jude. The Bomb discourages this. Saying that as Queen, Jude shouldn't let anyone command her. However, when the Bomb leaves Jude goes to where Lady Asha is. On her way there, she runs into Val Moren. Jude asks why Val Moren never tried to help Jude or Taryn, that they are the same. Mortals in faerie. Val Moren replies that they are not the same. "A seed planted in goblin soil grows to be the same plant as it would have in the mortal world? No"
With that in mind, Jude arrives at Lady Asha's rooms. There she finds Lady Asha with some courtiers. They don't bow immediately and Lady Asha doesn't bow at all. Lady Asha dismisses her friends and warns Jude that Cardan is not easy to love. Cardan would desperately want to be picked up as a child, but once he was, he would kick and bite to be put down again. She tells Jude that once Jude is not a challenge for him, he'll despise her. Lady Asha advises Jude that she is doomed because she already loves Cardan. Jude turns and questions Lady Asha on if that was why she stopped Jude from getting Cardan's letters. Lady Asha replies that many things are lost or destroyed, a faerie answer.
As Jude is walking down the hall, a pixie knight stops her, informing her that she come and see something. Jude recognizes her as Fand, Jude and Fand went to palace school together and hoped for knighthood. Fand tells Jude that some Sea Folk are in the throne room. Fand then leads Jude to the throne room. The room is mostly empty, save for soldiers of the Undersea. There, Jude sees Nicasia and Cardan bent close together. Upon arrival, Nicasia yells at Jude that is it her father's doing. When Jude asks what Nicasia means, Cardan explains that Queen Orlagh was shot by an elf arrow. The arrow stopped just before her heart, but then they tried to remove it, it would resist like it is alive. Jude realizes that Madoc sent the Ghost to do that. Nicasia then departs to go to her mother's side. Cardan tells Nicasia that they're her allies if she needs them. Nicasia replies they should avenger her mother if nothing else.
After Nicasia leaves, Randalin concludes that with Queen Orlagh being weak, there is a chance someone will challenge Orlagh for the throne. Jude asks if they found the would-be assassin. Randalin replies no, allowing Jude to assume the Ghost might yet go after Cardan. They summon the generals to re-plot their plan. Yorn, the Grand General, plans that they should attack Madoc's ships right as soon as they appear on the horizon. Giving Madoc no time to call for a truce. Baphen points out the flaw in this. Madoc might send a bird first and cover his ships in magic fog. Jude also puts in that Madoc wants to duel and would break the truce as soon as he pulls out his sword. Yorn then suggests that they keep Madoc's forces from stepping foot on land. Jude replies that the Undersea might help Madoc. She points out that Queen Orlagh could crown Nicasia and Nicasia could then ally with Madoc. Yorn asks Cardan if that is likely to happen to which Cardan answers that Jude always likes to think her enemies and allies worse. Only a few times being wrong. Fand then steps in and stammers that she has a message for Jude from her sister. As Jude crosses the room, Fand tells Jude it is from Taryn. Fand delivers the message, for Jude to meet her where the High King used to dwell. Jude asks Fand when and Fand tells her: as soon as Jude can. Jude excuses herself from the meeting by announcing that there is a family difficultly. Cardan stops Jude and tells her he'll come with her. Despite not wanting him to come, Jude can't think of a reason for him not to come.
Once Jude and Cardan depart from the carriage they used to get to Hollow Hall, they head for the door. The door tells Cardan and Jude that a girl, Taryn, is down in the dungeons. They head down the stairs and find Taryn sitting by a cell. Taryn explains that the Ghost came looking for Jude and when he says Taryn he told her she needed to restrain him. Telling her Madoc had given him more commands. The Ghost told her about the dungeons here and so Taryn had brought him here. Jude looked to the cell and found the Ghost. Jude asks him what Madoc had commanded him to do. The Ghost answers that he'd been the one to hit Queen Orlagh. To get away, he'd killed a shark and hid in its body. Jude asks him if Madoc gave him any more orders, to which the Ghost confirms. The Ghost abruptly starts climbing out of the cell he is in, towards them. Taryn then uses his true name to stop him and allow him to forget what his order was. This causes the Ghost to relax. Cardan then questions Taryn on how she knew the Ghost's true name, to which Taryn replies that Locke was careless about a lot of things. Jude tells the Ghost to climb out and Cardan offers they sit down somewhere comfortable for their talk. Cardan asks the Ghost if his command was to kill Cardan should he see him. The Ghost confirms this and Cardan thanks the fact that Taryn was there, lurking in the shadows. Taryn replies that she won't leave till Jude is safe, Cardan tells her that he and Jude are not enemies. Taryn then accuses Cardan of thinking everything is a game like Locke. Cardan answers that he doesn't think love is a game. At that moment, Jude cuts in. Asking the Ghost if he had any other orders from Madoc. Cardan advises that they take the Ghost into the Bomb's custody before The Living Court finds out they have Queen Orlagh's attacker and force them to hand the Ghost over to the Undersea. Cardan calls for the carriage, and inquiries with Taryn about the mortal world's food. Cardan leads the Ghost to where he'll be residing. Taryn volunteers to take Jude back to her chambers. Along the way, Taryn asks Jude if she trusts Cardan. Jude answers, sometimes. Once at her door, Taryn tells Jude that he only talked with her in the carriage to impress Jude. Jude brushes this off and goes in to change. She falls asleep waiting for Cardan to come in, but when she wakes, he's not there.
There a persistent knocking on the door that makes Jude get up. The door flings open and Randalin barges in. Informing her that they have much to discuss. Jude goes to the door and asks the guards why they let the council member in without her permission. When they stutter, Fand speaks up and says that Jude needs a personal guard. Fand then volunteers and takes an oath to protect Jude. Fand then offers to take Randalin away, but Jude refuses, saying she'll talk to him. She does, though, ask that Fand sends Tatterfell with some clothes.
Randalin tells Jude that some of the Lower Courts are arriving and they say that they come to watch Madoc challenge Cardan. Randalin says that "they come to smell weakness." Going on, Randalin adds that they need the Lower Courts since the Undersea is unable to help. He says that Madoc will try to use any doubts they have against the High King. He blames Jude for those doubts. Randalin surprises Jude by complimenting her on how well she was at being seneschal. desiring for Jude to return to that title. At that particular moment, the door swings open. Randalin thinks it's a mother servant going to join the cause. He yells that they do not need her, only to find, sadly, that it is Cardan and Grima Mog.
Madoc's ChallengeCardan hustles Randalin out, saying that he has some things to discuss with the counselor. Grima Mog gives Jude some soup to help heal her. When Jude complains about the soup, Grima Mog explains to her that she left her knife after they'd fought, so she went to her house to return it. And found Taryn, who allowed her in for some tea. Then promptly tells her to just drink it. After a while, Jude finds that she likes the soup, Tatterfell comes in along with Heather more guards. Heather tells Jude that they wanted to leave before Madoc got there, so they're be leaving soon. They just didn't want to leave while Jude was passed out. Cardan then invites Heather and Taryn to the ball that evening.
Tatterfell gets Jude ready for the ball as Cardan advises Jude on what she should do. As it is, Jude is the only one who can lie, so Cardan wants Jude to lie to the Lower Court about them winning over Madoc.
At the ball, Cardan gives a very intimidating speech. About how the loyal folk gets his hospitality, the hospitality of honey, But the unloyal folk gets his queen's hospitality, the hospitality of knives.
Jude is tired by the time they get back to the chambers. Cardan compliments Jude on looking frightening. She whispers to him that he didn't come to bed last night, then assumes he might have gone to someone else's bed. Cardan seems puzzled and replies that he is there now. Cardan then moves towards Jude and kisses her, telling her she looked like a knight from a possibly filthy story. They start kissing feverishly until Jude freezes. Cardan immediately lets her go and begins to say that they don't have to-before Jude cuts him off. Saying that she'll be back in a moment. Jude then undresses completely and comes back to where Cardan is. Jude kneels down before Cardan and taunts him. Asking if this was how he had pictured her eventual surrender when he was at Hollow Hall, thinking about her and dispising it. Cardan reluctantly replies yes, and Jude asks what does she do next. Jude realizes that Cardan thinks she's angry at him, wanting to see him humiliated. Nevertheless, Cardan continues, telling Jude that she tells him to do with her whatever he wanted. With, of course, come groveling and begging. Jude lies on the floor and begs. Cardan gets down above her and says that now he is the one begging, that he is forever undone by her. They undo Cardan's shirt and Jude whispers to Cardan that she wasn't mocking him. Cardan whispers back that they've lived in their armor so long that neither of them knows how to remove it. Jude asks if this is a riddle and he'll go back to kissing her if she gets the right answer. Cardan murmurs that that is up to her if she wants that. Jude repeats that he wants him to do what he wants to her. Cardan stops her, asking again, what does she want. Jude then moves about Cardan and kisses him so he'll understand. They then make love. Afterward, Jude confesses to Cardan that she missed him, even in the mortal world when she thought he was her enemy. Jude then realizes the answer to the riddle, they take off their armor one piece at a time.
Jude spends the next two days in the war room. There she asks Grima Mog and the courtiers in the Lower Courts to join Cardan's generals. The Folk try and draw out possible plans for how to defeat Madoc. They send out three letters to Nicasia, none of which have received a reply.
Grima Mog offers to be their champion and fight Madoc for them Fala offers as well. Cardan tells them, no, saying that Madoc will call for a truce first. They'll hear him out and answer him, but not play games. Jude puts in that if Madoc wants to duel Cardan, he'll make it very hard to refuse. the Bomb adds that they can force Madoc to surrender his weapons. Cardan, though, answers that that would make him appear a coward. Cardan affirms that if a duel is what Madoc wants, then a duel is what he'll get. Yorn plans that once the truce is over, they'll meet him in a field for battle. A winged messenger then appears and tells them Madoc's ships have been spotted.
Jude is readied for the Madoc's challenge and is sitting in the royal chamber with Cardan. Oak, Heather, Taryn, and Heather are planning on watching, but hiding during it. They, though, plan on leaving before it gets bad. Oak gives Jude her ring back and they leave.
Jude tells Cardan that Madoc thinks Cardan will duel for love, Cardan ask whose, and Jude shrugs. Cardan then confessed to Jude that it is her he loves, his shabby, worm-eaten heart is hers. He then opens the door to the royal chamber, allowing Living Council and guards in, giving Jude no chance to answer.
Madoc comes before the throne and demands the Blood Crown. When Cardan objects, saying that the crown only goes down the Greenbrier line, Madoc answers that since he has Grimsen on his side, he'll be able to make it so Madoc can wear it. Madoc tries to manipulate Cardan by using Cardan's one desire against him. Madoc threatens Cardan by telling him if he doesn't duel him, all his courts will deny him, feeding off of when Cardan was denied by his family. Cardan then takes the crown off his head and cracks it in half. The whole palace is in an uproar. Everything then begins to turn black the throne, the flowers. Jude recalls that Grimsen curses everything he makes so that it would last forever. Cardan then turns into a large black serpent. As the courts go into a crazy, Jude reminds them that she is still the Queen and orders the guards to take Madoc.
Solving the CurseFand rushes Jude out of the throne room where serpent Cardan wraps around the dais. Grima Mog rushes to an empty room where Jude falls to the floor. She takes some time to breathe and then stands up. Jude then plans to find the Royal Astrologer, Baphen, Gima Mog reminds Jude that she is the High Queen and that she doesn't need to go find Baphen. He can come to find her. Grima Mog also reminds Jude that many would like to kill her, so she needs to keep her boot on their throats. Jude nods and then asks Grima Mog to be her Grand General. Grima Mog reluctant;y agrees.
Jude then gives Fand a list of people to let in the chamber. The first being the Bomb. Jude tells the Bomb to figure out who is still loyal to Jude, who has joined Madoc, and who wants to try being on their own. Jude also informs the Bomb that if any of her spies hear wind of someone planning to kill Jude, no matter how vague or uncommitted they or it seems, they don't need Jude's permission to kill them The Bomb says to expect her that night and then departs.
Next in is Taryn. Jude first asks Taryn how Oak is, as the serpent lunges at Oak, Taryn replies that he is with Oriana. Taryn tells her that Oriana isn't sure if she is a prisoner or not. Jude tells her that she will return the hospitality Oriana showed her at Madoc's camp, though she is angry.
Jude tells Taryn that she needs her help, complimenting Taryn about how she made Jude look the part of senechal. Jude asks Taryn if she could make over the throne room and make organize some clothes for Jude that would make her look good. Taryn agrees. Fand knocks on the door, announcing the fact that Lord Baphen is there, and Taryn leaves.
Jude questions Baphen on what exactly was Cardan's prophecy. Baphen recites the whole prophecy, which had two parts, "He will be the destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne. Only out of his spilled blood can a great ruler rise.” Jude asks Baphen if there was a way to reverse the curse, which he replies that if there was, he would not know it. Jude then orders Baphen to check his star maps again for anything new. Before he leaves, Baphen asks Jude if she is going to speak with the Living Council. Jude replies that she will speak with them.
After Baphen leaves, Fand and Taryn enter back into Jude's room. Taryn with clothes, Fand with news. Serpent Cardan got out of the throne room, having escaped out the crack Madoc made with his sword. She also informs Jude that it is snowing inside the brugh. Jude then asks to be taken to the throne room. Jude then orders for the Living Council to be brought in.
The first thing Jude tells the Living Council is that she made Grima Mog her new Grand General, this causes an upturn in the council. They ask her if she thinks it is wise, that maybe they should wait for Cardan before making such important choices. She stays quiet, this causes everyone else to fall silent. Once everyone is quiet, she informs them that Lord Baphen does not yet have an idea of how Cardan will be restored to his throne. When Baphen confirms this, everyone is astonished and a little taken back. Grima Mog then appears, having a report to give to Jude. She tells the council that Madoc plans to attack the morning after tomorrow. Madoc plans to try and catch them unprepared, even more so now that some of the Lower Courts have decided to ally with him. Though Grima Mog says that their real threat is the Folk who haven't picked a side yet. Jude asks if they have enough army to push Madoc's back, to which Grima Mog denies, saying they have enough to where he won't overwhelm them easily. Grima Mog also mentions that many Folk believes the person who is to rule Elfhame must kill serpent Cardan. Jude asks where Cardan is and is told he was last seen by the shores of Insear. Where ever Cardan goes, there are black trails where leaves behind. Like he is poisoning the land. It would seem Cardan made the brugh to be his den. Baphen opposes to the idea of killing Cardan, that it would curse the land. Jude silences him. Telling them the meeting is over, a member of the Living Council acts out to this. Saying they are meant to advise her since they are supposed to be wise. Jude turns this against them, saying that it is not wise to try her displeasure. She then wonders if she will become more like Madoc, Jude thinks she is better suited for the shadows, not the throne.
Jude then enters into the brugh, where she forces herself to approach serpent Cardan. Who doesn't lunge at her, but rather watches. Jude then begs with the land to heal Cardan, even at her own expense. Though nothing happens. The Bomb later finds Jude sitting a few feet away from the serpent. She informs Jude that her sisters are worried, to which Jude replies that she just needs to figure out how to end Cardan's curse. The Bomb asks Jude if Cardan knows her. Jude answers that she doesn't know, but he seems not to mind her presence. The Bomb brings news that a few countries were heard speculating about a assassination of the mortal queen and were killed. The Bomb then continues to say the Ghost had found information about the loyalties of the Lower Court rulers, though the Bomb says what is more interesting is that Jude got a message from Madoc. That message asking if he, Lady Nore, and Lord Jarel could come to the palace and talk with Jude. The Bomb adds that Madoc wishes to see Jude, her siblings, and Oriana. Jude relents and allows them to come. Though telling the Bomb to not allow him with weapons. To inform Madoc that he doesn't come to the palace as a guest. After a few messages, Madoc decides to come at dusk and Jude agrees to meet them at the palace grounds.
Knights are stationed around them, archers in the trees. Jude is sat on a cushioned throne with her siblings. Oak then runs up to Jude, she asks him to do a favor for her. To pay attention and be quiet, no matter what Madoc says or what Jude says.
|“||“I wasn't kind, Jude. Not to many people. Not to you. I wasn't sure if I wanted you or if I wanted you gone from my sight so that I would stop feeling as I did, which made me even more unkind. But when you were gone—truly gone beneath the waves—I hated myself as I never have before.”||”|
–Cardan to Jude, in The Wicked King
Jude Duarte and Cardan Greenbriar are husband and wife, as well as the High King and High Queen of Elfhame. Their relationship is very turbulent, with romance, betrayal, and backstabbing.
History In the beginning, the pair did not get along at all. Jude hated Cardan for being spoiled, for threatening her and her sister, and for being so self-centered. She knew Cardan's hatred for her was almost equal to her hatred for him and their feud lead to constant skirmishes against each other.
In her mission infiltrating Hollow Hall on behalf of Prince Dain, Jude witnessed Cardan being tortured and beaten by his brother Balekin and Jude began to pity him a little. Sometimes, Jude grudgingly remarked upon Cardan's beauty and every once in a blue moon he shows a softer side for her. After the coronation in which Jude gained full control of Cardan and his future, he admitted that his hatred for her was caused by jealousy and envy of the way Madoc tried for her to fit in even though she didn’t belong there. With a little more pushing from Jude, Cardan also admitted he desired her and how he loathed feeling that way. Cardan was also jealous of Jude because she doesn't have a brother who beat her and because Locke used Jude and her sister to make Nicasia cry after he stole her from Cardan. She was constantly thrown in his face by his brother, Balekin, as the mortal who bested him.
The two shared a kiss and after that, their relationship changed. They were obviously involved with each other, but neither of them admitted anything other than a passing desire for each other. At the end of The Cruel Prince, Jude betrayed Cardan by using his oath of allegiance against him and in the epilogue it is revealed he had yet to forgive her.
In The Wicked King, Jude and Cardan had a strained relationship. Jude struggled with her feelings towards Cardan, even going so far as to think of killing Cardan before he could make her love him. Cardan also struggled with his feelings towards Jude and hated himself for it. However, he does try to help her out whenever he can.
Cardan publicly said how Jude’s face often plagued his dreams and how she often featured in his nightmares. He then said that he found Jude’s mortal beauty unique, meaning that even though she's a mortal, she was still very beautiful, which alarmed and "shocks" him due to the fact that in faerie, humans are regarded as low creatures in comparison to the fae. Jude later sees that Cardan secretly took her ruby ring and he now wears it on his pinkie finger.
Later, Jude asked Cardan to seduce Nicasia so they could find out what her mother is planning. Cardan used his seductive talents on Jude instead, asking her if that was how he should seduce Nicasia and they end up in bed together, though what happened after that is unclear, however, Jude said that they didn’t go all the way. Later, when Cardan flirted with Nicasia, Jude hated seeing him with her even though it was her who suggested he do so.
When Jude was captured by the Undersea, Cardan did everything in his power to get her back. During this time, Jude also thought about Cardan often. When she was finally brought back, Jude was in a terrible condition and needed Nicasia‘s help to walk to Cardan. He said that she ought to need no help and that the Undersea should have looked after her better. Queen Orlagh then asked Cardan if he did not want Jude any longer, to which Cardan replied possessive and contemptuous, that he will have Jude.
Once Jude could walk on her own again, she snuck into Cardan’s room in the place because Madoc had barred her from entering. When Jude made it to Cardan’s room, he pulled her into bed beside him and apologized for how he treated her. He also told her that since he hated himself for wanting her, he wanted her to get out of his sight, but when she was actually gone under the waves in the Undersea, he hated himself more than ever for wishing her gone. He also said one of the only things he had done right was imagining Jude by his side while she was gone.
Later on, Balekin poisoned Cardan and in his drugged state, Cardan kissed Jude on the mouth in front of the whole High Court. Jude was very worried about him and dueled with Balekin to get the antidote.
Later on, Cardan asked for Jude to release him from his year and a day promise so that he could rule for longer, giving more time for Oak to mature. This would also allow for Cardan to be accepted by the land. He then asked Jude to marry him and for her to become Queen of Faerie until Oak came of age, proposing with the ring he stole from her. Jude accepted and the two get married.
The next day, Orlagh asked for an audience with Cardan because of Balekin's death, as he was her ambassador to Elfhame. Jude admitted to killing Balekin and as punishment, Cardan banished Jude from Faerie.
Jude is left to plot her revenge feeling humiliated, betrayed, and angry. She worked for a fae called Bryern doing odd jobs. Jude was left in the mortal world and spent most of her time longing for and grudging against Cardan. She considered ways to take over the crown and to get back at Cardan.
At her sister's request, Jude broke her exile and disguised herself as Taryn to take her place to be questioned on Locke's death. Cardan, privately, told her he recognized her the moment he saw her. He told an angry Jude that her exile was only a trick. Before he could elaborate, Jude was taken by Madoc. Madoc later told her that Cardan fought hard to keep her. Cardan later came to Madoc’s camp to rescue Jude. After she is recused from her adoptive father, Vivienne told Jude that Cardan came to the mortal world to find her.
Jude is severely injured from a fight with Madoc but still goes to warn Cardan after she realized his life might be in danger. However, it turned out to be a ploy and Jude suffered a fall, hurting herself more. It is then that Cardan came to her and declared to all of Elfhame that she was his wife and the rightful High Queen, no longer in exile. Jude fell unconscious but woke in Cardan’s bed with him seated by her and washing the blood from her hands. They talked and he told her about the loophole in the phrasing of the exile. She then realized her error in overlooking the exile's wording. Although the two didn't make peace with each other immediately, they both showed mutual affection and longing towards each other.
Later, Cardan revealed that he has had fantasies about Jude and they have sex. Jude admitted to Cardan that she missed him in the mortal world, even though he was her enemy. Cardan admitted to Jude he loved her and that his heart was hers but walks out of the room before Jude could respond.
When Cardan became a serpent after incurring an ancient curse, she spent most of her time feeling extremely regretful because she didn't tell Cardan that she loved him too. The Court of the Teeth gave her a bridle that would bind the serpent to her so she would have Cardan forever in exchange for being given positions of power. When Jude is faced by the serpent, it became obvious to her that she couldn't bind Cardan to herself forever, so she cut her sword through the serpent's neck and went on to fight Madoc. While she was fighting Madoc, Cardan stepped out from the serpent's corpse and is reunited with his queen. She told him that she loved him as well but he thought she is saying it out of pity. However, after she explained why she loved him, he realized that her feelings were genuine and they kissed.They both end up ruling Elfhame as the High King and Queen and Cardan accompanied Jude on her visit to the mortal world to see Oak, where Vivienne threw them both a newlyweds party.
During The Cruel Prince Jude’s relationship with Locke was always unclear and confusing, even for Jude. Locke was charming from the beginning, he confesses he loves drama and stories, and that he wanted to stay near Jude so he could be part of hers. He never stands up to defend Jude, until the apple incident in which he stops the rest to take her home. When their romance begins everything goes well, until the coronation, in which he begins to act weird making strange questions to Jude. After he plays Jude, she declares her disgust towards Locke, who ended up being only in it for the dramatics. Locke had promised to marry Taryn before courting Jude.
Friends and Allies
The Bomb is very close with Jude, assisting her during the second book. The Bomb helped Jude when she first became High Queen, telling her not to let people walk over her and insist on meeting with her. When Cardan became a serpent, the Bomb was there to help Jude do what she needed to get the courts to stay calm and follow under her.
In the first book, the Roach doesn't much interact with Jude. Though, the Roach was the one who went to save Jude in the second book. Along with Cardan. He also laughed at Jude for elbowing Cardan when he woke her.
The Ghost is the one who got Jude into the Court of Shadows. He was the one who introduced her and oversaw her training. She was the closes with him then the others. This being why it hurt Jude so bad when he betrayed her.
Heather is Vivi's girlfriend and Jude's friend. Jude tries to protect Heather from the dangers of faerie and Heather tries to comfort Jude when she gets stressed or scared.
Tatterfell has cared for Jude since she was a child. It was Tatterfell who smeared a stinging faerie ointment over Jude’s eyes to give her True Sight so that she could see through most glamours. Tatterfell also brushed the mud from Jude’s boots and kept her clean. Tatterfell was the one to give Jude the string of dried rowan berries that Jude wears around her neck so she might be able to resist enchantments. Tatterfell used to wipe Jude’s wet nose and reminded her to wear her stockings inside out so she’d never be led astray in the forest.
Grima Mog and Jude first met when Jude was in the mortal world. Her assignment was to kill Grima Mog as she was eating other fae. Jude didn't kill her, but only injured her. Jude saw Grima Mog again when she was being rescued in the forest and again when a councilor came to yell at Jude. When Cardan was turned to a serpent, Jude promoted Grima Mog to Grand General.
Fand and Jude when to palace school together, both dreaming of knighthood. They meet again in the third book, and later Fand becomes Jude's personal guard.
Lord Roiben swore an oath to Jude of allies with Cardan, though ordered that he get something done in return. After Cardan permits the Undersea to attack the Court of Termites, Lord Robien is angry and uses his gift in return to be killing Balekin. Which Jude does. Their relationship remains tense.
Nicasia was apart of Cardan's original group. She hated Jude for being a mortal, though her hatred grow as she realized Cardan loved Jude. Nicasia was there to help when Jude was captured, telling Jude that she doesn't deserve Cardan.
At first, Dain appears to Jude as someone who wants to help her. He offers her a position in his Court of Shadows, and although that wasn’t what Jude wanted, she accepts the offer and the geas he gives her to resist enchantments. As the most likely heir to the throne, Jude knows Dain has a lot of power and that he would be able to protect her. She describes him as "honored and honorable." However, when Dain makes her stab her own hand willingly to prove her devotion to him, she is furious with him and begins to wonder if he is as honorable as he appears. After his death, Jude continues to learn more about what Dain did and what he was really like and her opinion of him changes and she no longer views him as an honorable person.
"“No, I won’t help you. No, I won’t hear you explain why I should. It really is a magical word: no. You say whatever bullshit you want and I just say no.”" ― Jude to Taryn in The Queen of Nothing
While they look similar, their personalities are very different. Taryn is sweet and gentle and wants to stay out of any faerie dramas. She dreams of marrying a faerie so she can stay at the High Court. Jude is bold and defiant. She refuses to give in to her fear and wants power.
Regardless of their different personalities, Jude and Taryn tried to look out for one another when they were brought to Elfhame by Madoc as children. They tried to support each other and were very close.
However, as they have gotten older, their relationship is changing and they are finding themselves at odds more and more often. One time Taryn told Jude that she hated her a little for being witness to her humiliation with the Gentry.
In the end, Jude and Taryn reconcile as they will always be sisters. Jude walked the path of poison and daggers while Taryn walked the equally dangerous path of desire.
Eventually, Jude discovered that Taryn wasn't willing to give her the same amount of devotion that Jude was willing to give her. Unknown to Jude, Locke was playing the twins against one another. While Taryn hated Locke being with her sister, she hated how Jude never asked her before going against Cardan. She accused Jude of never caring what Cardan's anger brought down on either of their heads and she had to show Locke that she was different than Jude.
Jude is heartbroken and angry at how Taryn repeatedly refuses to take Jude's side in the events that happen. Throughout The Wicked King, Jude and Taryn had still not spoken since the revelation of Locke's games. Jude missed Taryn but still felt stupid and embarrassed whenever she saw her until Taryn came to her rooms at the palace to speak with her.
It is clear that, although Taryn does help Jude in various ways, she is very manipulative, often asking Jude for favors while promising nothing in return. Later, Taryn betrays Jude and impersonates her in front of Cardan, taking half of his army for Madoc and severing Madoc's ties to the crown. However, in The Queen of Nothing Taryn asks Jude for help and she provides it. Taryn also grows to care about Jude again and comes to rescue her with Vivienne at Madoc’s camp. She is also very worried after Jude nearly dies, and helps her regain her strength as she heals. At the end of the book, Taryn supports Jude in court and their relationship is back to normal.
Vivienne and Jude, are half-siblings. Vivienne is the older sister.
HistoryAfter bring brought to the faerie realm by Madoc as children, Vivienne works to protect Jude and their sister, Taryn. However, Vivi' relationship with her sisters begins to fracture because Vivi continues to hate Madoc and the faerie realm, while Jude and Taryn learn to adapt and want to stay in Elfhame. This causes Vivi to feel resentment towards Jude and Taryn. She still loves them and tries to help them by giving advice.
When they first came to Madoc's Stronghold, they would huddle and talk about what they remembered from the human realm. But that stopped because all their new memories were of the faerie realm and Vivi has only a passing interest in those.
Vivi brought Jude and Taryn to the human realm to meet her girlfriend, Heather. She tells them that she wants the three of them to leave Elfhame and move in with Heather.
Vivi notices the changes in Jude as she becomes more ambitious and ruthless. She tells Jude that she keeps smiling a pleasant smile in front of Madoc, but all she can see anymore is bared teeth.
Vivi is willing to help Jude return Sophie, the mortal girl she stole from Hollow Hall who was being mistreated, to the human realm. When Sophie is unable to accept the reality of what's happened to her and commits suicide, Vivi helps Jude look for her for hours. Afterwards, Vivi tells Jude that can tell she is not doing well. Vivi tells Jude she is braver than she is.
When Taryn plans to get engaged to Locke, Vivi tells Jude that she should leave thee faerie realm and come to the human realm with her and that they can live like the solitary fey do. Vivi tells Jude that she knows that Jude is stick in Faerie because of her. She says that she knows she s the worst thing that has happened to her in her life. She feels responsible for what Jude has had to turn herself into. She confesses she wonders if Jude would know how to be human still. Vivi acknowledges that whatever she had to do to fit in cost her something vital.
Jude tells Vivi her plans for choosing the next High King and Vivi helps her.
Oak was always like Jude’s little brother. For both, it wasn’t important that Oak was a faerie and Jude mortal, she loved him the same. When they were both young, Jude was glamoured by Oak, and although she knew he didn’t do it on purpose, she still holds a bit of resentment towards him.
In The Cruel Prince Jude confesses her relationship with Madoc to be an odd love. Madoc was like a parent for the twins, although he was the murderer of their real parents. Madoc raised them out of obligation, out of honor and duty, but still, he raised them with caring love and compromise. He teaches them how to fight with the cutlass, dagger, the falchion, and fists. Madoc helps Jude in improving her technique in combat. Jude knows he is thirsty for power and is cunning. His plans get ruined by Jude, letting the reader know how Madoc pretended to rule over Faerie while Oak was being prepared to be king, and even after that.
Oriana was Jude’s foster mother after their arrival at Faerie. Oriana was normally rude with the three girls, and she usually reminded Taryn and Jude of how careful they had to be during revels because they could be enchanted, and she didn’t want them to embarrass Madoc. She insisted on taking Oak away from either of them, an action that infuriated Jude a lot. When she erroneously suspects that Jude is Dain’s consort, she tries to give her advice to retire, telling her that being a consort is to always be a pawn. In The Cruel Prince after the coronation banquet, she trusts Jude to take Oak to somewhere safe, where he can be away from Faerie's corruption and cruelty until he is ready to be king.
Madoc started out closer with Jude then any of the other sisters. As Jude aspired to be a knight like him. Though soon, Jude found out that Madoc planned on killing the royal family and putting Balekin on the throne, instead of Dain who he had been friends with. Jude was there when she witness Madoc and his guards killing everyone. Jude was the one who found Cardan and so Madoc begged Jude to give him Cardan for anything she wanted. Jude refused. After she crowned Cardan the High King. That is when they're feud started. In the second book, Madoc is still angry with her, but believes that she is tricking Cardan and all of them. Madoc even asks that they use Oak as bait for Queen Orlagh, which horrifies Jude. When she is captured, Madoc orders that she is not let in the palace. This causes her to conclude Madoc is trying to cut her off so he can control the king. At the end of the second book, Madoc uses Taryn to pose as Jude and get Cardan to allow Madoc half the army and undo his oath to the crown. In The Queen of Nothing Madoc goes to save Jude, thinking she's Taryn, from the castle. When Madoc relizes it's Jude, he begins to duel her. He injures her side, causing her to fall to her knees and waits for him to kill her. He doesn't, instead leaves when Vivi appears. He arrives at the castle later, challenging Cardan for the crown. After Jude cuts off the serpents head, Madoc bows to her. Jude then orders that he forgets the Ghosts name, go to the mortal world, and never touch another weapon.
Balekin never took much notice to Jude until the beginning of The Wicked King in which he understands she's to be taken seriously due to the fact she succeeded in tricking Cardan to become the High King under her power. Balekin always treated Jude as someone who's below him. He insults her constantly throughout the series, even when he is eventually killed by Jude after poisoning Cardan. During Jude's kidnapping by the Undersea, Balekin, Queen Orlagh and Nicasia are not aware of the fact that Jude is immune to their glamour. Balekin, just like Nicasia tries to understand her and Cardan's relationship during her stay. Balekin attempts to get information out of Jude multiple times and eventually asks Jude to imagine he was Cardan and then asks her to kiss him.
Queen Orlagh sees Jude as a mere toy thing. Though she does realize Jude has some worth to Cardan as to why she kidnapped Jude and demanded a price for her. Knowing Cardan would pay it to have Jude back. Queen Orlagh quite angry with Jude when she found out Jude had tricked her and Balekin.
Valerian was a part Cardan's original group, who sought out to make fun of and mock Jude and Taryn. Valerian has an especial hate, even going as far as trying to kill Jude. He failed when trying to suffocate her, then trying to glamour her in the tower, and finally appearing in her room. Jude stabbed him, but not before he cursed her, one, with death always being beside her and two, with her hands always being bloody. He died before he got to the third one and she buried him behind the stable.
to be expanded
- Jude’s favorite food is cheese and bread grated over a fire.
- Jude is the younger twin.
- According to the author, She has some Latin ancestry in her background, through her dad who is of mixed white and Latin American descent.
- Her skin color and full ethnicity/race, have not been officially confirmed by the author although she is described with pale skin.
- While proving her lying skills to Prince Dain, it is stated that her birthday could be November 13, 2001.
- She is said to look like her father in the prologue, but when she looks at the Lake of Masks Jude thinks she's staring at a reflection of herself until she understands it's a memory of her mother she's seeing when Madoc appears beside her. Jude is also told by Cardan's mother that she "resembles her [mother] very strongly."
- She has a scar on the center of her left hand from when she was forced to stab herself to prove her loyalty to prince Dain.
- The top of her ring finger on her left hand is missing.
- Jude has a nervous tic: she rubs the tip of her missing fingertip with her thumb when feeling anxious.
- Locke describes Jude's beauty as beautiful as a wintry forest
- Jude was in exile for 4 months.
- "It's just a game," (The Cruel Prince, 25-26)
- "They are beautiful and terrible, and they might despise my mortality, but I am up here and they are not." (Black, 31-32)
- "It's Taryn I miss, though. Nights like tonight, I imagine hopping down from the dais and going to her, trying to explain my choices." (The Wicked King, 33-34)
- "But I will not be the one to go to Taryn, to beg." (Black, 33-34)
- "I won't be horrible for the sake of my own amusement. That's got to be worth something." (Black, 33-34)
- "I'm sure the crown would be pleased to have it, were it freely given." (Black, 37-38)
- "I am his seneschal, Mother Marrow." (Black, 37-38)
- "I'll go see Prince Balekin. If he wants to make the High King an offer, he'll have to convince the High King's seneschal first." (Black, 43-44)
- "I must regretfully refuse tea. I won't be here long." (Black, 51-52)
- "My pretty face. Such flattery." (The Wicked King, 28)
- "I've never been in love."
- "I lied." (The Wicked King, 28)
- "The High King doesn't know, and you're unlikely to tell him once I cut out your tongue." (The Wicked King, 32)
- "Who said I wanted anything particular? Just a little payback."
- "It's good that Oak will grow up as we didn't. Away from the Court. Away from all this."
- "I'm not sure I sleep, but I do dream."
- "Everyone else may leave us. You. Move. Now."
- "Your ridiculous family might be surprised to find that not everything is solved by murder." "We would be surprised to find that." (The Wicked King, 127)
- "I am suited to the shadows, to the art of knives and bloodshed and coups, to poisoned words and poisoned cups." (Queen of Nothing, 191)
- "I hid a lot, I guess. I thought if I didn’t, if I let myself love you, I would burn up like a match. Like the whole matchbook.” (Queen of Nothing, 237)
- "To family and Faerieland and pizza and stories and new beginnings and scheming great schemes. I can toast to that" (Queen of Nothing, 248)