-Bash, filling in for King Henry while he is away, is hearing the grievances of his subjects, when a young pregnant woman is brought before him.
-She is accused of stealing, and her accuser seeks permission to search her home.
-An assassin--sent by Queen Catherine--makes an attempt on Bash's life, but misses.
-The pregnant woman is Bash's cousin--his mother's half-brother's daughter--and he seeks to protect her.
-Her father was executed for treason, and he believes the men who accused her of stealing want evidence of her relation to Bash--a relation which would make him ineligible for the throne.
-Bash and Mary take the pregnant woman from the castle in secret, but get trapped in the Bloodwood while she is in labor.
-As she gives birth, the camp is set upon by Bloodwood pagans--but the pagans are driven off by Bash's recitation of a pagan prayer.
-Mary is shocked and horrified that Bash and his cousin would know a pagan prayer.
-Bash explains that his cousin's family is pagan, and so he knows the prayers from being exposed to them as a child. He also points out that his cousin's paganism is peaceful, and far different from the bloody, murderous religion practiced by the inhabitants of the Bloodwood.
-Bash convinced Mary to be more tolerant, and Mary feels bad for having thought so poorly of Bash's cousin.
-Soon after giving birth, Bash's cousin dies; the baby is placed with a local woman, and Bash brings his cousin's body back, pretending that he murdered her after she attacked him.
-Bash tells Mary he does not necessarily want to be king, but that he will do it for her.
-An imprisoned Queen Catherine taunts and torments the Ladies, until they come up with a plan--they forge notes proving her role in the scheme to assassinate Bash, and use them to keep her in line.