Weeding Womb

Baroness of Blood

Baroness of Blood by Elaine Bergstrom. I was going to write a review of this book, but I decided it would be better to make one of those "Things I will do" lists, detailing the intense stupidity of the main characters and how they didn't notice the princess/queen's descent into evil. Well, worse evil.


If, the day I conquer, the ghost of a woman I saw die tells me to leave and never come back, I will appoint a trusted but not very well liked general to rule in my stead. He's my general, he's supposed to put my well-being over his. At worst, he rules well and I just look a bit silly. At best, the entire land gets swallowed by demonic mists and I hold a nice little memorial for him.

Two of the three children of my defeated rival swear fealty to me. The third vows to never forgive me for killing her father. If the first two die mysterious deaths and the third suddenly "changes her mind" and swears fealty to me, I will assume that she killed the other two and now wants to get close enough to bump me off.

I will not marry into the conquered land's royalty. While politically sound, it would be safer to marry a woman who won't see me as a tyrannical murderer of her beloved king. Just because the women in my homeland are a bit chunkier than the ones here, that does not mean all of them are. If I like skinny women, I'll find a skinny one in my own land. There's bound to be one. If not, I'll have sex with the lights off and do a lot of fantasizing.

A plague of some sort runs through the castle, but stops mysteriously when my wife leaves for vacation; when she comes back, it starts again. While this is not proof in and of itself, I will check to see if the place she vacationed (and stops en route) had a similar "outbreak" while she was there. If so, I'll hope the odds are in my favor and kill my wife. I'm king, a new wife won't be that hard to find.

If a woman falls deathly ill from poisoning, I will still not rule her out as the poisoner unless she dies. In fact, if she makes a miraculous recovery at the last minute, I'll consider her the guilty party that much more. Once I have reached this conclusion, I will not discount it a month later because she tells me she loves me. If she's crafty enough to give herself a poison dose that she knows won't kill her by the merest iota, she is certainly crafty enough to lie.

If only one person is an expert in poisons and someone is poisoned, the expert will not be locked up alone. His students, family, mistresses, personal servants, and other people who had access to his workroom will also be locked up.

Just because my wife - who is plainly as guilty as sin in a plot to kill me - claims to be carrying my child, I will not spare her life. I will instead pray my next wife bears twins. If it's really all that important to me, I'll arrange for a death during childbirth, just about six seconds after the umbilical cord is cut.

A corpse is found a person's room. While it is very possible that the owner of the room is being framed, it is also possible that the owner intended to frame someone else but didn't have a chance to move the body before being caught.

Just because someone cries at the funeral, that doesn't mean they didn't kill the deceased.

I live in a land of magic where deals with demons are real. I will try to take that into account when an ugly little teenage girl becomes a radiant and beautiful young woman overnight. Puberty does not work on an hourly timetable.

Ghosts and goblins are real in this land. I have seen both with my own eyes. I will not discount the rumors I hear about a vampire stalking the countryside just because I've been told that vampires are not real. If three people vanished mysteriously in that same countryside last week, I will seriously consider the vampire theory.

I will also remember that a stake to the heart followed by decapitation will kill a human as easily as a vampire, and thus makes the ideal way of getting rid of troublemakers screwing about in the countryside.

My wife takes great enjoyment at burning people at the stake, but only when she doesn't feel like burning their eyes out with hot pokers and sending them into the forest. This is not a good sign.


The queen, who I had sex with once, tells me that she loves me and is carrying my child. Meanwhile, I have overheard her telling her husband - the king - that she loves him and is carrying his child. If she can lie to him so convincingly, she is capable of doing the same to me. I will not consider the unborn child mine, because the safe money says it isn't.

I will learn from my mistakes. For example, I have made the mistake of showing my mistress both the location of my fabled secret poison cache and how to use some of the more deadly items therein. When people start falling ill and dying in ways indicative of poisoning and fingers are starting to point at me, I will rat her out before my reputation is too badly tarnished. Love her or not, she's betrayed my trust and deserves whatever happens to her.

When someone I know finds a book on raising the dead, yet refuses to destroy the book in my presence, I will decide that she has no intentions of heeding my warnings about not meddling with the black arts. I will also hide some great distance away, as it's likely I'll be the first one experimented on.

If I inform someone of the secret passages and eavesdropping cubbyholes in the castle, I will not speak about that same someone in any of the rooms that contain eavesdropping cubbyholes. If I must, I will speak kindly of this person.

When I was younger, I often used people in the dungeons as guinea pigs for my experiments. If a large number of people are disappearing from the dungeons, I will not just assume that they're escaping. I will consider this possibility, but I will also consider the possibility that someone else is experimenting.

If I feel the need to keep a spider so poisonous that its web is toxic, I will seal its enclosure save for a few airholes it can not get through. As a second precaution, I will surround the enclosure with a pan of something incredibly corrosive. Better I lose a rare spider to a pan of acid than have a silent killer roaming around every damp corner of something the size of a castle.


I'll sneak away in the middle of the night. With all these people disappearing, it's a sure bet it's one of the royals doing it. I work for these people and don't want to be next to take the bullet.

When I go, I will not take an abused baby, a cache of gold, or anything else not mine. I'll just wind up dead.

The Archon

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