“Proof?” said Luther. “You are correct. In this, I can offer you none. However, I can offer you personal testimony that our father was not the man you thought he was.”
“Haven’t you already done that?”
“I assure you, this is something different. Do you remember a young woman named Rita Zannis?”
David thought back. He was about to say no when the name abruptly registered. He eyed Luther anew, beginning to sense where this was going. “You had a courtship with her, unless I’m mistaken.”
The other prince snorted. “I am not sure ‘courtship’ is the appropriate word. She was a commoner. Our correspondence was hardly formal. But I was certainly infatuated with her. More than any other woman I have ever met.”
“Excluding your wife, of course, yes?”
And Luther just looked at him. The man was not known for his warmth, but the stare he gave now had to be among the coldest David had ever seen from him.
David’s head reared back. As enigmatic as his brother was, that one expression told him more about Luther than anything in the last ten years.
Luther chose to move on. “My relationship with Ms. Zannis came to an abrupt end, you may recall. It was her decision. Or so I was led to believe.”
“You’re telling me Father was responsible?”
David frowned. “Then you have my sympathy, but not my surprise. You are not the first of us to have had his love life distorted in such a way.”
“I was planning to elope with her,” Luther added. “I was ready to give up my status and flee the country, if necessary.”
“Again, my sympathies, but--”
“Father learned of my intentions. He told her that he would have her entire family killed unless she refused me. And the only reason I know this, is because Father confessed it to me himself. On his deathbed, no less. Mere days before the end.”
That made David stop.