After the fall of the Queen, and the casino, Hope, the Duchess of Didam, returned to her home from the first time in 11 years - for the first time since her father's death.
Ten months after the fall of the Queen a rider comes into town who calls himself Evan, but Hope know him by a different name - Jack Heart, King of Wonderland.
The study had long ago grown dark, but Jack was determined to read the latest round of arrest reports that had been delivered today. A prickling sensation on the top of his head caused him to look up and there – just at the edge of the light cast by the lamp on his desk – stood his mother.
She was dressed not as he remembered from the last time he saw her, but in the style she had worn when he was still a boy – a black and white dress with a form fitting top, a full skirt and a high neck. Her hair was done up and woven in to it was her crown, some thing she hadn't worn since she become obsessed with the emotion teas.
Jack lept to his feet, “What are you doing here?”
The Queen just stared at him.
“How did you get in?” he asked, then quickly followed up with, “How did you get out?”
The Queen continued to say nothing, but her eyes followed Jack as he moved towards her. The look that she had on her face was one of disgust. Just before Jack reached her she finally spoke, “You are such a disappointment”.
Jack awoke with a start.
His neck was covered in sweat, he could feel his shirt sticking to his chest and back and his legs were tangled in his bed clothes.
After freeing himself from the sheets he made his way across the room to the attracted bathroom. He stared at the sink as it filled with cool water, once it was half–filled he closed his eyes and shoved his head under the water. After a moment he came up, gasping for air and shaking water drops across the room.
Looking at his reflection in the mirror he heard the echo of his mother's voice.