“Drink, Monsieur,” said the King. The dark eyes were hooded once more, showing nothing. “Or are you afraid?”
The Comte might have a number of things to his discredit, but cowardice wasn’t one of them. His face was pale and set, but he met the King’s eyes squarely, with a slight smile.
“No, Majesty,” he said.
He took the cup from my hand and drained it, his eyes fixed on mine. They stayed fixed, staring into my face, even as they glazed with the knowledge of death. The White Lady may turn a man’s nature to good, or to destruction.
The Comte’s body hit the floor, writhing, and a chorus of shouts and cries rose from the hooded watchers, drowning any sound he might have made. His heels drummed briefly, silent on the flowered carpet; his body arched, then subsided into limpness. The snake, thoroughly disgruntled, struggled free of the disordered folds of white satin and slithered rapidly away, heading for the sanctuary of Louis’s feet.
All was pandemonium.
Diana Gabaldon, Dragonfly in Amber (Chapter 27 – An Audience with His Majesty)