Alarica walks into the house ready for a bath, needing to wash off the after effects of the session she had had last night with her queen. Probably the only thing that she does right is not to leave any visible marks. I have to face the public, and cannot do that if I reek of sex. She feels the only reason it lasted as long as it did, was Breanne’s face appearing before her eyes. The slightest sound would cause reality to interrupt the vision . . . If only it could be. Finally, the session ended, with the sovereign on top of her queen.
Alarica notices her family walking into the bathing chamber, and joins them. It is the weekend, and the girls are looking forward to going to the town square to do a little shopping, and maybe watch a movie. All of them have earned it. Melisent and Claryvorra help each other with their studies, earning good grades in return for their hard work. And Emily…explores the vast world around her, learning new things each day.
Breanne is keeping her head down, and her shoulders slumped, and the action worries Leonessa and Alarica. Alarica, as usual, follows the girls, while Leonessa stays with Breanne. Leonessa thinks it strange that Breanne does not play with the water, since she always does, except for today.
“Breanne, child, is something wrong?”
Breanne looks up, and that is when Leonessa notices the circles and the dark shadows beneath the eyes. Breanne only shakes her head no, without a verbal answer. I haven’t slept in days. I know I shouldn’t be afraid but . . .
Leonessa surmises Breanne slept well during the night, but the circles and the shadows are telling a different story.
Alarica has grown concerned, and moves to the end of the pool where her mother and Breanne are. “Mother, what is wrong? This is not like Breanne. By now she is splashing the water, watching the ripples. What has happened?”
“I do not know. She is not speaking, and I do not think she slept last night.” Alarica and Leonessa agree to switch places. Leonessa goes with the girls, while Alarica stays with Breanne.
“Breanne, what is wrong? Will you tell me?” Alarica makes a move to place her hand on Breanne’s shoulder. Breanne misinterprets the gesture and moves to protect herself. She had done the best she could, even using every reference she could find. She even asked Elmira to proofread the document. What could have gone wrong?
“Breanne, minime uni, it is all right, it is me Alarica. Calm down and tell me what is wrong? You know not to fear me, do you not?”
Breanne does not respond, just stands there motionless, waiting for the beating. Alarica wants to reassure Breanne, as Breanne has done with her many times before, but she is fearful that Breanne will not understand. “Breanne, are you scared? Are you afraid of my in-laws? Have they threatened you as a result?”
No. Aren’t you mad at me? …Breanne replies.
“There is no reason for me to be angry with you. On the contrary, I am very proud of you. You proved yourself yesterday. You cast doubt on those who do not believe in you. You showed the people many things. A lesson I will always remember: that the disciplinary measures do not need to match the crime, and on the contrary, the measures can be used to teach a lesson instead. Very well done, my minime uni…” This time, Alarica is able to place her hand on Breanne’s shoulder. But Breanne remains stiff, and as she gazes into Alarica’s eyes, she sees what she always does, except this time, fear has clouded the vision.
Breanne relaxed her posture, her breathing deepens, and her arms come down. Please, don’t hurt me or the girls. They’re just kids. Please?
The pleading look in Breanne’s eyes crumbled Alarica’s resolve. Breanne knows she does not need to fear Alarica, but there will always be flashbacks to a time she never knew, and to always expect the worst.
Taking a deep breath, Alarica declares, “Minime uni, there is nothing to fear. The girls are fine. They are doing very well with their studies. I do not know if you have knowledge of this, but mother was a little angry that Melisent’s teacher gave her such a poor grade on a paper that she truly worked very hard on. She went to school with Melisent, and spoke to her teacher. I am not sure what she showed the teacher, but after that, the grade remarkably went up. Mother will not tell the story in detail, either, only saying that she should not expect anything resembling intelligence from a man. So you see, my minime uni, everything is fine.”
Breanne continuously blinks her eyes, as if trying to clear them. Then she truly does see Alarica’s eyes. They show her what they always did in the past. The fear is gone and she can truly see again. She is happy. I’m sorry I doubted you. I thought you would be mad at me. I love you, Alarica.
“I love you as well, Breanne. Are you going to have any lessons this morning?”
Breanne shakes her head no, but continues to look at Alarica, whose face is getting red. Alarica finds the sponge and holds it in her hand “Then, could you please scrub my back? Please . . . pretty please?” Breanne giggles and starts scrubbing Alarica’s back. All is right with the world again.
Alarica leaves Breanne as she starts to play with the water. It is time for a morning chat between mother and daughter anyway. They leave the girls in one corner, to stand in another corner of the pool.
“Did you have a nice chat last night?”
“Yes, Mother, I did. I also had a need fulfilled.”
“I assumed that is why you did not return last night.”
“Mother, does Breanne understand the relationship between a sovereign and her consors?”
“Yes she does. I explained to her that while the sovereign shares her heart and her secrets with her consors, they would never be intimate. It is up to the queen to satisfy the need for intimacy, not the consors.”
“Thank you, Mother, I was worried. I think she is better now. The past will haunt her, I expect, for the rest of her life. She will always expect the worst.”
“You are welcome, and thank you. What was wrong?”
“She expected to be beaten, if not her then the children, because of last night’s events.”
“She expected to be beaten?! Last night I was filled with pride as Melisandra read the document. Everything was as it should be. The document was expertly written. Why would she expect to be beaten?”
“The past, Mother, the past haunts her still. I cannot imagine what sort of torture she had to endure. I take that back, yes I can. As much as I try to forget the images, I cannot. That beast that calls herself Breanne’s mother tortured her just short of death.” They stand there looking at each other saying nothing, neither knowing what to say next.
Everyone finishes preparing themselves for the day. Lady Leonessa, Breanne, and the girls leave to have a little fun in town. The rest stay behind to attend to business.
Alarica calls for her mother-in-law to be presented to her. The sister-in-law sits on the floor cushions waiting for the events to unfold. “Madam, this is your last chance to apologize. These events are being recorded for later viewing by the rest of those involved.”
“I already apologized, but if you need to hear it again, I will say it again.”
“This was your last chance to present your apology. From this day forward, you will be shunned from society. You will no longer be recognized or remembered. Your property and wealth will be taken and distributed, your name will be erased from the archives, and your children will be remembered as the vagrants you described the children of this court. You are dismissed.”
Alarica immediately rises from behind her desk. A dagger immediately makes itself known, and cuts through the clothes that her mother-in-law is wearing. The mother-in-law is shocked beyond words. She expected to be forgiven, after all, she is the queen’s mother, and she has done nothing wrong. The guards escort the prisoner out of the manor.
“Elmira, I need to speak with you immediately. Get the queen and tell her, her presence is necessary.” Alarica has that authoritative voice again, which always causes Elmira to stand at attention.
A short time later, Elmira and Melisandra enter the study.
“The proceedings for shunning need to begin immediately. The queen’s mother failed to apologize properly. She was given a full explanation of the consequences for failure to present a proper apology. She has been stripped and is no longer a member of society. Elmira, contact Ethelmona to let her know I need to speak with her immediately. Contact the Superintendent of Archives to have mother-in-law’s name erased. It will be known, from this point forward, that the children do not have a family. I took pity on them and adopted them into my household. Contact the chancellor to have her property dealt with. Her name is to be erased from the deed and sold immediately. If the property cannot be sold within one month’s time, it will be distributed among the villagers. Contact the Ratio Imperator to have her wealth dealt with. Her name is to be erased from all of her holdings. A complete record is to be prepared and presented to me immediately. I will decide what to do with her wealth. Elmira, you are dismissed.”
“Imperium, are you not being cruel for not giving her a second chance?” Melisandra is in tears. All that she knows is now lost.
“Queen Melisandra, sister-in-law, both of you have been stripped of everything…family, wealth, and identity. It will be recorded that I took pity on the both of you and adopted you into my household. I gave your mother a second chance, but she failed to rethink and retell her apology. Any recognition, any resemblance of assistance from either of you, and you, too, will be erased. Am I clear?” Alarica needs to be sure her point is heard loud and clear.
“Yes, my imperium, your thoughts and orders have been made clear. I understand them.” Melisandra has nothing else to say. She is crying now that her family has been torn apart. She would like to blame Breanne, but realizes that at least there is still a Queen Melisandra. There would be time for blaming later.
“Yes, my imperium, I hear your orders loud and clear.” The sister-in-law wants revenge, but not now, not with so many eyes watching. She will pay for this.
“I suggest to the both of you that you pay attention to me. If either of you plan or speak of retribution towards Consors Breanne, not only will you be erased from society, your memory will be erased as well. Queen Melisandra, you are excused.”
Melisandra walks away with her head down and shoulders slumped. Who could she blame if she can not blame Breanne? This would not have happened if Breanne had never become a part of this household. She has to accept her sovereign’s decision, but she does not have to like it.
“Sister-in-law, my dear, dear sister-in-law, did you think you could get away with thinking about retribution? May I remind you that you do not have a mother to run to any longer, and that your older sister will be kept underfoot for as long as I feel it is necessary? You harm my consors, you will be no longer. It will not matter if it will be by another’s hand, you will be the one I look for to accuse. Sit down; we have measures to attend to.” Alarica, sister-in-law, and Elmira plan on how the measures are to be carried out.
It came time for Leonessa’s departure once again, having to leave to oversee the changes that had been laid out by the sovereign. They needed to be completed – now. “Many things must be done in light of everything that has happened up to this point. I will return in time for dinner with Breanne’s mother. I am interested in meeting the woman who calls herself mother. I will make sure that everything has been completed as you have ordered them.” Leonessa approaches her daughter with open arms, embracing her with mother’s love, the only love she knew how to give. Now that things are well, she could go home knowing that everything is just as it should be.
“Breanne, I want to tell you that I love you. I am very proud to call you my daughter. You are a great artist, consors of the truest nature to my daughter, and a wonderful mother. I have told you all there is to know in the scrolls. Now it is Alarica’s turn to train you. If you do not understand, do not be proud, ask for assistance. I will return in time for dinner with your mother. We will see each other again, do not worry.” Leonessa hopes she turns her head in time before anybody sees the tears. If there is one thing she does not like…that was saying goodbye. It did not matter if it was forever or for a short time, goodbye was goodbye.
“Well, girls; grandmother is leaving again, though I will return soon. Melisent, remember your manners. It is always best to speak properly. Claryvorra, you are so much like your mother. I see her in you everyday. Emily . . .”
“Gamma, why you cry...?”
“Gamma cries because she always has a hard time saying goodbye.”
“Then no goodbye, say see you later.” Emily giggles as she waves her hand.
Leonessa cannot help but laugh; after all, her granddaughter did have a point. “All right, then, I will see you later.”
Alarica urges Breanne to stay at the manor, stressing that Breanne and the girls would be safer staying at the manor than if she were to return home. Breanne agrees, though discusses with Alarica the fact that her house needed to be taken care of. Alarica assigns Elmira that task, and to make sure that any personal belongings are to be packed carefully and immediately brought to the manor. Everything else would be donated. Breanne also confers with Alarica about her life’s work and her responsibilities. Two things are important to Breanne, and those are her pictures and her girls. Breanne keeps the room she had adopted as her workroom, which only needed a few items to complete the look.
Breanne, though, is worried that Emily might not have a chance to make friends. I don’t want Emily to grow up like I did. I didn’t have anyone to play with. She needs other kids to play with. Everybody in the manor is much older, so Breanne wants to enroll Emily in preschool.
Alarica disagrees, because Emily is much too young to attend school and anything that she needs, will be provided for her. Breanne learns early on that nobody can win an argument against Alarica, except Leonessa, without providing proof of your side of the argument. She spends a lot of time researching the positive and negative side of children in preschool, focusing on the positive. Breanne presents the argument to Alarica, who is impressed with the preparation Breanne has done to prove her point. Alarica does agree with Breanne that there is definitely a positive side to preschool. However, toddlers on Avalon do not attend school of any kind. It is up to the village to care for and educate the toddler as needed. The children do not begin school until six years of age. Before six years of age, it is felt that the child was not mentally or physically mature enough to attend such an institution. Therefore, Emily will not attend school, she will instead stay home. As Alarica is the sovereign and head of household, her word was final.
However, in any law or rule, there is always a loophole. Breanne reads the declaration carefully, finding something, understanding the document as was presented to her. She finds that loophole. The document states:
It does not mention anything about a daycare facility. It is nitpicking, and chances are Alarica will be angry, but Breanne is her mother and she feels Emily is prepared to attend preschool. It is only preschool, after all, what could happen?
Alarica had a meeting in Washington, D.C. with a Senator Saxon Montgomery. Senator Montgomery promised to hear Alarica, and promised to deliver her pleas to the rest of the Senate. However, the only thing that was accomplished at this meeting was the reminder that Alarica needs to be reminded that there is really only one head of household. Needless to say, she was never in a good mood when she returned from the trips. That and exhaustion tended to shorten Alarica’s patience level quite a bit. “If I hear one more time one more idiotic statement about women’s roles in the household, heads will roll!”
“Elmira, Secretary of State Crystal Wheaton will be coming tomorrow for lunch. Be sure the cook prepares something suitable. Notify the queen she is to be prepared for the meeting. I will attend to . . .”
“Mama Rica, you’re home. Guess what? I go school now, just like Meli and Vorra.” Emily is excited at seeing Alarica’s return and she does not realize she has set off the bomb in Alarica’s head, as steam comes out of her ears.
Elmira only nods as she looks for a place to duck and cover.
“Breanne, where are you?! We have something to discuss it seems!” Why is it that no one listens to me?
Breanne is ready for this, and has prepared a presentation Breanne style: a detailed picture presentation to argue the reasons for her actions. Alarica is ushered into the front room and made comfortable. Elmira is curious and decides to watch as well. First, an apology is expressed about going against orders. However, the orders stated that Emily could not attend any school without authorization. This is not a school, it is a childcare facility. Emily will not attend all day everyday; she will only be attending five days a week for half a day. Emily is excited about meeting new people and making new friends. Breanne is only interested in socializing Emily, the education will come later. What better way for Emily to learn about social behavior, etiquette, and learning about people than a school setting. Sometimes real life experience is better than schoolbooks. If Emily ever expresses a desire to stop going to preschool, Breanne will pull her out of preschool immediately. The cost of childcare per month will be $150 because Emily is part-time. Breanne has set up the payment for automatic withdrawal out of her checking account.
All of Alarica’s arguments are forgotten as Breanne makes her points. Now, there are two people in the kingdom that are able to win a verbal duel. Alarica can only agree with Breanne, stating that she is going to hold Breanne to her promise. Breanne is ordered to change the billing so the payments will be taken from the House of Avalon instead.
Alarica calls for everyone to prepare herself for supper. Melisandra, Breanne, Alarica, Elmira, and the girls enter the bathing pool. Alarica keeps Melisandra close by since the reading of the punishment document. Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer, and queens with a grudge underfoot.
Supper is eaten in silence. Ernestine still cannot believe that Breanne prepared the document, it simply could not be. Melisandra lost everything. Her mother always protected Melisandra, and now, her mother is no longer. What am I going to do now?
The sister-in-law is angry and needs to blame someone. There is only one someone that I can blame. But under close supervision and with her day scheduled as it was, it would be impossible to accomplish what she wished to accomplish.
The following day, Alarica and Breanne walk Emily to her preschool, which is not at all what Alarica had envisioned. She is feeling a little more at ease with the decision to enroll Emily into preschool. After a conversation with the director, they walk back to the manor.
Alarica has been training Breanne on etiquette, expectations, and procedures. Sovereigns have their own wants, needs, and ideas, and Alarica has hers. Breanne needs to learn them all, because eventually, it will be expected that the consors will be able to anticipate the sovereign’s thoughts and actions. There would be no difference. Alarica finds that set up situations are a much better learning tool than any book or lecture. Breanne has been learning everything and doing very well. Alarica is very proud.
Emily is to be picked up by Elmira, while Alarica, Melisandra, and Breanne attend lunch with Crystal Wheaton. Alarica does not have high expectations of this meeting. She had read Ms. Wheaton’s mind on different occasions, and is not impressed by what she heard. This meeting is necessary though, as it will give her a closer link to the American President, much closer than the various senators she has met with. The outcome of this meeting is as she expected. Lunch is had with mindless chatter about food and the weather conditions. Alarica is annoyed and wants to discuss business. However, Ms. Wheaton always steers clear of those subjects. She leaves, leaving an annoyed sovereign, bored queen, and confused consors.
During supper, Emily has her chance to tell everyone about her first day of school. She is very excited and very happy, and she cannot wait to tell gamma.
Leonessa arrives the next day, excited about the news she is to deliver. Expecting to see the baby, she does not find her. She becomes increasingly worried and wonders if Breanne’s mother has arrived sooner than expected and found another victim.
“Breanne, child, where is the baby? Where is Emily? Is she hurt? Is she ill?” Leonessa is concerned and growing irritated, since Breanne starts laughing.
Breanne gives Leonessa a note that reads:
Breanne then leads Leonessa to her workroom and shows her everything that she used to make the presentation to Alarica. Leonessa studies everything carefully.
“So, what you are saying is you enrolled Emily into a childcare facility against orders from your sovereign?” Leonessa is shocked that Breanne would do something like this. Breanne does not understand the tone and thinks that maybe she just does not see everything. Breanne takes the presentation back, to find the information that she needs to show Leonessa. Breanne gives that particular piece to Leonessa, to show her why. Leonessa sees the picture and still does not understand.
“Alarica, my sovereign, please explain to me why you let a yearling be enrolled in school, against orders at that?” Leonessa needs to find the answer, not seeing the answer in the information she was given.
“Mother, Lady Leonessa, I am her sovereign, and she is my consors. Part of her duties includes seeing to the well being of the children, whatever that may entail.” Alarica searches through the presentation pictures and information to find the one that she needs. Leonessa starts reading, looking at the pictures again, this time without anger clouding her vision.
“I am sorry. I did not intend to be so harsh. I miss the yearling running to me calling for gamma. I was shocked and hurt that she is not here. Could I come with you to pick up Emily? If I understand the pictures, she finishes her day a little after midday. Would I be able to come with you?” Breanne nods her head and embraces Leonessa, letting her know everything is just fine.
Emily is excited to see her gamma has returned. Melisent and Claryvorra return home later that day, and that is when Breanne begins getting increasingly nervous. Leonessa thinks that maybe the news that the council signed the appointment papers would have relieved the nervousness, which it does not. Alarica is at a loss as to what to do, nothing works. Melisent tells everyone it is because her grandmother is coming to dinner, and nothing will calm mama down until grandmother leaves.
Breanne is trembling uncontrollably, so it is up to Leonessa to see to it that Breanne is prepared. Alarica prepares Melisandra, giving her a lecture at the same time. The sister-in-law is kept in her quarters due to the seriousness of this dinner. Breanne tries, tries hard to explain to Leonessa that the girls will be safer in another room. Leonessa just has a hard time understanding. When words fail, a picture will speak the words that a person cannot. Leonessa finally understands. She speaks with Alarica, showing her the picture as well. Alarica understands and agrees. She calls for the girls, to explain the situation, and reluctantly, they agree
Breanne’s mother arrives for dinner, a half hour late, having always felt that it is best to be fashionably late. It is what is expected.
“Breanne, are you here?! Where are you, stupid child?”
“There is no need for vulgarity in this house. You are in the House of Avalon, and you are expected to abide by our customs and rules. I am Lady Leonessa; I will escort you to the dining table.”
Leonessa escorts Breanne’s mother to the dining room, and when they enter and the mother sees Breanne sitting, she immediately begins yelling. “Get up from the table! What are you doing sitting down before the food is served. Babies wait until the grown-ups eat. I said get up!”
Alarica, I love you. Help me, please.
Alarica acknowledges Breanne’s plea, annoyed that this woman feels it is necessary to belittle her consors. “Madam, might I remind you that you were invited to my house for dinner. We are all seated here at the table waiting for you. The invitation stated that dinner would be at six o’clock this evening. It is now 6:35 in the evening. Please do not further embarrass yourself by continuing to belittle a member of my household.”
Breanne’s mother is stunned. Breanne has a friend, who treats her as an equal. Attempting to keep some dignity intact, she does not respond any further, and sits down in the spot appointed just for her, much to her annoyance, next to Alarica. It would be easier to control the situation. Alarica rings the bell for the food to be presented to the table. Breanne is still trembling, and is finding it extremely hard to hold onto anything at the table. Leonessa leaves her hand on Breanne’s lap to comfort her. Breanne’s mother finds these events amusing. Alarica is aware of all that is happening, and pinches Breanne’s mother to get her attention. Breanne’s mother simply ignores Alarica.
“Baby, baby, I want more wine. Go get it.” If there is one thing she likes, that is wine.
Breanne starts to get up, but is held down by Leonessa. Breanne is confused. Her mother ordered wine and she is supposed to go get it. Alarica orders more wine to be brought to the table.
“I wanted Breanne to bring me my wine. After all, she is my daughter. I can do with her what I please.” If anyone said that Leonessa is angry, it would be an understatement. Leonessa is a student of battle strategies, and Breanne’s mother had just declared war. And Leonessa does not believe in surrendering.
“Madam, the wine was brought to you. Breanne is seated here, comfortably eating her meal. Is there anything else you desire, madam? Perhaps a contest, physical in nature, in the morning, would interest you?” Leonessa is not going to let this woman go without a show of arms.
“I have you know I am very fit for my age. I am in better shape than Breanne. You against me tomorrow morning sounds like a fine idea. An obstacle course, I think, like they have on TV. Then when I beat you, I will go against the woman seated next to me. When I beat her, I will take Breanne back to my house. There are a few lessons that we have not completed yet.”
Alarica sees the panicked look in Breanne’s eyes and feels that it is her time to step in, before the knife looks even more appealing. “Madam, we will see who wins the obstacle course tomorrow. Breanne and the girls will remain here at the manor. The contest will begin at nine o’clock tomorrow morning. You will go against the both of us. You do not appear on time, it means forfeit. Do you understand?”
“Oh good, I get to show the both of you just how much in shape I am.” Everything that Breanne’s mother has said up to that point is a complete contradiction to what she is doing. Five bottles of wine, the appetizer, main course, and dessert later, she is still boasting just how much in good shape she is in. This night is educational, in both patience and strategy.
“Well, I should be going home. Breanne, there is something I would like to discuss with you.”
Alarica follows behind them, ready to protect Breanne. The images that she saw in Breanne’s mother’s head leading her to believe she cannot be trusted.
“I want to talk to Breanne alone. This is a private matter.”
“In this house, privacy does not exist. Breanne is a member of this household as well, and I have a right to know her business.”
Breanne’s mother can only stick her nose up in the air. She is stuck in this house without anyone to help defend her. “Breanne, I went by your house and saw it was for sale. You will move back in immediately. I already called the real estate office. There are some papers that need to be signed. I would do it for you, seeing as you are only a baby, but they need your signature.”
Breanne uses the warrior signs that Alarica taught her to use, not wanting to risk speaking knowing how her mother would react.
“Stop that jibber jabber and foul language. I told you . . .”
“Madam, she said she will not go to the real estate office. It is not necessary to have a house that I will not be occupying. I am an artist, mother, and confidant. I can read, write, and do arithmetic by myself. I have a responsibility to fulfill.”
“I see, and she said that?”
“Yes she did, madam. There are many ways of communicating.” Lady Leonessa has returned from seeing that the girls are all right.
Lady Leonessa holds up a large piece of paper that Breanne had written in a moment of frustration.
“What is that gibberish supposed to mean? That is not even a real language.”
“Yes, madam, it is a real language. It says: I hear, I see, I learn, therefore, I understand. Nobody showed Breanne how to write this. This was done out of frustration. I could spend the entire evening showing you how intelligent Breanne truly is, but we have a match tomorrow. We will see you in the morning.” Leonessa just smiles using every force imaginable to control the outburst waiting to come out.
Breanne’s mother turns around and walks away. Leonessa puts away the paper and leaves for the yard, to work off some frustration. Alarica would have followed, but Breanne’s needs are more urgent. It takes quite a bit of effort for Breanne to calm down, relax, and go to sleep, the events of the evening finally taking their toll.
Alarica finally joins her mother, to work off some of her own frustration. The rest, Melisandra would work off later that night.
“Melisandra, it is morning, and time to rise. Get out of bed so we may prepare ourselves for the day.” Alarica waits for a count of ten then picks up a goblet, and filling it with water, is ready to throw it at the queen. Melisandra does not like this. She would rather sleep for as long as she can, savoring the visions and the feelings. But if she does not get out of bed, she would suffer a goblet thrown on her.
Melisandra and Alarica wait for everyone in the bathing chamber. Melisandra thinks that since they are alone, she might as well have a little fun. Last night was glorious and well worth the marks. However, she wants to continue the feeling of leaving love trails on her sovereign. Alarica pushes away Melisandra’s advances. Melisandra tries again, and only stops due to the threat of finding a separate sleeping chamber with an assigned guard.
Everyone shows up to bathe together and get ready for the day. As the course is set up outside, Breanne brings out a few first aid supplies, just in case. First an archery course, then a tunnel, three hurdles, tires, a rope to swing to a wall, and then a 10-yard dash. The one with the most points and fastest time wins the contest. In the minds of Leonessa and Alarica, it is a basic course that anybody would be able to accomplish. Just for fun, while nobody is there, at least so she thought, she completes the obstacle course. Breanne had never done anything like this before, but it looked too good to pass up, and is happy she completed it without breaking any bones. Little did she know that Alarica had been watching and timing her. Alarica sneaks back into the house and tells mother what she has seen. Leonessa did not think it would be possible for pride to swell to such proportions. It does however, whenever it involves Breanne.
Breanne’s mother arrives on time this morning, and is brought outside to become familiar with the obstacle course.
Alarica greets the mother outside. “Good morning to you. This is the obstacle course. Take your time to familiarize yourself with it. We will begin when you are ready.”
A half-hour later, she declares, “I’m ready. How will this be done?” The mother is anxious to get this done, wanting Breanne to return home, and will do anything to accomplish that.
“It is very simple. The three of us will complete the obstacle one at a time. The person who has the most points and the best time wins the competition. One of my staff will keep time. Are there any questions before we begin?” Alarica knows what Breanne’s mother has in mind.
“Okay, looks easy enough. Let us begin then. I will go first.” Breanne’s mother starts the obstacle course. Not one arrow hits the target, she is able to get through the tunnel, however, topples over all of the hurdles, trips through the tires, is not able to climb the rope nor swing the rope, therefore walks around the wall, and walks the 10-yard dash. Breanne runs in to fix the course while the time is recorded.
“I will go through next.” Alarica is confident she will be able to accomplish the course, blindfolded even. The arrows hit their mark, she crawls through the tunnel, clears the hurdles, runs effortlessly through the tires, climbs the rope, and easily swings over the wall, and finally, runs the 10-yard dash, all in the total time of 1:45 and 22 points. Breanne does not have much to clean this time.
“It looks like I am next.” Leonessa passes the course easily, with a time of 1:40 and 22 points. She is not even breathing hard, whereas Breanne’s mother is still attempting to catch her breath.
Waters are given all around for a brief rest before discussing the results. Alarica and Leonessa are both smiling with pride. “It seems as though we have a winner.” Breanne’s mother immediately gets up from the bench, grabs Breanne’s hand and just opens the door. “The winner of the obstacle course is Breanne, with a time of 1:38 and 22 points. Congratulations, Breanne, you should be proud.” This causes Breanne’s mother to stop in her tracks.
“You are not telling me that this stupid girl completed this course. I know she couldn’t have, because I didn’t see her do anything.”
“On the contrary, madam, she completed the course before your arrival. I witnessed the event myself.” Alarica only has one thought. Never underestimate the enemy.
“How do I know you’re not lying to me? She would do anything to get out of working. She is a very lazy child. She wasn’t here when we started, and she didn’t agree to do the course.”
“Madam, if you do not believe her, then you will believe me when I show you the recording of the events myself, madam. As far as Breanne is concerned, if you will not accept her scores, then you must accept mine.” Leonessa is at a critical breaking point: whether or not to break every bone in this woman’s body, that is.
“Well, I’m sure it is a lie. This course was rigged. It was set up so that you could keep her from me. You will not, I am her mother. I can do with her what I wish.”
Alarica has had enough, no one would dare hurt her family. “Madam, you seem to overlook the simple fact that you completed the obstacle course with a time of 5:10 and 1 point. Breanne is a part of this agreement, and I feel that her scores should be taken into consideration. However, you are correct; she did not state any desire to be a part of this contest. What was stated was that you must defeat both Lady Leonessa and myself to be able to take Breanne away from us. You stated so yourself. You have not accomplished that.”
“You rigged it. You rigged it so I would lose. The arrows are crooked, the hurdles too high, the rope does not work, and there is no way to go up the wall. I will take my daughter right now.”
Alarica calls one the guards of similar height and weight to Breanne’s mother. The guard is able to complete the course in 1:45 and 22 points. “As you can see, the course was not rigged. You will not take Breanne anywhere. She is a valued member of my household. In the end, however, the decision lies with Breanne. It is up to her to choose.” Breanne hears and understands what is being said. For Breanne, it was never a question. She struggles free from her mother, to embrace Leonessa, her mother of the heart.
“You come here immediately, baby. Baby, you come here this instant or no dinner for you. Stupid baby, I’m warning you.” The guards surround her so she can be escorted immediately away from the manor, and is never to return.
Breanne looks up into Leonessa’s eyes and signs I’m sorry and thank you.
“My child, you have nothing to apologize for, and you are welcome. You are a treasured member of this household.” Leonessa embraces Breanne with the only kind of love a mother should give, unconditional love.
The day proceeds as usual, the girls come home from school, and there are duties to see to. Melisent, however, has a matter of her own to see to. “Mama, we have to go shopping for our Halloween costumes. I want to be Hermione.” If there was a story that attracted Melisent, it was Harry Potter. She has read all the books and seen all the movies. While she thinks Harry Potter is cute, she admires Hermione for many reasons. Breanne assumes it is because of Harry Potter. So the discussion starts and an agreement is reached. Melisent will be Hermione, and Breanne will make the costumes. The last time she asked Emily, she wanted to be a bunny. That left Claryvorra. Just because Claryvorra is not her natural born daughter, that does not mean she does not need to take care of her. Melisent has been hinting that Halloween will be soon, and a decision needs to be made.
Breanne leaves her girls painting a picture in the workroom. After searching the sleeping chamber and the study, the kitchen is the next stop. Claryvorra is in the kitchen getting something to drink for the girls. Breanne does not know if Claryvorra has the same abilities as Alarica, so she uses warrior signs to convey her message. Claryvorra is familiar with the signs, but not fluent enough to interpret them, so she leads Breanne to the laboratory, where her mother has been working.
“Mother, Consors Breanne is trying to ask me something, but I cannot understand. Could you interpret for me, please?”
“Concentrate and you will understand. You already know how to read the signs.”
“I know what the signs mean, but not enough to be able to carry a conversation.”
“You need to practice, Claryvorra.”
“Please, Mother, just this once.”
“Breanne, what is it that you are asking Claryvorra?”
The girls are getting ready for Halloween. Mel wants to be Hermione, Em maybe bunny, and that leaves you. What you want to be? …Breanne thinks instead of signing.
After Alarica conveys the message, Claryvorra gives this question deep thought, never having been asked the question. She is familiar with Hermione; Melisent had given her the books to read. Therefore, what to do? Then she has an idea. “I am thinking maybe a wizard. I have seen pictures in the stores and in Melisent’s books.”
Breanne breathes a sigh of relief. There is something on her lower back, and she looks up into Alarica’s eyes. That is it. A gift of love returned. Breanne grabs Claryvorra’s hand, to take her to the workroom; there is a costume to design. Claryvorra uses the colored pencils to create her costume. Now that the costumes are designed, all that is needed was to bring them to life.
After a trip to town to acquire the necessary supplies and three days to do each costume, they were done. The girls are proud of the costumes, and Melisent wants to show off her costume, inspiring the others to do the same. All the adults enjoy the fashion show, Ernestine aside.
Breanne had always attended the girls’ parties, but never a party with adults. She is nervous, to say the least. Alarica has a last minute meeting with Lithuania in the hopes of forming an alliance somewhere else, with the eventuality of forming one with the United States. Meanwhile, Leonessa is having a discussion with Ernestine as to the proper placement of the official documents.
Queen Melisandra has been assigned the duty of supervising the preparations for the celebration. Without her sovereign watching over her, she is free to do what she pleases, that is, if she can get passed the guards, which did not seem possible. If I cannot exact my revenge on the consors then maybe I will have a little fun with her instead. After all, if it were not for her, my family would not be torn apart.
Melisandra feels it is necessary for Breanne to go to the town square to purchase a picture representing the harvest. So she asks Breanne to go to town for the needless errand. Breanne is glad for the break, no matter how silly the errand sounds. However, Breanne does offer to paint a picture instead of purchasing such a picture, but the offer is refused. Breanne leaves to go do what Melisandra has requested of her.
After leaving the gallery with a picture in hand, she is grabbed from behind, her mouth covered, and dragged into an alley to be beaten.
Alarica has returned from the meeting, feeling something resembling accomplishment. She finds Melisandra and requests an update on the preparations.
“Melisandra, where is Breanne?” Alarica knows that Breanne is not home, and that meant Melisandra had something to do with it.
“I do not know what you are speaking of, meus imperium.” Melisandra is getting nervous. How was she to know?
“Melisandra, I left you here by yourself without my direct supervision with the purpose of the two of you finding resolution. The matter is past. What was done is done; nothing will bring back anything that was lost. What happened was not Breanne’s doing, it was your mother’s. Your mother made her choice.”
“She caused everything to happen. If she had not been here, I would still have my mother.”
“Melisandra, you miss your mother because there is no one who will fight your battles for you. This is the first time you must fight your own fight without relying on someone else.” Alarica leaves immediately to speak with the guards and search for her missing minime uni.
Melisandra screams and cries as a result of the encounter. Her life and family have been turned upside down, and Breanne is to blame for it. Right...? It is, after all, Breanne’s fault that the queen no longer has her mother to protect her. Nothing makes sense anymore. The more she thinks about the past events, the angrier she becomes. Is her sovereign right?
Emily has stayed home to be with her gamma. She wonders what is making that noise. When she sees what it is, she asks, “Gamma, how come she make that noise?”
“She is doing that because she does not know what else to do. She has relied on someone else for too long. Now she must learn how to make her own decisions.”
Breanne manages to escape after the beating, sheer determination allowing her to make it back to the manor just short of opening the front door. She does not have enough strength left to continue, and collapses as she grasps the doorknob.
“Ms. Wheaton, I am happy to see you here . . . again.” At that moment, Alarica feels something. What is that? “If you would please excuse me for a moment, I will return.” She leaves for the laboratory, out of sight of the Secretary of State. She concentrates when she feels it again, and suddenly opens her eyes after realizing what it is she is feeling. She leaves the laboratory for her study, to speak with Ms. Wheaton. “Ms. Wheaton, I am sorry, but I must request that this meeting be rescheduled. There is something that I must attend to.”
“I came to this meeting based on your request, Ms. Alarica. Now you are telling me you must reschedule. Very well, I will let my assistant know of your request. Good day to you, Ms. Alarica.” Crystal Wheaton leaves the manor, leaving Alarica to accomplish her goal. That goal is to rescue Breanne. Alarica quickly gathers the necessary supplies with the intention of leaving the manor with or without security. She cannot wait, she has to leave. As she opens the door, Breanne’s body falls to the floor of the entryway.
Alarica immediately picks her up to take her to the laboratory. She does not have time to react to the situation, only act to save her consors’ life. After a careful examination, she determines Breanne has too many injuries and a head injury to heal here at the manor without the proper tools. She needs to go back to Avalon. She is able to stabilize Breanne by placing her in dormancy, which is temporary, and she needs to act quickly.
“Elmira, work with Ernestine to pack everything immediately. Use as many guards as needed.”
“Meus imperium, sister…what is wrong?”
“Breanne has been hurt. I do not have anything here that can help her. I need to go back to Avalon.”
“Yes, meus imperium, I hope she recovers soon.” Elmira immediately meets with Ernestine to pack everything for the move back to Avalon. Ernestine is very happy to be moving back home. Elmira does not tell her the move back is due to Breanne’s injuries.
“Queen Melisandra, coordinate with your sister to be sure all necessities are coming back with us back to Avalon.”
“We are moving, sire?” Melisandra is very happy to hear the news, and does not bother to ask the reason why. Alarica has another duty to attend to, and that is to explain to the children the sudden change of plans.
Leonessa offers to speak to the children about the move to Avalon. Alarica feels it is her duty, therefore will do so, even though the circumstances are unpleasant. Alarica gathers the children and explains the events as thoroughly as she can. Melisent is angry, angry that her grandmother would do such a thing. Emily only wants to go to her mama. Alarica promises that they can all see Breanne later, before the move back to Avalon. That left Claryvorra in charge of being sure all of them packed what was needed.
Leonessa packs the supplies in the workroom. Alarica packs the laboratory quickly, to oversee how the others are tending to the order. Everything and everyone is now packed and ready to move. Alarica let the girls see Breanne before the move. Leonessa will lead, and Alarica will follow.
Breanne wakes up slowly, confused about the sights and sounds. Where am I? This isn’t the house. I don’t hear traffic, but I hear people marching. Where am I? The last thing she remembers is the need to go home. Now, she was here, wherever this place is. Too weak to do anything, she can only lay there and wonder.
Leonessa comes into the room to check on Breanne. “Breanne, child, are you awake?” Breanne attempts to say something anything, but finds she cannot. “Do not say anything, child. Your voice box was badly damaged and will take quite some time to heal properly. It is good to see you well.” Leonessa is in tears as she watches Breanne, knowing she is going to be all right. Both Alarica and Leonessa worked feverishly to help Breanne to heal. It is good to see their efforts have succeeded in helping Breanne to recover.
Leonessa gives Breanne a pad and pencil to express her thoughts. Breanne asks question after question to Leonessa, who explains everything to Breanne as simply as she can. Breanne falls asleep once again. Leonessa is happy beyond words that her special daughter is going to be alright.
Leonessa meets with Alarica to tell her the good news. Alarica has been very worried due to the amount of time Breanne has been in a healing sleep. Her duties as sovereign, however, have kept her busy enough to focus her mind on other things. Alarica runs to Breanne’s recovery room. There it was, the proof that Breanne was alright. The writing is rough and just barely readable, but it proved that Breanne would be coming back. The sovereign would have her consors.
It takes three months for Breanne to heal completely, and another three months before she gets her strength back. All the physical scars are gone; all that is left are the emotional ones. Breanne often wakes up during the night, not able to go back to sleep, and wanders the palace. She sees her paintings hanging on the walls, framed perfectly for all to see. It is on one of these excursions that she hears a strange noise, and leaves the palace to see who is there. Leonessa told her, her mother would not be able to follow them to Avalon. She and the children are safe here. So what can it be?
Using a lantern, she walks in the direction of the strange noise, and that is when Breanne sees her. About as tall as Alarica, some parts have feathers while others are skin. The half bird half-human, whatever it is, needs help and that is all Breanne needs to knows. She approaches slowly and carefully, humming a lullaby to sooth this strange beast. Breanne requests help from a couple of the guards, not wanting to add to the injuries, to bring her into a vacant room. There is a piece of something in its wing, and she remembers it is best to leave the object in, rather than pull it out. She secures it, leaving it alone until she can explain to Alarica what she needs help with. Breanne does not want to leave it in too long though, as she is sure it is causing pain, even if the piece does not look too big, so decides to pull it out after all. Apologizing before attempting the pull, and thinking of a prayer, she pulls it out of its wing. The beast does not make a sound, only seems to relax a bit.
Breanne stitches the wound closed then fills a bucket with water, and with whatever material she can find, she bathes the beast.
The next morning, Alarica expected to find Breanne in her bed, but she is not there. So where can she be? It is a large palace, and while it did take Breanne quite some time to learn it, she did eventually learn the layout. Better than Alarica, actually. So the possibility of Breanne being lost is unlikely, unless she ventured outside the palace. Alarica is about to call for her guards when she sees Breanne walk down the hall, covered in what looks like mud and blood?
Alarica does not speak, only picks up Breanne to bring her to her the laboratory. Alarica strips off Breanne’s clothes to examine her for any wounds. Breanne does not know what to say, that is, until Leonessa comes into the room.
“Well, good morning to you all. Did something happen last night? I spoke with the captain of the guards and she stated that two of her guards had assisted a member of the palace with a strange beast into the palace. Does either one of you know anything about this?”
‘Can I have something to wear, please? Alarica tore my dress off.’ Breanne is beginning to shiver, making it a little difficult to sign her request.
“Of course you may. Alarica sometimes gets over excited and does things without explanation.” Leonessa gives Breanne a gown to wear to avoid embarrassment, and that is when she sees the bloodied gown from the night before. “This blood is not yours. Whose blood is this?”
‘I took a walk last night. I heard something, so I left to see what it was. It’s a half bird half man thing. I took out the stick, and it bled lots. I was going to wash up, but she grabbed me before I could,’ Breanne signs.
“Half human half bird . . . could it be? Breanne, there is a legend that says, there is a world far above ours, and on that world are people who are able to fly like a bird. You said you pulled out a stick. Could you show this beast to me, please?” Leonessa is intrigued as Breanne tells her story.
Alarica does not miss the fact Breanne is wandering the palace at night, a time when Breanne should be sleeping.
Leonessa approaches the beast, and without warning, the beast fiercely grabs Leonessa’s hand. Breanne starts humming again, petting the beast. It starts to relax, and therefore, lets go. Leonessa starts humming a lullaby of her own as she checks the wound. Leonessa smiles with pride, recognizing the stitching. “You did very well, Breanne. The stitches are small and even. You did good work. I will send Alarica back here with something that will help prevent infection. I have to speak with the captain of the guards, to let her know of our unexpected guest.”
Alarica has heard and understands everything her mother tells her. She approaches slowly, humming a lullaby as well, and wraps gauze around the wing to give it time to heal.
Back in the study now, Alarica confronts Breanne about the conversation that she has had just had with Leonessa. “Breanne, what were you doing wandering the palace at night?”
Breanne feels like a kid whose hand has been caught in the cookie jar. Her right foot circling the floor, while holding her hands at her back, along with a shrug, is her only response.
“Breanne, do you need a sleeping potion to help you sleep?” Breanne does not react, only looks at Alarica as she asks the questions.
“Okay, Breanne, after bathing tonight, you will come with me to the laboratory. I need to see what is bothering you. I need to see your soul. Your physical injuries have healed, leaving your soul to be healed. I care about you, minime uni. You are more than just my consors. If it were up to me, I would leave Melisandra and make you my wife. But I cannot. It is not up to me. I expect your friend to sleep through the day. I need you to ride to the Western provinces to speak with the satrap. Let her know that her presence is mandatory for the soiree to be held to announce your appointment. The satrap should not have any problems interpreting the warrior signs, if she does, come back immediately to let me know. Two guards will follow, they know the way. I will check in with the beast on occasion. Prepare yourself for departure. I expect you to leave within the hour.” Breanne just stands there, looking at Alarica. Alarica is confused. Did I forget something?
“The children are fine. The caretaker, Lady Leonessa, and I all take part in their education.” Breanne embraces Alarica with all that she has. Using a finger gesture, she asks Alarica to bend over, and places a kiss on her cheek. Alarica smiles as a result.
Alarica, sing something, anything, before it hurts you. Breanne does not want her best friend to die. Singing worked for her, why should it not for somebody else.
Alarica sings the lullaby that she sang the last time she tended to its wounds. The beast does not recognize the tunes and begins approaching Alarica. Breanne steps in and hums the lullaby that she has all along. While the beast seems to sooth, it does not seem to stop it. Breanne moves in front of the beast, and speaks out of desperation, “Thop itch, she my friend. She help fix your wing.” The beast stops, puzzled about what it hears. The beast takes one of Breanne’s hands and moves it to its wing, over the band-aid. “I thitched itch, she help choo make itch betcher.”
It stands there for quite a while, not doing anything. After a long while, it speaks. “You say stitch my wing and she make it better, how.”
Breanne feels relieved that there is some form of communication. “She putch herbth on itch.”
“I am Aegle, who are you, little dove?” Though the speech is slow, they are at least communicating.
“I am Breanne. Thith itch Thovereign Thyan Alarica of Avalon.”
“I am sorry. I do not harm. I came to find little dove. How long before heal?”
“Well, couple dayth maybe.”
“I do not know.”
Breanne looks to Alarica for help. Alarica resists however, believing that if someone starts something, they must finish it. Breanne starts to use the warrior signs, thinking it will help Aegle to understand.
Aegle put her hand on Breanne’s. “I hear words. But not know how long.”
“A couple dayth meanth maybe choo dayth…”
“Maybe two days to heal. Little dove, please cut binding. Wing stiff from closing, please cut binding.” Breanne hears the plea, and starts to look around for something to cut the binding off with, when she feels something put into her hand. Aegle has given Breanne her own dagger to cut the bindings, though it causes Alarica to prepare herself for a fight. Breanne cuts the binding and watches as the material falls to the floor. Checking the wound to be sure it is all right, she gently massages the wing then slowly opens it just enough to earn a satisfied groan.
“How abow a bath...?” Breanne suggests thinking a bath will help Aegle to feel better. The wound is still healing and can not get wet as a result. A sponge bath would have to do for now.
“A bath, yes…that would be nice, thank you, little dove.” Aegle walks back to the room she previously occupied and waits for her little dove’s return with the promised bath.
“Breanne, I appreciate your heart and your dedication. However, your next duty to attend to is to travel to the east with the same message that you delivered to the Western Satrap. Patience…you will need patience for the Eastern Satrap. I will send two guards with you. They know the way. I will see to Aegle’s well being. You must depart immediately. Travel safely, my minime uni.” Breanne leaves to prepare herself for departure.
Alarica gathers the necessary supplies for a bath, interested herself in getting to know this new creature Breanne found. She starts to bathe Aegle, when her wrist is grabbed suddenly. “Aegle, it is Alarica. It will be all right. I needed to send Breanne away. I am here instead.”
“You send little dove away without help. Dove cannot do anything if cannot speak. I must see to her.”
Alarica gently pushes Aegle back on the bed. “There are many forms of communication. I would not send her anywhere without proper protection. You must lie still.” Aegle lies back on the bed and seems to go to sleep.
Leonessa enters the room in search of Alarica, and Aegle hears an unfamiliar person enter the room. Leonessa bends over to check the wound and her wrist is grabbed instead. “It is all right, strange one. I am Leonessa. Please let go of me.” Aegle eases the hold, but does not let go.
“Aegle, please let go of my mother. She came to see you.”
Aegle immediately lets go, only to sit up right with eyes gazing at the both of them.
“Little dove come back?”
“No, she has not. I do not expect for her to return until the last meal is served.” Alarica is both relieved and nervous.
“Please send her when she come back.” Aegle lies back down, to sleep peacefully.
Alarica and Leonessa leave the room, closing the drape behind them. Alarica and Leonessa exchange information as they head for the bathing chamber.
Queen Melisandra, Elmira, and the rest of the family join them soon after, everyone telling a story of their own. Breanne returns from the eastern territory, sooner than Alarica thought, and would like to know how she is able to return so quickly. Breanne takes a quick peek into her patient’s room, only to see Aegle sleeping. She then joins the family in the bathing chamber.
“How is it that you were able to return so quickly?” It is an answer that Alarica needs to know.
I just talked to her, that’s all. Breanne shrugs her shoulders, not knowing how else to answer the question.
Aegle suddenly appears at the entryway to the bathing chamber. The girls do not fear Aegle, however, Queen Melisandra screams for the guards. Breanne walks out of the bathing pool, leads Aegle into the chamber and closes the drapes. No guard will enter as long as the draperies are closed.
“I worry you be safe. Your leader say you would be well.”
Breanne nods her head, and embraces her gently beneath the wings. Breanne reenters the pool to finish bathing.
Melisandra continues to scream. “Are you not going to do anything about that beast? Do not just stand there; get rid of that beast…immediately!”
Breanne rinses off quickly then leaves the bathing chamber to escort Aegle back to her room. After she sees to Aegle’s comfort, Breanne directly goes to the study, to speak with Alarica about the events that led to her early return.
Alarica has never been so amused to receive a report. She should have known only her consors would think of something so simple, and have it work. Breanne prepared a presentation, to save her the trip back and forth, and to provide written documentation.
After seeing to her duties, Breanne has a little time before the last meal is called. She wants to see if Aegle is well and resting comfortably. She checks the wound, and feels that the wound is well healed, but the mother side of her says to be extra careful.
“You check the wound often. That is good. It means you are a concerned land dweller. Do you think, though, you remove the stitches now before my people search for me? I am worried my people would not understand.” Breanne thinks about that and realizes it would be for the better, but she cannot help but wonder that it would be too soon. Expressing her concerns, Breanne compromises with Aegle to teach Breanne how to call upon her people to give them a message. Agreeing that it would be a good idea, Aegle teaches Breanne how to call upon the Aireon people. They are always above, circling, watching, and observing the land dwellers. Aegle writes a note, telling her people she will return in three suns, after healing from the inflicted injury. Always curious, Breanne tries to read the note but cannot, since Aegle has written the note in the language of the birds.
Breanne is on her way outside to find a clearing when Alarica stops her. “Breanne, it will be time for the last meal. Are you not hungry?”
I’m fine. I’ll just be a minute. Breanne does as she has been instructed, but no one has come down, and thinks she has failed. She is about to ask Aegle for assistance when Aegle’s people surround her. Alarica has been watching Breanne in fascination, and finds herself surrounded as well. Breanne holds out the note Aegle has written. One of the flock members reads the note and nods its head, but no one moves. Breanne starts humming the lullaby that she hums to Aegle. Aegle hears and answers Breanne, wondering why Breanne has summoned her. Once Aegle arrives by Breanne’s side, she immediately pulls Alarica out of reach, placing her closer to the palace entrance. Communicating with her people, they bow and leave immediately.
Aegle reaches for Breanne’s and Alarica’s hands, to go back to the palace to have the last meal together. “Do I have permission to eat with you?” Aegle is feeling stronger under Breanne’s care, and wants to know more about the land dwellers. Permission granted everyone sits at the table.
Melisandra and Ernestine are disturbed by Aegle’s presence. Leonessa is happy to see the guest feeling well enough to have a full meal. The girls are just fascinated at seeing such a being. The meal is completed in silence, except for the occasional giggle from Emily.
Aegle asks to speak with Alarica, thinking that it is time for the Aireon people and the land dwellers to come together. “Leader, I think it time for the Aireon people and land dwellers to form a bond. I have seen much, heard many stories, and think we would benefit from this bond.” Aegle feels a need to stretch her wings, and the expanse of the study allows her to do so, feeling pleasure as she spreads her wings to their full extent. Alarica is stunned to see such a thing.
Upon closing her wings, “Do you say yes?”
“Yes. I am sorry. Yes, I agree we could form a treaty. Avalon has been at peace for many centuries. We have lived under the Cloak of Secrecy for many centuries and I feel that it is time to reach out our hand. Grab a hold of that hand, any hand that is reaching for assistance or for peace. I would be very happy to discuss a treaty with you.”
“I will discuss with little dove.”
“All right, would you like me to remove the stitches?”
“Little dove will remove when it is time. I will speak with you later. Be patient with little dove. She still has visions of a hand that hurt her. This vision troubles her. I cannot take the vision. I can only see.” Aegle leaves to go back to her room, leaving Alarica behind in the study thinking.
Breanne lies awake for a while before feeling the need to leave the sleeping cushions. She begins to rise, but is pushed gently back down again onto the sleeping cushions. What is happening? I thought I was safe. That smell, I know that smell. She stops struggling, to let the person, or thing, do what it needs to do. Once the person or thing completes the spell, Breanne falls asleep, not knowing that her dream will have a different ending.
Breanne wakes up the next day much later than usual, nearly midday. After preparing herself for the day, she checks on Aegle, to see how she is progressing. Aegle is sitting on her bed, waiting for Breanne to arrive.
“Your leader say you sleep well now. I wait for you to walk with me.”
“I’m going choo remove da thitches.” Breanne pulls a small pair of scissors to cut the stitches with from her pocket. After doing so, she gives Aegle a sponge bath to prepare her new friend for departure. “I dink you ready choo go now. I hope you make itch home. Come back thoon choo thay hi.” Breanne starts to cry, thinking she will not see Aegle again. Aegle, however, has other plans. Now that the stitches are removed, she can repay the kindness given to her by someone who understands what it means to be hurt and bound.
Thank you for reading my story. More of the Triumvirate saga will be posted soon so stay tuned.
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