Jon: A surprising statement

After we left Katrina to find her way to Eliza’s servant, Moira, the queen led me to a servant’s quarters not far from our previous location.

“This will have to do for now,” the queen said as she entered the room. “I’ll see what I can do about arranging proper quarters. In any case, I will need to keep you and Katrina away from Rebecca Mays.”

“These are just fine, ma’am,” I replied, taking in the modest but well furnished room. I bit my lower lip, wanting to say something but choosing to hold my tongue, perhaps realizing for the first time who I was addressing.

“You must have many questions.” The queen indicated a chair, and I sat.

“Yes, I do, ma’am.” I took a deep breath. “I’m a little concerned about Katrina. Should we have left her like that?”

“Not the best decision I have ever made,” the queen admitted, pulling a nearby chair over and sitting down, “but I believe she will be fine. To tell you the truth, I had not planned on her presence — only yours.”

“So, you knew I was coming?” I leaned forward in the chair.

“I did not know exactly when, but yes, I did know. Your companions were a little of a surprise. Sir Frances obviously did not know about that particular news. I am quite sure he would have indicated as much in his most recent correspondence.”

I shook my head, breathing deeply. I thought for a moment and decided to plunge forward, asking a more pointed question. “Were you responsible for my promotion?”

“No, not directly, but I did approve. Your presence in Handrin was no accident, though.”

“What is my mission?” I asked.

“You will accomplish much while here in Handrin,” she replied. “Starting small, though, will be best.”

Her cryptic reply made me wonder. There was something she wasn’t telling me. However, she had said more than I thought anyone in Handrin — much less the queen herself — would have said.

“I know I’m adopted,” I said after several seconds of silence. The queen listened without interruption. “I think of the Hanways as my family, and they are. Obviously, there’s a lot about them that I don’t know. But, I have another family that I know next to nothing about.”

I paused and then continued, “I don’t even know why I’m telling you all of this.”
“This is good, Jon,” the queen said. “Your journey in Handrin is not just about Ibera or national relations. It’s about you.”

“About me personally?”

The queen made a gesture with her hand, shrugging her shoulders slightly. “What do you know of your family … your birth family?”

“Not much. I believe I was born in Handrin. When I was young, we had to flee to Ibera. It was during the final days of the revolution. I’m guessing my parents were Iberan sympathizers. They did not complete the journey. I did with the help of the Hanways.”

After a short pause, I continued, “I have a sister who did not make the trip. She still lives in Handrin, but I’ve never met her.”

Of all the surprising statements the queen had made recently, her next was the most surprising of all. “I know of whom you speak. I would be happy to introduce you.”

The End

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