The heavy wooden doors behind the thrown swings open as if knowing my Dad and I had just finished talking. Through it steps Queen Helena. Dad bows as I bob a curtsey. But unlike last time there are no council members following her nor does she stop to sit upon her throne. Instead she proceeds down the steps to where we stand.
She stops to stand before us. “Mike and Morgan,“ she states as she glances from Dad to I and then back to Dad. “It is a shame you have not graced us with your presence more often Mike of Ollerond.”
“Yes, well,” Dad doesn’t seem to know quite how to respond.
“I understand, but do you understand why you should have tried?” Queen Helena glances quickly at me before returning her gaze to my father.
“I know My Lady,” Dad mumbles as he hangs his head.
But, I almost say wanting to explain how it’s not his fault. How my mother was part of it. Yet I can’t for the Queen is speaking once more, her arm now reaching up so that her hand rests upon my father’s shoulder.
“I know it is not all your fault, nor should I scold. The past is past and we must forge ahead to our future. And in that we stand beside you and Morgan.” Dad raises his head enough to look at the Queen. She nods to him. “Yes Mike the council has decided it is time for war.”
“Thank you my lady,” he states but she has already turned to me.
Up close I realize we stand nearly eye to eye, the Queen and I. I also realize that she can’t be much older than I am and yet, yet, she has this wisdom and power about her. I wonder if I will ever be able to be like that. Soft spoken and yet heard. I feel her hand upon my shoulder and I dare to look at her.
“Do not worry Morgan,” she tells me. “We will not let Cecil fail you.” I can not tell if she is using the royal we or if she means the rest of the council. “All will come out well in the end.”
Her hand fell from my shoulder as she turned once again to my Dad. “Your daughter has excelled in the Trials as no other has, or perhaps will for a very long time. I have no doubt that, had she grown up here, we would have sent her through them sooner.”
Helena turns and leaves effectively dismissing us. Still we stand there until the doors closes behind her. heaving a sigh Dad puts his arm around me.
“Well kiddo, what do you say we go back to your Uncles and get some sleep?”
“Yeah,” I stifle a yawn, “that sounds like a good idea.”
"Morgan." My dad gently shakes me awake. "We're back at Kain's."
"Huh?" I must have fallen asleep on the trip back. I don't even remember leaving the hall. Bleary eyed I make my way into the house after Dad.
“How’d it go?” Uncle Kain asks from the kitchen table. He smiles at us.
“Good,” Dad responds.
“Hungry?” He looks at me but then grins as Dad replies.
Kain gets up and starts puttering around the kitchen. “What would you like Morgan?” he asks me.
“Um,” I don’t know really. I’m tottering on the edge of sleep but food sounds good. I take off my jacket and set it on the chair. Some one behind me gasps; Aunt Latina.
“Out!” she states as I turn to face her. Her arm is outstretched, pointing to the door.
“But,” both Dad and Uncle Kain protest, she cuts them off.
“I will not have a defiler of the laws reside in this house relative or no.”
I can feel tears welling up inside. I do not know what I did wrong, but I am not welcome here. I turn and leave before I begin to cry. I run, I fly, I don’t know which. The cool night air flows around me. Maybe I should return to that old temple and live inside it. At least I know I can survive in the wilderness. But I know I can’t I have to save Ash. I can’t ask them to start a war and then just vanish.
I stop. I have no idea where I am. There is a house in front of me. Hesitantly I step towards it drawn by the presence of someone I know. The door opens and a redhead turns from sassing her mother.
“Morgan!” the bag of garbage falls from Katha’s hand. “Oh my god, what’s wrong?”
Her cries have brought her mother over and they usher me inside. I am wrapped in a blanket and led to a couch.
“Morgan what’s wrong?” Katha asks as her mother hands me some tea.
I turn to look at her and sob, “My father’s family hates me!”