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The boy slept soundly upon a cot at the other side of the room. She watched him dream while nibbling a breakfast of stale black bread. Despite how he entered the world, she loved him wholeheartedly. It was why she was determined to send him away. If Guy was accepted by the Order, he would have a better life and something he would never have otherwise, a father. The role his father played in the Treachery had seen them torn apart. This was perhaps her last and best opportunity to thrust them back together. After all, as a rule the Order did not admit children.

Two knocks at the door grabbed her attention and a middle-aged woman entered holding a lidded jar. “Good morning to you, Éliane,” she said in a hushed tone.

“Good morning, Enide.”

“How does the new day find you?”

“Anxious.”

Enide entered. “You haven't slept. No matter. I have just what you need. My best ale yet.” She took two cups from a shelf beside the table, unstopped the jar, and poured two brimming servings. “Shall I pour one for the boy?”

“No, no, I'm going to let him sleep, he has a tough day ahead of him.”

“So, you’re going through with it. Are you sure you want your boy raised a knight, with everything those high-born asses do.”

“The knighthood of the Order is different.”

“Different sure, but good?”

“Good I cannot say, but it is new. Something can be said for that.”

“As Bernard would say.”

“I see you've been keeping up with you're reading.”

“Aye, another reason I have to hope you change your mind.”

“I won’t quit your reading lessons on his account. If it is important to you to read, it is important to me.”

“Forgive me if I’m doubtful. I've known more than one lady to break her word to me.”

“Look around you, Enide. Does this look like the home of a lady? I haven’t been a lady in seven years.”

“My apologies, I didn’t mean to reopen that wound.”

13

The End

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