The Seige (Lady Cluere returns).

"Dear Jacob,

I have both seen and been informed of the Norwans' coming, in Alvilaid and in Dehlyn. They have already began inforcing new customs in Kiros, where I took my younger daughters for a time.

I will be returning secretly, and I have called the Council to meet as soon as possible. We will use the Old Streets, as we have planned. But, dearest one, I have heard that the successor of King James is still living.

Yes, word has finally reached my ear of Trey, and how Thomas helped hide him. I am proud of you, my brother. I know your father would have been proud of both of us. But, as I have said, I have yet to repay you, as well as the debt to my stepfather for taking me in as a child after Mother passed away. I

t is in this, by coming and taking charge, that I will repay you. We will help you together, my husband and I.

I have also heard from both Landon and Kate. Landon has told me of how Virden Palace

was burned, and how bad the situation is in Alvilaid. It is worse then we thought, Jacob. Kate has told me of our new government, and of Arowyn and Joshua. I am glad you have found my son, and I thank you for the care you have given my daughter. You have said you would keep her as long I need. When this is over, I will reclaim my children.

You have said that there is always good news in dangerous times, my brother, and there is: I am pregnant, with the fist child of Jonathon and myself. You must tell Arowyn and Joshua this, tell them that I am coming and that I send my love to them both, as well as you, your wife and children.

Live free or let us die,

Annastasia, First Lady of the noble Cluere family.


"She is having a child?" Josh asked in disbelief as he looked up from the letter. He passed it to Arowyn, taking a sip of water from a small glass. She smiled as she finished it, then looked at Elysia with a concerned face.

"You knew about this? El, did you know?"

"Did I know what?" Elysia sat next to Arowyn, reading the letter over Arowyn's shoulder. Her eyes grew round as she looked at the last sentace, staring at her father in silent awe. She shook her head fiercely.

"It can't be right." she said, her surprise changing rapidly into confusion. Arowyn, Josh, Marcus, Kate and Elysia looked at Reverend Jacob Martell in surprise.

Arowyn, who was still fuming about her fight with Trey the night before, glared at her guardian. He was also, it seemed her mother's half-brother.

"My father was a nobleman, but his birthright was taken from him under certain. . . . circumstances. Annanais Gascon was not always a wise man, and he took into his hosue a mistress who left him only three months later. I do not know why, I was not told. She married a man after she had her child, and that man was my father.

"They had one child, myself, three years later. My mother died during childbirth, and my father was left to raise us by myself. I had no mother, and neither did Anna.  Annanais was not capable of raising a child, so he allowed my father to raise her.  

"My father abused his rights as a nobleman for a long time after, and he was stripped from his title just before I came of age. But, there is good news, even in dangerous times. He heard soon after of God, and how he was forgiven of his wrongs. He became a servant of God, dying a peaceful man six years later.

"I wandered for a time, but decided to become a Reverend when I settled down. My half-sister married a young man, whom you know now as Lord Bennett. They had four children together, but this Lord was not the right man for her. They had the marriage annulled under mutual grounds, three years after the council was formed." The Reverend finished with ease, but looked away as he finished.

"I am sorry." he added softly to Arowyn.

The silence in the room was binding. It was almost as if the rest of the world had been cast out at that moment, that there was something missing.  There was nothing more for the Reverend to say, though.

The knock that came to the door at that moment, loud as it was, was almost unheard. 

"Father." Kate said abrupty as she opened the door.

"Kathryn." he replied, just as abrupty. "Is everyone ready? She is here, and we cannot wait if we want to have everyone there on time."

The Reverend sighed and motioned for the three of them to get up. "We must not keep your aunt waiting." he murmured to Kate as he stepped out

"Is something the matter?" Kate wondered aloud as her sister passed. Elysia shrugged. Kate had probably known, or figured it out somehow. Now that Elysia thought about it, Arowyn looked a lot like Kate.

She, Arowyn and Josh ran downstairs after her father. Kate followed closely behind, wondering why everyone seemed less like themselves lately.      

The End

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