The Battle

"The idiot wants Alyssa!" Marcus exclaimed when he heard it.

Arowyn sat down and sighed. "It's too easy. It could just as easily be me. Is that why you hated his riddles?"  She glanced at her mother, who was gently caressing a sleepy Jackson.

"Yes, they are too easy. I used to laugh at them, but now, I despise them. He is telling us what he wants. He must want us to figure out why."  She glanced at her half-brother, Reverend Martell. "Jacob?"

"Alyssa was an orphan, placed at our doorstep one night. We could not turn her away. But we must figure out who she belonged to and why. It is not the riddle itself, but a line in the riddle."

"He hates the Council." one member volunteered.

"He could hav' been involved in burnin' down Virden Palace." Landon remarked.

"Had the king known of this, he would have hidden his own children." 

"Was Trey an only child?" Derek Thane spoke up. He glanced around. "What? It's possible he wasn't."

Duke Korman also spoke at that moment. "It is possible. There was a time, nearly nineteen years ago, when the queen grew ill. It was benign, but she was bedridden for over a year.

"The queen confided to my wife that she was pregnant, as well as sick. That is the main reason she was bedridden. None knew of the child, because the Norwans had sent a threat to us. The very first serious one. The queen entrusted a nursemaid with the child, and she was left at the doorstep of a home far from the castle."

"So, I have a younger sister." Trey stood solemnly. It wasn't a question. "Does she know?" Duke Korman shook his head. "Did my father even know?" again, the Duke shook his head.

"He intends to wipe us out." Trey said angrily. "He didn't succeed, though, and we will give him something to remember us while he rots in my cells." He looked to Lady Cluere. "Prepare for battle."

"At once, your highness."

The End

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