Part 74

Whispers in the Night…

 

Alleia was initially disturbed from her slumber by the unannounced arrival of a sinister looking Priest, clad in robes, pungent with the stench of fresh blood, he had in his arms such a tiny wriggling babe, clad in a stained swaddling blanket, grizzling hungry. The Priest inexperienced with babies handed the child over with gruff instructions that she was required to nurse the girl until a wet nurse could be sought in the morning. With that he left abruptly, without waiting for any response from Alleia.

Kane and their own son were sound asleep, any earlier conflict between the couple had been resolved through mutual carnal desires, though Alleia hated his secrets and lies, she realised that her silence and obedience to Kane were keeping her alive. He appealed to her, not to ask any questions he could not answer. He begged her not to cause a scene, to remain quiet, to remain loyal. A dedicated mother, a devoted partner, whether this was an act or truth, the lines were blurred, yet she valued her life and vowed to protect her son at any cost.  Even if certain suggestions caused her to feel ill at ease.

Without choice and yet also without hesitation, Alleia took the precious tiny girl to her breast and made sure she fed. Then washed and dressed the babe in fresh warm clothes, over sized but cosy. By then the girl had drifted into a peaceful slumber, however, the magical qualities of newborn were obvious and Alleia could easily guess the true nature of the girl. She burped bubbles which popped into glittery butterflies, her eyes shone with an inner age, tiny flecks of light danced around her brow and Alleia could swear she heard gentle music, like the soft tinkling of unseen bells… The magical butterflies found her own son and danced around his cot, they buzzed and glowed, sensing an unseen connection between the two babies.

***

The second time Alleia was disturbed that night was when, not one or two, but three coaches arrived in the early hours, clattering along the cobblestones in the courtyard. Shortly afterwards Kane was summoned away by Barbarians, it was at that point she realised that a pair of guards had also been assigned to stand on duty at their quarters. She speculated that these were to guard the babe, yet she could not voice her concerns. Instead Alleia was left watching over the children, aware of the presence at the door and anxious with fear.

Kane was gone for several hours, it was near dawn when he returned, clad in a smart suit, his hair slicked back and tied in a neat ponytail. The clothes looked new or borrowed ill-fitting to his lanky frame, yet Alleia found his image appealing and smiles despite her tiredness. He approached her and drew her to her feet by her arms… “Remember I asked you to at least try to trust me, even if I’m unable to explain my actions?” Alleia nodded, holding his gaze, the door behind them was still open, his words were hushed, spoken softly for her ears alone. A maid entered the room following Kane, in her arms, a beautiful cream dress. “I’m asking you to trust me now, we’re leaving here, leaving the capital, returning to the clans, to our home.” He spoke swiftly, his words filled her with hope and still she feared the consequences what price that such a valuable promise might hold. The dress was a clue. “Fendor wants you dead, he thinks you have served your purpose and outlived your usefulness.” She saw the truth in his eyes at last. “I lied to him, I told him you were pregnant again to save you from execution. He’s paranoid, neurotic, he believes there could be more magic entwined. The lie may have pulled you from the axe-man’s grasp, yet it binds you to me.” He drew a deep breath then. “I have been given the Clan Nations to rule, in his name, I may take my leave upon the morrow, with my family. With my wife. Should you accept me?”

“Why do I get the feeling this appears too good to be true?” Alleia whispered.

“Ooh, there is more, there always is with Fendor and his insane schemes, but I can not tell you that until we are safe at home.”

“More secrets Kane? More lies?”

“I’m sorry.”

“No you’re not, I think you enjoy this game.” Alleia shrugged out of his grasp and approached the maid, taking the dress from her arms and holding it up against her body. It was beautiful and smelt vaguely of fresh jasmine.

“…But I accept…”

 

Anne Harrison 11.05.17

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