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[Tomas] found his daughter sitting on the floor of the hall, a blank expression on her face and her fingers clenching Torvald's fur on the back of his neck. She didn't react to his leaving the lord's office, but mearly stared straight ahead.

"Come with me, Aerin," he said, with unaccustomed gentleness, drawing her to her feet. "We'll talk in the guardroom. I know this is a heavy blow to you. But ... well. Come with me, and we'll see what we can do."

Aerin didn't resist her father's help getting her to her feet. She silently allowed him to lead her to the guardroom. She felt numb. As if the world had grown very cold.

She they arrived at the guardroom she let her father speak first. In truth she didn't know what to say.

"I know how important the Septa is to you," said Tomas Prinksett. "And I know how important Niko has been to you, and your training. But Aerin, I can also see why Lord Draupaud must act as he does. But ... " He sighed. "The Steward will be travelling with them to help them establish themselves in this village. Would you like to go too, to stay with them for a little while?"

"What's the Septa going to do?" she asked. "If the Septa doesn't take the vows, is she to go with them?" Aerin asked her father.

"Yes," said her father. "But ... Aerin, you know her better than I. After what has happened, do you think she will take the vows? To protect Ranulf?"

Aerin leaned against the wall dejectedly, and slumped to the floor.

"She'll have to, won't she?" she said numbly. "The lord won't let her not, otherwise they will question her and wonder."

She looked up at her father. "Did she really confess?" she asked.

"Yes," said her father. "I believe she did it to protect the boy. But he told the truth in the end. See it as mercy of a kind, Aerin. He could have had her executed ... for the false confession, if not for the murder."

"No, I won't see it as a kindness!" Aerin half cried. She pushed herself up to her feet, glaring at her father. "He KNEW! He KNEW Ranulf had done it!!!" she half yelled. "And he only cares what others will think! Not what the gods will!"

Page last modified on June 12, 2006, at 05:10 PM