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The door was opened by the elderly woman who was acting as Lord Hardy's nurse. As she stepped aside, Kenrith heard Sewell speaking.

"I will not be a party to it, my Lady."

Kenrith considered the older woman's face, but judged that she did not wish to leave the room immediately so did not suggest she leave before he closed the door quietly and stood just beyond the threshold inside the room. As he had knocked, and the door had been answered, he saw no fault in waiting to see if Lady Celia would respond or Maester Sewell would continue.

Lady Celia was turned towards him - as Kenrith came in, she frowned. Maester Sewell stood behind her. His face was impassive, but something in the set of his shoulders suggested a great weariness.

"It seems I have entered a discussion at a rather inopportune moment. Please, continue," Kenrith said as he crossed the room to where he could see his father, and was further from the half-deaf nurse.

"Is this a matter of my father's health... or perhaps of that of his brother?" Kenrith asked.

Lady Celia looked at Sewell before replying. "It's your father. Maester Sewell thinks he should be made to rest, but I want him roused. The last time ... " She stopped abrupptly, and moved to the bed.

"The last time was a minor affair," said Sewell quietly. "He was almost well again in a matter of weeks. This time ... "

Kenrith looked down at his father, and remained silent for some time. As he looked at his father's face, and reflected on all that had happened since he had returned to Holdfast, his home, he could see bits and pieces of a larger pattern of decisions... but he still could not grasp the whole.

Eventually, he looked up at his stepmother and said solemnly, "I believe it is time we both put our cards on the table."

Lady Celia looked at him and suddenly gave a narrowed smile.

"Perhaps we should, Ser Kenrith. My solar, perhaps?"

Kenrith looked down on his father for another long minute, then nodded to Celia.

"Good evening, Maester," Kenrith said with a faint smile before turning to follow Lady Celia to her solar.

Page last modified on August 27, 2006, at 10:50 PM