Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:3:15) in the Alderaan system: Delaya (Leiliani: Rodney Castle).
Farrah Ette, Grand Moff Claudius RodneyLord Gaius Rodney, Lady Marcus Rodney, Commander Sierra Rodney, and Lady Zara Rodney.

It was over. Julius Rodney was dead. For Farrah, her life was one big, long celebration. Since the old bastard had died, she had fallen into a wonderful grace with her father. No one was looking inside the castle for the Duke's murderer. There was this assumption that the Rebels had a personal vendetta against Claudius Rodney's family. No one would ever suspect that a girl like Farrah had taken out such a strong man. The first night, she had recounted the story in detail to Gaius before making a mess of his room in a rut of wild passion. Even though Claudius recovered from his indirect poisoning, Farrah's spirits were still high. She could kill him at an accelerated pace by poisoning him again. She could slice his throat while he slept and place the knife in his pretty little wife's hand. Regardless, she made no movements. There was too much noise around the castle for her to get away with another murder.

"Daddy, wake up," she said. Her teeth sunk into his neck viciously. The day of the funeral had arrived. For Gaius and Farrah, this was the final goodbye to a terrible presence in their lives. She gnawed at him like a needy little animal. The preteen had her father mounted beneath her nude body. She had promised him over and over again that power was going to fall into his hands while scheming her next move. The funeral was a prime opportunity to eliminate the remainder of the successors. Marcus and Claudius would both be present. She had even boldly considered another bomb. She voted against it at the last moment. This was years in the making. It was right for them to enjoy it.

Gaius was resting comfortably, overjoyed by the fact that his wicked old uncle had been dispatched by his very own spawn. In his dreams he and Farrah were already upon the throne, but in reality his cousin, Claudius, still stood in his way. Still, he had been weakened, and Farrah had in advertently proven that she could get to him if needed. His dreams were interrupted by the sudden and unexpected painful sensation coming from his neck. "Ow!" he said, as his eyes fluttered open, searching for the culprit. His anger immediately subsided when he saw it was a love bite from his precious little angel. "Are you ready to see the old bastard laid to rest?" he asked her, with a small smirk curling upon the delicate features of his face. He was in an excellent mood to be sure.

"Absolutely! I've been dreaming of this moment for such a long time." She sighed dramatically. "I want us to watch the HoloNet recordings of the funeral after it's all over since we can't be together during the funeral." He had his duty. Farrah would simply be a face in the crowd. "I'm sorry it took so long, Daddy. That old bastard would not die. I suppose when wine runs through your veins instead of blood, poison doesn't work the same way." Her nose scrunched up. "Disgusting old man. Even in his last moments, all he could think about was the possibility of deflowering me when I turn of age. It felt so good to kill him." And Gaius had aided in giving her the perfect opportunity. Happy, Farrah bent down and kissed her father on the lips. Soon, their dreams would become reality. She was convinced of that.

Marcus Rodney had known for a long time that his father's days were numbered, but he did not know how few. He was told it was just a fall, so when rescuing Callista from the medcenter he did not see a need to visit him. He would regret that decision for the remainder of his days. He was dressed and ready at the ground level of the chalet, having far greater speed and maneuverability than a *very* pregnant woman. Still, he did not rush her, as he was in no urgent mood to reach the funeral. All of the Leiliani had been turning out to say goodbye to the man for whom many had been the only Duke they had ever known. For him it was the loss of a father whom he had a particularly complex and, at times, divisive relationship with. His heart was heavy, filled with loss, and he knew in time he would come to grieve openly. But, for now, the HoloNet was watching and he had to project strength to ensure a smooth continuity to his brother's reign. Already there were protests about having an Imperial Grand Moff ascend the throne, and he felt obligated to show his public, unwavering support for his elder brother.

Zara Rodney had assumed that the Duke could conquer anything after he had returned home from the medcenter the first time. When they learned of his death, it was shocking. Zara, too, felt guilt for not having visited Julius. She had barely said 'hello' to him at the family gathering. As her pregnancy progressed, she became more of a homebody. She recognized that she could have gone out of her way to go with Marcus to see his father one last time. Regardless, she was his lovey and she was there for him whenever he might break. She even tried hard to keep up with him while he got ready for the funeral. Of course, like the hare and the tortoise should have gone, Marcus finished first.

Five minutes passed. Ten. Fifteen minutes and she still wasn't ready. Zara had a hard time accepting that her mobility was going down the shitter. The last time she put on her boots, she had to ask her husband to tie them because she couldn't reach over her belly. Now her black maternity dress had become her archnemesis. Who in their right mind made a maternity dress with a zipper in the back!? Flustered, Zara thrust the door into their bedroom open aggressively. "Marcussss!" She called down the stairs. "Me and the dress are fighting ... and it's winning!" She stood in the doorway with the sleeves of her dress dragging down her porcelain arms. The front had become discombobulated during the great battle. The backside was completely open. Zara looked like she was ready to turn into She-Hulk and rip her way out of the dress.

Marcus ascended the stairs at the first shrill cry of his wife, moving slowly to delay his arrival, but not so slow that she would get irritated. As he reached the bedroom the image of his pregnant wife desperately trying to zip up her dress cheered him up immensely. He began to laugh at her predicament, as the emotions of the past day began to escape him. "I'm sorry," he said, between laughs and gasps of his breath, his cheeks reddening. He moved behind her swiftly, taking hold of the zipper and beginning to yank up. He grit his teeth, grunting, as he slowly managed to get the zipper to move upward towards the back of her neck. It had proven to be more difficult than battling the sea monster. He could only imagine how uncomfortable it must have been for her to wear. "Maybe sweatsuits and pajamas from here on out?" he asked, from behind her, as he pushed his face forward and kissed at the side of her neck and behind her ear.

Her face turned bright red when he began to laugh at her silly predicament. His laughter broke her tension and she began to laugh too. "Oh my god, I'm as big as Sir Tentacles," she said, flaying her arms this way and that to indicate that those were her tentacles now. She couldn't believe how much pregnancy was left. It was scary to think she's not going to! With his help, Zara was able to finish getting dressed. Sierra had been entrusted with getting her something to wear for the funeral. As it was impossible to shop for women's clothing without trying each individual piece on, Zara assumed that she got what she deserved. The dress was so uncomfortable on her tummy. "You're not kidding. Can I just not wear anything after today?" She sighed. It was Marcus Rodney to the rescue. She felt better after laughing with him, resolving her problem, and feeling his kisses. "I love you. Thank you for saving me. I'm ready to go now."

Insanity had settled over the Rodney Castle since Julius had died. Sierra had become the glue that attempted to keep everything together. Between watching over Claudius' recovery, providing him with her complete support, comforting Livia and ensuring that she didn't drink herself to death, making funeral preparations, and ensuring that Drusilla had a dress for the funeral, she had been massively busy. She wanted everyone to be pleased with Julius' funeral. More than that, she wanted to help everyone navigate through their stages of grief.

For Sierra, the morning had begun before the sun rose when she quietly slipped away from bed for a bout with morning sickness (Morning Sickness- 5, Sierra- 0). A nightmare had wrecked her clear mind. Would someone try to hurt the family today? Even she could recognize that Claudius' poisoning scare had made her clingy. She was around him more than ever. She had arranged for extra security details at the funeral, stressing out to Gaius that this *had* to go well. She spent time reviewing everything on her data pad so she could be certain that everything was going to run smoothly. The baby in her belly had other ideas. Bruce preferred that she remain in the bathroom, promptly puking her guts out.

When a reasonable hour arose, Sierra made her way back into bed. She nuzzled herself backwards until she was in a little spoon position. Her hand placed his arm around her slim body, guiding his hand right to her swollen womb. The present was hard. She was using the future to help get herself through it.

Claudius had only pretended to sleep that night, as the death of his father weighed heavily on him, more so given the unresolved nature of the death. When the time came he sat himself up in the bed, unable to lay there any longer. "Let's be done with this," he said to her, without looking at her. He rose to his feet, but as he moved to his vanity he began struggle. He would be unable to dress himself without her hap. He reached his hand out, keeping himself upright by grasping onto the vanity for support. "Sierra..." he cried out, as he worried he was about to fall over. He was exhausted, dehydrated, and under too much stress to bare. He missed his father despite all of his flaws.

Since he had cried in the speeder on the way to the castle, Sierra had not seen Claudius really physically express himself. It was worrisome. It wasn't healthy for him to bottle it up. The poor man had married a psychologist. She would break him open as gently as she could. She sat upright and rubbed the exhaustion from her eyes. "Claudius..." He was stumbling. Hearing her name, the woman darted out of bed and to his side in seconds. She ducked beneath his arm so that he now depended on her for support. Her arm wrapped around him. Sierra led him away from the dresser and towards the love seat. There, she aided him in laying down. He was pushing himself too hard..! And worrying her. She was gone, then reappeared with water and saltines. She didn't know what the state of his stomach was at the moment; probably a desolate wasteland. "Drink," she said, helping him sit back up. Sierra weaseled her way onto the couch. After he drank a sufficient amount, she let him lay down with his head in her lap. "We have time," she reassured him. Her fingers moved to gently massage his scalp.

"Let it all out, my love." Sierra's voice was gentle. "Fall apart and allow for me to put you back together."

He needed the water and crackers almost as badly as he needed his wife. Claudius welcomed them both with open arms, but perhaps drank the water a little too quickly. As he lay back on the love seat he stared out into the darkness of the room imagining his own demise. He wondered how much of Bruce's life he would get to see given his advanced age. "I still can't believe he's gone," he said to her, but still without turning his head to look at her. "He was always so strong. So imposing ... indestructible," he said, as the tears began to well in the corner of his brown eyes. He inhaled sharply, as if he were trying to vacuum the tears back into his ducts. "I cannot fall apart. I am to be the Duke of Delaya, and I can no longer myself to show such petty weakness," he said, defiantly, towards himself more than her. A heavy burden had been thrust upon him as he lay there, his head in her lap, motionless. There was something in the darkness chasing him. Chasing all men. It was time.

The death of Julius had certainly brought reality crashing down on everyone. Even Sierra had looked towards the way of death. Her husband, though her soulmate, was so much older than her. She would outlive him unless fate had another idea in mind. It hurt so badly to think of living without him at her side. What had developed between the two was endlessly deep. It made her want to cry each time she thought about it. The darkness in the room bred negativity, but it also shielded them from the world. Right now, they were as alone as they were ever going to be. She looked down at him. "It is hard to believe." She agreed, having seen Julius Rodney as indestructible like her husband. He had always seemed so powerful.

Her husband was verging on an emotional break...yet he rejected it with talk of petty weakness. Sierra had expected as much. Drusilla and Jelena had derived their defiance streak from their father. Her hands stopped moving over his head. Okay. This had to be done a different way. "Oh, my love.." She sighed. One of her hands left him. She bent over him slightly, reaching at something at the edge of the couch; her violin. Music had played a greater part in her life since Julius had died. She was using it as her crutch. When the insanity ended, then Sierra could mourn properly. "Don't get up. You need this." She warned. He was physically exhausted. Until she helped him, he probably wasn't going to get up.

She placed the old, Alderaan instrument on her shoulder. Her bow tested the strings and then she began to play a piece that she had recently written. It was slow and sad. The violin itself seemed to cry with the high notes. It spoke without saying anything. Music therapy was a proven effective tool which she intended to use to crack him open and sew him back up.

Claudius did not get up. He could not get up. He lay there patiently while she went to collect her instrument, breathing in deep and heavy sighs. When she began to play he found himself lost in the notes, but her music allowed him to finally let go. His eyes opened and the tears relentlessly began to flow forth, like so many Stormtroopers that he ordered forward on an assault. As she played her tune he let go completely, blubbering like a child. His father was gone. He was never coming back. There were so many things that had been left unsaid. He wondered if he was ready to be the Duke given his vulnerable state and his commitments to the Empire. The safety of his family was also at the forefront of his mind. He began to breath more heavily as he bordered on the verge of a panic attack. There was too much going on. His mind raced as he tried to put it all together. "If only he could have lived a little longer," he said quietly to himself ... not because he missed his father, but because he was not ready.

It happened. He began to cry. Sierra wanted him to at least get *some* of it out. She saw him walking around the castle carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. That weight needed to become shared now. His heavy breathing was worrisome. She stopped playing, carelessly thrusting her instrument to the side so she could care for her husband. Her soft fingers collected the tears on his cheeks. "Shhh..." Sierra cradled her husband in her arms. "Close your eyes. Breathe." She instructed him. "Listen to me." Her fierce eyes stared into his. He was broken. She would fix him. There was no question about it. "Claudius, you are the strongest man I know. Sometimes I have no idea how you do it. I've watched you hold it together for days, ensuring that everyone else is okay first. It's just amazing." She touched his cheek, shaking her head. "This death has changed everything. We both haven't talked about it but we've both thought about it. You've spent your life preparing for this. The timing is terrible. There really was never going to be an ideal time, was there?"

"You will be a great Duke and everything will be okay." She told him. "You've just been massively beat down in every single way. Like I said before, I don't know how you do it. It's that strength which you possess that makes me know. You're ready. Even completely messed up as you are now, you're ready. You aren't going at this alone. Not today, not tomorrow, not any day. I will be here for every step of grieving your father. I will be here for the entire transition into our new lives. I will never stop supporting you... so lean on me. Let me hold you up today, because you're too damn strong for your own good."

"Your words are a blessing, Sierra. I am nothing without you. Without your love, your compassion, and your reassurance I would have folded long ago," Claudius confessed to her, as his hands sought her out, clinging to her like a security blanket. "I love you so much. You will make a splendid Duchess for our people," he said to her, as he considered all of the things that would come next. "Following the funeral there will be a coronation. Both of these will be crowded, public events. I worry for our safety and the safety of the family," he confided in her, suspecting that his father had been murdered. There was the shooting at the medcenter. The bombing at Jelena's funeral. The shooting on the roof when they landed. Someone or something was decidedly after his family, and he would not rest until he got to the bottom of it.

She held him close to her protectively. "I am nothing without you too. Your contagious strength has rubbed off on me. I blame you for making me a better person." She leaned down to steal a quick kiss. She was so madly in love with him. His reassurance really did help her. Becoming Duchess was something that she had never entertained until she fell for him. She accepted it as her future. She would do her damn best for their people. "I worry as well... I called in Kerrie for additional help. She has been overseeing the training of a team of highly skilled warriors. Off the book stuff. They will be here, watching us. There has been guards with father the entire time too. It's as much ground as I could cover." Her eyes flickered towards the chronometer on the wall. If they were going to be decent by the time Marcus and Zara arrived, then they needed to begin now.

Sierra began to rise, helping Claudius along with her. She would dress him first, then herself. She deposited him bedside, then placed a plate of crackers beside him and a bottle of water in his hand. "Marcus will be here soon." She told him. His uniform was hanging up having been perfectly ironed by the Queen of Neat herself; Sierra. She stopped herself, making the sudden decision to dress herself first. It would keep him eating and drinking longer. She shed her nightgown, tossing it to the floor carelessly with a cute look of defiance on her face that said she clearly belonged in their family. In nothing but her underwear, she strutted over and grabbed her dress. Modest, black, and completely appropriate for the funeral. The weather decided that she needed leggings. After dressing herself from the bottom up, she paused. Her hands glided over her baby bump. She had been underweight before they got together. All the stressers in her life were, literally, killing her. Now she was healthy. When she wore no top, it became a lot more obvious that she was gaining weight in one specific place. With time pressing, she stopped dressing herself and approached her husband. She brought his hands to the place where their baby still continued to grow. "Everything is going to be okay," Sierra repeated to him. "The little guy says so. I guess it must be true."

"Kerrie has protected this family for a long time. When Arden Zevrin stripped me of her I have not felt as safe, and my concern for my family has only grown exponentially. I assume that is why she did it. I am glad you were able to enlist her help, *but* be mindful not to cause her difficulty with Zevrin," Claudius said to her, as he considered all of the vast moving pieces at play in the complex game of life they were playing. "It is good to have the family together under these trying times," he said to her, as he too began to rise. He was glad he was able to smooth things over with his brother before his father's death. He moved behind her as she dressed, wrapping his arms around her from behind as she guided them to her stomach. "I cannot believe that within a few long months we will have a son," he said, as he looked off into the distance wistfully. At least he had that blessing to look forward to. It was the circle of life.

Arden Zevrin's name would forever mash Sierra's crazy buttons. She *hated* that women. "I'll make sure there's no trouble with Zevrin. When all this is over, we'll see if there's a way to get Kerrie back with the family." Kerrie had struck Sierra as a good person. She had been tasked with carrying Sierra's unconscious body to the estate. Kerrie was the kind of person she wanted close. She remained locked in a sweet embrace with her husband. Her hands remained on top of his. "I can't believe it either, Claudius. He is a blessing." And she counted her blessings one by one. She let herself soak in the image of holding her son for the first time, as well as Claudius holding their sweet, tiny Bruce. Even though today was dim, the future was bright...

And it was much closer for Zara and Marcus than it was for Sierra and Claudius. The Nerf Herder arrived on a landing pad at the Rodney Castle. It all looked so different than the very first time she'd come to the castle. Zara thought back to the party, robbing her husband, and teasing him through the hallways. It would make one hell of an episode of How I Met Your Mother. Today, it was Zara who piloted the ship. She had been very insistent that he play co-pilot. She recognized that her husband worked way too hard while she was pregnant. It was his turn to take a break. The silver haired teenager powered down the ship. "Seeeee? We made it here in one piece." She told him while they made their way down the ramp slowly. There were guards to greet them...thankfully there was no one to attempt to kill them. The waddling pregnant girl led the way towards Claudius' private quarters where Sierra had told her to take Marcus to meet with his brother. Tonight, they'd be staying in the castle with the rest of the family. Zara felt it important to be close to everyone, especially with all the bad stuff that had happened. Holding Marcus' hand, she knocked on Claudius' door with the other.

"We have guests," Claudius said to Sierra, as it seemed he had finished changing into his uniform in just the nick of time. He moved towards the door, wondering where the servants were that should be doing this sort of thing for him. Little did he know that Drusilla had summoned them all for her lavish preparations under the disguise of mourning. When he opened the door he was greeted by the sight of Zara who now resembled a small moon, along with his younger brother Marcus. He stepped aside so that they could enter, wondering if they would need to widen the door frames to accommodate the growing number of pregnant women roaming the halls. "I am glad you are here," he said to them wearily, as he moved to an upholstered high back chair to rest with them.

Marcus waited for Zara to step forward into the room as the days of them walking anywhere side by side were over. "How are you holding up, Duke?" he asked his brother, with a wink, as he tried to lighten the mood. He could cut the tension in the air with one of his knives. The feeling of death hung over the family and the castle itself. He could only imagine how drunk their mother was by now. He gave a polite smile over towards Sierra, still not sure what to make of her given the recordings he had seen. "He seemed fine the other day. What was it that happened?" he asked, getting right to the point. His senses as a bounty hunter told him something was wrong. *Very* wrong.

Sierra had finished dressing. She had been seated at the vanity staring aimlessly at her hair like that would make it magically presentable. Her thoughts were sprawled out in every which way. It was going to be a long week, a week ending in her being married to the Duke of Delaya. Simply making it through today was going to be difficult, yet she internalized all the worries she had. As long as her family was safe, everything would continue to be okay. The arrival of Marcus forced her to make a fast decision to finish making herself presentable. She rose from the vanity, surprised to see how Zara's stomach had grown since the last time she had seen her. Thank goodness she wasn't having twins too. She didn't envy the woman for that.

Zara was beginning to *feel* like a small moon. She wore her concern all over her face. Upon entering Claudius' room, she greeted her brother with a hug. "I'm sorry for your loss, brother." She greeted Sierra, having continued to feel mixed about her. Her hormones threatened to make her soft (like Zara was so hard to begin with). It was all very formal. She kissed the woman's cheeks and showed concern for the family's loss. Whoever she was, she was making Claudius happy. Zara decided that it was something as she seated herself on the loveseat. Her dress seemed more pressed than ever. She began to wonder if it would rip.

Sierra knew that her relationship with her in-laws was tense. They only knew half of the truth: the bad half. Her eyes met with Marcus'. They shared brief smiles that faded into nothing. When she joined everyone else, she was first sure to place a cup of water in Claudius' hand, continuously pumping liquids into the man. She leaned against the arm of his chair, crossing her arms over her chest. Marcus had just asked a difficult question. "We aren't even entirely sure yet. The results from the autopsy are strange. We had gone to visit father in the morning. Claudius became very sick. We ended up in our own room, where the doctors eventually found out he'd been poisoned." She began to explain. "The poison had come from some cheese someone had brought to the Duke. Father never mentioned who. By the time we figured it out, he'd already been gone for some time." She looked away from Marcus. Julius was not her father, but he had been a father figure in her life for some time. It was hard losing him.

"At first, it appeared he had a heart attack. There are also signs that he was also suffocated. There were some fibers in his mouth from his pillow." Her eyebrows furrowed. "Determining which happened first is the difficult part. I suspect the suffocation led to his heart attack. Though Gaius has viewed the footage in the hospital, there is nothing out of place. Who did this is a question that will continue to plague us."

Marcus' arched an eyebrow when Sierra revealed Claudius' had become ill, but when she mentioned pillow fibers in his father's mouth he became downright incensed. Unfortunately, to Claudius and Sierra he was drunken playboy, not the Nerf Herder, so he had to act the part of an ignoramus. "Pillow fibers?" he asked Sierra, sounding a bit confused. He reached towards Zara, taking her hand in his, and giving her a knowing squeeze. His eyes moved slightly towards the side to look at her, communicating in an unspoken language. Someone had murdered his father. He knew it, and now he had to do something about it.

"Pillow fibers?!" Claudius asked, overhearing the conversation between Sierra and Marcus. His face reddened with rage, and he balled his hand into a fist. Foolishly he punched it into the wall, tearing the flesh from his knuckles, as he did more damage to himself than the wall. "No one must know he was assassinated. It will cause us all too much trouble," he said, unaware of how injured his hand had become. "Why would anyone want to kill an old man?" he asked the room, before moving to plunge his hand into a nearby ice bucket that had been prepared to cool wine to entertain the guests. Fortunately for him someone was always chilling wine in the castle.

It was weird that someone would work so hard to kill the Duke. The man was dying, like it or not. Time was going to win that battle eventually. Zara was lost in her thoughts. She'd hack the hospital security and search for who had come to visit him and who was consistently there that shouldn't be. Surely the killer had come in and out of the medcenter before. Sierra did mention him having a gift. Her eyes lifted towards Marcus. She knew. He knew. This wasn't a job for Marcus and Zara Rodney. It was a job for the Nerf Herder and his efficient slicer sidekick. There had to be something connecting every event that had happened. From the first attempt on the Duke's life to the success. She was bothered by the fact that they had *nothing*. Whoever had hurt their family was still out there. Zara reached over, squeezing Marcus' hand. They would get to the bottom of this. She bolted upright in her seat when Claudius suddenly punched the wall. Eek!

Sierra rose from the arm of the chair. The sound of his fist colliding with the wall bounced all around them. Poor Claudius' body. If he kept getting himself hurt, he was going to find himself living in a bubble. Marcus would get one too! She moved towards where he was with his hand in the ice bucket. Her eyes looked over the damage before she drifted further into their room. She had learned. She kept a first aid kit near for instances like this one. "The news will not leave this room. The death certificate reflects that a heart attack was the cause of death. The coroner won't be talking either." The man had been paid off. Protecting the family was number one priority, after all. She stood beside her husband, opening up the first aid kit. "It's either a personal vendetta or it's really all about the Duchy." She dove a hand into the ice bucket. Brrr! Withdrawing his hand, she began to disinfect it and clean it. "Between the four of us, we need to conduct an in house investigation." They all had aliases for the time the Duke had been killed. Claudius was losing the contents of his stomach and Sierra had been with him. Marcus and Zara were watching a terrible episode of the Real Hutt Wives.

"Father infuriated a lot of people over the years," Marcus quickly mentioned, in response to Sierra's comment. He knew it would not be the Rebellion, but he wondered if perhaps the Empire would rush to get Claudius on the throne to Imperialize the world. Whatever had happened he was certain that his brother had no knowledge of it. However, he was careful to keep his opinion on the matter to himself as he would both irritate his brother and reveal that he was more perceptive than he wanted them to think. When he would next be alone with his wife they would have much to discuss about this. He hated to play the part of a bumbling fool to his family, but he knew it was for the best for everyone.

"It could have been the Rebels," Claudius said, with no factual basis, but simply a paranoid distrust of the faction that had caused him so much trouble over his eldest daughter. He was glad that Sierra was quick to respond and treat his wound, as his recklessness might have spoiled the entire ceremony to come. It would be hard for him to appear at his father's funeral with a mangled claw of a hand. "Thank you, my dear," he said to her, as he moved to retake his seat in the upholstered chair. "I hope the children are ready," he said, worrying about how both Drusilla and Ewwikewwieikkie were handling the news. He knew Jelena could not attend as he still had not worked out how to reveal that she was in fact alive. One family drama at a time.

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