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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 about...so
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."
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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,
"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."
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
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."
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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
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!
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.
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.