After the happenings concerning Marie and her brother Gerard at Royals Castle, Sir Francis Woods took his leave from King Henry’s service to attend to matters with his family. He had long been estranged from them due to his fostering in England. His Mother’s message to him had recalled him to his family and it now must take precedence over anything else in his life. He felt he must see his Mother settled and her honour reclaimed before he continued his search for the traitorous fool that was his Father!
Lady Leona was adament that she could put all back to rights on her own. She felt guilt over all that happened to her family and felt responsible even though there was little she could have done at the time. She was a female and as such, still had to abide by the decisions of the male elders of her family and her clan. When Gerard had arrived in Dragon Valley, he had managed to win over and gain the trust of those in her family who made the decisions. She had been the eldest daughter, destined to take a place as leader but even so, she still had to be wed to someone? Someone who her family thought would make a good alliance and take the role as leader. It should have been a clan member, it should have been one from their people, or one from the Highlands to seal their connections there? Instead, the family had been decieved by Gerard into believing he would be the best choice. He convinced them all that he would bring the French alliance to them, that they needed this strong alliance to keep the English from over running them completely. So, her family had wed her to Gerard as a young girl. For a small short amount of time, things had been smooth.
In the very beginning, Gerard had been gone often telling them he went back to France to work on agreements and deal with diplomatic matters? No one had been suspicious at first. It turned out that Gerard was biding his time, setting his own plots into motion? He returned and began to take his power and his control over Leona and the rest of the clan slowly at first in small ways. He used his French alliance as reason. He held the alliance over them and warned that to go against the “treaties” he had worked so hard to secure would put them at odds with both the English and the French? In reality, he had no such treaties but well forged documents that he produced to them!
The land of Dragon Valley was a small isolated principality that sat between England and Scotland at the time and had a well hidden port to the sea. It has ever been shrouded in mystery and some swore that it was a myth or a legend that did not really exist? Those who lived there had always been a peacable sort who tried to keep their land quiet and neutral to all of their neighboring lands. They may have been isolated and remote but they did keep informed of what went on in the rest of the lands around them. They knew that they were in a precarious location and an important one in terms of say, waging a war or winning a battle? Their sea port was well hidden, shrouded in mists much of the time and could be a deadly, treacherous crossing if one did not know it well. For those who knew it well, it could provide a well kept secret voyage leading into Scotland or England which could give a great advantage in a time of war or conquering. The inhabitants of Dragon Valley knew this and thus tried to protect the secrets so as not to bring the battles down on their land!
Gerard DeJewelle had learned many of the secrets of Dragon Valley and turned those secrets upon the people, using them to his advantage in every way!
Gerard spent his time stripping the land and the people of their secrets, their power, and their money. The Woodlyon Clan had once been the highest esteemed leaders of the land. It was said they had been there since the beginnings of time? They had alliances and family connections in the Highlands of Scotland. It was often wondered which came first? The life in the highlands, or the life in Dragon Valley? No one could ever truly answer that, the ties went back so far! What was sure was the Woodlyons had always been a part of both until Gerard took over.
One of the things Gerard tried to strip away was what he called their heathenish, pagan religion? He used their ancient religion against them saying that all of the neighboring lands would send a reign of terror down upon them for practicing it? In that respect, he was much right! He did not do this out of any concern for religious right however. He just did not want that reign of terror interfering with his own plans! Gerard would gladly use Pagan witchcraft, sorcery or what ever means at his disposal to get what he wanted! He learned as much as he could about their ancient practices if only to use them to his advantage?
Leona Woodlyon was held in much esteem as a spiritual leader of her people. As a child, she had been trained and schooled in the ancient religion and beliefs. She was considered a priestess and held the title of Lady of the Woods. She could have possibly refused marriage and devoted herself soley to the religion? But, because she was so young when the marriage considerations were brought about, she deferred to her family, to the men of her clan. She was an obedient child… She would forever feel the guilt of that, and would later vow to never again defer to such decision makers, to never again give up her power or her control!
Upon her marriage to Gerard, she gave up her rights thinking he was older and wiser than she? When she realized what he was about, she was already under his control, much as a hostage in her own household. His control went as far as limiting her practice of her religion… he never forbade it outright, he just controlled what, how and where she practiced it? His reasons were that he feared for their lives should it become widely known throughout the lands… and what if that power should somehow fall into the wrong hands?
When Gerard had first appeared in Dragon Valley, the times were not altered or blurred as yet? It was a time of unease in all the lands, especially England where battles for the throne were rampant and where accusations of witchcraft abounded. It was a time when people behind the scenes had as much power to decide the rule as the bloodlines did? It was a time when those people behind the power used what ever means at their disposal to put their candidate on the throne. If that meant calling on former foes in another country, calling on UnGodly powers to achieve fame and greatness, then so be it! Gerard and his family were French Nobles but they had their ties to the wars in England. They were connected by marriage to members of both competitors for the throne at the time. It was a war between families for that throne at the time. Gerard was much like his English relatives of the time, who cared not really who won, as long as they could count themselves on the winning side and reap the benefits? While his English relatives tried to maintain the middle ground, Gerard had decided his best chances lay with the York side winning.
From his seclusion in Dragon Valley, he was able to quietly work to assist and ensure a York win… Yes, by any means possible even those UnGodly powers that seemed to abound in this land? It was about that time that he traveled to England and paid a visit to distant relatives of the Woodlyons and of his… Another family of English and French connections, of wealth and power. He chose to align himself quietly and secretly with this family… His visit was paid to Richard Woodville and his wife, Jaquetta. His visit was private and he swore Jaquetta to secrecy when he shared what he knew, telling her only to do what she thought best, what she thought would ensure the future for them without calling attention to themselves.
It was some time after that, that the timelines, the slips, the blurrs began and it was of course some time after that that Jaquetta’s family began to be accused and suspected of forms of witchery and sorcery?
t was during this time that Leona’s fears increased. She now had children to fear for! Leona did have one aspect of the times they lived in to use in her favor for her children, even though it would mean giving them up to be raised elsewhere? It was the custom for high ranking Noble children to be fostered out to other families in order to create further alliances. So, much as Lady Eleanor’s parents had done in sending her to France, Leona did with her children. Her eldest, firstborn son who would be heir and future ruler to Dragon Valley, Francis seemed to be in grave danger? It should have been a great boon for Gerard, to have a son, and heir to the leadership of the Woodlyon Clan? Gerard, however did not want the son to have this role? Perhaps because he did not plan for Dragon Valley to retain their seperate entity? His plan was for the principality to be bartered away to the English for even more wealth and title on his part. He insisted that the boy be fostered out to a Noble family in England. So, Francis was sent away to England to learn English ways. Leona had some few limited resources and connections in England and used what she could to ensure the boy’s safekeeping. She requested that the boy be known as Francis Woods so as not call any attention to his French, or his Dragon Valley lineage. On this matter, Gerard happened to agree with her! It was to his benefit for the boy’s lineage not to be questioned, for him to easily fit into England! Francis was sent off at an early age as was customary and was raised as English. Gerard’s plan was always to keep Francis as his future hold to England and call upon the family connection when it was best needed. Leona just prayed for the child’s safety and well being. She kept in touch as best she could and only hoped that he would someday return and be mindful of who he really was… A Woodlyon, a leader of their people. What Gerard had not planned on, a detail that he overlooked, was that Francis would grow up steeped in the English wars, would train in the Knight’s service and be honourable, dutiful and faithful to who ever wore the crown? Francis grew into a fine and just young man with no influences from either Gerard or the clans of Dragon Valley.
When her second child arrived, it was a daughter. Gerard really had no care for this one. It was a girl, and a loud screaming, volotile one! From the moment of her birth, Leora Woodlyon was a wild, vocal and rebellious force to be reckoned with! It was around this time too that the clan families of the highlands were voicing their disent and their suspicions of Gerard? As a means of calming them for the time being he decided on a way to rid himself of this unruly girl child. He offered her up to the Clans of the Highlands as a gift… He sent the young Leora off to the highlands to learn their ways and eventually to be wedded to one of them, thereby securing the family lines there and hopefully to keep some added control there?
Leona knew what would happen with this decision. She kept silent and agreed with his choice knowing that this girl would most likely be the death of Gerard and the survival of the Clans. They would raise her up in the old ways, the old religion, She would most certainly grow into a woman not to be controlled! She would be a warrior in her own right? Eventually, she would return to Dragon Valley and be strong enough to take on her role as future spiritual leader of the Clans! What Leona did not realize was just how right she would be? There would be a reckoning and a clash of wills before Leora learned to be that leader.
The third child, another girl born much later was a quiet and frail one whom they thought might not survive? When she did survive, Gerard decided that she should be sent back to France to be raised by his family. His thought was that he could surely wed this quiet, fragile and already quite attractive child to a French Noble family and ensure his continued French connections? Leona was allowed no say in this child’s fate from the beginning, including her name. Gerard had named her Diantha, and quickly sent her off to his family in France with the story that her Mother had died and the child should be raised in a manner befitting French Nobility? Leona had a feeling that she would never see this child again, and if she did, the child would have no connection,nor desire to know her or to be a part of her Dragon Valley legacy? For the most part, she was quite correct in her assumptions. Diantha was born during a period when the time slips began and could easily have been lost and disappeared to the disturbances especially since she sailed to France during one of the many Witch’s storms that took place. As it was, she ended up in France somewhat safely, only to land in the household of Gerard’s sister Marie and her two children at the time. Gerard had sent a message to Marie stipulating that this child be raised with every caution and not be involved in any other plans of theirs? She was to remain in France no matter what! As a result, no one in France was aware of Diantha’s Dragon Valley lineage. Lady Eleanor took over much of her education and raising until Eleanor’s untimely departure from France.
So it was that when Lady Leona Woodlyon finally got her power, her control, her life and her children back there was much work to do in making them a family again? She had a son who was more English than of Dragon Valley but determined to fulfill his destiny as ruler to this people and make the small country a prosperous and honourable place to live in. Sir Francis would need time to adjust, to learn their ways once more but she knew in her heart that he succeed in his intentions.
Her main concerns were for her daughters neither of whom she really knew and both of whom held some resentments towards her for differing reasons.
Lady Leora Woodlyon returned unwillingly to her home loyal above all else to the Highlands and the Clan that raised her. She held suspicions and distrust of why she had been called to return? Her resentments of her Mother were due to her feelings that the Highlands themselves had been abandoned , forsaken, and not taken seriously when they had first voiced their distrust of her Father. She was a young woman with her own ruling destiny to fulfill with the Highlands. Why should her Mother now pretend interest or concern in her life when she never had previously? What cause had Leona to disrupt her life and interfere with it now! Leora was strong willed and stubborn… often told too much so for her own good? She had returned for the reason that she now represented the Highland Clans and must fight for their rights and freedoms in this new coming play of power. She was determined to see them represented fairly in all aspects by all power players involved. For her, this was not just a family reunion. This was far more important than hearing any sort of excuse or apology from her Mother! It was also her intent to confront her Mother about the perilous situation arising regarding their long held religion and their deepest beliefs that had been banned, and their followers who were being massacred and hunted down. This would become a matter of grave seriousness not between Mother and Daughter but between two Spiritual Leaders? Leora thought her Mother had betrayed them all, brought about a course of action that would bring an end to them. She had her doubts that Lady Leona was capable of being their Spiritual Leader?
Lady Leona, on the other side, knew full well how her daughter felt and understood why. She also understood that in order for young Leora to fulfill her own destiny as leader, she must learn control and compromise. This world was not always just about who wins and who loses? Leora must learn to see the forest for the trees. She must be able to curb her bursts of volotile temper and seek the calm in order to think clearly and wisely about what was best for all of them. Leona knew this would be a fierce challenge for both of them. She had to make Leora see that it was not just about the past wrongs done, but about them standing united and moving towards a greater good in the future. Their ancient religion was a powerful one connected in it’s core to all of nature. In order not to abuse it as some like Gerard had, one must remain calmly in control at all times? There were far more things involved than just the connections to nature… Leona must help Leora understand just how much more precarious their situation was than even Leora was aware of.
Lady Leona knew that her daughter had been well trained in the ancient beliefs, she had no doubts on that. She knew too though that some of the training and the answers that Leora was in need of could only come from her. She was the only one left with the deeper knowledge and the well founded suspicions of what Gerard had done? Leona was well aware of the time slips that begun occuring as Gerard had gained his power. Some of it was so subtle as not to be noticed by those unaware… the slightest changes in weather, in time increments, in hazy memories that for some reason didn’t feel quite right? People would pass those occurances off as just a change in the weather, as in having had a bit much ale and not remembering something as clearly as they should, as in being forgetful, or as in an older person becoming foggy and a bit daft in the head… Leona saw them clearer, felt the world around her change and reshape and had her suspicions that someone was responsible for the changes. There were very few who knew or undertood the full powers. Even she did not understand it all and was always careful not to delve too far into depths which she did not feel able to contain or control? There was one old Priestess who knew much more but she had died shortly after Gerard’s arrival in Dragon Valley. At the time, Leona had paid scant attention to that coincidence. The woman was ancient, Alya Healer had been her name, and when she passed on no one was really surprised? It seemed a natural cause, she had went to bed one night and not awoke in the morning. It was thought that she had passed on peacefully in her sleep. Only her grand daughters, Morganna and Ayleen had ever thought different. They had been young children then and kept insisting that a dark man in a hooded cloak had come during the night to visit and that Ayla had shushed them to hide in the barn while she spoke to the man. Their story was always the same, never changing… they had hidden in the barn until the man had left then returned to the cottage to find old Ayla in her bed weak and crying. When they had asked what was wrong, she had told them she was leaving this world and they must take care that there was wicked evil about this world? When people heard their story they summed it up to terrified children being in the presence of their Grandmother passing.
Years later when Leona had begun to have her own suspicions, she had called upon the girls to tell her the story again. Of course she could prove nothing but she believed that Gerard had been the one who paid Ayla a visit and had a hand in her death?
Lady Leona’s youngest daughter Diantha brought home her own seperate feelings of brewing resentment as well as fear of this new foreign to her world, and a sudden loss of who she assumed and thought she was? Diantha knew nothing of this family or this world… the world she knew was in France, where she was on her way to building a life for herself within the House of France’s Royalty. Ohhh, she had neve envisioned or desired a Royal life for herself, she would never presume to make that step. She understood her place in life, or rather she had understood until now! All she had really wanted out of life was a happy home, a kind husband who she could grow to love, a family of children and ohhh Yes, a library full of books! At her young age, she thought those things not overly much to wish for in her future and considering her station in life? She knew what her life would entail and she had been prepared for it. Now, though it had all been stripped away from her and replaced with this new life which she was told that she must accept and move on with it?
Diantha was escorted to her new home, her new family by a “brother” she knew nothing of? Well, to give him his due credit, Sir Francis had been kind and concerned for her well being. He had spent some amount of time trying to reassure her that all would be fine eventually, it would take them all much time but they would work this out and rise above it? He was so sure that she almost believed him? Lady Eleanor had said much the same to her when they parted. She did not understand really why she could not just simply go with Lady Eleanor and Jane? They were her family, she cared not what anyone said otherwise! She had seen the tears in Lady Eleanor’s eyes throughout their meeting. The only other time she had ever seen Lady Eleanor shed a tear was when they had parted the past year ago. Diantha cared not what anyone tried to tell her… the only Mother she knew in her heart was Lady Eleanor and she knew that Lady Eleanor felt much the same towards her. She felt it in Eleanor’s soft touches on her, she heard it in her voice even when the Lady Eleanor felt the need to be harsh with her! The last time they had parted, she understood that it was what most young Noble girls were trained and prepared for, to be of service to a Noble Woman until their time came to be wed. She had been scared and sad at leaving her home but excited as well for the next stage of her life. Lady Eleanor had trained her exceptionally well, she was an excellent young lady in waiting with high values and morals which she would not compromise just to please some young… or old man who only wanted one thing! She had been happy at court, well liked and looked out for. Some might say she had been pampered there… but, if she was favored it was because of her behavior and her generally happy disposition. Many of the Noble Women at court and the men as well, treated her as they might treat a child they were missing? Diantha may have been a relative to the not so well liked Marie but Francois’ family had quickly set that aside and took Diantha into their hearts. They had planned to arrange her marriage and provide the dowry for her ensuring that a good match would be made for her. That was her future, she had been happy with it!
Now, it was all gone… Now, even the joy of being back with Eleanor and Jane was gone as well. She tried to remember Lady Eleanor’s words to her, to hold on to them and be that Lady which Eleanor expected her to be. During the short trip from the castle to Woodlyon Keep, she kept repeating it to herself, “You will not cry, You will not cry. You are a Lady, You are a fine young Lady of good upbringing and beliefs… You will not cry and show yourself a fool!” She sat in the carriage across from Francis, her eyes closed to keep back the tears and her fists clenched to keep her hands from trembling. By the end of the journey, her reminders had done no good… tears were rolling down her cheeks, her face was pale and her entire body was trembling. She startled when she felt a somewhat rough hand touch her face to whipe the tears. Blinking back another tear she looked across into the saddened face of Francis, who was now handing her a cloth to dry her face.
“This was not any easier for me when I had to face it, Little One” He reached over and squeezed her hand in comfort and reassurance, “Nor is it any easier for those waiting for us? We have all suffered and felt like our world was destroyed. Now, We must find a way to put it back to rights for all of us?” Diantha silently nodded her head and squeezed his hand back.
Arriving at the Keep, he lifted her out and stood close with his arm supporting her, “Come, We’ll face it together, You and I together Little One” She took a deep breath and held tight to his hand. While walking up to the entrance she suddenly stopped and stared, turning to him, she fearfully asked, “Why are there Lions? Are we as ferocious as all that? Am I the only one who has not inherited some of this trait?”
He did not outright laugh, only smiled gently and explained, “The Lions are part of our name, and I would assume, our ancient heritage? You would have ask Lady Leona about that? I believe it has something to do with Lion of the Woods?” He patted her arm and continued, “And, don’t fret Little One, I think that if need be you could well summon up a lion’s share of temper!”
Diantha arrived inside to meet her Mother and sister, and immediately siezed on the thought that it was her sister who scared her the most? It was her sister who obviously had inherited the Lion’s share of Temper and wildness? It was her sister’s untamed wild spirit though that raised her own flare of a Lion’s pride and temper! It could be said that theirs was an instant case of Sibling Rivalry? They stared at each other with equal disdain and contempt. Lady Leona had seen the looks pass and quickly inserted herself between the girls… a space she would maintain for a goodly amount of time! The two girls never said a word to each other… they didn’t have to, their glares and glances said far more than words ever could.
Lady Leona was quickly swept into keeping peace in her own household! She had not quite expected this particular situation on top of all else she had to deal with! Her response to the war of the maidens was quite simple… She installed them in a suite together and insisted they learn to get along or be quite miserable together if she should decide upon locking them in there? They were both shocked and started to argue with her… She remained calm and serene with them while raising her hand at them to stop,
“We are a family, whether you like it or not, that is what we are and will be forever more! It will serve no useful purpose to waste our time and our energies on fighting with each other when we still have far bigger battles to fight and conquer!” With that said, she stepped in the middle again, put an arm around each… holding tightly to them so they could not escape… and guided them up the stairs to their new suite! As she opened the door and led them in, she left them with one last comment, “I know you are both young ladies of the highest caliber and quality? Please remember that as I prefer not to treat you as errent children?” She stepped out of the room, shut the door and locked them in for the evening. She stood there for a time waiting for their response which she had a feeling would come soon.
Soon enough she was rewarded with yelling, name calling, things being thrown at the door or each other… Francis came running up the stairs on hearing the commotion. He frowned at her standing outside the door, “What The Bloody Blazes is going on? And, why are you not doing something about it!” His temper was now rising as well, he could not believe his Mother would just stand there and allow Gods knew what to go on in there!
She just smiled and said, “Your sisters are getting to know each other a bit better? I am doing something, I am standing here guarding the door should one of them manage to pry it off it’s hinges! And, I am listening, If I should hear a blood letting scream that speaks of true injuries, then I shall intervene?” Francis just stared her still not quite believing… “Ohhh Don’t worry so much Francis, this is what they should have done as children but didn’t get a chance to. They must get it out of their heads and hearts now, tis much better to get it all over with at once than to let them draw it out for a longer period of time and us all suffer for it!”
Francis shook his head at her and questioned, “But, they’re young Ladies! They sound like a pack of lads tossing about on each other. What if Leora hurts her?” That was his true concern… he had witnessed Leora’s wild temper and feared for Diantha’s safety!
Leona laughed, “Really Francis, I shall let you in on a secret, girls can often toss about on each other as well or worse than lads can! Mainly because lads have some battle ethics? Young girls have no such ethics when it comes to a brawl, Why do you think they call it a cat fight?”
At this, He voiced even more concern, “Well Good Gods, Then why leave the girl alone in there with Leora! Have you no care, no concern for Diantha!”
At his raised voice, she shushed him, whispered back “Of course I have a care for Diantha! I am doing this for her! I have the distinct feeling that she has more than her own share of Lion’s temper and ire built up within her and my heart tells me that the girl will come out even or possibly ahead in this battle?” She continued on, “You see, that child is full of pent up anger and frustration. She will let it all out at Leora, who may appear to be the stronger one… But, Leora vents her ire and anger at will on a daily basis? She will soon tire of it, calm down and think rationally. I firmly believe this will be a turning point and well learned lesson for them both? After they tire of fighting with each other, blaming each other, they will team up and work together to devise a way out of their situation!” She sighed and let a yawn escape, “By morning they will be working together as a united front against their common enemy, Me!”
Francis was amazed at his Mother’s strategy with the girls, using battle strategies to conquer her own children! He slowly smiled at her and sighed himself, “I can see I have much left to learn about life and about women!” Leona hugged him and chided, “Ohhhh I am quite sure you know more than I as your Mother want to admit or know about!”
7/30/13 update 1
Much later that night, Lady Leona returned to stand outside the door. Hearing no sounds, she carefully unlocked it and slipped quietly into the room. Holding a small candle close, she observed the wreckage, clothing, books, broken shards of knicknacks and pottery littered the floor. Yes, they had done a fine job of it! She ventured towards the sleeping chamber and peeked in to find the two girls curled together sound asleep on the floor between the beds. She stood for a moment, gazing at these two young women so strong, rebellious and ferocious earlier, now nestled together sleeping like exhausted kittens! Tears filled her eyes for the events of their childhood she had missed and could never regain except in moments like this? Delicate, doll like, fragile looking Diantha, the one who anyone would think should have been the broken loser of the battle… was wrapped around a curled up Leora, her arms still wrapped closely and tightly around the older, supposedly stronger one? In their sleep, it was apparent to Lady Leona who had broken down first and foremost. Leora’s face was still swollen and blotched from her outburst and the tidal wave of tears and sobs that had followed.
Leona left the room as quietly as she had entered, returning to her own suite to contemplate all that passed and think of what was still to come? Their battles and wars had not ended, but hopefully now the battles would not be in their own home!
Francis had left Lady Eleanor upstairs earlier and found he needed his own contemplation over a stiff drink… or two! This recent outburst between his sisters had shocked him? Ohhh he knew women, or thought he knew them… He had never really understood them, having not been raised around them but spending most of his youthful years in the company of men and other boys. Francis guessed he knew the appealing, attractive aspects which women and young ladies most often chose to present to all around them? Most of his experiences with women had been in that context. Meeting them at court, where they tried valiently to impress all of the men and compete with their peers. Yes, he had seen the surface side of some of their not so pleasant or likeable traits such as their petty jealousies, their conniving and back stabbing gossip at times. But, this experince of living with these women was teaching him much about the deeper emotions, the difficulties and limits that men placed on them, so often for their own greeds and desires for power, and control! He was quickly coming to care deeply for these women he now called family. He cared not just for their physical safety and well being but for their hearts and their happiness. He worried about what the future would bring, or do to them? Francis could now admit to himself that in all honesty, if one ever tried to hurt these women again, He would see them dead for their efforts! As for them hurting each other, that had scared him nearly as much? All he could do right now was pray that Leona had been correct in her assumptions on it? The thought of one sister beating the blazes out of the other was more than he could decipher or tolerate? After much thought, he made his own way up to the room to assure himself they were both still alive!
He once more found Leona standing near the door, lost in thoughts with a trace of tears yet in her eyes but a slight smile lighting her face. She blinked back a tear and reached out to stroke his face softly, “Shhhh I know, I could not rest easily either until I was sure my plan had not horribly blown back upon me?” she whispered as she motioned for him to go in and reassure himself.
The next day, true to Leona’s expectations, the girls seemed to have set aside their differences and presented a united front against Leona, which she took in stride and accepted! Her comment to them was, “I see that you have both learned a valuable lesson from this? You have learned to set aside your personal differences in order to battle a shared enemy!” She laughed, “Which unfortunately happens to be me for the time being!” Her conversation then turned serious, “Now, you will set aside that battle temporarily to assist this family in battling a much larger shared enemy?” She had their puzzled attention now, all three of her children were staring at her. “This enemy is dangerous to us all, not just us a family, but to our existance as we know it?” She motioned for them to follow her up to the library to one place where she felt they could be assured complete privacy in their discussion. In the library, Leona pressed on a panel of the bookcase to open a concealed door. She ushered them into the small room and closed the door. Leona stood back while the others surveyed their surroundings.
Their responses varied from Francis sigh of resignation and understanding of what the room was, “I suppose I should say I am not surprised, and I mightily concur that tis best to keep this hidden for the time being, into the forseeable future?” He ran his fingers through his hair and exhaled heavily, “I would truly hate for us all to be burned to a crisp before we even get to a forseeable future!”
Leora’s reaction was one more of awe and pleased acceptance,”So, You have not betrayed us completely, nor turned your back on your faith and your true calling!” She smiled and reached a hand towards her Mother’s. “Perhaps this is a start, a bridge to us forming a better understanding of each other?”
Diantha’s reaction was one more of fear and terror at what she was seeing. Her only thoughts were of what she surmised this to be and it gave her a sickening feeling of dread deep in the pit of her stomach. Her mind and her heart raced while she fought for words, “ This, this… is witchcraft!” Her voice shook along with her voice, “This is your religion? This is blasphemy, herecy, Francis is right! This will surely burn us all for just knowing of it!” She panicked and had difficulty catching her breath. The room started swirl about her and she felt herself about to faint!
Francis caught his sister before she could fall to the floor and held her tightly while struggled to regain her senses. He glared at his Mother when Leora spoke up, “You should have left her out of this! At least until it could be better explained to her!” Leora’s temper flaired, “She knows nothing of this or of us. She will put us at more risk than be of any help to us!”
Leona let them have their say before she voiced her response. “Are you both quite finished now?” She arched an eye at them waiting for them to speak. Neither of them did. “Granted, your sister knows nothing of this, of her family, her heritage, her past or her own destiny?” She reached for Diantha’s hand as Diantha cringed and tried to pull away. Leona was much quicker and stronger, she held her youngest daughter’s hand firmly and continued, “Matters are truly grave right now and she is at risk whether she knows or doesn’t. It’s far better for her to know, to be prepared in advance!”
The three young people stood together, clasping their hands in their own trepidition as Leona went on with her speech to them, “The greater enemy out there somewhere is Your Father, who has learned enough about this ancient religion to be a danger to all? He has wrecked havoc and chaos upon the past, the present, and ultimately the future! He know just enough to create distruction, he thinks he can bend the forces to his will and reap the benefits. What he does not understand is that ultimately, he will cause his own collaps and that of everything and everyone he has touched in some way? Including all of us!”
Three faces stared at her in stunned, terrified silence, none of them able to voice a response! Not even Leora, normally never one at a loss for words? They all wondered how she could remain so still, so calm in the face of this?
Leona took the remaining hands, held them and formed a circle of her family. “We must remain a united force together in this battle, We must clear our hearts and our minds of all else, focus only finding him, and stopping him from any further destruction. Unfortunately, we can not undo the damage he has already created. That is what we must all learn to live with. What we can do is find a way to end his reign, his path of terror before it further does any damage to the world we live in!”