Storm Rising

Once you stain the family honor, all hell breaks loose.

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1. Rose

    The birth was painful. So painful. I lay in bed panting. When I heard the wailing of my children, I could only manage a small smile before I lost consciousness. When I awoke, the midwives brought me my beautiful baby boys; I softly wept tears of joy.
   The boys looked so much like their father: platinum white hair, his mouth, and his dimples. One midwife told me that the oldest, Brandon, came into the world holding the younger one's, Colbe's, foot. I laughed softly, and even the boys seemed to smile.
   "If only Ashmont were here," I whispered to myself. The very thought of Ashmont brought me to tears. He was one of the twelve members of the Kingsguard. He died a fortnight ago when the king was ambushed by savages. The king survived, thank the gods, but it wasn't fair to me. Ashmont should be here to share in the joy I am experiencing.
   The cool air blew through the window. I pulled my boys closer to me. Then, a thought hit me. The boys needed a fatherly figure. I thought about all of those who could be a guide for them growing up.
  
I came to the decision that their uncle, Ashmont's brother, Sir Marken, would raise them. I would stay here in Wyvernham and run House Storm myself. I fetched one of my servants to get the carriage ready for depature. The midwives came to get Brandon and Colbe while I got ready. I slowly rose from the bed and made my way over to the mirror.
   I looked myself over in the mirror. My curly brown hair went down to the small of my back, my icy blue eyes shone bright even though it was dark outside. I picked out my dress and cloak, and then I made my way down to the Gate of  Storm, the gate led out of Wyvernham. Once outside, I told Ashmont's most loyal and trusted knight, Sir Geoffrey, to watch over House Storm in my absense. The cool outside air gently brushed against my cheek. I welcomed the cool breeze.
   I decided that I would take two wetnurses with me, one for Brandon and one for Colbe. As I entered the carriage, a light snow started to fall.
   Winter has come at last, I thought to myself. I waved to the driver once I was inside the carriage. The carriage jolted out of the Gate of Storm and took down the Mainroad. The Mainroad was one long road that led from one end of the kingdom to the other. The Mainroad was very dangerous whenever it snowed.
   I would sooner brave the gods themselves if it meant doing the right thing for my boys. After a few hours of riding, I fell asleep. I didn't sleep long. One of the wetnurses woke me up, and they nursed the boys while I was asleep. Once we reached Sir Marken's villa, we were welcomed as honored guests.
   "Ah! The noble and beautiful Lady Rose," Sir Marken said helping me out of the carriage. The snow crunched beneath my feet. "How is my brother's wife?"
   "I have a surprsie for you, Sir Marken," I said smiling. The wetnurses handed me my boys, and I presented them to their uncle. He stared at them in awe.
   "They have your eyes milady," he said. "Oh, milady, forgive me for my slowness. You must be cold with it being winter and all. Please come into my villa."
   We entered Sir Marken's villa. It was a grand sight to behold. Red carpets, black curtains, and life size statues of past Storms. All along the walls were the banners of House Storm. That confused me.
   "Sir Marken," I said trying to match his pace as he was a tall well built man. "You still carry the banners of House Storm?" He chuckled and looked at me with light red eyes. The "Eye of the Storm" some call it.
   "Why yes," he said. "I am a Storm am I not?"
   "A Storm you are, but why didn't you stay at House Storm with Ashmont your brother? You could've helped run it." He was about to answer, but Brandon started wailing. Gods he had powerful lungs.
   "I think he calls for his mother," Marken said handing Brandon to me. My baby was silent after I burped him. I looked at Colbe; he was fast asleep.
   We were passing the stairs when the Lady Cateryna, Marken's wife, came down. She gasped at the sight of me.
   "Lady Rose Storm!" she said embracing me. I felt like a twig in her arms. She was a rather large woman. I felt as though she could break me half if she felt like it. "How do you fare?"
   "I fare well," I said after I was free of her grasp. I curtsied and gave her warm smile. "Lady Cateryna, meet your nephews Brandon and Colbe." She looked them up and down.
   "By the gods! They most definitely have the Storm hair... and they have your eyes! How adorable!" I smiled and turned to Sir Marken.
   "Sir Marken," I said, "might we talk some place private? Lady Cateryna, I would like for you to be there as well. We have important business to discuss."
   "Of course," Sir Marken said uneasily. "Let's go to my hidden studies."
   Marken led us down a secret staircase. There were no laterns so I had to be extra careful for my sake and Brandon's. We finally reached a door that led to a room that was full of scrolls, books, and other things. Sir Marken led us to a table. He helped me and Lady Cateryna sit down.
   "I need a favor from you," I said looking at Sir Marken then to Lady Cateryna.
   "Of course, Lady Rose. Name your favor," Lady Cateryna said.
   "I-I need you to keep Brandon and Colbe for me." Marken and Cateryna exchanged wary looks at each other.
   "You mean... for like a week?" Sir Marken asked. I looked at Brandon, brushed some hair from out of his eyes, and said, "Until they're fourteen."
   The room was silent. Silent as the grave. Sir Marken and Lady Cateryna talked quietly for several minutes. Finally, Sir Marken faced me and looked me straight in the eyes.
   "We'll do it," he said. I silently thanked the gods. "But you are going to visit aren't you?"
   "Of course, Marken," I said. "Maybe three times a week."
   Once the arrangements were made, I found myself back in the carriage. I kissed my boys goodbye and thanked Marken and Cateryna. As the carriage took me back to Wyvernham, I couldn't help but think that I did the right thing.

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