My sister, Nancy, is alive.
She had gotten abducted by slavers after the wreckage of our home, and she was sold to the Count of Ely. She had a son.
I only knew this because I was commissioned by the King Chess Piece to assassinate Bosa Nova, Count of Ely, and his son, who bore the same name.
It was a pity that this self-same Bosa II Nova was my sister’s son. It’s how she found me and we were reunited – perhaps on the wrong foot.
I feel no regret.
She did not wish to abscond her surroundings, wailing loudly for her lover and her son, and I did not wish to endure her criticism.
So I left her there, to her wailing and crying and cursing.
It has been some years since I joined the Chess Pieces, and I remain just a humble Pawn – like Pinky and many others. I was under the careful watch and tutelage of the Black Bishop Marmaduke Miner. There were certain principles to be obeyed and skills to be learned.
I wonder now why I choose to ignore him so much.
A strong tenet of the Order was an oath of celibacy.
Ignored this tenet quite staunchly along with my fellow Pawn, Pinky.
“Crion?” she’d asked me this morning, “Do you wonder why we are never moved up a rank?”
I gave her a look, “With what we’re like, do you wonder as to why we remain within the Order? And haven’t been thrown to the dogs long ago?”
She laughed, “That wasn’t my point. They don’t know of our doings. They don’t see us. Why, after all this time, are we still Pawns? Small and expendable?”
“It’s because they do know, Pinky. Yes, perhaps they don’t know the finer details – but they know that we’re mucking about.”
She huffed, “I wasn’t doing any such a thing until I met you, Crion. And I’ve been with them since I was a little girl. I was born into the Order.”
“Pinky…” I said carefully, “Are you having second thoughts?”
“Crion… I feel as though they’ve got everyone where they want and they send us out to do all their dirty work. It’s us who do the fighting and it’s us who do all the dying – and the rest: the Bishops, the Knights, the Castles, the King, the Queen… they never get their feet wet. Their dramatic speeches and their courageous zeal has melted into thin administration.”
I stood up then, and turning my back on her, “I can’t believe what you are saying,” I said, “I’ll not have talk of this.”
“Where are you going?”
“Far, far away from you. The Chess Pieces aided me when I had no aid, and they’re putting the murderers of my family to justice. I’ll not be ungrateful for that.”
“But they had you kill your own nephew! They made a widow of your own sister!”
“I can only assume that her husband was responsible for the murders – or, at least, partially so – and it is debateable whether or not his lineage should continue. The King knows best.”
“You’ve been so enraptured by them!”
“I owe them a debt that can never be paid, Pinky!”
She grabbed my shoulder as I went out of the door, “You owe them nothing. All their work – you have done!”
I turned to her, still very angry, “What are you saying? That I should leave them?”
There were tears in her eyes, “Crion… I am pregnant.”
I paused at this, “Then…” I said, not expecting this, “then you must eat pennyroyal and abort the pregnancy.”
“I haven’t the heart to do such a thing, Crion, not to my own child. Not to your child,” she bowed her head, a hand to her abdomen, “I know what will happen, Crion. They did as much to my parents who broke the tenet of celibacy. They’ll kill us and make a murderer of our child.”
“Then I will confess to the Bishop–”
“Are you insane?” she howled, “Are you mad, Crion? Will you herald our early deaths?”
“We have nothing left to live for, Pinky. That is what this Order dictates. That is why we are here anyway. We must die one day – now or in fifty years: what does it matter?”
“Is that supposed to bring me comfort?” she said, tears streaming down her face, “You are wrong, Crion. We have something to live for. It grows right now within me.”
I turned away, walking to the end of the corridor.
“Don’t do it, Crion!” Pinky screamed.
I turned slightly, “Leave,” I said, “Leave and go far from here. I’m going to confess. If I live, I will come find you. If I do not–” I paused, “What does it matter?”
I am sure that this will be my final entry in this notebook. I hope and pray that Pinky is safe and finds this so that she may know what I could not say aloud:
I love her and I hope that our child stays far from the clutches of the Chess Pieces.
I am too far-gone to retreat from my ways now. I was corrupted and misled onto the path I now tread. If I die, hopefully, they will not hunt for Pinky.
But if I live, they will hunt me and they will find me, and kill our child.