“Must you leave so soon? I’m afraid Mama and Father won’t know how to run Moredian without constant guidance from an expert.” Pelith demonstrated her well-practiced curtsy when saying goodbye to the departing Niolas.
“Ha, Pelith, please don’t do that! I appreciate your devotion to perfection, but honestly, you can’t fool me. I know how much you hate such ridiculous formal behavior. No need for that here.” They shared a laugh. It felt so good to laugh. Calioniel had decided that Pelith must begin wearing a corset, and it was so horrid. Pelith could hardly breath, but she had snuck down to say goodbye to her cousin without it. It was so nice to laugh freely!
“Besides, you know I should get back to Qigondra. But I’ll always be here when you need me. And, hey girly-I promise you, it’ll be all right so don’t freak again. Take it easy. Tell that horse of yours goodbye for me, and I’ll come back in a few months to see how things are coming along.” He ruffled her hair, and then set off on his own horse. Pelith held her smile till he was out of sight, and then let it drop. Niolas’s words repeated in her head several times. ‘...don’t freak again...’ It had been a week since Jeridus had brought Pelith and Culia back. No doubt, people thought she was delusional. Even in the halls among the servants, Pelith could hear whispers being exchanged among the servants. Every time there was a conversation that was inaudible to Pelith, she wished she had stayed in the woods.
Calioniel had been hiding in their house ever since; she was so embarrassed, she claimed she would never be able to show her face in public again. She had forbidden Pelith to leave the house, but at night, Pelith would sneak out to hunt. The only other person she would tell was Trylia, who would deliver any meat Pelith caught to the kitchen.
Pelith turned back towards the house, but a sudden shout caught her attention. A market stood maybe fifty yards from Pelith, where a crowd began to gather. Pelith approached the mob, curious. The people surrounded a figure Pelith couldn’t yet make out. Then, a deafening wail began, and Pelith could see a woman, tears streaming down her face, crouched over the figure. Pelith could finally see what it was, and wished she hadn’t. She gagged at the sight.
Of a child.
With a knife driven into his chest.
But this wasn't the part that bothered Pelith the most, though it was still exceedingly gruesome. She could see the gold plated blade, despite the rust-colored blood that had dried over it. She could see the red stone implanted at the end of the hilt near the blade, and the blue stone at the tip of the hilt. And she could see the fancy ‘P’ in the middle of the blade. The ‘P’ that stood for Pelith. That was her name.
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