A New Order, from Fen's Memoirs

I stayed many days at the seaside thanks to the gracious hospitality by the locals toward the king's mistress. Even though I had traveled with only the clothes on my back there was such an outpouring of gifts that I in turn needed to give away before my departure.

The journey, at a relaxed pace, took the better part of a day. After taking my horse back to the stables I went to my quarters to change and rest before the evening meal. Soon there was a knock at my door. It was Misha holding a letter.

"I heard you were back." He came inside and handed the letter to me.

"Thank you," I said. I recognized the Hetta's handwriting at once.

My Dearest Fen,

If you are reading this, please know that I am sorry that I did
not have the chance to say goodbye in person. I have been in service to your family for three generations, loving each of you as my own.

After you left, I received word from Vay that a great friend of mine in the House has begun a rapid decline and her memory is quickly fading. For whatever time she may have left and despite whatever the toll it will take on me, I must be at her side. I pray that you will understand and forgive my hasty departure. I am set to leave
with King Roarke and D'Hir who have graciously offered to send be the rest of the way to Kanabulan with escort. I can teach you no more, my dear Fen.

With Much Affection,

Your adoring Hetta

I cried. It was a much needed release. I buried my head on Misha's chest and he put his arms around me.

"This isn't about Hetta, is it?" I shook my head. "There is another letter for you."

"God--not from D'Hir," my voice crackled.

"Not from D'Hir. I wouldn't expect to hear from him any time soon."

I looked up at him and he smiled warmly. "Well?"

"Yes, give it to me."


"Yes, please, Misha. May I have the letter?"

"There will be a lecture later." Misha reached into his shirt and handed me another letter. I looked at it for a moment.

"Is it from--?"


"Read it to me."

"Absolutely not."

"Have you read it?"

"No, but he handed it to me personally."

"Did he say anything to you?"

"He said, 'Please give this to Fen.' Now if you want to know anything more, open the damn letter!" He left the room.

I tore open the letter and sat down on the couch.

Dear Lady Fenwick,

We leave today to Cznor. In all this time since you've been gone
I have not regained sufficient courage to speak freely with the King and Queen. I shall be eternally grateful for the trust and kindness between us. As I return to my home, it is my utmost concert that D'Hir and I must suffer the loss of our loved ones once more, only now as we rewrite history with the truth that must be told I fear is will be more painful to him than the lies.

I must apologize to you, Fen, that I have you at a terrible disadvantage. D'Hir's letters to me spoke countless volumes of your warmth, beauty and great tenacity. When the dust has settled, I should like very much to have the opportunity to see you again.

Until then,


I read it twice more before placing it in a locked drawer along with the letter from Hetta. As I went to pick up the pitcher from my vanity to have it sent down to the kitchen for some warm water, my foot caught on something on the floor. It was Roarke's shirt. I folded it and placed it with the letters.

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