He remembered the day Basha had lost her charge as though it was yesterday. The first family of the Select, Rowena, Lilith, Sally, Janine, Therese, Dianna and Eve, along with Rowena’s husband, Grant, Dianna’s husband, Michael, and Eve’s husband, Newland, were on an outing on the grounds far out from the palace. Their Oathtakers, Dixon, Marshall, Ronald, Gisele, Basha, Kenneth, and Marcel, accompanied them.
Assassinations of the Select in the surrounding communities had been increasing, but everyone believed they were safe on palace grounds. Even so, their children were not in attendance. Their parents had already sent them away to various places for their safety.
After an early hunt, the family made its way to a favorite picnic area near a cliff above the Mando River. The day had started with a fresh rain, but then gradually warmed, leaving the verdant green grasses begging for company. It was an appeal the family was all too happy to grant. They relaxed and visited, enjoying one another’s company and freedom from duty for the day.
No one knew who shot the arrows that suddenly intruded upon their tranquility. When they realized they were under attack, Dixon and Marshall ran toward the source. The remaining Oathtakers surrounded the first family.
Basha and her charge, Therese, stood at the edge of a cliff a short distance from the others, overlooking a waterfall. When they heard screams over the surging water, Basha quickly calculated the risks of rushing her charge to safety with the others.
It was then that Therese staggered and fell down the cliff and into the water. Basha tried to catch her, but was a step too far away. No one knew if an arrow had hit Therese, but even if not, the likelihood of her surviving the fall was slim. Still, Basha demanded that a full guard accompany her to search the area and then to explore further downstream for several miles.
The hunt stretched out for days, but they never recovered Therese’s body. She was the first of the first family to meet her demise. The event seemed to cause the family to start to unravel, stitch by stitch. All of Rowena’s earlier work to bring them together, which had appeared to be taking hold, was coming apart.
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