“So, you were saying?”
“It’s a long story, but it really comes down to this: someone tried to kill me. The arrow didn’t hit me, but it did cause me to fall from a cliff. When I landed, I must have hit my head on something. For a long while I didn’t even know my own name.” Therese closed her eyes, apparently calling forth her memories.
“I was washed a long way down a river and was later found by some kind people who nursed me back to health. When my memory returned, I wanted to go home—to the palace at Shimeron.”
“But you didn’t.”
“Many among the people I met were Oathtakers. When they found me, they feared I’d been the target of an assassination attempt. They begged me to allow them to investigate the facts quietly. Together we worked to get people placed strategically in and around the palace in an effort to learn as much as we could.”
“How dreadful,” Nina said.
“Yes,” Mara agreed. “Then what?”
“Some time passed. Eventually we learned that my sister, Rowena, and her Oathtaker, Dixon Townsend, left the palace. The popular story was that Rowena feared someone there.”
“No, but we believed the stories that my sister was in danger, were true. The first family—my family—thought me dead. In the end, it seemed that whether Rowena had reason to fear someone at the palace or not, I was safer from the reach of an assassin if the story of my death remained. So as much as I miss Basha and my home, I took what seemed the most reasonable action and stayed away.”
“That’s all in keeping with what I’ve heard.”
“May I ask where you got your information?” Therese asked. “You see, if you know about me, then I have to assume that I’m not as safe as I’d thought.”
Her question was fair enough, but Mara wasn’t ready to concede any information. “Well for now, I’ll tell you that the source of my information doesn’t know you still live. You’re in no greater danger than you believed yourself to be in before I told you what I know.”
Therese looked carefully at Mara, a question in her eyes. Stifling it, she resumed her story.
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