“I’m Mara. I’m Oathtaker to this child and also to the other lying just there.” She nodded toward Eden.
Therese looked at the infant. “Two charges? I’ve never heard of such a thing. And pray tell, who are these children?”
Mara took hold of the blanket swaddled around Reigna, then lifted away the portion covering her face.
“Therese,” she said as she bowed first at Reigna, then at her visitor, “I would like you to meet your niece, Rowena’s daughter, a seventh seventh, Reigna.”
Her mouth dropped open. “Rowena’s daugh— My niece! Oh!”
“But there’s more.”
“Yes. You see, I also need to introduce you to another.” Mara placed Reigna on the bed, then crouched down for Eden.
“Therese,” she said as she moved the blanket from the child’s face, “I’d also like to introduce you to another of your nieces, Eden. She is also Rowena’s daughter and—and don’t ask me what to call her!”
“I . . . I . . .” Therese stuttered. Her eyes darted from one of the children to the other.
“You seem to be at a loss for words.”
“Why,” she gasped, “I am!” She held her hand to her throat. “When I heard the news of Rowena’s death, I guess I just assumed the child hadn’t survived. Oh, but this is wonderful! Two babies. How is that even possible? Does Lucy know? How’d you get the compact? Did Rowena tell you of it? How well did you know her? Where did you meet her? When—”
“Stop!” Mara held her hand out. “I told you I’d fill you in, and I will. For now, let’s just agree to say nothing further of our means of communicating with Lucy.”
“Yes, of course.”
“Fine. I’ll have Nina return. Then I’ll tell you my story—that is, the girls’ story.”
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