Painting Easter Eggs with the kids

  

Yes even the furry child, it seems no one in this house can do arts and crafts without his ‘help’ lol. Last year the kids did a dozen small fake eggs.  This we consolidated but going with on big egg each, from Walmart.  

Sadly I am starting to realize that my step kids just aren’t that in to art.  They were excited to do it but spent all of maybe 10 minutes on the project with no real plan or purpose to their craft.

Awe well it was fun anyway.  

I did however spend so much time trying to keep the cat out of everything that I haven’t even painted mine yet.  Mine was the white one.

   

         

Fiction Friday – Update

i have finished chapter 4 of the 2nd draft of my novel.  It may need a little more detail before I ship it to my editor but so far I like the new direction that it’s going.  Much of the first story remains but we added twists and more information is revealed in a way that makes more sense.  

As for the Dark Angel series, I am about half way through the 3rd installment but currently a little writers blocked on it.  I may just have to start over from scratch to get it back on track.

Dark Angel: A Sinister Sister – Part 3

dark-angel-cover-art-02A Sinister Sister – Part 3

Dark Angel Series

By Kathryn E Wanta

(Rated T for Teen, some language, violence and suggestive undertones.)

If you haven’t read the first and second part Click Here!

Part 3 of  3

The delay also served a greater purpose; it left her captives alone with their thoughts. They would torment themselves further without any assistance from her. It prolonged the pain and suffering of the victims, and was a common practice among the people of the Dark Side.

Deacon stood guard while they waited for Dire to return and finish the task at hand. He kept looking down. He was her submissive not her equal. In due time, the poor guy would be eaten alive by her wicked ways.

“I don’t know what she promised you, but the King will not risk having a Shade take his place on the throne of Beira. He’ll kill you before he would see you marry his daughter. It’s one thing to be her boy toy and slave,” Kee warned.

“You don’t know her.”

“Neither do you.” Kee was sure of that. “Is that even your real body, or did you steal that too; the way that you stole my friend’s affection, ever so briefly?”

“Does it matter?” he asked, looking at Jinx as he spoke. “It’s mine now and I intend to keep what I take.” There had been a hint of honesty to the words he had told Jinx before.

“Dire is shallow. She will want beautiful children. Nothing less will do. Your true self may shine through in the end. Is it as appealing as this?” Jinx questioned, gesturing to his overall appearance.

“Stop playing mind games with me. I have made my bed and I will lay in it. I accept the possibility of failure; I assure you that I can do no worse. I wouldn’t expect you, of all people, to understand the struggles of the common man,” he fired back at Kee. Jinx seemed to understand him in that regard. It paid to align yourself with people of power and purpose, but it didn’t mean they understood you. The princess was not one of them; she was above them. “I don’t take relationship advice from the dead anyway.” With that he started to walk away.

“You should. It takes a skill that you lack to win the hearts of the righteous,” Kee taunted. Now it was her turn however to beg for forgiveness. It was her fault that Jinx was in this mess now. If not for their friendship, Dire would have never set her sights on her. She wouldn’t have even mattered to the spoiled princess. It was as if she had painted the target on her friend’s back herself. Kee hated that feeling of guilt and failure.

She had to get them out of this alive, if at all possible. The magic dust didn’t seem to affect her the way it had Jinx, so there was a chance that she could get away, but not without her friend. Kee knew her age and lack of experience were weaknesses. She just didn’t know what to do, so she threw her head back and let a few tears roll down her face. The ability to feel emotional pain was an angel’s greatest strength. They hated the feeling, and it fueled their rage.

That is when something unexpected caught her attention; a glimmer of hope that instantly warmed her heart. It just happened to be when Dire and Deacon returned. She couldn’t hide her grin, despite the appearance of the water still on her cheeks and in her eyes. The smile bothered Dire. Her sister wasn’t supposed to be enjoying this in any way.

“What are you so happy about?” She seemed annoyed by the thought that Kee might actually be enjoying herself.

“I missed you,” Kee joked. Dire didn’t appreciate her humor when she was trying to strike fear into her baby sister. Threatening her with death didn’t seem to faze her; truthfully Kee just wasn’t going to give her that satisfaction. “So are you going to do it yourself or big ugly over there?” she nodded toward one of the bigger Orcs still standing by the fire, who seemed to like the idea.

Dire just laughed and pulled a blade out of the bag at her side. There would be no risk taking. She would just kill her where she stood. To let her out only gave her and Jinx the opportunity to make this harder than it needed to be.

“So do you think the gatekeeper will miss you in his bed, or simply find another to fill the void?” Dire taunted.

“I don’t know. You should ask him yourself,” Kee explained with a sly smile. Dire just started at her for a moment before it dawned on her what she was implying. The last things she wanted was to confront her sister’s assumed lover, so she moved to strike Kee, only to have the blade suddenly stopped by an unwavering weapon.

Face to face with Meta’s relentless and angry blue eyes, Dire froze and stuttered. This had not been planned for; even the Orcs scrambled to take up their weapons but hesitated to use them on the Archangel. They had not encountered such a mythical beast in battle before and it left them wondering. His power was that of legends. No one had thought he would dare to step foot on the sinful soil of the Buer castle.

“Why take a girl when you could have a woman in your bed?” Dire offered, hoping to tempt him to take another walk on the dark side, not knowing that he had already been there before, with another member of the Buer family. She wasn’t the beauty her mother was, and didn’t have the charm or experience either; Hada had honed her skills over hundreds of years. Dire lacked tack. Not that he was about to make that mistake again. He had been watching, as he always did. He knew what Dire thought was going on, and agreed with his daughter that it was the least of the two evils, so he too allowed Dire to think that she was correct. After all, she wasn’t completely wrong, there was something between them.

“I would not lie with such a sinister thing. I should kill you for even thinking that you had a chance with the likes of me. Keesabella is different, and you know it. Your sister is not like you. She is otherworldly,” Meta explained.

“Other-worldly? She is not angelic in nature. I have seen her cruelty. You have been here too long, I fear. You confuse her appeals with that of your own kind.” With a deep breath Dire debated her options. At this point, she was unsure what the senile angel’s abilities really were, and didn’t want to put him to the test. It might be wise to just admit defeat now and regroup later.

Jinx grinned from ear to ear. Her heart felt joy for her friend. Meta’s appearance there not only would save them, but it proved that he did, in fact, love his child at least enough to break a few rules and risk himself to save her.

By now he had his blade up and ready to strike and to defend the object of his affection, at all costs. In truth, he just wanted a reason to rid the world of the selfish creature before him. He could easily list many reasons why he should, but she was the sister of his only child. That had to mean something to someone.

The pause must have made the Orcs restless and impatient. One of them came barreling toward Meta, carelessly shoving Dire out of his way, eager to go blade to blade with the might of the legendary advisary. The angel did not disappoint. He met the fearless Orc with every powerful blow, seeming to enjoy the break from his boring lookout over the heartless and uncaring lands.

This was exciting and a bit of an adventure for him; stepping into their dark world full of treason and the misdeeds of many. He knew in his heart, as he watched them, that it was wrong, but he was just one man. He couldn’t save them all from themselves, but he could save Keesabella. Meta glanced at her as he continued to do battle with the lone brave Orc. She had somehow become important to him these last few months, and he no longer cared to see her dead. Curious about her future, he wanted her to live awhile longer.

The Orc offered little challenge to the man that had nothing but time to spend practicing and working out. He just thought it wise to put on a bit of a show for the on-lookers, should they consider joining in. He danced about the big ugly monstrous man, stabbing him and causing him as much pain and discomfort and he could, finally slitting his throat with a swift movement and the grace that only an angel could possess.

“That was fun, who’s next?” he asked, eying up Dire, and stepped toward her with his bloody sword pointed at her throat. “She is your sister. I don’t expect you to know what love is, but I do expect you to respect her,” he warned, just as Deacon darted between them.

He shoved Dire behind him and did his best to protect her from that deadly threat. The thought, alone, made Jinx laugh. He was a fool to think that this gesture would in any way influence the heartless princess in his favor. Dire would see it as his duty to her and nothing more, as if he owed her something.

The angel just smiled. He could easily lay waste to the Shade. He offered no challenge to him in this human form, and Deacon had to have known that. What he didn’t seem to realize was that Dire was not worth his sacrifice.

“You would be a fool to lay down your life for her. She cares not for anyone other than herself,” Meta cautioned, but he would gladly do away him any way. It wasn’t his place, but he didn’t agree with what had been done to Jinx. She wasn’t his child, and not his concern at the moment. “I can honestly tell you that she would not do the same for you.”

“Go back to your gate where you belong. This does not concern you in the slightest. She is not different than her sister,” Deacon pointed at Kee, who seemed very calm through the whole ordeal. “They are the same, and you are blind if you can’t see that. She isn’t worth your life either.”

Meta lowered his weapon and looked at the dark skinned girl in the cage. She still had her hand on to the bar and her head resting against the side, bright eyed and happy to see him. Her eyes seemed to twinkle in the fires warm glow. There was no truth to what Deacon said. She wasn’t like Dire, and she was worth dying for, at least to him. It was very wrong of him to feel this way about a creature that he was supposed to hate and be ready to kill without question.

She was immune to the black heart stone because she was immune to the sins of others and unaffected by the light, or lack thereof. Keesabella stood alone in that respect. Even her father had sinned, and now would pay for that sin for the rest of his life. Meta knew it now; she was his curse.

“I am honor bound, unlike you, to that retched thing. I have no choice in the matter. Do you really want to test my resolve?” Meta asked of the already frightened Shade. Deacon shook his head and glanced at Dire over his shoulder.

“I think it wiser to admit defeat this day, my lady. We could live to fight another day, perhaps another way?” Deacon was suggesting to his fair lady that they run away and reconsider their approach in the future. There was more than one way to ruin someone’s life without actually taking it away. The angel couldn’t fight them on all fronts, honor bound or not. Dire nodded, and she and Deacon fled.

Letting the two of them go was Meta’s only good deed for the day. When they were both safely away, he laid waste to the few Orcs that were slow to retreat, despite the loss of their leader just before. He reasoned that they wouldn’t be missed and the world would not suffer their loss.

Lastly, he turned his blade to Jinx, approaching the vampire with caution. She was a half breed, making her, in theory, a much easier kill for him than a full blooded vampire. She was terrified and trapped.

“Not her Meta!” Kee demanded of her father.

“Why not her? What is so special about this one?” he questioned. “Her skin burns just as easily from the stone meant to keep the horrors of the darkness at bay. That means she can be swayed by the darkness. She can and will betray you someday.”

“But not today. Today she is my friend.”

Meta drew in a deep breath before lowering his sword. As both girls relaxed in his presence, he carefully turned the weapon around and held tight to its handle. Jinx studied him carefully, taking in the beauty and aura of something so few there had ever seen. He didn’t approve of her and that still made her worry. She knew that her friend could not protect her from him.

He moved toward Jinx’s cage, as if to let her out, but with a swift almost unseen movement, he reached into the iron box and struck the young girl in the head, as hard as he could, with the hard smooth handle of his sword, knocking her out instantly.

The action enraged his own daughter enough for her to break the door to her own cell and race toward them. He dropped his blade and grabbed her just as she reached for her friend’s cage. With a hand on each of her arms, Meta forced the teen to face him and shook her slightly to calm her, as she screamed at him.

“She’ll be fine,” he assured her. Even a Dhampir was durable enough to sustain such a blow. Though she might wake with a headache, she would awaken, none the less. “I worry about those in your inner circle.”

“There aren’t exactly a lot of quality people to choose from around here, if you haven’t noticed,” Kee pointed out, relaxing enough to make him release her. She casually rubbed the places he had grabbed a hold of her. He was stronger than most knew and would likely leave bruises.

“I have noticed,” he admitted, but that was where he would hold off on admitting more for now. “I worry that even in a land of no light you cast a big shadow, and I know that things, not unlike your friend and your sister, don’t tend to grow well in the shade.”

“What are you implying?”

“You will never be short of enemies, but if you want to keep these… people in your life, I suggest you give them some room to grow from time to time.” He hesitated to call them people at all. They were more like monsters to him.

“How do I do that?” Her body language told him that she was annoyed and upset with him, and rightfully so. Who was he to demand so much of her at a time like this? She barely knew him.

“Distance yourself from them, from time to time; let them figure some things out on their own. I suggest you take this opportunity to disappear for a while. Angels have this little rite of passage and tradition of sorts that I think you could benefit from.” He paused to see if she showed any interest, before continuing. “We send our youth into the woods to fend for themselves for a spell. They need to learn to thrive on their own and operate independently.”

It was a cruel way to teach a child the facts of life, but the angels didn’t get to the top of the evolutionary ladder by letting the weak survive. They were the best of themselves because only the best survived this test.

“There is a mountain area to the west of here; it’s mostly uninhabited and rarely visited by anything of a human nature. You should be able to find yourself there, and in time, these things can grow in your absence. Your family will think you’ve been kidnapped. When you return, you can decide if you still like what your friends and family have become.” He had clearly given this much thought prior to these unfortunate events. It almost sounds like he was admitting that she was his child.

Dark Angel: A Sinister Sister – Part 2

dark-angel-cover-art-02A Sinister Sister – Part 2

Dark Angel Series

By Kathryn E Wanta

(Rated T for Teen, some language, violence and suggestive undertones.)

If you haven’t read the first part Click Here!

Part 2 of  3

The screams echoed down the massive hallway that was the main feature of the Buer castle. It was a familiar sound but still made Jinx cringe at the sharpness and volume at which Dire could shriek at someone. Curiosity got the best of her so she peeked into the throne room just to see who had upset the princess this time.

Deacon stood there with his hands placed neatly behind his back while Dire lectured him about some failed attempt to please her highness. He must have felt another set of eyes on him because he glanced in Jinx’s direction briefly making eye contact with her through the crack in the door. His dark eyes seemed to smile at her, pleased to see her there. A brief break from the fiery breath of his lady love, whom he seemed all too faithful to, despite her harsh treatment.

There must have been something about him that kept Jinx wondering why he endured such a one sided romance. Maybe he was a Shade, as Kee had said, and accepted this as his punishment for his demonic soul; living vicariously through the awful deeds of Dire, too kind to do them himself.

Jinx was spending way too much time in the presence of royals. She was starting to think that this was how life was. Spoiled little rich girls that always got their way. Even Kee had never tasted the bitterness of an average life, and likely never would.

She paused at the open air walkway that lead to the residential part of the massive palace and looked out toward the city. The city market was busy, as usual this time of day. It was the average creature doing their best to get by, while a poor hungry child pondered how to steal a bite to eat from one of the vendors without getting caught.

Her father had told her, the day he saw her talking to the young princess, to align herself with well-to-do people; they would protect her and insure her future, if she would allow them to. Because of her family situation, she would always be somewhat disadvantaged. Vampires wouldn’t see her as one of them and witches would think she was tainted and weak mentally, since she was so strong physically. It was unheard of to be both.

“You look deep in thought,” Deacon stated, approaching her slowly. He had heard enough about her to know that he didn’t want to startle her.

“I am,” Jinx laughed, allowing him to come up alongside her and lean on the ledge.   Nodding toward the market, she voiced her earlier concern. “Why do we put up with these princesses? Is it really worth it to be here instead of there?”

“I don’t know, I kind of like the view.” He seemed very sure of that. Maybe he had once been there looking up at the palace with envy. “I am sorry you had to see that.”

“Sadly, I have seen worse from her. It’s the advantage of being invisible.”

“I see you,” he pointed out, putting a few fingers on her chin to force her gaze to him. “You are more than a wallflower. You are dangerous, like an assassin in the dark, waiting for just the right moment.”

“Flattery will get you nowhere. I dare not take things from the likes of Dire. I cannot afford to make myself more hated than I already am because of the unfortunate circumstances of my birth. But know that you could do better,” Jinx explained.

“Trust me, I understand your plight. Perhaps I can tempt you with chocolate instead? It seems I have mistakenly gotten the wrong kind of sweets for the precious pallet of my loving princess,” he taunted, holding up a box of fine chocolates. “Yours fancies sugar, does she not? As least one of us can come out ahead today.”

It was odd to think of her relationship with Keesabella like that. She wasn’t courting the princess, but she also didn’t want to turn down free chocolate, it was a rare treat as so few people there could make it very well. Maybe with all that has happened they both deserved a treat for once. She thanked him and bid him farewell as he headed back in to try to put out the fire in Dire’s eyes.

________________________________________

They could chow down on sweets and comfort each other on the lack of solid clues as to who or why someone had tried to bring Kee harm. They were lounging on the floor looking out the window toward the gate as what they called night rapidly approached.

“You don’t talk about him much. What is he like?” Jinx asked. She knew the princess had been to see him a few times. She understood the reasons why one might want to get to know their father.

“He’s hard to read and more than a little complicated. I think I was a mistake and he isn’t man enough to correct it,” Kee said coldly. She was surprisingly relaxed as they talked about it, even though the thought made her blood boil slightly. He had a way of making her feel completely worthless and beneath him, but in the same sentence, he also boasted that the best of her came from him.

I never thought I would say this, but for once I am glad that I am not you.” Jinx admitted. It was a hard life that awaited Her Majesty. She would likely never be queen unless she married into another kingdom and if anyone found out her true birth right, she would be dead, regardless of social standing.

“I wish I could tell everyone the truth, and live the shunned life you live with a mother and father that love and support you. I can’t even get mine to admit that they are mine,” Keesa explained. It was an awful thing to be envious of, but Jinx understood what she meant by all of it. By now Kee’s eyes were heavy as she looked over at her friend and the empty chocolate box on the floor. “Where did you get those?”

“From Deacon…” Jinx admitted just before falling fast asleep there on the princess’ floor. The name concerned Kee, as did the fact that Jinx just passed out right before her eyes, but her body refused to respond to her brain’s demands for panic. Sleep just pulled her into its depths anyway.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­______________________________________________________________________

As it often does, time passed rather quickly in slumber. There was a cool dampness to the air when Kee started to awaken, letting her know, even before she opened her eyes, that she wasn’t in her bedroom any more. Her face laid on cold hard stone, finally opening her eyes, she saw iron bars all around her.

Jinx lay in a similar set up not far away. Kee wasn’t sure if they had done Jinx a favor by taking her too, so she wouldn’t have to answer for her involvement in the kidnapping of the princess, or if their plans included her in some horrible fashion.

The lack of additional restraints forced Kee to take a look at the cage itself. She noticed right away that the rusty iron bars seem to sparkle in the flickering light of a nearby campfire.   That could only mean one thing; her advisories knew enough about demons and dark magic to know that coating the cage in dust from the black heart stone would weaken her and prevent the use of most magic. It would also burn her skin if she dare touch it, for it was said to hold the light of a thousand suns and the sins of all the worlds, creating heat and agony where there was none, but only in those impure things where horror seemed to thrive.

Her foes would not likely appear until both were awake, so Kee made herself at home on the floor in the center of her cage and waited for Jinx to wake up. She pondered to herself how best to explain to her friend that this was not her fault. She had been played and turned into a pawn by the Shade, Deacon. He had used her feelings against her, flawlessly, manipulating her to fill a need for him. He had to have known the cautious princess would not accept treat a from a stranger; but from a friend, she hadn’t thought twice about it until it was too late.

Before she was even really awake and truly aware of their situation, Jinx began to beg for forgiveness. She knew she had messed up the minute she could not keep herself awake, and the thought had haunted her dreams while she slept.

“What do we do now?” Jinx asked, finally pausing from her verbal self-abuse.

“We wait,” Keesabella simply stated. The bad guys would come to them when they were ready to give them the details they currently lacked. There was always a reason, but until then it could only be assumed why they were taken. There were enough reasons to keep anyone guessing.

It was Deacon, who bravely approached first, with a handful of Orcs nearby to back him up in case the girls got out of hand. They glared at Kee with some distaste, likely aware of what she had done to the last set of Orcs that she had encountered. They wanted a chance to prove they weren’t so weak as to be taken down by what was a child in their eyes.

Jinx could not restrain herself as she laid into him about the kind of horrible creature he was and what she would like to do to him if given the chance. She cried out when she went to reach for him and brushed up against the bars, they burned her skin even with the lightest contact forcing her back into the middle of the cage. It didn’t however stop her verbal assault on the young man. He just hung his head and nodded, unable to deny most of it. He had expected as much from her, it was Kee’s calmness that struck him as odd.

“I am not sure what ever made you think any man would want you?” The voice came out in its usual condescending tone, as Dire spoke from a dark corner of the cave. Her presence there was somewhat shocking but not completely unexpected. The sisters had never been close or gotten along well. Jealously was a big issue between them.

“Only cowards hide behind others when committing felonious deeds,” Kee calmly taunted. Knowing that Dire had a hand in this shouldn’t put her at ease, but it did a little. It was better to deal with the devil that you know than one you don’t. “Do you not stand tall and proud at taking down your biggest rival? I just have to ask why go through all this trouble for me? What did I do this time?”

“Oh, I know what awful things you have done. You may think of me as being dull, but I am not, dear sister. You are no threat to me, but you’ll ruin this family’s good name with your sinister deeds, and I can’t have that. This name has value.” Given how their last encounter ended, she employed the aid of others. Dire wasn’t going to admit that her younger sister had tossed her around before, and she certainly wasn’t going to let her do it again with so many witnesses.

Kee smirked at the comment, but wasn’t about to argue over her lack of intelligence at that time. It was best to bite her tongue for now and gather more information. There was no need to admit to anything without first knowing what it was that Dire thought she had on her. Enough had happened recently to taint the family name. Most involved her, but surely Dire had no idea just how scandalous the truth really was.

The younger sister also knew enough to speak in terms her sister would understand and relate to. There was no love between them, just a bitter rivalry that was common among siblings of the dark side. They were destined to battle each other for the affection of their parents. Neither wanted to share in the lime light, for the rest of their lives; it was just how things worked there. They were each other’s worst enemy, alike in so many ways.

“This family’s reputation? We have more skeletons in our closets than most. I wasn’t aware that something as tarnished as ours could be damaged further,” Kee explained. There was a groan and an angry grunt from Dire, clearly annoyed by Kee inability to take this serious. She had distanced herself from them recently. They weren’t entirely her family any more. She no longer saw herself as one of them. When it came down to it, they were only half-sisters.

“I know where you have been spending your long nights,” Dire admitted, hoping to get more out of Kee than just the raised eyebrow she received. ”And you don’t spend them alone. Does the Archen warm your cold heart or are you just using him to fuel your new goddess-like strength?”

Her sister assumed the worst of her, and why not? She was a Succubus after all. They were the same in that respect, as far as Dire knew. They were known to hunt down and pursue dangerous men. It was how they survived. Kee laughed a little under her breath. Dire couldn’t have been further from the truth. Her story was slightly more believable, and despite Dire’s concerns about the family’s name, that actually preserved it better than the truth.

“You’re not so different from me. The only thing that you are truly upset about is that I beat you to it. While you waste your time and efforts on worthless conquests, I am taking on real challenges. Not that he would have you. No one wants you, which is why you remain unmarried. Every man in this city is waiting for me to come of age,” Kee fired back gratefully. It was mean spirited, but it was the only tone that Dire seemed to respond well to. “You are the one tainting our good name with your unimpressive looks and unremarkable ability. You should be ashamed.” Kee looked at Deacon as she spoke of unimpressive things. He was as low as they came, an easy mark for a she-devil.

Dire was stunned; no one had ever spoken to her like that before. It was cruel and unwavering emotion as only Keesabella could deliver it. She did not fear her sister and it showed. There was no concern for Dire’s fragile ego in her voice, and unlike Dire, Kee didn’t care what others thought of her. There in the darkness, secrets were everywhere and anyone could look saintly in the right light.

Pyregon didn’t see himself in Kee’s eyes, like he did with Dire, and he never would. He liked her based purely on what he thought he could get in exchange for her hand when the time came. She was beautiful, and that was rare in their world. Dire was more what men expected; she was pretty but had a sinister aura about her. No rumor of heavenly romance would degrade her worth in the eyes of men; if anything it only bolstered her abilities as a seductress.

“I know your plan to seduce the Achen runs deeper than that. A conquest is one thing, but I imagine that you want to bear his child and give birth to the future ruler of Nue-Mezzo,” she accused, but seemed to ignore the confused look on the younger girl’s face.

This was the first she had heard of such a thing. The rumors had only begun to breach the walls of the Dark Side. Of course the ever popular social butterfly that was her sister had been there to overhear such gossip and aided in spreading the word as much as she could.   Legends had started long ago. It was the one thing the Archangels truly feared; that one day a child would be born of both the light and the dark. Seeing in shades of grey, they would rule the lands of the middle world and bring peace to the races that occupied that space.

It was funny how, in all their long chats Meta had failed to mention that. It would mean that the Archens would have to sacrifice a part of themselves for the happiness of others. The gates to the Dark Side would open under new rules and the things they hated would be let out. It was unthinkable and had, of course, already happened; not that many people knew about it. It certainly didn’t mean that she was this child they feared so much. It would take more than just the circumstances of her birth to justify her place in the world.

“Again, I fear that you are just jealous that you didn’t think of it first. Though I think our parents might have concerns, should I conceive a child at such a young age and without a proper husband. You have to admit, being the grandparents to the future King or Queen of Nue-Mezzo would have its perks,” Kee pointed out.

“I don’t need to justify your murder in the eyes of our parents,” Dire warned, “I will just blame the Orcs. They already don’t like you. I wonder, however, what your relationship with the gatekeeper is, exactly. Will he miss you when you are gone, or simply replace you? Perhaps with me?”

“I have feelings for him that I myself can’t explain.” Kee sighed heavily and leaned against the bars for support. This was draining. No one seemed to notice as she wrapped her fingers around the bars without any discomfort and put her forehead to rest there. “It doesn’t matter what I say. Your mind is made up. You don’t approve and you probably shouldn’t. There is more at stake than your selfish pride. Let Jinx go, she had nothing to do with this.”

“I agree, but as you stated my mind is made up. I never needed a reason to kill you, other than my own hatred of you. But I never liked your friend either; the world will not miss either of you.” Dire was heartless and cruel. She would not only deny the world its possible savior, but also Kee’s closest ally. She would not only enjoy this, but she would also savor it. She spun around and flipped her hair as she walked off. She needed to make it look like an unfortunate accident, or a cruel act of a feuding clan, just in case she was wrong and her parents didn’t approve.