LUCIEN - Envisioning Anna's Death
Browning Village, Isle of Wight
“Come, sweet bride-to-be.” He turned from her to stride towards the door. “Get dressed. You’ve many guests to greet.” With those enigmatic words he pulled the door closed behind him.
Climbing from the bed hesitantly. “What guests? My brothers?”
“Do you think?”
“No…Drake and Noran would be disinclined to come all this way.” She paused. “Good God! I haven’t thought about them since we got here. They’re probably worried sick.”
“Not as much as you might think…”
“Well…I sent them a missive indicating you’d run off with me.”
“Oh, I’m certain they feel I’m safe now!” She nodded vigorously. Dripping sarcasm.
“I assisted you in alleviating their concern you were simply missing!” He defended.
“No. Now they think I’m being dishonored!”
“Only if you let me close enough.”
“My Lord Sabias!” She cried.
This is going swimmingly. He noted. Wishing he’d quieted several moments prior.
The villagers had put on a grand dance in the Lion’s Head Tavern. A man strummed an instrument. The innkeeper’s daughter strolled about lighting the candles in the waning daylight.
Young village girls danced about gayly. Twirling their skirts and giggle raucously.
A high-backed wooden bench warmed by the fire. Mera sat sideways on it with a knee drawn up and her arm strung along the back. Smiling as she watched everyone enjoying the festivities.
Young women sat with her and congratulated her on her impending nuptials.
“Thank you.” She smiled softly.
One woman handed her a wine glass and she sipped it delicately.
Eventually Lucien, talking to several of the men with a tankard of ale in his fist, wandered into her view.
Trying to get a closer look at her.
Is she regretting being here? But all he saw was the hint of exhaustion on her face.
He soon found himself
Shaking another man’s hand before leaning against the mantle. His eyes landed on her and stuck. Giving her a long study.
Offering her a soft smile, he raised his glass to her.
Her eyes brightened and her chin dropped to rest atop the back of her curled hand. A brown satin dress glistened in the firelight. Her hair was plaited around her crown. Shining strands pulled over her shoulder.
She looks beckoning. He approached like drawn by a magnet.
“Care for a dance.”
She slipped her pretty fingers into his big hand. He felt the light blistering on her hand.
From working with me to restore Sabias House. How hard she worked!
Thinking of it again made it even more touching she’d suggested it. In many ways it’d brought his sister back to life.
Making it seem like her tinkling voice floated through the halls again.
“Anna!” Meralee sat bolt upright.
“Lucien.” She cried.
“What’s wrong?” Materializing from the shadows he slid to her side. He’d been waiting for her to ask for him.
“Something horrible has happened.” She cried covering her face.
“What? What is it?” He moved to her side, kneeling next to the bed.
“Anna Valentine is dead. I have to warn Nora.”
“What happened to her?”
“I-I…” She looked at him. “I don’t know how to explain…But it’s true. I know it is!” She suddenly grabbed his shoulders, making him reflexively cup her elbows. “Tell me it’s only a nightmare. That it isn’t!” Her eyes begged him to.
“I can’t, Meralee.” He sighed. “I believe in your visions.”
She sobbed and let him go to drop her face into her hands. “There was a man there. He didn’t help her! He could’ve helped her.”
“Radix? An old man?”
“He was the one that murdered her but the other, he-he watched…”
Lucien’s expression turned resigned. Chavias.
“What’d he look like?” He asked.
“Black hair. Black…” She gestured around her chin. “He told me to tell Nora and the other Watchers.”
Chavias sensed her? That’s dangerous.
And he warned her? Could be a trap.
Meralee shook her head emphatically and drew her knees up to her chin to hug them tightly to her. She stared up at him through eyes welling with tears. “I have to Lucien.”
He studied her face awhile before finally nodding. “I’ll take you back.”
The ceremony can be held back in Grier.
Possibly at WaterRose.
Mera rolled onto her knees to give him a hug. “Thank you.”
Stiffening momentarily he stared down at her in surprise. Asking with his characteristic bluntness he said. “Is this a ploy to escape me?”
“No.” She leaned away to shake he head. “I’ve told you. I’ve feelings for you.”
Yes, but it is rather hard to believe. We’ve much to learn of each other yet.
“But you will if you get the chance?” He questioned.
Her face hardened. Meeting his gaze solidly. “If I were to make such an attempt, it wouldn’t be until after I talk to Nora.”
Her voicing emotions likely was a ploy then. He felt somewhat defeated. Disappointed.
I’d hoped it was true. He studied her silently, face unreadable.
Eyes narrowing, he cautioned. “Meralee Carter, you’re a venomous Quiller-cat who’s continually proven painful to be around but let me be clear when I tell you I’m nowhere near ready to let you go yet.”
She swallowed hard and lifted her chin but said nothing.
“Consider yourself warned. You’d be frightened to know the lengths I’d go to keep you.”