Chapter Fourteen: My Return

     By the time I arrived back home, I really did fear Leon dead.  And I was embarrassed at the state I was in.  Of course, with a little money I was able to procure a new set of bags and a few new scraps of clothing, but still, I felt painfully aware of he state I was in.  I felt like a beggar.
     Instead of traveling the same way, my friend Raven had shown me, I decided to take a coach back, for my state of dishevelment was already too far advanced.
     At home, a bath was procured, and a proper breakfast.  Silence, golden silence, was mine now, not the horrid babble of foreign tongues or the unbearable climes of some Andarian-tainted land of Estampiel; not even the Rhennish country appealed to me now, rather I was appalled by my once innocent flights of fancy.  Just the knowledge that a part of my lineage descended from those evil ones sickened me outright.
     I split an orange after the bath to eat.  The clock ticked, ticked.  It was now late in the year, but not quite winter — the bees were disappearing and this was the last of the fruit of the tree.  A cold mist surrounded the land, and rain, soft rain, pattered the windowpane.
     Then, the door rattled. I jumped with a start, but my fears were extinguished.  It was the servant with a letter, written with tremulous quill.  It must have been important as he had forgotten to knock, so I forgave him, and took the letter . . . from Leon!  Oh!  It began . . .

“Dearest Elvira:

It pains me greatly at the suffering you must have encountered, and the shock of what you discovered.  Pray, I hope you are to be found well upon your arrival.

Meanwhile, do not fret about those wicked souls you were besieged by.  It is quite possible that they may follow you here, that in fact, they planned already to begin a new chapter in our world . . . perhaps it is easier here, to blend in, for as you said, the peoples of that arid Estampiel feared them already — and it would be much more amiable a place in our new world of sweet southern soil, to begin anew . . .

But do not trouble yourself dear.  You have done enough and all that you could.

As for my brother, I am afraid I have some unpleasant news. He was found, not too long ago, on the shores of our town.

I cannot bear to tell you this dreadful news, but, you must know, he is dead.

It appears that he heard of your leave taking.  How he found out, I truly do not know, but he left a letter, speaking of his search for you, that it was his fault, that . . . and according to some who recognised him, he took a ship, but, shortly after, it was reported by frightened passengers that he seemed to argue on deck one gusty night with an . . . invisible person . . . and, he seemed to grow frenzied and desperate, so much so that he then threw himself overboard.

He left that letter, that note, scrawled before his unfortunate death, a note scrawled and what appears to be a poem, a poem that sounds suspiciously like that of Paine’s from one of his long lost books of old shadowy tomes dedicated to a mysterious ‘L.d.R.’. :  Lynoria.

I do believe that in the very recesses of my already damned soul, that Paine had possessed my brother by the time — as if in some trance, some interconnection between he and Lenora, which had grown stronger with time. Her will, also stronger.

I beg of you dear Miss, do leave that house.  We are powerless to fight this evil.  Even your friend Raven you told me about, with his strong and practised magic, cannot untaint spoilt blood . . . or tame such a terrible curse.

Leave dear Elvira, and be forewarned that Lynoria is everywhere, and all-knowing. Her knowledge of the transmutation of life is greater than many magicians and sorcerers combined.




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