Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Chapter Seventy-Six

My fatigue, while it did not vanish, was somewhat put at bay by the idea of unraveling the mystery the old man had plopped into my lap.

The elder began, "As has been ascertained, a curse of sorts was placed upon those that call themselves The Damned.  The curse was a verbal one and in the beginning held no real power.  However, as with many such so-called curses, the power came not from the one that made it but from those that began to believe in it.  At the time the curse was made the Harpers and the Linders were very powerful.  The Linders for traditional political reasons which they have maintained and the Harpers because of its family encompassing people like you and Brother Nat ... people not afraid of questioning and seeking truth even at the cost of your own egos.  You follow the facts to build the story rather than conforming the facts so that it is your story that is built.  A fine line but a definite difference nonetheless."

"I still don't see how that should automatically create a ... well ... what amounts to a myth.  Look how the Harper family has found itself.  Nat and I are the last and we've both agreed, for our own reasons, to give up what we were born to."

"And some see that as predestination.  It would appear that no matter how your family has been attacked a certain percentage always survived ... and even thrived."

I snorted.  "Attacked?  A bit farfetched."

Nat placed his hand upon my arm and when I turned to look at him expecting censure what I found was deep concern.  "Leeda ... from what we've discovered ... it would appear that some that we thought accidents or acts of nature were in fact intentional."

Thinking he referred to some things that had happened to me during our marriage I hesitated to speak long enough that I didn't need to.  "The failure of the sinkhole was inevitable but ... but appears to have been helped along.  That knowledge was secreted within some of the Waverly papers and correspondence with the then Guardian.  It is also highly likely that the plague ..."

Horrified I whispered, "No ..."

"Yes Leeda.  In my own grief at the time I ... I ... the information was kept from me and then they thought that they'd been mistaken and simply swept their original concerns under the rug thinking nothing further of it."

"How did you come by this knowledge?  Surely if it had been so serious someone would have ..."

The Sheriff spoke up.  "Widow, this involved politics ... very high level politics."

I glanced at him then almost became physically ill.  "Don't.  Don't say that ... that he ..."

The Sheriff kneeled down and took my hands.  "No.  Not that.  Though I ... I wouldn't put it past the family at this point."  The Chancellor was extremely puzzled then paled at his brother's implied criticism.  The Sheriff ignored him.  "It would appear that the former mayor of Waverly played an even deeper game than we gave him credit for.  This poison runs deep and far and tracing it back has revealed how insidious the infection has been in Tentuckia by those calling themselves the new crop of Darkfriars."

My mouth was so dry I could no swallow but one thought would not be quieted.  "They died.  Because of me. All of those innocent people died because of me.  Somehow they knew of my husband's designs, his plans, even though they make no sense in hindsight.  Someone knew and ... and took action to prevent him gaining what he sought."


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