Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Chapter Thirty-Seven



"First off, I finally got around to reading the note you left for me in my communication box.  Do you mind sharing your thoughts ... or should I ask if you even have time to discuss them?"

"Actually it will be a relief.  I haven't known quite how to approach you with them and they've been weighing heavily."

"That pleasant are they?"

"You speak in jest Sheriff but," I gave a shudder.  "I assure you the thoughts have brought me absolutely no pleasure.  Especially not as to the hypothesis they led me to develop."

"Very well, proceed."

I tried to gain some comfort and was about to put my foot upon the floor when the Sheriff nudged the poof so that the distracting ache behind my knee was considerably relieved.  "Oh ... thank you."

"You’re welcome.  Been stuck in the same spot myself after getting knocked about while on maneuvers.  Damned irritating."

His cursing aside I agreed with the sentiment.  After nodding I began.  "After our ... discussion ... in your office triggered some rather fantastical thoughts you gave me leave to investigate them."

"I did.  With the cautionary note not to bring attention to yourself."

"I was indeed cautious and it was rather amazingly easy to do so.  Did you know that Mrs. Kinsey is actually the ex-spouse of the valet rather than merely his sister as I was first told?"

He seemed unsurprised.  "Yes, it was one of the oddities that stood out when we discovered the staff files."

"Odd is right because in truth," I felt my face heat up.  "I went looking in Ceena's genealogies for something else and was startled to find a relatively new set of entries under Tonya's maiden family who have the surname Kinser."

"Go on."

"I saw an original entry for a female by the name of Saphon and a male by the name of Jobert - notable as being the same names as Mrs. Kinsey and the valet who was also called Kinsey.  Only these names were listed as Tonya's siblings."  I looked at the Sheriff to see him blink.  I continued, "Saphon Kinser was married twice at a very young age and both contracts were ended due to a failure to begat.  If I understand the entries it appears it was believed to be the fault of the male in each case."

Astonished the Sheriff said, "They got rather personal in their entries did they not?"

I brushed my hands across my eyes for the briefest of moments before answering, "You've no idea.  I felt like scrubbing my eyes after reading some of them.  I knew that Ceena in particular had a terrible fascination with some of the fertility issues that have been faced by many families since the Days of Destruction ... and I pray I am wrong but she may have been the one to create the fascination in our husband or perhaps it is what drew them to each other ... but what I read seems almost like an obsession which in and of itself is a clue."

"Now where was I ... oh yes.  After those two contracts were broken a line was drawn connecting Saphon and Jobert.  That's when I went back and realized that what I had thought were middle names of the siblings was actually the surname of their fathers.  Saphon and Jobert have the same mother as Tonya but all three had different fathers.  To Saphon and Jobert were first born a set of twins.  The first was stillborn and unnamed and apparently severely malformed.  The second was a girl named Sada who was - and I quote - terminated when it was determined that she was mentally defective."

"By all the martyrs ..."

"It gets worse.  Three more children were born to the marriage in quick succession and all three were terminated for the same reason before their second birthday.  The third of those births caused some complications and it was determined that Saphon would be unable to bare any more children."

"Didn't sound like she should have any to begin with.  You hear of such things occurring in the borderlands but you never think it is going to happen in our civilized society."

"Agreed," I told him though I was rather less charitable about some such practices.  "At the end of that entry is a note that the marriage contract was broken.  There is no note that Saphon remarried but there is an entry stating that Jobert had two children out of wedlock and that the children were taken away from the mother and adopted to a family of the damned."

"Excuse me, to a what?"

"A family of the damned.  I had no idea what that meant when I first read it either.  Allow me to continue though and it will be easier for you to see."

"I'm not sure I want to see."

I sighed.  "And once you see there will be no unseeing it."

He started to ask me something but then stopped and allowed me to continue.

"The coincidences of the names leads me to no other conclusion than Saphon is our own Mrs. Kinsey and Jobert Kinser/Kinsey was your father's valet.  It even explains the confusion as to whether they were ex-spouses or siblings ... they were both. And explains why a church Brother would feel the need to post something to their staff files.  But it also means that both Saphon and Jobert were half siblings of the Widow Tonya, a fact kept well hidden."

"And Widow Ceena."

"No.  Tonya and Ceena had different mothers but the same father."

"That's right.  The pirate."

"The wealthy and well-connected pirate," I agreed.

"Interesting in an extremely disturbing way but not necessarily applicable to any current mystery."

I shook my head.  "Forgive me for saying this but perhaps you need a female assistant for you show a sad lack of curiosity on what should be driving you mad at this point."

"And just why do you say that?"

"Because you do.  Or perhaps it is just that you are so focused on your brother's issues; or, too embarrassed to admit that you'd give a lot to look up your own family in those rather explicit genealogies of Ceena's."

He leaned forward, "You satisfied your own curiosity did you?"

"Not at first, it was more going back to investigate what I had wondered about Ceena and Tonya in the first place.  Do you remember what I told you of their pregnancies?"

"Yes."

"I will not repeat what those entries contained as calling them disturbing does not suffice.  But it was after the last miscarriage for both Tonya and Ceena that a strange stick drawing had been placed and the word 'damnata' written under it which roughly translate to be the damned.  I flipped back to Saphon's last entry and found the same marking and word.  In fact once I started looking it was all over in the ledgers kept for several families.  Some families I know but most I do not."

"So let me understand this  'damnata' or 'damned' must refer to fertility or viability of the begats in some way and further, your theory is that 'family of the damned' actually refers to infertile or begat compromised individuals that have married or formed some type of alliance."

"Rather than theory I prefer to continue to call it an hypothesis as there is no way, at the moment, for me to test or prove my thoughts."

"Very well ... hypothesis."

"In a word, yes.  And from this point forward you may well think I have devolved into fantasy ... perhaps better called insanity."

"You have me on pins and needles Widow.  Continue."

"This is no hilarity Sheriff.  I'm not sure I'm not half mad as it sounds like such a conspiracy once I listened to my own thoughts."

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