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Souls' Rebellion: Part 1
Lord Petrik waited impatiently in the great room. He couldn’t help pacing; it had been hours since Dame Pardisian had arrived from the village. He’d not heard Sulin’s strident cries for a while, which was, truth to tell, a relief. But, he didn’t remember any of his other babes being quite so reluctant to join the family.
Every time one of the younger maids hurried past the doorway with a basin of steaming water or a pile of fresh towels, he would pause and look up expectantly...hopefully. But soon the rhythmic cadence would resume, for no one spoke to Petrik.
At long last, Dame Pardisian came down the stairs. Rik’s heart leapt in his chest, and then froze in his throat as she paused at the bottom step, bit her lip, and crossed resolutely to his side. Her murmured words fell on deaf ears; Petrik knew something was terribly wrong and, heedless of her comforting hand on his arm, he flew from the great room and up the stairs to his wife.
Her room was very still, though the flames in the hearth roared with their effort to heat it the air. Someone had straightened the bed around his wife. She looked quite peaceful lying there, although a bit worn and pale, as if she had just broken a high fever. As he stepped around the bed and knelt on the dais, he took her limp hand in his… and the truth was clear; his young wife was dead.
He sat back on his heels while a cold numbness crept over him. How could this be? Only this morning, she had been smiling up at him and teasing him charmingly...
Suddenly, a need to be far from here gripped him. He was halfway to the stables before sense took hold again, and he barely endured the next couple of days, setting affairs in order - his loyal retainers could run things very well without him - and on the day his beautiful Sulin was laid to rest, Lord Petrik mounted a horse and galloped away to the west.