San’dorial had returned to Skatterhawk Manor with the tragic tidings of Ryton Skatterhawk, heir of the noble house of Cormyr dead. He brought the desiccated body of the scion upon his very own shield to his parents. The mission was a failure. He and Ryton found no truly powerful weapon that could defeat the Netherese Empire. All San’dorial could present was a magic gold sword created by the wizard Qheldin. Powerful, to be sure, but nothing that could stand against the Shadovar.
All that meant little to Lord and Lady Skatterhawk at that moment.
Who is responsible for my son’s death?
Lord and Lady Skatterhawk were hiding their sorrow well. Nobles are well practised at hiding their true emotions. But Alastra Nightsong seemed more visibly shaken at the recounting of the story. Her sister, Nieriel, had fallen. What more, the mysterious woman Faerveren had returned from the mists of her family’s past.
Lady Skatterhawk’s somber elven voice broke through Alastra’s reeling mind.
It is my deepest sorrow that our child will never know their older brother. We can tell them how brave he was, but they will never truly know.
She placed her hand knowingly on her abdomen and held it there for a long moment. Then with her other hand, she dismissed the elven wizard and half-elf bard. San’dorial and Alastra bowed and left the audience room.
As they both walked down the manor hall, San’dorial spoke. Your sister is in over her head.
We are dealing with the Netherese. We are all in over our head.
You should get her out of there before it’s too late. You are her elder sister, no?
There is nothing more in this world that I want to do, San’dorial. But … I can’t. But what I will do is give my notice to Lord Aubrin. There is a debt now between my family and House Skatterhawk. If they will have me, I shall serve as governess to this last heir. I will make it so that child WILL know of Ryton’s bravery and noble sacrifice. I will burnish it into their heart.
San’dorial seemed perplexed. You would give up your trusted place in a great Cormyrean noble house for this unborn child, but not raise a finger to help your own sister?
I do not expect you to understand. I have already done too much to help my little sister as it stands. Any more and I risk my family. Again, I do not expect you to understand. But my honor as a Daleswoman, and as a Nightsong tells me I owe the Skatterhawks. My sister lives while their son died. I shall serve their house from now on to repay that debt.
San’dorial waved both of his hands in the air as if to surrender. Clearly half-elven foolishness is truly without limit. I shall return home in the morning. Dealing with humans and halfbreeds is giving me a headache. Goodnight.
And with that, San’dorial entered his guest quarters and left Alastra alone in the hall. She took a few steps toward her guest room, braced her back against the wall, slumped down, and cried.