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Jin Li Tam

In the pandemonium that followed Sethberts execution, Jin Li Tam slipped from the pavilion. Shed seen something unexpected there-one of the younger Androfrancines looked surprisingly like one of her many siblings, and when their eyes met, he had looked away, and then vanished through one of the three wide entrances.

She followed.

She felt no anger over Sethberts death. He wouldve died regardless, she realized. A?he realind despite the years she spent with him, at no time had she forged any kind of bond with the man. She had

no more doubt that he had brought down Windwir than that her fathers hand was intricately tied to all of these events, right down to the execution that for all practical purposes ended the Androfrancine Orders legitimacy. Certainly, those few who remained-the Remnant-could try to come back from this, but it would never be successful. And what could they come back to? She had no doubt that Petronus had wrapped the Orders loose strings before disqualifying himself from the Papacy by wetting his hands with Sethberts blood.

She wondered if that were her fathers work as well.

The thought of her father brought her back to the moment, and she pressed her way through the gathering crowd. She caught sight of the young Androfrancine moving quickly ahead of her and she quickened her pace. But when she caught up to him, it wasnt her brother after all.

Im sorry, she said, slipping back into the crowd and looking around.

You want to see someone from House Li Tam, she realized. She thought about this. Why? Over the past few months, her anger had ebbed and flowed like the tidewaters of Tam Bay in her home city. When the anger rolled out from her, the sand in her heart filled in with grief to the point that she longed for the angers return. Inevitably, the wave crashed back to enrage her all over again.

But suddenly, now, at the end of it all, it was as if both her anger and her grief toward her father had vanished beneath the tip of Petronuss knife. Rudolfo had told her once that people spent their lives living with a thousand insignificant injustices, and that sometimes seeing justice served on one great evil could move them forward from the path where theyd been stuck. That sudden death, both of Sethbert and the Androfrancine Order, left her hollow and spent, thinking only of the better world she hoped to give her baby.

She took her time returning to the manor. She knew she should wait for Rudolfo, but she felt a sudden craving for solitude, and knew that his work for the night was just beginning. There would be uproar to quell, fears to assuage and assurances to offer to what little remained of PAndro Whyms lineage.

It was near dark when she approached the hidden doorway near the rear garden, and she stopped. The door was open, and a figure stood in the shadows of the concealed passage. She drew closer and stopped again, suddenly afraid and uncertain and alone.

Her father broke from the shadows, dressed in a deep gray archeologists robe. He said nothing, his face unreadable and hard though his eyes were soft. She said nothing, certain that her own face matched his own and equally certain that her eyes did not. She thought she would feel the anger again at the sight of him, but absolutely nothing stirred inside of her.

Their eyes met, and he nodded once, slowly. Then he moved ?Then he past her, his shoulder brushing hers as he went. She turned around to watch him go, and she thought he walked more slowly and with less confidence.

She considered calling after him, but she did not know what to say. Instead, she watched him walk away, and after hed gone, she went into her new home and closed the door. She had a life to build with

Rudolfo and their unborn son.

She did not find her fathers note until much later. She had not thought to look for it, though she could not remember a time when hed ever failed to leave word for her. It was simple, scrawled quickly and

without code.

For my forty-second daughter, the title read, upon the celebration of her nuptials and the birth of

her son, Jakob.

It was a poem about a fathers love for his daughter. At the end of it, the father sailed into the waiting night and the daughter learned a new way of life.

| Psalms of Isaak 01 Lamentation | c