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If there was anyone more excited about Westel and I getting married than the two of us, I believe it was Anais.  A mother and two sisters in one fell swoop!  Of course Kuvasei has not been present enough for Anais to get the full big-sister treatment yet, but she’s doing a bang-up job of filling the big sister role herself.  Every day she and Laurelia run around the house and outdoors from dawn to dusk: a blinding flash of green cloak and black curls followed by an auburn-haired sprite, both of them leaving aught but giggles and muddy footprints in their wake, and neither of them ceasing in their pursuit of adventure until they fall asleep reading a book together.  Not a drop of shared blood between them, but they couldn’t be closer if they were twins, and at times remind me of my brothers with the way they communicate without ever speaking a word to each other.

They are nearer in age than Cearalaith and I, but not by very much, and that difference will matter less as they grow.  Cearalaith and I were never this close.  And when Westel, Stavier, Liealia and I endeavored to bring her back from the Nether along with Kuvasei, she smiled and joked with the others, but she did not speak a word to me.  She did not look at me.

…no, that is not correct.  I took a dagger to my side during a confrontation with a band of demonic huntsmen, and the blade was poisoned.  As I fell to my knees choking and clutching at my own throat, I saw my sister turn to look at me.  And she folded her arms, and watched me struggle, and did not move.

I don’t know what I expected.  I don’t know that I expected anything.  Or that I could expect anything – I haven’t forgotten that my sister’s fury and resentment is entirely justified.  I just look at my daughters, and I don’t know if I am mourning the relationship we lost, or one we never had.

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