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The past refuses to be forgotten.

Rand knew his position as High King meant the man couldn't outright refuse him without giving him a reason why he didn't want Rand speaking privately with his heir. The king rose from his chair and strode from the room, his body language showing he wasn't pleased at all.

Rand waited until he was gone before standing and approaching Sean. His dad joined them.

"There's no need to be nervous, Sean. I'm not going to attack you. I just wanted speak to you privately. From my understanding, you were a witness along with your sister during King Angi's inquest?"

Sean stopped pacing and nodded. "I was escorting Sara back to her room when we passed the King's chambers and a young girl crawled out into the hall. She was beaten, bloodied and had been assaulted sexually. After sending my sister to her room, I tried to help her but it was too late. She died in the hallway in my arms."

"Your sister left right away?" Mica placed a hand on Sean's shoulder.

"Yes, she said the sight of the made her nauseous and she fled back to her room. By the time a servant passed by, the girl had died. She begged me to let her go."

"That must've been difficult." Rand spoke over his shoulder as he approached the wet bar. "Would you like a drink?"

Sean shook his head. Walking over to the closed door, he flipped the lock before he sank down into a chair. He cradled his head in his hands.

"Sean?" Approaching Sean, Rand studied the man.

"I can't do this anymore. This has got to stop." He looked up at Rand. "You've got to stop him. He is totally out of control -- maybe even insane."

"Stop who? Who's insane?"

"My father. He killed the girl and framed the last king for it. Then he poisoned our mother, exiled one sister to the House of Eluran, while he has been using the other as a sexual slave. She's now pregnant and I fear for the babe's life once it's born. He's let his desire to rule overrule everything else, including his family."

"So you're saying your other sister..." Shock was apparent in Mica's voice.


Rand nodded. "Kira is pregnant with your father's child?"

"His or mine. I don't know which of us fathered her babe."

Ice dripped from Rand's voice. "Yours?"

"He used his power to alter Kira genetically. He took my magical and physical profile to recreate Kira in the image of the woman who'd be my perfect mate. My chosen. In her altered state, she calls to me on every level physically, emotionally and spiritually. I tried to resist her but once the mezclar began it was hopeless." He lifted his head and met Rand's eyes. "I hate him for it but I love my chosen and our unborn babe. Do with me what you must - but protect her, she's completely innocent in all of this horror."

* * * *

Clara followed her instincts and realized after an hour of searching with no results, she was going to have to go back on the shadowplane and find Gabriel. She waited until Iason came to a stoplight. They'd been headed towards Cedar Rapids but she didn't know if they were even heading in the right direction.

"This is pointless, Iason. I'm going to have to go out on the shadowplane. We need more information. What little I got from the shadow embrace wasn't enough to help us locate him. This time I'm going to have to talk to him."

"Be careful, Clara. If anything happens to you, I won't be happy." The steel in his voice sent shivers through her. She knew he was worried about losing her.

"Always, love." Pressing a quick kiss against his lips, she settled back in her seat before heading out on the shadowplane. Since she'd be instrumental in helping him into his existence, Clara could find Gabriel with little problem. The problem was that once she found him, she must recognize where he was located so she and Iason could bring the girl back to the farm. Gabriel isn't going to leave her without a struggle and I don't want to traumatize him by separating them before we can cement his bond with the girl.

Ignoring the bright colors she scanned the area, looking for the cool color of Gabriel's power.

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