Moonlight fell through the windows, casting a soft glow across the room. A fire burned in the fireplace, occasionally crackling.
The door creaked open then closed quickly, followed by the sound of the lock clicking into place.
She continued to brush her hair as she waited for the intruder to reveal himself.
Kathetel stepped out of the shadows, coming up behind her. He smirked as he looked towards the mirror she sat in front of, his gaze meeting hers.
"And so we meet again."
"I had almost forgotten about you," she said airily. She hadn't seen the Imperial Agent since he'd met with her at the Opera.
"Tsk. I am almost offended. Almost."
"Why are you here?" she asked, dreading a new assignment. Anytime Kathetel came around it meant trouble in some form or fashion for her.
"Oh, you know. Checking up on you, and all of that. How are you?"
"Fine." she said, looking at him skeptically.
"And your last assignment? I trust it is completed?" He asked though he already knew the answer.
Her blue gaze locked on his, "...yes."
He took the brush from her hand and stroked it through her auburn hair slowly, "We knew we could count on you."
"Anything for the Empire," she said in a soft tone, trying not to remember the details, forcing herself to keep it locked deep away.
"For what it's worth, I am sorry that it had to be by your hand...but you were the only one who could get close enough."
"Don't be. He deserved it. He deserved his fate," she said softly, her gaze breaking from his.
He laid the brush onto the gilded table in front of her, "It's been many weeks, how are you holding up?"
"Are you asking if I'm haunted by it?"
"I remember ...when you killed your brother. You were..." he said.
"Out of my mind?"
"Something like that, yes."
"I'm fine. He's not the first person to die by my hand, Kathetel."
"No, but he is your Father."
"Yes. Was. Did you ever love him?"
"Once upon a time he was my whole world. He was greater than God in my eyes. He was...." A tear slid down her cheek as her body tensed. "He was a liar. A murderer. He killed my Mother."
His brow arched, "I didn't know."
She nodded very slowly as her thoughts drifted to the past, "She was so young, so beautiful. When he married her, he was already a widow with three sons. But he wanted her, despite her being Ni Kunni."
"Do you think he ever loved her?" he asked.
"Yes, in his own fucked up way. Or maybe it wasn't love. Maybe it was obsession. He wanted to possess her. She was only seventeen when they married. And she was twenty four when he killed her."
"Why do you think he did it if he loved her so much?"
"Because she didn't love him any longer, if she ever did. She must have known what he really was, I can only guess. I'm trying to piece together those years of her life, but I was so young. However, I do remember when I was betrothed to Charles... I was only six...but there was a grand house party to announce it." Her voice faded away as her brows furrowed. "I..."
"Go on," he urged.
She stared into the mirror, remembering. "I only vaguely remember it, I was so young. But...I remember how beautiful she was that weekend, how her face seemed to glow. She was so happy. I later found out exactly why."
"Because she met a young poet at the ball who swept her off her feet. He was barely eighteen at the time, or so. They must have fell in love and ...the natural course of events happened after that. I guess he never knew that he got her pregnant."
"Pregnant? What happened to her child?"
"My Father found some letters that the poet wrote to her...and...he was beyond furious. Her betrayal would shame him, shame the family. But I think it was also the fact that he lost control of her. She was going to leave him."
"How do you know all of this?" he asked.
"I found some of their letters, her journal, and my eldest step-brother filled in the rest."
Kathetel nodded, "So your Father murdered your mother in a jealous rage? And her unborn child?"
She whispered, "Yes."
"And the poet? Did you ever find out who he was?"
"Are you going to enlighten me?"
"It's my CEO. It's Aldrith..." She exhaled a soft breath, "Aldrith was my mother's true love, and she died because of it."