He watched the governor chatting with men and women who were ready to donate to his latest campaign. While at one time just hearing him speak about how he’d never been blessed with children or found a woman who his heart belonged to would send him into a rage; now it merely awakened a slow anger in him. He knew the truth, he remembered Mary, even if her former fiancé – her murderer – did not. He remembered the child that would have been born. He often wondered what the boy would have been like. Had he lived, he would be in his twenties.

He turned away and saw a youngster step into the room from the terrace. The boy was unbelievably pale. It took him a moment to realize that this was the boy who he had seen earlier – the one who would be the governor’s undoing. As the boy looked up and saw the governor, anger flashed into his eyes and he stood straighter. His cheeks flushed and he pushed away from the wall.

Others had tried this direct approach before and had disappeared or been paid off. He moved gracefully and quickly through the crowd and caught the boy by his shoulder. “You don’t want to do that, boy. Believe me when I say that I understand your anger but he’s more dangerous than you can imagine.”

“Right,” the boy said in a soft, tense voice. “My name is Emery. We have to talk. I’m with the wardens. Can you get my supervisor, Robert Morrissey? Is there some place we can talk? I need to lay down, if you need an excuse. I have auric decay and I’m having a spell.”

“Let’s get you some place quiet so you can recover then,” he said. He guided Emery toward one of the alcoves that were tucked behind the gallery. “Can you bring us some tea?” he added to a passing servant. “He’s a little light-headed. Also, can you find the gentleman he came here with, a Robert Morrissey?”

“Very good, sir,” she said, bobbing a short curtsy.

“That was well played,” Emery whispered.

“I’ve learned subtlety over the years,” he replied softly.

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