“The child lives,” he repeated.
“Oh, dear merciful Good One!” She turned her gaze to Mara. “Dixon,” she then said, “who is this woman? And what’s she doing with Rowena’s things?”
“Slow down,” Mara interrupted, “and we’ll tell you everything. Dixon told us about you and Rowena’s inner circle.”
Lucy’s eyes narrowed. “You told them about me?” she asked him.
“I told them you were one of Rowena’s most trusted advisors. You’ll understand why in a minute.”
“Very well,” she finally said, tersely, “go on then.” She wiped her eyes again and turned her attention back to Mara.
“I’m Mara. Mara Richmond. I was with Rowena when she gave birth to not one—but to two—girls. Their names are Reigna and Eden. I am their Oathtaker.”
“Two? Two! Two infants?” Lucy shook her head. “Reigna, you say? And Eden? What lovely names, but . . . two? Are you certain?”
“Hardly something I could mistake.”
“Yes, of course. Hmmm . . . two babies. Which was firstborn?”
“Reigna,” Dixon said. “She is the seventh seventh.”
“How appropriate. Yes, ‘Reigna’ is the right name.” Lucy looked at Mara. “So you’re her Oathtaker?”
“And Eden’s too, yes.”
“A single Oathtaker for two Select? Is that even possible?”
“I suppose it’s as possible as Rowena having birthed twins. Beyond that, I’ve no idea. But it is so.”
“Well that explains some things,” Lucy muttered, as though to herself.
“What do you mean?” Dixon asked.
“Well, no one but Rowena or one with specific attendant magic could have felt my call or could have answered it. To anyone else, Rowena’s compact was just that—a compact.”
“Any idea why she didn’t mention it to me?”
“I suppose I’m to blame for that.”
He raised his brow. “What? You encouraged Rowena to keep something this important from her Oathtaker? Don’t you think it might have been helpful for me to know this? It was purely accidental that Mara found the compact and took it along with her. What if it had gotten into the wrong hands? Or—”
“It was simply out of an abundance of caution,” Lucy interrupted. “I thought the less said about it, the less it would be discussed, the less the chance it would be discovered. It couldn’t be used by another, but I did go through great pains to create it, and you’re right—it would have been a great loss had you not taken it with you.”
“Are there any other ‘cautions’ you took that I—that Mara—should know about? So we don’t accidentally leave something else behind?” he asked, his voice laced with anger.
She lowered her gaze. “Noooo.” Then she looked back his way. “If it’s any consolation, Rowena didn’t like keeping the secret from you. The last time we spoke, she said she was going to tell you.”
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