A/N: Whisper of Damkina is currently on an unscheduled hiatus due to lack of writing time. It will resume posting on Christmas Eve. Sorry about that.
Adrian was helping Robert out of the bathroom but both stopped when they saw Sonia and Lydia standing in the room with Kayleigh.
“Sonia Keefe,” Robert said. “An honour to meet you, ma’am.”
“Likewise,” Sonia said. Lydia couldn’t help noticing that she didn’t tell him that he didn’t need to be formal with her the way she had Kayleigh. “How are you feeling?”
“Better,” he said. “Mortified I fell into that trap. Even more mortified my Uncle didn’t realise that wasn’t me…” He hesitated a moment before plunging on. “He still doesn’t believe it, does he? That’s why he hasn’t come to see me?”
“I’m afraid so.” Sonia said.
Robert sat on the bed and sighed heavily. “He’s a prat sometimes. He probably doesn’t want to accept how much damage he’s done.” He looked up at her. “What are we going to do about him?”
â€œForce the issue,â€ Sonia said mildly. â€œI know you’re still weak but we need you to confront him at the meeting tomorrow.â€
Robert nodded seriously. â€œI can do that,â€ he said. â€œBecause if he won’t accept the truth of what he’s done, he needs to be removed from being head of the family.â€
Sonia stared at him in obvious surprise. â€œYou’re his heir?
â€œI am,â€ Robert said. â€œHe’s got no children of his own and my siblings and cousins are useless.â€ He gave a wry grin. â€œI know I’m not really leadership material, ma’am, but I’m the best of a bad lot.â€
â€œNot natural leadership material, perhaps,â€ Sonia said. â€œBut don’t sell yourself short. You see what needs to be done and aren’t afraid to do it. The other families will help, you know.â€
â€œI know,â€ he said. â€œBut not all will do it genuinely. How will I tell the difference?â€
â€œCautiously,â€ Adrian said. â€œWith all that’s happened people are politicking a lot less but yes, I think you’re right to be cautious. Garrett has made a lot of enemies.â€
“Inside the family as well as outside of it,” Robert said. “He’s always been overbearing but he got really strange about a year ago. I think that bitch was working on him even before she grabbed me and that’s why he didn’t notice that bastard wasn’t me.”
“It’s possible,” Sonia said. “But a year ago… how long has she known this was coming?”
Robert shrugged. “She didn’t really talk to her prisoners except to mock us,” he said. “But I got the feeling from that guy’s mind that she’s been preparing for this for centuries.”
â€œShe certainly knew what coming.â€ Kayleigh paused and frowned. â€œThough I got the feeling from Dialdra that she wasn’t expecting your family to be so effective.â€
â€œYes, I got that feeling as well,â€ Robert said. â€œHe thought she was angry.â€
â€œWell, it’s good to know we’ve discomforted her somewhat,â€ Sonia said. â€œBut you should rest before your dinner arrives. I believe Alaryia has gone to fetch something a bit more sustaining than green soup for you.â€
â€œRest sounds good,â€ Robert said. â€œBut where are your daughters going to sleep? We’ve stolen their beds.â€
â€œSofas,â€ Lydia said. â€œDon’t worry about it. You need the beds more than we do.â€