A man had run from the hall crying the terrible news. Lara walked on. The children! She had to get to her children. Dillon, at four, was old enough to know what had happened to his father. The Fiacre would keep his memories of his sire alive. But her year-old daughter, Anoush, would not even remember Vartan. What in the name of the Celestial Actuary had possessed Adon to commit this terrible act? She struggled to remember everything that had happened just a short while ago. Liam, Vartan's cousin and best friend, ran up to her. "What has happened?, he asked her, his gaze going to Andraste's bloody blade. "Adon killed Vartan," Lara managed to answer him. "He walked up to him, smiling, his wretched wife at his side. And then without warning or provocation he plunged a dagger into Vartan's heart. I suspect the tip was poisoned, for Vartan died instantly. When Adon declared himself Lord of the Fiacre, I slew them both where they stood. I must get to the children, Liam! Dillon must not learn of his father's murder from anyone but me. And you--you must now take the lordship of the Fiacre." "That is the Fiacre elders" decision," Liam answered her. His father had been given the lordship when Vartan's father had died many years back. When his father had gone to the Celestial Actuary to settle his debts the elders had offered the lordship to him, but he had refused it in favor of his cousin, Vartan. Liam had not wanted the responsibility of the clan, but he knew now there was no choice. "You are the logical choice," Lara said, and then she hurried on. Her children would be with Liam's wife, Noss. Dillon was best friends with their son, Tearlach. Entering her friend's house she called to her. "Noss! Where are you?" Noss, heavy with her second child, appeared. She smiled. "Have you come for Dillon? Sit with me a while, and have some frine. The boys are having such a good time." Then her eyes grew wide at the sight of Andraste. "What has happened?, She had not seen the sword bloodied since the great Winter War, when she and Lara had fought with their men to take back the lands of the Piaras and the Tormod clans that had been illegally confiscated by the Hetarians. Noss saw how pale Lara was, and she now led her to a seat. "Tell me." "Adon murdered Vartan," Lara said, and then explained to Noss exactly what had happened. Noss's hand flew to her mouth to still her cry of horror. How could this have happened? And to Lara? Lara had always been so fortunate, and so filled with magic. Murder did not happen to people like that. "You do not weep," Noss finally said. "Ethne weeps for me," Lara said, raising the crystal up to show Noss. The crystal was dripping tears. "I have no time to weep. I had only a brief time in which to slay Adon and his foolish wife before he would have attacked me and my children.And soon I must leave the Fiacre," Lara said softly. "It is time?, Noss whispered. Lara nodded. "It is time. I am glad I followed my mother's advice and gave Vartan children. But now I must tell Dillon that his father is dead, and his mother is leaving. Will you and Liam raise my little ones, Noss? This new journey I am about to undertake is not yours. You have found a home, a husband and a good life among the Fiacre. This is your destiny. Mine still awaits me, though I know not what it will be." "Of course we will take Dillon and Anoush, but do you not want Bera to have them?, Noss ventured. "She is their grandmother." "And they must never forget that," Lara replied. "But Bera will have to take her other grandson as Elin's family is dead, and I will not have Vartan's children raised with his murderer's son. Cam may be only two and a half, but he is already a sly and spoiled little boy. Bera will have her hands full with him. Dillon caught him pinching Anoush at the Gathering last autumn. My daughter was black-and-blue all over her tiny arms from that little moSmall, Bertrice is the author of 'Distant Tomorrow ', published 2007 under ISBN 9780373771950 and ISBN 0373771959.