The Troubled House

Besides the obvious, there were only four people in attendance of the funeral rites: the cleric who droned out his prayers and the sisters who seethed in silence. Healers claimed that it was an affliction of liver that had claimed their father, but they knew better. It was humiliation that killed the old man. The shame brought by inability to provide for his house in exile.

No sooner had the family arrived in Amn than the vipers latched on. These up-jumped merchant lords; double dealing backstabbers to the last. Bite by bite the house's remaining wealth had been siphoned away and, Amn being Amn, with wealth drained the prestige as well. There was always another hopeful venture and always mockery hidden in consolatory words when it invariably fell through and yet somehow enriched everyone else but their coffers.

As the sisters filed out of the small crypt, their feelings mingled sorrow, relief and excitement. Father’s ordeal was over, and he was with mother now, but their work was only beginning. That night they drank several mementoes of the old home and schemed. The house of Kirinholt would be rebuild, that was certain. Where? That remained to be seen.

Young Elisabeth would remain in Amn. The most blessed with poise and social virtues, she had already cultivated connections among the Shadow Thieves. Her elder siblings did not worry for her. Serpent among serpents, she would devour them whole. Katerina wanted to return to Cormyr. Most mercenary of the three in both disposition and talents, she wanted to make a name for herself, perhaps in the ranks of the Purple Dragons. The unsaid truth was that Katerina, only one of the three old enough to remember, missed their motherland.

At first Victoria contemplated on joining Katerina on her journey to the old home. The idea was quickly dismissed. Her training in magecraft had all but ground to halt under the relentless scrutiny of the Cowled Ones and she would not be subjugated to the more of the same by War Wizards. Especially since Tethyr was so close and so promising. Lawless, war-torn, nation where she could do whatever she wanted.

A week later Victoria was astride her horse and gazed at the mountains marking the border. Last of the house’s possession had been sold and the coin turned over to a banker whom they had instructed to send frequent stipends.  The pact was made. House Kirinholt, even by the blood of others, would survive.

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