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Hayley helps Ben feel better at 2:00 a.m.
" Unlike Leanna the Matriarch had a friendlier face and demeanor. "Come closer my daughter, I wish to touch your face," She did as commanded and knelt beside her chair. "I worry about you going off alone."
Her hand caressed her daughter's hair and cheek and it seemed as if both women had gone back a couple of generations and become mother and small child once more. "Before the time of the great storm Diana the Huntress sent me three of her favourite hand maidens. Two have gone back to her but I still have you. I wish to keep you and should anything happen to me then our clan will need a strong leader." She looked up at her mother. "It is not my path Mother. Adrienne or Sophia would have made fine Matriarchs but I am a hunter. I would choose to remain that way. If you were to leave us to sit at Diana's right hand then I would wish the council to elect a Matriarch."
"But I love you Leanna. It would break my heart if you were hurt. Why not take someone with you next time at least?" The older woman withdrew her hand as if it were touching something hot and she looked upset with herself. "I'm sorry. Please forgive me." Leanna withdrew and stood, still with head bowed, but sounding as if she had difficulty in swallowing, "Uh. I have to take your new subject to the slave's quarters Ma'am. Please excuse me." The shame faced Matriarch nodded and Leanna turned and bid me follow her. It was an emotional moment in the main hall and it spoke of untold personal turmoil from days gone by.
I took the reference to the great storm to mean when the vortex manifested itself and the island was cut off. Leanna was the true daughter of the Matriarch and had once had sisters. Both had died and it was obvious both felt their loss, though as Leanna passed me I saw the beginnings of a tear and remembered how her mother recoiled when she realised she had asked her not to go alone. There was something behind that and as strong as she was the huntress had an Achilles heel. It could not be assumed however that they had lived for the thousands of years since the vortex arrived.
It was apparently the case that days passed seemingly normally but other aspects of the passage of time were out of kilter. The German crew had arrived decades before me yet I had disappeared from normal time fifty years before they were even born. The unfortunate Captain had arrived hours before me too yet after the Germans, having been in real time a hundred years after I would probably have died of old age. I knew there were more interesting quirks yet to be discovered and I wanted to know more about my gorgeous rescuer. How long had the vortex cut her off from the rest of the world and what exactly was it that bothered her so?
I followed the Princess through the narrow corridors and stairs of the castle as we headed downward to what I imagined would be dungeons. Given that so much of the castle was in ruins it did not take us long to get to a wooden door, guarded by the same two mischievous married women that were on the gate earlier. Leanna didn't appear impressed, "Did you ask to transfer down here?" She addressed the question to them both, moving her stare back and forth between them. "No Ma'am." The well-practiced look of innocence gave the two grown women the air of a pair of schoolgirls who were used to being sent to the Head Mistress.
Leanna did not trust them and so kept up her look of disbelieving disapproval.