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The Twenty-Second of Ivaris, Sixteen Seventy-Four,

No matter my questions and prodding Uncle still has yet to mention Kyran. To me or to any staff. Not that the staff would tell me if so commanded. I would hope Ms. Argall would show me such a kindness if I were to ask. She has such a kind heart beneath her breast. I saw no attempts at subterfuge in her eyes. No quiver in her words.

I can only assume the worst. Was he ambushed on his way here? His corpse picked over by bandits and left to feed the crows? To my knowledge, Cousin Granner has had many problems with a band of highwaymen attacking travelers on the roads. He has asked Uncle to send him a few men to bolster his own militia and while Uncle has sent a score of men they are not dissuaded. They have yet to kill someone but it is only a matter of time. Savagery does find one another and the strongest savage wins out.

Cossett has made many hints that she knows of Kyran and of his whereabouts. I must assume every word that falls from her painted mouth to be a lie. In truth she is the woman of low morals that all believe me to be. In essence she is my whorish reflection. There is no doubt in my mind that this lie is a ploy especially engineered to drive me insane. Push and prick. To twist and manipulate me; And she shall see how hard it is to pluck my strings. Oh how I cannot stand her; I hate her, I hate her painted smile, I hate her red lacquered nails, and I hate her gossamer gowns.

She reverts the staff into a troop of bumbling apes or a meadow of shrill, shrieking violets. She has spent the latter portion of the last week lounging about the sun room in just a flimsy slip, summoning footmen at all hours. Now the footmen have trouble being in the same room with her anymore. When she summons them they have a most pained expression on their faces. Oh how she taunts and teases them. I believe I’ve seen the first footmen fumbling with one of her lace handkerchiefs in his pockets but, then again it could be a token from the seamstress that he is courting. It is a wonder that anyone gets any sleep with her beneath this roof.

Tam follows after her like a slavering hound. As the days wear on I am beginning to think that he was not intended as a spy. I now think he was a genuine gift, a fair courtesy to get into my good graces. While he has been useful he is far from invaluable. He fetches and carries and occasionally drives me about. To me the driving is the only real boon, if not for Tam I would be forced to take Uncle’s Varlet with me whenever I design to leave the estate. To my dismay it seems Tam has a minor fear of the horses, though, I have yet to get him to go near the stables let alone go for a ride with me. I really wish I could, I would have him ride one of the geldlings. One of the gentlest horses we own. The dear dappled gray was a gift from Father when I first started to ride. A nice and docile creature suited to a sedate and comfortable pace. Tam would enjoy that. And I think I would as well, at least for a time. Oh how I would love to race down to the sea side; We can barely see it from the estate and I must climb to the very attic for just a brief glimmer of the crystal waters.

My mind is yet again drawn back to that dreadful woman, her shrill singing frequently impinges on my sleep late into the evening, much as she is doing now. Some inane child’s song from her childhood, I assume. Though wherever that might be could not even attempt to guess. I might even say that she is foreign with how she carries on. What would my father think?

I once caught her and Uncle in an extremely compromising position among the roses in the conservatory. I am fine with the occasional coupling among the servants, I have only run into them once and they have since moved to the alcove nearer to the servant’s quarters. That was once they had learned of my habitual visits to the conservatory at night. A habit I am told my Mother indulged as well.

Yet to know that Uncle has a eagle illuminated upon his thigh is something I could have lived without. Among may other things of the flesh I would rather not know. If only scouring my eyes with sand would remove those images. I dare say I would enjoy one of Folami’s cocktails to rid myself of the memory. I shudder to think of what the artist went though, Uncle is quick to complain at the smallest of thing. Just the slightest of prick will have Uncle complaining. The artist must be praised for his work and his shrewd control.

I would almost say that I cannot believe their lewd and unseemly behavior, cavorting where the staff might see. They have extensive rooms of their own to cavort without shocking the gardeners or the odd maid. But my better judgment has won out, I believe they wish to shock the staff. They enjoy their sex game where anyone could find them.

Allegedly Cossett is a blood relation, to see their coupling I can only think that it might, ever so slightly, be true. They have the same hair and bone structure, how I could have missed it is beyond me. But I would much rather believe it is more likely that she is in fact a common whore who thinks herself a courtesan. It is a much more seemly and tasteful thought, at least in my mind. To think that she might be blood to me. Then again a whore is a whore and this one violates my home. First assignations in the conservatory at sunset; Next will she go about in just her garters and stockings thrilling the footmen and shocking the maids. She really must realize that we are in such a modest and conservative area. The laws and doctrines of the Lord of Light are strong here. I do not wish to be present when Mrs. Argall catches wind of this. She is already upset by the new housekeeper

Light reveals the truth, whether good or ill. Do you wish to shed such a light? It might just be a scared child that hides in the bushes or it might be a monster set on your blood and your wife. Choose wisely. Sometimes the delusions and illusions of shadow could save your life.