Has Storm truly found a place here among these people? And what of her father? Is he really as accepting as he seems?
Shadowdancer turned to Storm again & looked at her longingly. He swallowed hard & spoke in a tight voice.
“How is your mother, lass? Does she speak of me?”
His eyes looked so hopeful, she could not tell him the horrible things her mother had said of him these last 15 years.
“Aye, she does, sir. That she does & often.” She looked down, not wanting to meet his penetrating gaze. His love for her mother showed there, she could not let him see the betrayal of her mother in her eyes.
He smiled sadly, tears in his eyes. “I think of her oft too, my girl. I regret what happened between us.” He signed. “All on account of the healer who was just here. All his fault and none at all…. But I speak in riddles. Come sit here & tell me about your mother… how is Elly?”
Storm had never heard her mother referred to by this pet name & it took her by surprise. “She is well, sir. She has studied long at the Lyceum and has become a Grand Master of Magery and of Scribing. She studies now the arts of meditation among other pursuits…. Can it be as she said, sir, that you did not know of me—til now?” Tears threatened to flow once more. “Is that why you spent so many years agone and never sought me?”
His eyes softened, “Never til this night did I know of you, my girl, else I’d have been at your side all along. I tried to find your mother after she left, but she had hidden herself in the Lyceum and would not answer my letters. I went seeking her, but the good monks and scribes would not let me enter. They had posted guards to keep me out. Not once did I see Elly nor did I hear from her. Not a word heard I of her, for her family did not know me, save for her brother Augustus & him long gone to wars far away.”
He shook his head sadly. “Tis no wonder now that she was so angry with me that night. I was certain sure she had news for me, but I never dreamed this was the case. She left the day of our anniversary, nearly 16 years ago.” He sighed heavily.
Sasha set a glass of cool water in front of him. He picked it up and toasted Storm with it.
“To you and your mother,” he said.
Storm was surprised to see him sipping water only.
Shadowdancer’s keen eyes missed nothing. “No doubt your mother told you I’m a heavy drinker.”
Storm nodded dumbly.
“And so I was back then, but I’ve been sober now,” he paused, “For 14 1/2 years. I fear after your mother left, I went somewhat on a binge. I can’t remember much of those days….months even. But now tis water or milk for me, no more of the spirits. But now, my lass, tell me about yourself….”
For the first time in her life, Storm felt welcomed and loved. She settled on her stool, content to chat with her father as if she’d known him all her life. The sun sank below the sea, from dusk to twilight and the world welcomed the night.