Stakes In This

She screamed, but over the sound of the crowd it meant nothing.

Just like all of her attempts to save her half-brother’s mother from burning at the stake meant nothing. She grabbed the little boy’s hand and dragged him away from the sight of his mother before the flames even reached the woman’s skirt.

If she’d had the time, Helena would have glared at her father from where he’d sat on a velvet cushion while he’d let his mistress burn at the stake for the witchcraft that he himself had been working, but had allowed an innocent woman to take the fall for instead of even trying to repent.

Helena hated the man that was her Lord father, knowing that he would do it all over again so long as it got him out of trouble with the local priest.

“Mother!”

Helena shushed her little brother, only five years old and not quite old enough to understand why the genteel woman that was somehow his sister was dragging him away from the only parent in his life.

“It’s all right, Sebastian, just come with me, your mother wanted you to spend more time with me and so you will come with me.” Helena babbled as she continued to pull her brother, now her charge away from the town square and back towards the keep that she, now they, lived in.

Helena now had far more to lose than any other time in her life. She wasn’t going to take the chance that her father would spirit the boy away for some nefarious reason so she had best get him added to her household before her father could do so.

If he hadn’t already, that is.

No, don’t be silly, Helena, she chastised herself, If Father had already done so, then he would have already taken custody of the boy. There is still time. There is still time.


I don’t know why I wrote this, but it’s been in my head for almost a year now. Maybe writing it down will get it out of my head? (I won’t hold my breath, though.)