Sera was waiting impatiently. Little Tiana stumbled unsteadily on the rock floor. "Where were you?" She demanded, snapping Keaira out of her blissful state.

Keaira shut the door quickly. "I was stopped on my way here."

Sera took a deep breath. Then looked at her daughter, "I'm sorry. I am just scared."

"As am I." Keaira sat.

"Are you sure we should do this? My darling Tiana will be made an orphan if we are discovered."

Keaira sighed. "And she may not live if we don't."

"What have you planned?" Sera asked, her eyes glazed with unshed tears.

"I talked with Chandra. She is looking into our options."

Suddenly tears began streaming down Sera's cheeks. "I don't know if I can go through with this! Maybe I should just flee. Take Tiana and travel back to the Stone Isles."

"He will find you, Sera. He will find you and kill you!" Keaira said, placing a hand on Sera's shoulder. "If you run, you can never go home. You must live your life as a peasant. Tiana must be raised as a poor child. She must never learn the truth. If you run you must give this all up." Keaira gestured at the Palace walls.

Sera's tears stopped and she brushed them off her cheeks. "I cannot do that to Tiana. What kind of a mother could I be without this? How would I feed her? We would die."

"You may. But if you return to the Stone Isles you WILL die." Keaira held her hands out to Tiana, who tottered over to her. Keaira lifted the baby into her lap and smiled. "It is your choice, Sera. But remember that everyone sees you're face, and no one has offered help here. No Noble will stand up against Lord Pillan."

Lord Corbin left Keaira blushing in the banquet hall. He walked back to his rooms, a small grin on his face. Upon entering his sitting room, he was hardly surprised to see Lord Pillan of the Stone Isles staring at the fire.

"I saw your wife earlier, Pillan. She did not look well." Lord Corbin growled. Lord Pillan turned, looking startled, and walked to the high backed chair closest to the fire. Lord Corbin sat across from him and poured himself some wine. Lord Pillan raised a dark eyebrow, but Corbin did not offer him a goblet.

"She took quite a fall last night." Lord Pillan finally answered, his tone deceptively mild. He tried to ignore the insult; Lord Corbin was the King's cousin. Not someone he wanted to push.

"Did she?" Lord Corbin smirked bitterly. "She must be rather clumsy, as she has taken many falls this year."

Lord Pillan glared. "We are not all so blessed in our marriages as you, my Lord. You're wife is an exceptional woman."

Lord Corbin nodded, "she is at that. But she has not.. fallen... like Lady Serafina has. Perhaps your Lady's temperament has been altered by these.. accidents."

Pillan snarled and grabbed a goblet, filling it to the brim with wine. He was nearly in a rage and hoped the wine would help calm him.

"I do not see the Awareness in your eyes today." Lord Corbin said briskly. "Have you run your funds dry?"

Pillan gulped the wine and refilled the goblet. "My treasury is my concern. I have come to ask you a favor."

Lord Corbin tensed, "are we on such close terms? I was unaware."

Pillan ground his teeth. "The King's Cousin is known for his kindness."

Corbin chuckled, but his eyes remained serious. "And what could you possibly need?"

"My sister is yet unmarried. Her betrothed died in an unfortunate accident. I come to you requesting that she be made a Lady in waiting. You're neices are of age, they are in need of Ladies, are they not?" Lord Pillan swallowed another goblet of wine. Corbin grabbed the wine from the table before Pillan could re-fill his glass.

"Your sister is hardly worthy of being a Lady for the Princesses." Lord Corbin growled. "And I have little reason to grant you any favors."

Pillan rose, "I have seen how you look at my wife! You owe me."

Lord Corbin rose, standing over a head taller than Pillan. "You're WIFE? I look at her with PITY. The same as I look at your child. Tread carefully, Pillan. You walk a dangerous path!" With that Corbin opened the door to his study and Pillan exited.