Dragon, 120

After A Tragedy, A Family Should Pause and Be Together

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“It seems like he had an aneurysm,” said Georgina, after she’d come into the room. They’d all been sitting waiting for the doctor to talk to her. She’d clearly been crying, and she sat down on a couch. Gavin got up and went to go sit beside her, hugging her. “There was nothing anyone could have done.”

“That’s when a blood vessel gathers a lot of blood and breaks open,” Boey said quietly, for Greg’s benefit. Owen would have done it, but he didn’t know what an aneurysm was. “It’s pretty rare, but it is something that can happen to a healthy person.”

“He didn’t seem sick at all,” Gabrielle said. She was in a chair, but she’d pulled it closer to the couch Franz was on and was holding his hand.

“He wouldn’t have,” said Gloria. She was sitting by herself, rubbing her arms, looking distant. “He would have felt fine until maybe a few seconds before it happened.”

Grey Rain tugged Owen’s sleeve. Did it hurt a lot?

“He wants to know if it would have hurt a lot,” Owen asked.

“No,” Gavin muttered. He shook his head, freed his hands. An aneurysm bursting would have been so fast he wouldn’t have felt any pain. It would have happened instantly.

Okay, Grey Rain said, his eyes filling with tears again. I’m glad it didn’t hurt. People can get stuck when dying really hurts and they get heavy and then it’s hard for them to go where they’re supposed to. He sniffed and leaned on Greg, who was also crying. Is it okay if I ask Sky Heart to help him? They can make sure he gets to the right afterlife even if he’s not a werewolf.

That would be very nice of you, thank you, Gavin said, his hands faltering at the end. He hugged his mom again.

“We have to…” Gabrielle swallowed, took a deep breath. “We have to tell people it was natural causes. We can’t give anyone any reason to think otherwise.”

Georgina, Franz, Boey, Gavin and Gloria all nodded at that. It felt wrong to Owen, but he understood why. “As long as Dominic didn’t tell anyone else what he told Franz,” he said quietly.

Franz had apparently been warned yesterday that Gerard was going to be assassinated by sketchy Lord Dominic, who’d said it was going to happen next week but had clearly been wrong. It was too much of a coincidence to assume he’d died of natural causes a week before someone had been planning to kill him. Gavin had said that even if Dominic had been lying, which he liked to do, it was still too much of a coincidence.

“Dominic isn’t famous for sharing information,” Franz muttered. “And he won’t tell anyone.”

“He won’t,” Gloria agreed. “I’ll make sure he doesn’t.”

“There’s a problem,” Georgina whispered. She was holding Gavin close. “With that. Gerard wasn’t the only person killed last night.”

“What?” Gavin asked, sitting straight.

Gabrielle was stiff too. Owen felt tense. “What do you mean?”

“Helena was found dead this morning as well,” Georgina said. “I was just told on my way in. Franz, so was your uncle Hans.”

“Franz,” Boey said, sounding pained.

“Boey, you have to go see Hector, he’s by himself,” Franz said, cutting off whatever else Boey had been about to say.

Boey looked indecisive for a second, and he got up and hugged Franz. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be sorry. Go.”

“Hector can always come here if he needs to,” Gabrielle added.

Boey nodded, and he left the room in a hurry. Franz looked down at his hands. “I get Helena. Why kill my uncle?” He seemed to be shrinking a little in his seat. “He’s only the regent on paper. He has no power in Kyaine anymore.”

“Maybe the Empire doesn’t know that,” Gavin muttered. “It doesn’t matter. They knew our impulse would be to lie about Dad and say it was natural causes. Nobody’s going to believe that three prominent people died by accident on the same night.”

“They will if that’s what we tell them,” Gloria said with a firm shake of her head. “What other source of information do they have?”

She was right. Owen swallowed. “Besides, nobody in Dolovai—no offence, Franz—knows who your uncle is.” Owen sure couldn’t pick the guy out of a crowd. He knew vaguely that Franz’s uncle was—had been—kind of an asshole and had tried to take control of Kyaine after Franz’s parents had been killed under the guise of being Franz’s sister’s regent, but that was it.

God, how many of Owen’s friends and family were going to have their parents murdered?

That thought hit him hard and he shifted on the couch as that thought overtook him. Why did this have to happen? Gerard had been a good king and a perfectly nice man and a good dad. He didn’t deserve to be murdered in the middle of the night because some stupid Empire wanted to take over the world.

“Owen’s right,” Franz said, eyes shut. “Frankly, most ordinary people wouldn’t know Helena’s name if you said it to them on the street. We can just say she went back to her lands for at least a month and nobody would know the difference.”

“Why do you have to lie about it?” Greg asked, holding Grey Rain’s hand as the two of them moved closer to Owen. “Why can’t we just tell the truth?”

“Because it would start a war, Greg,” Gavin told him, shoulders hunched. “I’d rather be honest too, but if we tell everyone that the Empire killed your grandpa, then everyone is going to want to know why we aren’t declaring war on them.”

“Lying also forces the Empire to come to the peace summit he was going to call,” Gabrielle added. She gave up on the chair and went to go sit on her mother’s other side, Franz going with her. “They killed him now before he could announce it and if we accuse them of murder, they won’t come.”

Greg nodded, and he and Grey Rain pulled Owen to his feet and over to the other couch so he could sit beside Gavin. Then they climbed into his and Gavin’s laps. Gloria came over too and sat on Gabrielle’s other side.

“Greg might have a point,” said Franz, distantly. “Telling the truth and then still inviting them to the summit would be very powerful, I think.”

“Maybe,” muttered Gabrielle, closing her eyes. “I don’t know. I don’t want to decide this right now.”

“Neither do I,” Georgina said. “I know we have to decide what to do. There’ll have to be a funeral and a coronation and…” she broke off, a quiet sob wracking her. Gavin and Gabrielle held her, even as Owen held Gavin’s hand to keep him steady. They were all keeping each other steady, now. They had to. “But not right now. Not right now.”

“We don’t need to do anything right now,” Gavin agreed, eyes shut. “We can just sit here.”

And so they did. They sat there and grieved with each other. As they did that, though, Owen couldn’t help but remember a conversation he’d had with Gerard once. The king had asked him about a problem and claimed the answer was complicated. But it hadn’t been, and Owen had told him that he handled most of his problems by pointing his sword at them until they went away.

They were going to do their best to stop a war, but the Empire had hurt Owen’s family. So now they were a problem, and Owen’s sword was aimed right at them.

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4 thoughts on “Dragon, 120

  1. So Gerard really is dead. Assuming his body double wasn’t put in place immediately, without anyone else knowing about it.

    But if Gerard is dead, it probably wasn’t Daniel who killed him. The mark in Daniel’s chapter died of neurotoxic dagger graze, not an aneurysm.

    …It would be pretty funny if it later turned out that the only person who actually died was the asshole regent who didn’t have any real power anymore and who no one actually liked.


    1. It’s certainly very likely that Gerard actually did die. The possibility of a replacement being installed very quickly without anyone knowing certainly exists, but it seems pretty unlikely.

      It definitely seems like the causes of death for Gerard and for Daniel’s mark were different! I think there’s ambiguity in both how the symptoms of Daniel’s neurotoxin would appear and in how information about the body is being presented to everyone given that there’s a commitment to not being totally honest about how he died. But I agree it definitely seems like Daniel could potentially be absolved of this one.

      It would be kind of amazing if all this happened and then only Hans was actually dead, The one character in this group whose death would make everyone go “meh” and move on, ahaha. The assassins maybe kinda fucked that one up. 😀



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