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I stare down at the bowl on the table. The gold rim of the plate is so unfamiliar; so foreign, along with the pattern that outlines the bowl. I have been sitting here for hours, worrying. Demyan has not been here for two days now. He hasn't even talked to me in his mind. I am about to send a letter to Harpeth.

The knocking on the door made me jump.

"Please forgive me, mistress. You have a letter." The maid says.

"Oh, do bring it to me." I outstretch my hand and she hands it to me and bows. "You may be excused." I say. She walks out.

I stand and walk to the window. It is from my nurse.

Dear Natalia,

I have taken into consideration your concerns of your health and have done some hard work trying to help. I think it would be wise of me to come and observe your health before I make any telling of what I think you are concerned about. Please write back to let me know it will be alright for me to come to your estate.


Dr. Abby Fitzwilliam

I catch my breath. Could it be? Could it actually be what I think it is? I must try to be patient! Abby said she will more carefully observe me to be sure, but I do hope it is what I am thinking! A ba-

Horse hooves; I hear horse hooves. I walk out of the dining room and across the hall to the top parlor. I look out the window to overlook the grounds and I see a black cloaked person on a horse coming up to the estate. The white cobblestone road up to the estate makes the horses hooves clank, clank, clank. But what bothers me is that I cannot see who it is. If it were Demyan he would have told me he was home. He hasn't said a word.

I watch the person dismount the horse and come up to the door. I hear the knocking from way up here on the third floor; or maybe it is the thumping of my heart?

I wait silently, daring not to breath. 'Please, please, please let it not be the people!' I think to myself. 'Please, please....' I say over and over in my head. 'Please, please, please, ple'-

"Victorious....Victorious..." says the slithery evil voice. "It's alright, Victorious. I will not harm you; I only want to talk to you." it says. My body completely shuts down. I thought we were safe. And now, Demyan is not here to save me. What do I do? Think! What has all this training done me if I just sit here like a coward?


"Natalia, wake up. Everything is okay, my darling. Wake up." Demyan says. I open my eyes and I see his face over mine. Demyan takes me in his arms and I sleepily wrap my arms around him.

"Its okay, it was just a bad dream. That's all." He says rocking me back and forth in his lap. I am all sweaty and I feel shaky. The dreams have been getting worse. It seems as if they will not go away.

"Demyan..." I utter. He kisses my head and keeps rocking me in his arms as I sit in his lap.

"Natalia, it was just a bad dream. You are safe. Do not worry." He says. He lays me back down but keeps me in his safe arms. I am no longer shaky, and I do not think I will sweat anymore. Demyan never left me. He was never gone. He will always be at my side. Forever and always.

'Always." He says to my mind. I bring him closer to me. 'Always.'

In the morning I find myself still wrapped in his arms. He has been awake the whole time; looking at me.

"You never really sleep, do you?" I ask.

"Only a little bit. But I usually am awake guarding you." he says. I smile.

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