She turned to look over toward the mansion in the distance.

"And I'll miss having her watch over me as she has."

"On one condition." he replied, as he handed her the packet of journals.

"I know there are telegraph and other postings along the way but it may be easier to keep track of the whats, wheres and whatever's that happen and send them along as you see fit to fill them out."

"I believe that I could manage that." she replied with a smile of genuine relief of sorts.

Poe frowned at a sudden thought.

"I suppose we should work out some sort of code in case there happens to be any prying eyes along the way."

Clementine shook her head and closed her eyes as she failed to cover her amusement before she looked at him again.

"My dearest Poe, obviously you didn't have to grow up magical amid the non magical of your community as a child."

She set the journals on Daniela's headstone and reached into her purse for something that she finally found and pulled out with a look of pride.

"Hold out your hand." she prodded as she dropped a small unassuming stone into his palm.

Startled, he felt it burn hot and suddenly sting as he dropped it back into her waiting hand just below.

"You could have warned me." he chided, as he rubbed his palm against the soothing cloth of his trousers.

"And where would the fun have been in ... that." She mused in return as she carefully stamped each of the journals in turn with the stone now wet in his blood.

Along with each stamp she mumbled something almost indecipherable that he could almost discern as some sort of Latin or Greek.

Once finished with the last of the journals, she grasped the stone firm in her own palm while still casting whatever it was that she'd been casting; justly rewarded as a small flash revealed two stones once she opened her hand to look.

Ever careful, she selected one and handed it to him.

"Don't worry, it won't bite this time." she offered with a less than hidden amusement.

The stone was dry and cold to the touch as he considered it in his palm.

"As children ..." she continued "... we often had others try to read our journals to learn things that they definitely should not have known; probably the reason one of the first spells we were taught was that of the blood-lines."

She looked down at the headstone as she spoke.

"I fear that my Daniela is now tasked to look after this uneducated sheriff rather than the other way around."

Poe enjoyed the pointed humor that came with the comment.

"When you want to read a page ..." she continued in what sounded a lot like one of his old teachers, "... just hold the stone against it and the words will be revealed from what otherwise would look to anyone else like nothing more than common scribble."

"And if I should part ways with the stone?" he asked dubiously.

"Just prick your finger and smear a drop or two of blood." she replied dismissively with the wave of a hand. "The stone just makes things less messy. The same goes the other way. Press it against something that you want to send, write in or on it and remove the stone when done."

She watched him roll the stone in his palm.

"Now that the stones have linked us, they will only work for us and no one else; lots easier when you don't misplace the damned thing let me assure you. Someone could always make it into a ring or buckle for you ... or I'll have to come back before I'm ready just to make another one, and that would simply do little good for either of us."

"Blood-lines ... who'd have thought." he mused as he shook his head.

She moved to lace her arm through his as she gently began to guide him back down toward town; while he noticed that as they moved, the light glow fluttered and flowed around them.

"It's almost a new day and I fear the others will be cross if I'm not there when they are ready to depart."

"A new day ... yes, indeed." Poe offered softly in reply, having found that he felt somewhat better now that she did as well.

Perhaps he too had now become one of Daniela's white pawns.

As long as they could stay one step ahead, perhaps even their bishops would remain safe next to their queen and her king.

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