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8 4 NRy812

Harland Northcrest died just minutes ago. As his only son, I felt obligated to sit by his deathbed strangely devoid of emotion.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. My relationship with such a failure of a man leaves no room for sympathy or remorse. Confessional fell from his lips like so many opium pipes and with just as little sincerity.

Elspeth Hucks floated to the surface as an unwelcome parting gift. Harland never personally admitted it but his romp with my mother's maid that evening is well-known to all, especially me. The damned maid was dismissed on my fifteenth birthday as soon as the child was evident in her belly. It was the beginning of the end with Beatrice. I will have no time with lies, deceit and distraction.

Tonight at least, the ninth lion of Northcrest spoke the truth for once.

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