..Gina LadyHawke..

-*And so it begins..*-

I sometimes wonder if I can even recall how many years ago it was as I look back now on the past. And yet when I close my eyes.. it is as fresh in my minds eye as the flowers growing outside in the garden. I looked to my left as Kil`Jaeden, short for Kilarn Jaeden, sat next to me rubbing his fingers over the top of my hand. He was my husband and quite possibly my best friend and protector. I can not envision living without him in my life. In truth I would rather be dead.

We were at the keep of Sharius, King of Aranor, and of all things, we were celebrating my birthday. I look back now and think that if someone had told me all those years ago I would be celebrating a birthday in Aranor, I'd likely have called them a liar. Kil snuggled gently as he tugged me in closer. I sighed with a softness as I rested my head against him, my eyes dancing about the room taking in the kindred, who had come just to celebrate the fact I existed one more year in this world of ours.

I could see Sharius bouncing my daughter Brynn in his lap. He loved my daughter to no end and I think I was grateful she had him, for I knew one day I would die and he probably would still be alive. It pained me to think she would be alone in the world ever. So yes, I was glad she had someone she saw as a father figure, even though Kil was her step-father.. there was something about Sharius neither he nor I could ever explain, as it simply existed and only we understood it.

I could see my step-sons Christoper and Kristian talking in a corner, laughing as Chris's childer, Sinora, kept a bit behind him as she seemed to be a very shy sort. I noticed Julian and his lovely wife Jasain in one of the other corners of the room being a bit frisky, but then those two were always at it. I even noticed that Nightshade, the King's Mage and Necromancer, as well as his former student Mizerie, had come to the festivites. In truth, I'd have just been as happy to spend the night alone with Kil. He always made me feel better.

Sharius looked over at me with a grin. "So Gina, its your birthday what do you want to do?" he said. I shrugged gently as I actually turned my gaze from Sharius to Sinora, who I heard speaking softly to Chris. "Tell me about her? I don't know much.." Chris smiled a bit, exclaiming "Mom? She's wonderful and her story is amazing!" Such a pest he could be especially after some of the adventures we have had. No longer was I refered to solely as Gina or his step-mother, I was just mom or mother. The words always warmed my heart.

Sharius smirked. Oh good grief, he was plotting something and it showed upon those aged features of his. I noticed he also now turned his gaze to Sinora, a lovely dark haired beauty, and Christopher who was the captain of his Blood Guard. "Perhaps if we are lucky the Queen of Caeria shall grace us with her story. Wouldn't that be a fitting way to celebrate her birthday?" I was on my feet in an instant, almost knocking Kil over in the process. "I am no storyteller Sharius!" Heck, I don't think I had ever told a story in my life, let alone my own.

Kristian had begun to follow his brothers lead, begging "Pleeeeeeeeeease Mom? Peeeeeeeeeeease?!?" I looked to Kil pleadingly for help, but he shrugged his shoulders, fluffed his wings gently behind him and gave me one of those smarmy grins I had come to love him for. "They are your children dear." Ohh he was so not being a help. I sighed softly, "If I am not interupted, I will." I figured that would last all of five seconds - maybe five minutes with this lot. Silence was not something my friends were known for. I blinked though as I watched them taking seats about the room getting comfy. Oh boy, this could be a long night.

Kil inched over to hold my hand, as he did know some of my past and knew some things were harder and more upsetting for me then others. But then, they asked for this, and this was what they would get.. complete and in full detail. It was then, that the story had fully begun.. I noticed Kil speak softly to Jasain. She moved off a moment coming back with a glass of crimson wine for me, and Kil thanked her as he moved, setting it before me in case I needed it.

I looked into the flames that glowed within the fireplace as I just sat there silentally, listening to their crackling sound, embers dancing and wood burning like the wind tickling the trees in autumn. I covered my mouth for a moment and still no one made a sound, almost as if they knew I was falling back in memories, recalling it all, drawing it to the surface. Slowly my hand fell wayside to my lap and that was when a voice I didn't recognize as my own started to speak, softly at first, over trembling lips...

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