A tall, fair-skinned woman with black hair and light eyes rose from her breakfast table in response to the knocking at her door. Frowning slightly, wondering who on earth would call at this hour, and in this rain, she proceeded cautiously down the hallway. Her door was not equipped with a peephole, so she called softly through the door, "Who is it?"
"Andi, it's your sister... Open up, please!" came a rather unexpected, strangled sob from the outside of the door.
The door flew open. "What are you DOING here?!" spat the dark-haired woman inside to the slender blonde outside, shocked beyond belief that she'd show her face.
"Andi... I'm sorry... I... I assumed you'd heard the news?"
Both women started at the sound of a body falling.
"Bloody hell!" muttered yet a third woman, this one with limp, light brown hair, picking herself off the floor.
"Dora, DO be careful," admonished Andi, in a voice that indicated this was a battle long since lost.
"Sorry, Mum... BLOODY HELL!" gasped the woman, seeing the visitor.
"Hello..." said the outsider, after taking a deep breath and attempting a brave face, which promptly crumpled as she struggled, unsuccessfully, to hold back a flood of tears.
"What are you doing here?" asked Andi again, not unsympathetic, but completely confused.
"Andi... it's not safe for me out here. May I come in, please?"
Andi relented... They were sisters, after all... and once upon a time, they had been close. "Of course," she said sympathetically, standing aside to allow her baby sister entrance.
As Andi closed the door, she turned to her daughter and said, "Dora... start some tea, please."
"Of course, Mum," Dora chirped and stumbled off to the kitchen.
Taking another deep breath, with closed eyes, the woman who just stepped inside said resolutely, "No... I just needed to be inside the door... I won't impose any more than that, until you've... had a chance to consider."
The blonde woman met her sister's eyes for the first time in over twenty-five years. "My only child... you're a mother; you have to understand this concern."
"And what about him? Following in his father's footsteps, if my daughter's sources are accurate. Given who her sources are, I'd have to say they are quite accurate..."
The blonde woman nodded, her brow pinched as if she were in pain. "My husband is in jail... and my son failed at his task. He has no future."
"What do you expect your 'blood traitor' sister, her 'filth' husband and their 'worthless, ill-begotten freak of a half-breed' daughter to do about it?" spat Andi angrily.
"I didn't write that message..." her sister began lamely.
"You allowed it to be sent in your name!" Andi hissed viciously.
The blonde nodded sadly in defeat, tears streaming down her face.
"If you've come here to ask for refuge, you have some nerve to do so!" spat Andi angrily. "You didn't come to my wedding, and I wasn't invited to yours; when my daughter was born, we delayed naming her godmother until you came of age, as you and I had agreed to so many years before that, and you sent that horrid note in return."
"Not for me, Andi... not for me."
Finally impatient with all the beating around the bush, Andi snorted and stomped her foot. "Narcissa, WHAT do you WANT?" she demanded.