While Nik and Dory were out enjoying the autumn festival, Mira took advantage of their absence to compose a long letter to Elenie.
Misty came in as she was writing it, seeming to know that her services would be required, and when Mira had finished she tore the page from her notebook, screwed it up into a small ball and tossed it onto the ground for Misty.
When Dory came home from the festival with Coryn, Mira offered to help teach him to walk and proceeded to do so as Dory napped in the rocking chair.
Neither of them felt like going to bed properly with the full moon up and so they took it in turns to teach Coryn to walk with the other napping in the chair until Coryn grew too tired when Dory settled down in the rocking chair with him for both of them to nap.
The next morning, Elenie was doing on her schoolwork early, when she noticed Misty playing with a small ball of paper, batting it towards her.
Something in Misty's behaviour caught her attention and as she went over to see, Misty pushed the ball at her and looked from the ball to Elenie as if encouraging her to pick it up. Unscrewing the paper the first thing she saw was her own name - intrigued she smoothed it out and began reading.
My dear granddaughter, Elenie,
I know I have appeared to ignore you since your father died and your mother re-married and I am sorrier than I can tell that this has been the case. I promise you though that it has not been by my own choice. You will by now have realised how evil your stepfather is, and I am afraid that it is he who is behind your mother's rejection of you - he has convinced her that you are not truly her child but that the real you has been stolen and you have been left instead. She is wrong and I believe that he has chosen to convince her of this for some sinister reason of his own.
When I told him that I did not believe his fiction about you, he dropped all pretence and threatened me should I attempt to tell anyone my opinion or have anything to do with you. I promise you, I would have risked any threats he made to me, but he is cunning and instead threatened that for any attempt I made to speak to anyone about what is going on, or to have any contact with you, he would punish you. He has already forced you into being a servant to your own family, I did not dare risk what else he might do to you should I defy him.
You are no doubt now wondering how I dare risk this letter? The cats and Taliesen are your allies and they have found a way to enchant the notebook from which I tore this page to prevent him from being able to read what I have written - should he pick it up he will believe that it is but a scrap of paper the cats are playing with.
Be strong my darling, and be alert for what his plans may be, I will do whatever I can to help you but my abilities are limited and his powers are very strong. Know that I love you always.
Your loving Grandma
Elenie spent a lot of time thinking about her grandmother's letter as she did her household chores, knowing that someone at least still loved her made things seem so much better, and yet she couldn't stop turning over in her mind why her mother would have rejected her and believed Nik's claims that she wasn't truly her child.
She was pondering this as she went into Coryn's nursery to empty out his potty and saw her mother teaching her half-brother to talk. As she cleaned out the potty Dory broke off from teaching Coryn to talk, glanced at her watch and said abruptly
"Brat, we're going out, entertain my son while we're gone and make sure he gets his bottle while we're gone."
Her mother's tone and general attitude towards her hurt Elenie badly, but she suppressed her reaction and simply nodded, saying quietly "Yes ma'am".
As Dory went off to get ready, Elenie fetched a children's book from the bookshelf and, sitting down next to her little brother, she pulled him close and began reading to him.
Despite the resentment she felt towards her mother, Elenie found her little brother totally adorable and he responded to her affection readily, filling a gap that had haunted her ever since her father died.
In addition to reading to Coryn, the two of them enjoyed several games of peek a boo and Elenie gave her brother lots of cuddles, albeit more for the sake of feeling someone else hug her back than for his sake!
Nik and Dory had headed out to one of the local bars, having arranged to meet various members of her family there.
Dory spent a great deal of time catching up with her cousin Nia and getting to know Dyan's long-term girlfriend, Joey. Nia had recently had a baby girl, called Naomi, and Joey had a toddler called Willem with Dyan in addition to their little girl Jenny, whom Dory and Nik had already met. Unsurprisingly, a lot of their talk centred around their children.
Nik meanwhile enjoyed several games of darts with Dyan and with Nia's husband, Kane. He took advantage of the time spent with them to weave glamours around them to enable him to influence their thoughts and also dropped a number of hints about Mira's supposed mental decline, carefully weaving those into the glamours he cast.
When they got home, Elenie was showing Coryn how to build towers on the block table in his nursery (although he seemed more interested in chewing the blocks). Dory coldly ordered her back to the household chores now that they were back.
As Elenie left the room, Coryn started to pout at the loss of his playmate, but Dory remained firm and told him it was time to use the potty again.
Nik also took a turn at the childcare, teaching his son to talk by means of explaining the importance of nuclear waste!
As the days drew on it became colder and the trees lost their leaves. Elenie looked forward to the few times she was able to spend with her baby brother, but most of her time was spent cleaning and doing chores.
Eventually, winter arrived and it began to snow heavily. Dory was indoors reading to Coryn one morning as the snow lay thick on the ground.
Nik came in, interrupting them and, once Dory had put the book away and Coryn had wandered off to play with his toys, suggested that the two of them spend the day together at the winter festival - just the two of them.
Dory readily agreed, and they headed down to the beach which was thick with snow. She was feeling a bit hungry when they got there so bought a gingerbread cookie to eat.
While Dory ate, Nik tried out the snowboarding tube which had been set up on one side of the festival.
Dory watched him for a while, but then called him down and the two of them began building a snowman together.
Once they had finished the snowman, they waded through the snow to the photo booth to get a memento to keep of their day in the snow.
Having done that, Nik flirted and flattered Dory, with the inevitable results. As he did so, he laughed inside to see her believe him so easily and wrapped his spells tighter around her.
Back at home, it was Elenie's birthday. Ug-Laruka had chased her out of Coryn's nursery, insisting that he needed feeding and putting to bed, so Elenie celebrated alone in the barn with only the cats and Taliesen for company.
- Sterline & Shadow Fields-McKinley had a baby girl called Greta
- Ralph Marlin-Crist & Raina Sabo-Harris had a baby girl called Ione
- Naomi Clemetis-Sabo aged to a toddler
- Carina Sabo, Lenora Vamp-Roman & Jolie Sperie-Fields aged to children
- Bryan Harris-Crist, Torey McKinley-Crist, Rhiannon Glyndwr & Salvador Harris aged to adults
- Tempest Sabo, Raindrop McKinley-Sabo & Anastasia McKinley-Sabo aged to elders
- Isadora Marlin-Crist, Quetzal Sperie, Nathaniel Harris-McKinley, Irish Marlin-McKinley & Lukas Sperie died of old age
- Bobbie Clemetis and Michael McKinley-Sabo got engaged but then broke up
- Kaitlyn Sperie & Andreas Harris-Crist got married, taking the surname Sperie-Crist
- Bernard McKinley & Christy Sabo are expecting a baby
- Sandy and Alexis Clemetis-Harris are expecting a baby
- Bernard McKinley & Antoine Sabo joined the criminal community