Cursed is the name of Vorrutyer


Eugene crossed his arms and glared at his baby cousin. "I won't have it," he said, gazing in despair at the mulish set of her chin. "It's bad enough you're going into service, but Vorrutyer House? What were you thinking?"

Astra turned away from him and back to her packing. She folded another pile of petticoats or some other such woman's garment and placed it neatly in the bag which was laid open on her bed. "I was thinking," she said, "that it would be nice for the family to have one less mouth to feed and a little bit more money coming in." She reached for another pile of cotton, absent of frills like all her severe garments. "And I was thinking that it would probably not be a good idea to offend Lord Vorrutyer by turning down Lady Olivia's very kind offer of a place."

"Gah!" Eugene dropped his head into his hand and pulled at his hair. "Maybe it would have been a good idea not to draw Bloody Pierre's attention in the first place."

"I didn't draw his attention," said Astra, closing and buckling her bag. "I drew the attention of his daughter, and it was quite decent of her to offer to bring a Greek girl into her household." She turned around, and thrust her chin up once more. "I don't see why Lord Vorrutyer would notice me at all."

Eugene opened his mouth to protest, paused, and shut it again. As confident an air as Astra was projecting, her cheeks were colorless, damp-looking. She caught his look and stood, if possible, a little straighter. "Dammit, he already has noticed you, hasn't he? Le Sanguinaire himself has been after you?"

Astra picked up her bag, pretended haughtiness stiffening her carriage. "I will do this," she said. "For all of us." And Eugene didn't know what was stronger, his pride or his grief.