A year later, Valeria was joined by another baby girl, but not quite a sister. Lord Albert's only sister had never given up the search for their father, but she could not risk bringing a baby with her on such a dangerous undertaking. So she enlisted a local shaman to deliver the baby, with a simple note indicating her name and heritage, to Lord Albert's doorstep on the family estate. And so Lady Natasha Lanfar, daughter of Lady Cecilie Lanfar, joined the family. She was celebrated as Lord Albert's second daughter, as there was no reason for people to know that Lady Cecilie had had an illegitimate child, let alone with a barbarian.

That Natasha was Lord Albert's child was never questioned as the children grew. Valeria and Natasha seemed like twins as much as sisters, with the same straight raven hair falling across their faces, the same broad shoulders and delicate hands. The only way to tell them apart, other than height, was to look into their eyes. Valeria's were black, like her parents, but Natasha's were a piercing icy blue, most likely from her father.

These piercing blue eyes were now fixed on Remington, one of the page boys on the estate. Remington was three years older than Valeria, and four years older than Natasha, but the adolescent quailed under that gaze. "I shall ask you one more time," declared Natasha, "and then I shall have to tell Alice what you said. I'm sure she'll be very interested to hear that Remington thinks she's below him."

"But… but I didn't… I didn't say that..." stuttered Remington.

"I know you didn't," Natasha replied. "But what would poor Alice believe? She's still upset that you didn't take her to the Midwinter Ball you know."

"I couldn't help it, I was sick!"

"I know. But pleading won't help you. Tell me what I need to know. Now." Remington shuddered, and then pointed at the cabinet at the end of the hallway. Natasha shot him her sweetest smile. "Thank you Remington dearest," she sang. "I'll make sure Alice knows what a good boy you are. You may go now." She could have sworn Remington had the aid of some teleportation spell he vanished so quickly. Natasha advanced on the cabinet, and pulled it open, revealing Valeria.

The black eyes looked into the blue disapprovingly. "You knew I was here, didn't you?" It wasn't a question really, Valeria already knew the answer. "You should be kinder to Remington, his life is hard enough. Alice teases him nearly as mercilessly as you do. Anyway, you wasted enough time frightening the poor boy, we should be on our way to the Maestro's lesson."