New York, 1765
"Kenneth! Oh, good lord! Kenneth! Get Serenity!" The panicked cries of Ilene Harper were loud and clear to Kenneth Harper as he rushed to get to their two-year old daughter, Serenity.
Kenneth looked out the hallway window and saw the red coats of the approaching British soldiers. Good god, how had they found out that he had helped in spreading the pamphlets of the Sons of Liberty? They'd hang him. They'd hang Ilene. Serenity!
He just made it to Serenity's bed when he heard the door burst open and Ilene scream. He lifted Serenity as she began to stir from the loud noises coming from the lower level of their home.
"Kenneth! Get Serenity out! Save Serenity!" Ilene shouted up the stairs to her husband as the British soldiers began to drag her out of the house.
Even as he heard the soldiers coming up the stairs, Kenneth couldn't suppress the urge to cry out for his beloved wife. "Ilene!"
Shadows filled the doorway and Kenneth backed up, looking around frantically for another escape. His eyes found the large window which faced the gardens in the back of the house. He rushed forward but was stopped short as a bayonet was thrust into his path.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you, Harper. You'll never make it out with the child anyway."
Kenneth's gaze followed the path of the bayonet until he met the eyes of its holder, a tall burly man whom he recognized as the leader of the local British forces, Major General Alan Granger. "Granger." Kenneth stated tonelessly, pulling Serenity closer to him.
Granger smiled viciously. "Harper. You are under arrest for treason against His Majesty, the King of England. Hand over the child and accept your fate."
Kenneth backed up a step and looked down at his daughter who stared back mutely with her innocent blue eyes. "Serenity . . ."
"If you come willingly, we will see to it that she is properly cared for." Granger motioned to his men to step forward.
"And if I don't?" Kenneth felt a chill when he saw the cruel light in Granger's eyes.
"I will kill you both where you stand."
Kenneth brought a hand up to caress his beloved daughter's cheek. "And you swear you will not hurt her? She will be properly cared for?"
Granger resisted the urge to roll his eyes and instead waved his hand dismissively. "Yes. Yes. Hand her over now, Harper."
He motioned his soldiers to go ahead and take the girl. The men went forward and Kenneth backed up until his back hit the wall. As the redcoats got closer, they heard his desperate murmurs, "No, no…Serenity…no…God help us…Serenity…No!!!!"
The British soldiers grabbed his arms, holding him back as one took Serenity. She took one look up into this stranger's face and began to wail, looking frantically around for her father. The soldier looked at his commanding officer helplessly. Granger shrugged. "Take her outside," he said, ignoring Kenneth's protests.
The soldier nodded once and left the room. The last thing the child saw was her father struggling against three red-coated men. "SERENITY!!!!"
Endymion Thomas tugged at his mothers skirt. "Mother…Mother…"
"Shh…Endy. We're busy. Wait a moment," came his mother's stern reply.
The seven-year old frowned. All of the adults were gathered at his house again. And they were all being so serious. He didn't understand what this was all about but something must have happened. When the grown-ups gathered, it meant something must have happened. He let go of his mother's skirt to listen. His best friend and cousin, Andrew, silently came over to listen with him.
"The Harper's have been arrested." That was his Uncle James speaking, Andrew's father.
"Oh no, not Kenneth. Ilene." His aunt.
His father spoke up. "If they were able to track the Harper's down, they might be able to find us. The local Sons and Daughters of Liberty have just been endangered."
Endymion's mother turned to her husband. "Oh, William. What about the little girl? What about Serenity?"
His father looked away. "All I've heard is that she has been taken to headquarters. I don't know what will become of her."
Endymion frowned. He remembered Serenity from the last time he visited with the Harper's. She had been a very cute golden haired baby. He, too, wondered what would become of her. He looked at Andrew and saw him scowling. He suddenly remember that Andrew's family visited the Harper's more often than his and he must have developed an attachment to little Serenity.
Uncle James spoke again. "They'll hang Kenneth and Ilene."
"We won't let them!" Endymion was surprised by the vehemence in his mother's voice. Elizabeth Thomas never spoke like that. However, she continued, "Gather the Sons of Liberty and attack the jail. It is not too closely guarded. You can free the Harper's and all the other unjustly arrested citizens."
William sighed. "Elizabeth-"
"No, William. You'll do this. For the love of a new nation, you will do this." William looked around. The determined look in his wife's eyes were mirrored in the rest. He looked at Endymion. Even he seemed ready to join in the action.
"Alright. Gather our people. We free our citizens dawn of the next day."
British Headquarters, NY
Granger looked at the two year old child sitting in the large over-sized chair with mild amusement. He hadn't been sure what he was going to do with her but he was not in the habit of killing children and he wasn't about to start now. He didn't notice the tall, white-haired figure, approaching from behind him. "Who is she?"
Granger shot to his feet, turning around. "Lord Avery! What are you doing here?"
Dalen Avery ignored the question and repeated, "Who is she?"
Granger stood up straight at the local Lord's question. "Just the soon-to-be orphan child of two of those Liberty rebels. Kenneth and Ilene Harper."
Avery's face remained expressionless, though he recognized the name of the wealthy printer. "What is to be done with her?"
"I do not know yet, milord."
Avery examined the girl. It was already obvious the girl would be quite pretty when she got older. He thought of his own eight-year old son, Damien. The girl was young and impressionable. Whoever took to raising her now could raise her to be exactly as they wanted. The idea appealed to Avery. He could make the perfect wife for his son. Obedient and submissive. And of course, he could take the Harper property. Kenneth Harper had been deeply indebted to him dearly and Avery decided that all of his former belongings would be the perfect way to be paid back.
Avery looked at Granger impassively. "Could it be arranged for her to come with me? Along with her assets?"
Granger stared at him blankly. "Sir?"
"I'll take the child Major-General. I'll take the Harper House as well."
"I can't simply hand it over, Lord Ave-"
"Of course not. I'll provide monetary compensation, naturally."
Granger gazed at him nervously. "I suppose that will be sufficient."
"Then it is done. I will collect the girl and the property tomorrow." He turned and left without another word. Serenity simply sat in the chair wordlessly, oblivious to the fact that her fate had presently been unjustly decided for her.
**Read and review please! Let me know if it's worth continuing.**