"So you are telling me that my grandmother is older than the hills, my probable offspring hold a great deal of metaphysical power, and I have had a family this whole time! Did I leave anything out?" The room grew quiet again as Kate's temper flared.
Madame closed her eyes for a moment, and then looked at her granddaughter. "I am so very sorry at that part of my deception. It was never my intention to abandon you or Haley. I was not able to claim you or Haley since your parents were not actually dead. Too many people had a knife pressed figuratively to my throat."
Kate dashed away the tears that were falling. "I could excuse my mother for her abandonment because we were only a game to her, but you are my grandmother!"
"Katie, don't blame her for my mistake." Everyone's attention was drawn to the doorway where a tall, thin man was leaning.
Kate slowly turned in her chair and looked over her shoulder at the man. After a moment, she stood and walked quickly into his arms, burying her face in his coat.
"Jonnie?" Alexander Zond asked, recognizing his life-long friend.
The man nodded, but his attention was on the daughter he had not seen in over twenty-five years. "Shh, baby, calm down. I'm here now."
Kate moved back a bit so she could look at her father. "Daddy, why didn't you come back sooner?"
Jonathan stroked his hand over her cheek, wiping the tears. "I am sorry that I wasn't able to be there for you. I was prevented from contacting you for all these years by other people."
"Katherine?" Paul asked as he and Alexander moved towards their friend.
"She's part of it along with Dorna and a few others."
"Where have you been all this time?" Kate grabbed her father's lapels and shook him slightly.
Jonathan smiled, and then looked over at Solomon. "I have been with someone very precious to me." He looked at Kate. "Much like you are, sweetheart."
Solomon shook his head for a moment, then stopped suddenly. "Do you mean…?"
Jonathan smiled at his godson. "Yes."
Kate looked between her father and brother-in-law. "What are you guys talking about…." The last word trailed off as she realized of whom they were speaking. She looked her father in the eye as she asked "Is Haley still alive?"
Everyone gave a collective gasp of surprise as they waited for the answer.
Jonathan looked from Kate to Solomon to Nikko, and at everyone else in the room before answering. Then he looked at his daughter. "Yes, Haley is alive."
"Where is she?" Solomon moved closer to his father-in-law.
Jonathan held up a hand. "I can't tell you. But she is safe and counting the days until she can be with you again."
Solomon growled his frustration. "And why can't she come back?"
"Her work isn't done yet Solomon."
"My mom's alive?" Everyone's attention moved to Nikko. He was now standing, but was white as a sheet.
Jonathan moved out of Kate's embrace to stand in front of his grandson. "Nikko, she didn't want to leave you."
Nikko looked up at his grandfather with tears in his eyes. "Why did she?"
Jonathan cupped Nikko's cheek with his hand. "I wish Haley hadn't found the temple. Then she would have been with you all this time."
Solomon stood by his son and father-in-law. "The light that Nikko saw wasn't just a light, was it?"
Jonathan turned slightly so that one hand was on Nikko's shoulder, and then he placed the other on Solomon's shoulder. "No, the light opened Nikko up to his innate powers, and it was also a conduit that took Haley from that cave."
"To where?" Kate asked.
Jonathan smiled sadly. "It's not my place to tell you. You must work through the mysteries and find the solution for yourself."
"You mean we have to find all the pieces to the Ring of God before we can see Haley again?" Solomon's frustration was audible.
"My brother did not write the rules on this." Jacques defended his younger brother. "There are other forces at work that are more powerful."
"Which is why I invited you to this party." Madame shifted the focus back on herself.
"It's been a spectacular party so far," Kate told her grandmother, "Dad is back with us, Haley is alive out there, I have a grandma and uncle, and Nikko showed us his cool trick."
"I have one more card up my sleeve." Madame winked at everyone. "Solomon, you know how you have always been beholden to whoever writes the checks for your foundation?"
"Yes, Madame. It's been your son Jacques for most of those years." Solomon resumed sitting in front of Madame's desk.
"It is my intention to make you autonomous."
"Mother, do you think that's necessary?" Jacques was a bit miffed.
"Yes, I do."
"By autonomous you would mean?" Solomon was confused.
"I won't be on this earth much longer, and I have recently finalized my will."
"And that pertains to Veritas in what way?" Kate asked.
Madame looked at her granddaughter. "That means I have written my will so that the Veritas Foundation will receive most of my holdings, and all of you personally will receive healthy bequests."
"Oh my God!" Kate heard Calvin whisper.
Madame smiled at Paul's oldest son. "Yes, Calvin. It is an incredible amount of money for you all."
"I don't know what to say Madame." Solomon was flabbergasted.
"Just thank me for it, and use it wisely in your search for truth. Now, I must take my leave and go to bed since it is very late."
All the men in the room rose, as did the women, in respect of the grand dame. Jacques offered an arm to his mother and escorted her out.
At the doorway, Madame turned to face the group again. "Kate?"
"If you were to take a pregnancy test right now, it will be positive. This child and Nikko will help you get to Haley." Madame turned and closed the door.
Kate let out the breath she had been holding and grinned at Vincent. "Wow!"
Vincent smiled as he embraced her. "I don't think wow quite covers things."