Somewhere nearby, a girl laughed with delight; a high wavering note that caught and carried on the wind. Ah, such an enchanting sound, thought Edmund Avermore. The sound of youth. The sound of life.
It was an unseemly thoughtor perhaps an unavoidable one, considering the circumstances. The barber was still bent over Lady Avermore's bed, his lancet shining in a shaft of morning sunlight. The blade was slicing cleanly through the pale skin at the top of her right breast to release the evil vapors. Edmund winced. The barber and the motionless form of Edmund's wife did not.
As a bead of red oozed from the wound, the Lord of Avermore Manor focused on the lively noises climbing through the window. Several young females were chanting a rhyme he hadn't heard in almost two score years, not since the last litter of beauties had been brought to the estate. One of the pretty, piping voices was singing a cradle song that had been lost to her generation long agoand to the eight ge