Monday, April 22, 2013

Day Four-Forty-One: Stealthin'

I woke up this morning with a blonde beauty in my bed. She was still sleeping, and she remained as such when I slipped my arm out from around her shoulders and dropped her softly against the pillows. No amount of drool staining her face could dispel the aura of incredible cuteness.

Eve. My lovely daughter. Now that's a way to wake up.

There was another young face waiting at my door when I left the house, this one much more alert and discerning. Also older. Celine.

I skittered back about three feet, freaked. "Gah! What the hell!"

She bowed and smiled. "I offer no regrets. I enjoyed doing that. You dance as well as you did before my brother's wedding, by the way."

"I don't know if I'd call what I just did a dance," I grunted. I'm sure it looked more like the frightened reaction to opening a cupboard and finding a koala spider nestled on the dishes. "Were you waiting out here all morning? 'cause that's, like, weird."

"Oh, no." Celine pointed to a nearby tree. A hand slid out, waved briefly, and vanished. "I keep you under constant surveillance. My ninjas need to hone their skills or risk losing them. I told her to alert me when you were heading out the door."

I glared at the tree, knowing the dirty expression wouldn't dissuade further subterfuge. Ninjas go where they please, I guess. "Great. Whaddya want, your lowness?"

"Ah, a play on my height. You're amusing, Mud." Celine pulled a note from her pocket and handed it to me. "I have a letter for you. From my brother. He asked me to deliver it. In all the excitement of seeing my father locked up I forgot it was still in my things."

"Oh." I thought back to the first time I'd met Logan, on the walls of the castle. Little brat. I couldn't help but smile. "What's it say?"

She pointed at the letter without a word. I shrugged and opened it up to read.

'Dear Dragomir,

I know not if this will ever reach you, and if it does I hope it finds you well. I find myself pressed to part ways with my family for reasons best left to the imagination; suffice it to say that my father plays a role in my departure. I regret the pain he has inflicted upon you over the years.

I wanted to thank you for your kindness. Since we first met you have helped temper my rambunctious ways, and your assistance in staving off the influence of The Baron, unsuccessful though it ultimately was, has cemented you as a true friend in my heart. You are the brother I've never had, and I hope we will meet again. May we both pray that I am not engaged to your daughter when we do.

It is for the sake of this friendship that I hope you do not judge my father too harshly. He has made many mistakes in the past, and many of the most egregious amongst them were not of his doing. Please, should you ever meet Jeffrey again in this lifetime, try to forgive, if not forget.

Sincerely, your comrade,


I shut the note and rolled my eyes. "I'm not stupid. Logan didn't write this. Who did? Your mom?"

Celine didn't miss a beat, nor was she flustered. "I wrote it. How did you know?"

Cracking open my diary I flicked to some of the earlier entries, the ones left by Logan. Not only was the penmanship completely different, Celine wrote not a single LOL or WTF or BBQ in her message. I know Logan is capable of writing normally, but… no. No no no.

Celine bit her lip and shrugged. "Drat. Oh well. I should have done better reconnaissance, obviously. It didn't occur to me to look in your diary. I'll remember that for next time."

I closed my diary and started to walk. "Please don't tell me you're gonna try something like this again. Your father's goin' to trial, Celine. S'all there is to it."

She kept pace. "I know. This was merely an attempt to stay in practice. I too am a ninja, after all. That's my current name: Celine the Ninja. I rather like it."

"Sure. It's peachy. You got a message from your mom, or something? Or are you just bored…?"

"My mother has many things she'd like to say to you. I'm only interested in one question, myself."

"Oh? What's that?"

"Who will comprise the judge and jury?"

I stopped. I'd wondered when somebody would ask. A lot of people are antsy about the trial, but most of them talk about the verdict, not the people responsible for handing down that verdict. Hell, I think a lot of 'em are nervous about potentially sending a man to his death, even if he constantly did them wrong in their old home.

"That," I said, "is an easy and impossible question right now. If you take it as two parts, that is."

"You do not have a judge and jury?"

"Jury, no. That's gonna take some doing. Probably gonna bring in five or six out-of-towners. Y'know, impartial stuff."

"I do. You have a judge, then?"

"Uhh… kinda. I still need to ask him."


Raising my hand, I pointed. Past the knot of slaves and labourers chatting down the street, past the busy front of the Beefiary, past the grove of the golden tree, past a long row of houses, past it all to a promontory, a raised platform of dirt and grass with a massive manor upon it, a manor I also hoped would serve as a courthouse. A manor belonging to a crotchety old knight.

"Oh," said Celine. "Yes, he seems a good choice."


Dragomir the Mayor

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