October 4, 2014

In Which Ietrin Is Bested by Not Anyone of Consequence

May 17, 1187

"Ah, Lady Elarys." Ietrin greeted her through the ache of the false grin. He was in no way happy to see her, particularly unexpectedly, but fear and unease were no way to deal with this woman. She wanted him to fear her, and he did not want to please her. So, he'd do everything in his power to be sure she thought him unafraid.

Which he was, of course. What did a king have to fear from some common-born knight's widow?

"A pleasure, as always."

"Wish I could say the same."

Had he heard that right? Aggravating lack of 'majesty' notwithstanding, Elarys had always been the sort who took the roundabout route in her conversations, a cat playing with a mouse a while before she swallowed. It was not like her to cut so quickly to the point. "Sorry?"

"I'd prefer to be brief. I believe I warned you to stay away from the forests."

The forests again? So much for hoping she'd lost interest. Ietrin sighed. "I just want to clear a bit of land for a monument. How did you find out, anyway?"

"When I take an interest in something, I make sure to keep an eye on it--even if it's not my eye." If only it could have been. If each of her spies had eyes like hers, he'd know precisely who had to go. "You'll find that not much gets past me, and believe me when I say I couldn't be bothered if this wasn't important. If I hear of a single tree being cut down, life will become most unpleasant for you."

"And how do you think you can make life unpleasant for me?" Never mind how she dared threaten a king! "You're not anyone of consequence. You can't touch me."

"Not directly, perhaps--but I have my connections. I have people everywhere. If I sing the right note, the mockingbirds will match it." She joined her thumb to her index finger and rubbed the tips together, hand drawn to eye level. "It would be a pity if some of those little birdies got wind of the details of your father's death."

She could have struck him in the face with a diamond hammer and he wouldn't have been so stunned. "What details?"

"It was you who picked the wine, was it not? And you who pointed out your father's favorite cup?"

What? "Yes, but..."

"And it was brought to him by a cup-bearer you hired? Who just so happened to disappear the night after?"

"Master Finessa said he had to--"

"Now, now. I'm not accusing you." She smirked, laughing at some private joke. "But if such knowledge was to become common, it would only be a matter of time before someone did. Add that to the rushed funeral and your half-siblings' exile from your castle and your own obvious fondness of being king... well, that someone would hardly be unjustified in thinking what they will, would they?"

Who were these spies beneath his very nose? He'd fire every last one of them. He'd replace his whole damn staff. But first, he had to ask. "Did you have something to do with my father's death?"

"Me?" Another sickly smug smile. She thought she had him beat, more than well enough to be over-cocky. Trouble was, she was right. "And how could I benefit from the death of a foreign king? Like you said, I'm not anyone of consequence."



Van said...

Next post will be a happy one. Promise.

Emma said...

Oh Van, we need a happy post! O.o At least I do.
Ugh. Elarys is... I don't know. I lack the words in English. Can't even find some in my native language. She's just "ugh". She makes me want to puke, and sents a shiver down my spine.
So congratulations on writing so awesomely :D

Ekho said...

Yes, please bring some happiness to Naroni!!!!!!

In a way I think I feel a sense of respect for Elarys, I'm not sure I could ever explain it. I know she's a 'villain' but I also feel like she isn't? Yes she has her own motives and isn't afraid to do what she needs to in order to achieve what she wants. Maybe that's what I respect? :S

Either way I don't blame Ietrin for being unsure/unsettled and he has at least minimal brain activity to worry about spies in his castle.

Van said...

Emma: Now that I think about it, the post after next won't be miserable either. There will be a couple happy posts in July as well.

Despite being "not anyone of consequence" and "only ordinary", there is something quite unusual about Elarys. I imagine she unnerves most of the people who know her.

Ekho: I don't want to reveal too much of what Elarys is up to just now, but the thing about her "villainy" is that, regardless of her methods, she believes wholeheartedly that she is doing the right thing. This is a stark contrast to Ietrin, whose villainy is rooted in pure selfishness. So, it's no wonder that he can't comprehend her.

But yeah, at least he has the sense to worry about spies. XD

Penelope said...

I don't know why he doesn't lock that woman away for threatening him. However, I imagine that she would waste no time in escaping.

Van said...

Pretty much.