Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Chapter Sixty-Three

"Well well ... if it isn't the Widow."

All three young men were under twenty and had been into the punch bowl.  Their condition shocked me though I shouldn't have been.  The brothers of these same young men had been the same way and for all I know were still exhibiting the same behaviors.  Either way I tried not to give them any fuel so they'd wander off and leave me be.  But as with all troubles, this one refused to pass me by.

One of the other young men leered at me and said, "What?  No greeting?  You do cut me to the quick Widow."

The tone almost caused me to warn them I hadn't yet but would if they attempted to perform what was obviously on their minds.

The third was less inebriated than the other two but seemed all the meaner for it. "Silent type?  Or just a corrupted whore?"  He licked his lips in a way that made me ill.  "We know all about you you know.  Overheard our mothers talking.  You're a hot little handful.  It's why the old Guardian sent you off, so no one would know that you're the reason he is dead ... killed him in bed you did."

It was too much.  It was vomit or laugh.  So I laughed and in the process left them in no doubt as to my opinion of them.

I tried to leave but the blocked my passage.  I told them coldly, "Do not make this mistake.  You will not like the consequences."

"Big talk for someone so small and alone.  No one likes you.  No one wants you here.  You're an accident, never should have happened.  And if you think it will be tolerated that you become The Linder's second wife you are mistaken."

The vomit was starting to climb up my throat again.  "Your idiocy is showing Arnault Ramsey.  So is your lack of logic skills.  If my husband died in bed how could he warn anyone off me regardless of who he died in bed with.  Two, when he died my husband was surrounded by more physicians than family ... including your own father you twitter patted numbskull so cease your slander.  As for the current Guardian, I have no intention of marrying The Linder nor him me.  He has a monogamous contract with the current Mrs. Linder and is happy to have it that way."

One of the others snorted, "Yeah, like she's going to survive the birth of the heir.  Everyone knows she's going to die."

Becoming angry I snapped, "What utter nonsense."

The third drunk slurred, "Not nonsense.  Mother said so.  Knows the family and a lot of them kickoff like that."

All I could do was shake my head.  "Idiot, childbirth is the leading cause of death for women in every family since the Days of Destruction regardless of status.  It is a fact of life we must all live with."

"Die with," one of the young men snorted drunkenly.  "Not live, die.  Get it?"

"What you've obviously gotten is ill from too much punch or too many drug sticks.  Now I am not asking, I am telling you to move and let me pass."

"Make us."

I was debating pulling my fang when the more sober of the three said, "You know, The Linder has so many replaceable females around here why should he miss you?"

Becoming concerned but decided to brave it out as I saw they would not give up. "I don't know.  Do you think your Da will miss you when I spill your tripes for offending my honor?"

They tried to make a grab for me and despite the size difference I was able to extricate myself without using lethal force though it did require a few cuts that destroyed the young men's ability to be in company from that point forward as the blood and such would raise too many questions.

One young man in particular held his forehead to try and stop the flow of blood but the X I had carved there.  "I'll see you in court you slut."  In Harper rapists were branded with an X in the same location so I hoped at least some would see the resulting scar and take it as a warning.

Calmly despite my internal turmoil I told him, "Be my guest.  It will be interesting to see if your reputations survive the investigation.  Not only will it destroy your honor I'm sure your family will have to worry about their status.  Regardless of your opinion of me, the law takes a dim view of acting on those opinions in the way that you have."

Two of the three started sobering up at my words and pulled their mouthier friend away.  I hoped it was to stick their heads in a bucket of cold water.  They were going to have a time trying to escape the gala unnoticed.  Part of me hoped they were able to so that - at least for a while - I could put the whole incident behind me.

I was going to put away my fang but it needed cleaning as did my hands.  Plus I was in the middle of the shrubbery and was uncertain whether there were any other gentlemen of like temperament roaming about.

The maze itself had never held any problems for me getting into and out of.  I so rarely found myself lost that when I did the sensation was jarring.  Fortunately I did not have to deal with that on top of everything else so I stepped deeper into the ill-kept path and headed to the old fountain in one of the maze alcoves.

Once I reached it I was in luck that there was still a trickle of water coming out of the spring fed device.  I washed my hands and blade.  Then I noticed that the night sounds had become irregular and I turned around with my fang ready for another fight.

A man stood there with his palms raised in out in the universal sign that he was no threat.  The problem was just his being where he was created a threat.  No Borderlander had been invited to the Gala and certainly not one that looked like he was corrupted.

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