Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Chapter Sixty

Benjamin Corvot was an older version of his posey brother with the clothes fetish.  He was heavier than I remembered him being and had an odd glint in his eyes that I did not like. All in all he had the look of a man that was not getting out of life what he expected or felt was due.

The Linder looked between the two of us.  "Widow, you know my brother in law?"

Turning to him to answer, I included the Chancellor in my glance.  "He visited frequently here at Linderhall.  Usually he and Ceena spent a good deal of time together and I was expected to be elsewhere."

Benjamin Corvot snapped, "A damned lie."

His response was far more vigorous than was wise as it made him look guilty even though I still wasn't prepared to say with one hundred percent certainty that he was.  It also drew looks from The Linder and the Chancellor.


In an attempt to calm the potential volatility that I felt I replied mildly, "Perhaps you simply do not have all of the facts Mr. Corvot but I assure you, neither Ceena nor Tonya wanted me around when they were entertaining privately."

The Chancellor said, "Privately?"

"Yes.  Ceena often had guests when our husband was otherwise occupied.  You have their calendars, and I'm sure Mr. Tosh or Mr. Holman can produce the Hall's guest log, so you can check the accuracy of my statement against the existing documentation.  Certainly the Guard Commander will have the travel logs for those that came and went before, during, and after my time here."

It was quickly covered up but I noticed that Mr. Corvot swallowed while trying not to blink.  It was the effort that made it noticeable and according to my comportment teacher that was a sign that a liar was trying to hide their normal non-verbal cues to cover the deception.  That strange body language just added to my suspicions as did the way he was unconsciously using one hand to stroke a pocket of his vest.  Suddenly I wanted out of that room in the worst way.  I turned to the Chancellor. "Was there anything else or are you finished?"

He leaned back against the bookcase and crossed his arms.  "You're going to cause problems between Daren and the rest of us aren't you?"

Trying to hold onto my temper I sighed and answered, "That again?  Look, for the last time the Sheriff is not a child and neither am I.  I have no idea why you think that neither one of us is capable of ordering our own lives.  As for the rest of your assumptions they are exactly that.  I will not speak for the Sheriff.  He is entitled to be treated like a man without the leading strings ..."

Corvot snapped, "What about the ring you've put through his nose ... or through his ..."

While I've been spoken to crudely before I had not been treated in such a way and certainly not in company.  I snapped, "What is wrong with you?  Are you drunk or drugged?!"

"You trollop.  I'll ..."


The Linder's roar sounded uncomfortably like my husband's but I was a Harper and I refused to go back to the wreck that I was before.  I stood straight and tall and refused to drop my eyes no matter how he glared between Corvot and I.

"I will not tolerate this behavior in my house."

The man's arrogance was showing so I reminded him, "This is not 'your' house.  This hall, the grounds, and everything in it belongs to the people of Tentuckia.  You are the Guardian ... a servant of the people.  Not a tyrant or have you changed your mind now that you've gotten a taste for the power you hold?"

Corvot snarled, "See?!  I told you.  I told you she ..."

The Chancellor said, "Shut up Ben.  She's right."

That statement stopped The Linder who stared at his brother in anger.  The Chancellor said, "Admit it or not Tomas, she's right so come down off your high horse.  This is escalating well beyond what it should have ended at.  We got caught out.  We played a hand and lost."  He then turned on Corvot and said with deceptive mildness, "If you ever speak to, or even in the presence of, Tosha like that I'll beat you and throw you down a well in the Borderlands, cap it, and walk away.  You better pray you are gone before Daren gets back or he'll find some very ingenious way to get back at you."

I snapped, "Oh for all the Saints.  Will you stop acting like the Sheriff is my protector or keeper?!  He's not even here so how will he know about it?  I'm certainly not going to bring this ridiculous frackus up.  It is quite embarrassing enough without repeating what was said for some blasted deposition that will then need to be duplicated who knows how many times.  Will you tell him?  I hardly think so because then you'll have to admit you were on a fishing expedition and you know how well that will go over.  He says the two of you are better than your father.  If you are the man must have been a holy terror with the meddling."

When Benjamin Corvot started making noises reminiscent of barnyard fowl I gave up and picked up my skirts to turn and leave the room.  I had taken two steps when a hand on my arm spun me around.

"You were not given leave to exit the room," Benjamin Corvot snarled.

"Get your hand off of me.  Now.  Or the next deposition the Sheriff will take will be for your inquest."

"You whore."

I stomped his foot finding that he was not nearly as facile at avoiding the move as the Sheriff was.  Then I put my elbow into his throat and he fell backwards, gagging.  I was ready to draw my fang from its hiding place but there was no need.  The Chancellor and The Linder, both with shock on their faces, had put themselves between me and Corvot.

"Are you mad?!" the Chancellor asked his brother in law.

Just to make everyone even happier I told them, "Check his flask.  I felt one in his vest pocket."

Corvot immediately slapped his hand protectively over what I'd felt.  The Linder looked at me and asked quietly, "Are you injured?"


He sighed.  "I know I ..."  He stopped and I momentarily felt sympathy for the man.  He was new to being both The Linder and The Guardian.  He had no great age or experience beyond following behind his father, a man who sounded much more interested in control than I considered constructive.  His mask cracked and I saw the man beneath it.  He was struggling with shock and dismay but quickly covered both by drawing his status around him.  "I am asking you to say nothing."

After a brief internal struggle I lifted my chin and replied, "Say anything about what?  I assume this is a private Linder family matter so I will leave you to it and return to my duties."

I was nearly to the door when for the second time I felt a hand on my arm.  I jerked it away and turned looking for a safe haven but The Linder dropped his hand and in a solemn voice he asked, "Easy Widow."  I calmed myself and he said almost regretfully, "Daren really is going to explode.  Manage him carefully."

Refusing to acknowledge anything I told him, "The Sheriff is not mine to manage and even if he was I wouldn't.  He deserves more respect than that."

He looked at me silently and then we both turned to see a struggle start between the Chancellor and Corvot when the man didn't want to give up his flask.  The Linder's voice hardened and he told me, "Please go to John's office and ask him to come here ... but to draw as little notice as possible.  Tell him I suspect another one.  He will know what I mean."

I nodded and finally escaped.  For a brief moment I opined over the fact that I seemed to be doing that a lot lately.  It reminded me much too much of my first tenure at Linderhall.

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