Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Chapter Thirty-Nine

We were both silent and then trying to bridge the discomfort that had formed I asked, "You said you had made some headway in your own search."

He was quiet so long I thought he would not answer when he said, "You've a fine nose for a mystery Widow.  Did you know the reason we never heard back from the missing teacher's family is because they never existed?"


"Indeed.  Nor did any of his credentials prove to be true except for his last posting immediately before coming here."

"And does this mean anything?  Besides the obvious that is of someone not doing their job of checking references."

"It could mean many things but most probably means that we had a spy in our midst.  To what purpose I do not know and have yet to determine.  But it is someone with enough money to make up very good but fake credentials ... as good if not better than the ones carried by the man who brought the plague."

"Are they connected?"

"That is still in the unknown category.  I do know that James has a contact from university that specializes in that kind of espionage and has contacted him for his opinion.  With that aside I also had word from Turner Waverly."

The unexpectedness of it was jarring and I am afraid I was rather short with him.  "What on earth does he want?"

"Easy Widow.  He was actually informing me that they had captured one of the footpads suspected of attacking me the night of the Waverly event.  The man had been put in holding and was awaiting the questioner when he took his own life."

Astonished I asked, "Forgive me if this is an odd question but would an ordinary footpad do such a thing?"

"Possibly, if he had committed a murder at some point and expected to see the hangman's noose for it.  But no such accusation had been made of that nature.  I think it more due to the fact that a contingent from the Mayor's Council was there making sure that the transition between Turner and his father went smoothly and they had a professional questioner with them that offered his services."

I was silent for a moment.  The questioners of the Mayor's Council could be ... thorough in their methods.  Some were also rumored to resort to hallucinogens and medicaments to speed their inquisitions.  "Did they find out anything else?"

"Only that he was traveling with at least two others that got away during the chase."

"I'm sorry that you did not get the answers you desired."

"Actually Widow, I did."

"You did?  I'm not sure I ..."  I stopped confused by his answer.  "Will you explain please?"

The Sheriff nodded.  "The man's belongings were searched then the contents were sent to me."  He took something out of his pocket and handed it to me.  It at first appeared to be a coin until I realized what was stamped upon it.

I quickly handed the filthy thing back.  "The Darkfriars crest."

"Yes, and this time unmelded with any other family crest.  This one," he said flipping it over in his hand before returning it to his pocket.  "This one I believe is a token of fealty or membership to a group at least claiming to be connected with the Darkfriars."

"You don't believe in them do you," I said.

"It is not that I don't believe in them per se so much as the problems recorded in the documents that I got access to make it seem impossible that the group we have today is connected to the original Darkfriars.  I do however suspicion that someone is utilizing the old legend as a way to generate fear.  The reason that they are supposed to have died out is because of their begatting being compromised due to the contaminations of the Days of Destruction."

I nodded.  "Yes, but what if they chose some other method of ... let us call it inheritance?"

The Sheriff growled.  "Why do I have a feeling I will be leaving here with a headache?"

"You'll like me even less when I say I suspect that Ceena, Tonya, and additionally Mrs. Kinsey, your father's valet, and perhaps some others, are directly connected to the Darkfriars."

"You are intent on giving me ulcers aren't you," he said with a heavy sigh.


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