Editor's Note: If you have not yet read the previous chapters to this story, please go to the Fantasy Archive and read those, first. Thank you, TDS.
The warder sat behind a small table going over vouchers for food, rope, lamp oil, straw and dozens of other items required to run a gaol. A sudden gust of wind caused the papers to flutter up from the table, and with a curse the warder slapped his hands down on the wayward sheets before they could drift to the floor. As he attempted to push the vouchers into two separate piles, he froze with the realization that this room had no windows for a wind to enter and the door had not opened. A cold chill crawled slowly up his spine as he turned to look into the shadows which lurked behind him. The warder gave a strangled gasp when he saw a hooded figure standing in one dark corner, and he got to his feet so quickly the chair he was sitting in crashed to the floor.
“Lord Wizard,” the startled warder managed to choke out. “We…we did naught expect a visit from yerself.”
Calibex moved into the circle of light cast by the table lamp. “I be not well come, then?” he asked, his voice a soft hiss coming from within the shadows of his cowl.
“Nay, me lord,” the gaoler said as he backed into the table, then tried to set right his reply. “Nay, er…aye! Aye, were what me meant to say, me lord.” He straightened up and tugged down on his tattered tunic, then ran a hand through his unkempt hair, attempting to add a touch of dignity to his reaction of this unexpected visitor. “T’is the baron’s wish that ye be of course well come at any time, me lord,” he added with a bit more strength to his voice.
“Of course it is,” Calibex said quietly. “Tell me, is the good baron still so fat that he must sit a pair of horses when he rides to hunt?”
The warder cleared his throat before attempting an answer. “Er…” was all he could come up without saying something which might cause him to either loose his position or a send him for a visit under the lash—mayhap both.
“Never mind,” the wizard said with a wave of his hand and a concealed smile. He then turned toward a narrow, iron-studded wooden door. “And how is our prisoner?” he asked.
“Fine and quiet, me lord,” the gaoler answered cautiously.
The wizard moved to the door and placed a pale hand against the wood. “She has asked for nought; seeks no answers regarding her situation?”
“Nay, me lord. She speaks naught to any of us.”
“Ahh,” Calibex said softly, more to himself than to the man standing behind him. “She is well aware of what has befallen herself and her family, and knows questions would avail her little.” He backed away from the door. “I wish to see her—without interruption.”
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