Book One: Chapter Four

CHAPTER 4

THAT SAME EVENING ASTRID WAS BROUGHT In

At the prison while Astrid lay indisposed in a cell, another bit of commotion occurred. After collecting items she deemed necessary to keep on her person –and hiding them well, Davina ran to the prison looking for the Madam and Astrid only to discover that the guards took Madam deSarto away for execution. Astrid was locked away in a prison cell.

“If Astrid is in a prison cell I will accompany her.” She said eyeing the guards fiercely.

The guard that went to the entrance to meet her looked her up and down. Davina was not wearing work clothes but her petite figure was clothed in a dress Astrid bought for her. Her dress was made of dark teal and royal blue with silver lace. Her long white hair trailed down her back and her ears pointed slightly as though she were an elf. Her large eyes were the color of peacock feathers and flecked with gold. Because her presence was not overpowering, no one ever noticed her but when they stopped and looked they could not help but become entranced by her. When one paid attention, her voice it gave the feeling of crystal bells tinkling. The guard stood for a moment mesmerized. Forgetting to ask for a bribe, or refusing entry the guard began walking her towards Astrids cell. Two other guards who were watching what transpired spoke up.

“hey! Hassan! Why are you letting her through so easily?”

“oh! That’s right but…”

Davina turned towards them with teary eyes. The young servant was at her wits end. Though she did take as many valuables as she could find hidden in the house she also wanted to keep as much as possible so she could take care of herself and Astrid if necessary. She also had a change of clothes for the “young mistress”.

“Sirs! PLEASE! I must go and stay with her!” she began to kneel but before she touched he ground Hassan grabbed her arm.

“Fikes, Juntao…”

The two guards stood captured by her trembling petite figure. Just looking into her eyes they themselves could feel the sorrow that shook her. The guards nodded. Hassan began taking her towards the locked cells. Suddenly four nobles appeared at the Prison entrance.

“Where’s that new young lady you brought here?”

Hassan quickly took Davina into the prison office and told her to remain there until he called her out. He left the door partially open so that she could hear the conversation. Hassan returned to the prison entrance.

“you mean that filthy young scrap of a lady….the daughter of that traitor deSarto?”

“that would be the young lady, but to call her a filthy scrap…I see you all were not able to appreciate her beauty. The soldiers did drag her on her all the way here…though I don’t know why…” said a tall man whose body had a heavy build. He looked as though he had once been a soldier.

Rapier one of the other nobles let out a jovial laugh “well Arborealis….maybe its good they didn’t!”

Lord Crumbie cut in, “Doctor Rapier, quiet down…however from looking at that Neferu, if that girl looks anything like her she must be a sight to behold once she gets cleaned up.” He licked his lips with a rapt expression on his face.

Rapier paused and looked as though enchanted, “yes. Beautiful hair, large violet eyes like her mother only her eyes sparkle so much more…that smooth bronze skin…petite and slim…She wore a violet and indigo dress at our last party she captivated almost as many gentlemen as her mother—if you don’t count the young boys…”

Arborealis cut in “it looks like you’ve already called dibs on the little one. It won’t happen if I have anything to do with it. ”

Behind those three nobles a younger noble appearing to be in hid middle twenties stood looking at the ground worried. His name was Rousseau Scheveningen. He was son of one of the nobles who worked with deSarto in the secret group that met regularly at the canteen. He was the son of the Duke of Scheveningen, a book worm and a recluse. Not many nobles were aware of his existence or of his connection to the Duke.

His father, embarrassed by his sons reclusiveness never mentioned him. His family members never talked about him. After Hakalai had been taken in Marlo –a friend of Astrid went straight to the young lord. If not for Marlo Young Lord of Scheveningen would be none the wiser and helpless to do anything for Astrid in her plight.

Rousseau loathed his elders for talking about any young lady in such a way. He felt that the consensus that her father was a traitor was questionable. He knew that Hakalai deSarto loved Trolvania and felt that Trolvania had greater potential if slavery was abolished and those slaves would become skilled laborers. He particularly liked the company of Astrid who would visit him when she went to “play” within the Nobles labyrinths. She often stopped by his home with Davina to discuss history, literature, politics, and law. Astrid declared that he would be her husband in the future. To this he would reply “a nobody like me would do you no good.”
***
The nobles demanded that the prison guard take them to see Astrid. Hassan escorted them to her cell and within five minutes they had come back to the entrance.

“She does look worst for wear right now. Hassan make sure you clean her up” Said one of the men.

Hassan replied with a started look “Sir she is a lady and none of us guards would dare touch her.”

“a lady? She’s nothing but a slave whore.”

The group broke out in laughter.

Davina, shocked by the conversation decided to stay with Astrid and protect her as much as possible. The Nobles discussed how she would essentially be sold as a concubine. Davina would at least be able to comfort Astrid if she failed to protect her completely. Hassan went into the main office and looked at Davina with a pained look on his face and led her to Astrid’s cell.

Russeau slowly drifted away from the group of nobles who were still discussing as they made their way to the exit. They had decided to spend the rest of the evening in a brothel. The young lord hated brothels. Even if a woman chose to work there she had to deal with nobles viewing her as a vile creature no matter how proud she is.

In any case he left the prison and called out to his friend Marlo, who had hidden himself in the mist. He gave Marlo a letter. “Deliver this to Aenwhar. It’s about her current condition.”

“have you been to the Hidden Lake Canteen sir?”

“No I have not I’m not fond of the type of people that go there.”

“you don’t have to be fond of those guys. If you just go to the back entrance you might find a few –or more- allies. Besides, if you go you can see Aenwhar yourself. He works there you know?”

“Hmm….. I did not know.”

Marlo disappeared in an instant and left Russeau to debate with himself whether or not to go to the canteen. In the end he decided to go home and wait to hear more. He would help as best as he could and remain hidden…