Book One: Chapter Fourteen

News reaches “The Canteen”
Approx. One hour earlier (Ourantith time)

Aenwhar burst through the rear door of the Canteen out of breath. The expression on his face appeared desperate and he was in fact desperately looking for Hanna. He held a notice in his hand. Yuri was awake and after looking at the notice she rushed upstairs to wake Hanna.

The mistress of the tavern quickly donned a robe and rushed down the stairs.

“Aenwhar. What happened?”

“Hanna…I returned this morning after I delivered your letters and…” he handed the sheet of paper to Hana. As she read the paper the expression on her face slowly changed from confusion to despair. The paper read:

EXECUTION OF HAKALAI VICENZO DESARTO

FOR TREASON
For collaborating with another nation to overthrow the Royal family the accused’s execution will take place at noon that is the 22nd hour.
Following execution which will also be witnessed by the accused remaining family the government will auction Astrid deSarto daughter of the accused to the highest bidder to provide any serviced demanded of her. Bidding will start at 500 mendalor.

“they moved his execution to today!” he said. Tears glistening in his eyes. “the king has decided to enslave Astrid as soon as the execution is complete!”

Hannah stood petrified. For the first time, she didn’t have a contingency plan. Hanna and Ellis worked hard planning and establishing their business. They lived a comfortable life working on both sides of the law. They rescued many slaves, and helped many who suffered injustice at the hands of members of the elite. Their planning and preparation were precise and contingency plans were always in place. This time they were completely unprepared to deal with the situation.

Neither Ellis nor Hanna expected the king to make such a quick decision regarding the two peoples lives. Just as Hanna collapsed into her chair one of the maids, Claus, arrived at the office to inform Aenwhar that two people were looking for him. He said “the old lady was holding a fine gold bracelet. It looked like really old letters were on it as charms.”

Aenwhar stood up quickly and followed the maid through the door that led to the area of the Canteen where they conducted most day business.

When he arrived at the entrance, the old woman held up Davina’s bracelet “We wouldn’t have come here if we didn’t have to but Davina said you can help us.” She said in a low tone so that Aenwhar was the only person that could hear her.

Aenwhar turned to Claus and whispered into his ear. Claus left them at the entrance. A few moments later he returned and nodded at Aenwhar. Aenwhar led the old couple through the main office and to the break room that led from it. He pointed out chairs in front of the fireplace. The couple who sat down. Aenwhar sat in a third chair facing the other two he had the old woman hold up the bracelet. He tried to grab it slowly and suddenly a jolt of pain shot through his arm. It was not strong enough to make him flinch. It would have been had he actually touched the bracelet. He nodded in approval.

“What brings you here? I hope you’re not going to make a fool out of me.”

Lucinda smiled “she said you were more suspicious of people than a king with an identical twin brother one minute older than him.” Astrid often called him overly suspicious comparing him to a King who was a minute younger than his twin but appointed to the position that his brother would normally have naturally assumed because of seniority. Of course such a brother would feel slighted and do whatever he could to assume the position that was rightfully his using any means necessary. That was not the situation with their current king though at the time Astrid was not aware of how easily he could be manipulated by the officials to believe an innocent man capable of treason.

Aenwhar slowly exhaled and a relieved expression came over his face for a moment. “were not here to make a fool of you and we really did meet with… the girls, and… well they’re planning on breaking out of prison to save Hakalai. Apparently the young mistress has some good strong friends and they already started forming a plan…”

“Wait…” Aenwhar raised his hand a serious look on his face. “You said WHO is forming an escape plan? And saving Who?”

“well… that is… the young… mistress” she paused her mouth going dry at her white lie. “… and her strong new friends.”

“now look here. You better not lie to me!” Aenwhar stood up his eyes flashed in Anger.

Lucinda was at a loss. She also had no idea how to reason with him.

Pomeroy grabbed her hand reassuringly. “now look here young man. Regardless of whether you believe us or not Astrid deSarto is supposed to be sold as a slave after watching her father die which is just as good as a death sentence for her. God’s rest her soul we need to get those girls out of that prison and save that man before this land has hell to pay. We were only sent in an errand to get mens clothes and shoes for three ladies. Now if you want to be difficult over clothing and shoes I can stay here until the plan is carried out. If we had the money we would have paid for everything our selves.” Pomeroy upended his money bag, turned out his pockets and dumped his satchel which held two pairs of pants, three belts and three shirts. “we need three pairs of shoes.” He gave Aenwhar the shoe and the tracing of Mandolins foot. “A shirt, and warm cloaks. Can you at least do that. I’m sure that for someone who works here you make much more money than two seers who traveled from far outside the capital.”

Aenwhar heard the truth in his words. Though the man’s wording was a little vague he noticed that one set of clothes would fit Astrid perfectly. He was not aware that Davina was in the prison as well, so he didn’t even think that there should be clothes to fit her taller slender build. The ballet flat that Pomeroy handed to him appeared to be made of strange materials. The soles of the shoes were of a material he didn’t think was present on Ourantith but the shoe would have fit Astrid’s delicate foot perfectly. He was still suspicious of the couple. He couldn’t be certain whether or not they really were there to help Astrid. Both of the visitors spoke with conviction when they spoke of Hakalai, but perhaps that was because to them Astrid was a mere child and too young to understand anything. In any case, he decided to help them.