#NaNoWriMo : Story for the Day: The Missing Grimalkin
The Missing Grimalkin
|In honour of Mo-vember, my writing partners|
Upon reaching the ports at Marridon, Edvin had not left the wharf when he discovered that he was a Grimalkin. The ancient family of knights and lords whose banners were seen waving from the high veranda of the Chambers were now become his livery. His documents had said it was so, but he had thought it his arrival should excited little more regard than that of a yeoman might, but upon reaching the steps leading into the capital, Edvin was stopped by a small, round man with a large moustache, black suit and tall hat. Edvin bowed and had been prepared to pass on but the round man claimed that he was sent to the docks to retrieve him. he had been the Steward of Lord Jamesin Grimalkin, his late master, and had been given direction to meet his master’s long-absconded son at the pier before the Chambers on this very day and at this very hour. How the instructions could have been so exact from one passed nobody knew, but as the directions must be followed and the lord’s lost son present, the master just have been aware of his son’s whereabouts more than his son had been of his father’s.
The Steward was obliging and therefore Edvin did not refute. He was pleased to belong to them, pleased that he should have been greeted with so cordial a welcome, pleased to be led to his new –or was it old- home, but his pleasure ceased when everyone around the docks and the adjacent trading district began to gape at him. They remarked the Grimalkin Steward, wearing his fine tailcoat, silver watch chains leaping from every pocket, silver-rimmed monocle, white spats, with the Grimalkin livery embroidered into his cuffs and lapels in the true Marridon style, and then they gawped at Edvin, their eyes growing wide at such a formidable prospect. His immense stature, broad chest, powerful arms and legs recommended his strength and prowess though he was shrouded in a long hooded frock. He wondered if anyone was able to see his gruesome features in the protective shadow of the hood and cowl. The manner in which the citizens of Marridon approached and accorded him inquiring looks forced him to raised his hand and hold the bottom of his hood tight in his hand to guard them from seeing beneath. Everyone else was so captivated by him, Edvin wondered at the Stewards apparent indifference to his dress. He seemed only to be satisfied that the documents were in order and had nothing further to say at present other than a complacent “This way, Milord.”
Edvin tried not to seem bemused or amazed by the wonders Marridon had to offer, as he must have been there in his young life. Mechanical contrivances billowing clouds of steam was a wonder to anyone who had been absent from his home for thirty years, but he must learn to brook these inventions and check his astonishment: he would be confined to an estate and hopefully forced into a life of business and seclusion until the next advancement in his new life should be shown to him. He disregarded the unwelcome attention he was incurring by walking beside the small Steward and asking him as many questions as was possible without betraying his ignorance of Marridonian affairs. “Pardon me, sir,” he said, endeavoring to hide his Galleisian lilt, “but where are we going?”
“To your father’s estate by and by, Milord,” said the Steward in a dulcet voice. “But first, you are to be presented in the Marridon Chambers. Your seat has been empty for some time, Milord. Your own excellent father knew that you should return to reclaim your rightful place as master of the Grimalkin line.” He made a triumphant gesture and smiled. “Glad I am to see that my master, even in his days passed, was never wrong. The estate was signed over to you on his deathbed. Glad I am that you came as soon as you did.”
Edvin felt awkward and ashamed. “When did my father die?”
“My master had been gone not these two months, Milord.”
Edvin’s heart sank in his chest. To be claiming the position and rank of a man so recently deceased and to do so while there might be others who could rightfully take his place was an unfathomable wrong. He stopped as they came to the Chambers entrance and felt unequal to presenting himself as the new reigning lord of the Grimalkin line. Though he had lost his own title and prosperity by the war in the south, he could not justify his reconciliation to such consequence by taking the same from another. The true Grimalkin son might yet be alive, and even if he were not living might have a close relative to which all their lands and heraldry might be bequeathed. It was a sorry office, one that Edvin should not like to perform. He could not be in the Chambers; he was no politician. He only knew how to defend and how to be gentle, and here being laid before him were prospects of business and bustle when he had been used to study and swordplay. He did not want this; he only wanted to fulfill his duties to the Duchess and receive his charge, and he therefore resolved to quit the Chambers and Grimalkin estate as soon as was possible.
The Steward misconstrued Edvin’s pause of reflection for one of sudden grief. “There there, Milord,” he said in a soft accent. “Take heart knowing that your father entrusted you with everything. From the moment that you went to fight in the wars of the south, he knew that you would learn everything you needed to know on the field for the Chambers.”
The comment was meant to appease but it had only succeeded in making Edvin feel even more dejected and culpable. He was somewhat relieved that the Steward could not perceive his aggrieved countenance beneath the darkened auspices of his hood. It should only show himself to be anguished for one reason when he was truly vexed by another.
The round little Steward sidled his new master, look him carefully by the elbow, and pulling him along said, “I’m sorry to hurry you, Milord, but the Duchess herself is waiting. She’s been rather anxious to see you.”
The Duchess: there was a title to revive him. He shook his head to rouse him from his musings, paused to recollect, nodded to the Steward and followed him up the winding steps toward the Chambers entrance.