#NaNoWriMo : Story for the Day: The Missing Grimalkin P2
The arrival of the missing Grimalkin son caused an uncommon outburst of animation within the Chambers halls: the noblewomen fluttered in corners murmuring to one another about Edvin’s shrouded features, his reserved and silent manner, and terrific build; the laywers milled about and declared how highly irregular it was for an errant son to return only after his father’s death; servants peeked around corners to remark the enormous dark figure marching toward the rotunda and scurried away to share their findings with the other yeomen. Burned or injured by the war in the south was the first excuse given that might have been owing to his fully-clad form, but these reasons were soon done away when they heard that their visitor had refused to see the Royal Physician for the requisite visit for any man who had been away from the Chambers long. More bustle and gossip spread, for what other reason could the missing son have for refusing Her Grace’s physician? Cursed the new excuse, but why what or by whom was everyone’s question. They tried with great desperation and without much success to catch a glimpse of his face or even his skin, hoping its hue could be determined through the cracks between his gauntlets and frock sleeves, but though each passing footman and maid attempted to make some distinction, nothing could be ascertained. He was cloaked and covered in every corner, leaving them wholly disappointed. His looks must be horrid indeed if he refused to reveal himself in the privacy of the apothecary.
News of Edvin’s refusal to disrobe for the physician soon reached the Duchess, and whilst everyone was clamouring about of how impudent it was to refuse Her Grace’s order, Jaina was only becoming more intrigued with this missing Grimalkin. She had perused the Grimalkin family history in the records, and though it might have been one of the oldest boughs of the Marridon tree, some information regarding Edvin’s birth was a little obscured: the name of the father had been written, the date and time of the son’s birth had been calculated, but the mother’s name had been stricken from the documentation. Even the names of the two witnesses to the new Lord’s birth had been left untouched, but the name that would mark the family she was so desirous of investigating had been removed. Imprudent matches or bastard sons were uncommon in Marridon, making them even more alluring, but that a Lord of such esteem as Jaimison Grimalkin, of noble character and dignified temper, should take a mistress from a lower branch and not disown a bastard son struck the Duchess as odd. Jaimison had not been a cruel man- quite the contrary- but to have him bequeath the whole of his estate to son whom he had sent away to be useful to another kingdom left many things to be conjectured. She hummed and postulated and began to form notions of some misconduct in the nests of the Grimalkin tree. That a son’s parentage should be in question was curious when that son was the upon whom the entire Grimalkin estate should depend, and that he had been entrusted with his father’s affairs when he knew nothing of family affairs was even more worth inquiry. Jaina smirked to herself and rubbed her hands together. At last a scandal wrapped in mystery for her to decipher. She would see him, she must to be acquainted with all the particulars of the business. That he wished to be seen alone must be certain, and she therefore adjourned the proceedings for the day, leaving the rotunda to be occupied by her attendant, the adjudicator, and herself.
Edvin had little idea of what sort of woman the Duchess of Marridon was, and while he must not expect a benevolent leader to uphold the three northern nations of the Triumvirate, all his aspiration lay in her being tolerant of his demands. He soon learned that she was more than accepting, for when he was led to the entrance of the grand rotunda, with its floating tiers, velvet seats, and attached wooden tables, he found a very different woman than the one he had imagined. He imagined an old maid of a woman, hardened against any strife by years of civil war and isolation, but instead he found a young woman of fine dress and pleasing face hidden under a large beribboned hat, walking toward him with head high and on floating steps. Her dark and sparkling eyes cost him an audible exhalation, and he bowed low to her, kissing the hand she put forth through the fabric of his hood and saying a soft “Your Grace” when he righted.