Chapter 5

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Chapter Five

In which the young master brings an accomplice into the works...

Finally, Soryn was alone after his meal and nightly routine with Jori. A tingling sensation in his stomach caused him some considerable discomfort. He felt sure that having a girl as a friend would come with some rather undignified side effects. The Night Bells rang faintly outside his window from the village church. Lord Maslyn could almost see the ancient Father Kimbli padding his way down to the altar to make his prayers to the empty crucifix hanging on the wall. Though Soryn had not been to the church since he was a young boy, he still remembered it well. As he listened to the plaintive chimes, he wished—not for the first time—that he, too, could go to the church altar and pray. Soryn had never been overly religious, but with all of the changes in his life, some direction and guidance would not go amiss.

When Soryn was young, his father, the Maslyn, would take him and his brothers each week to the church services. Sometimes Father Kimbli would speak, and Soryn remembered how wise and kind the old man sounded. He was glad that the priest still visited him each week, even if Soryn did get bored every time. There was something extraordinary about the kindly old man, something vibrant beneath those aged eyes.

The Night Bells ended their homage to the dying day and Soryn went to the table to wait for Arna. He had no real idea of when she would be coming. Jori had only left about twenty minutes previous, so he knew a long wait might be in store. At first, Lord Maslyn drummed his fingers on the table. Then, he shifted in his chair for a while. After it had been almost an hour, he tired of sitting and went again to the desk. Though he had searched it thoroughly during the afternoon, he was still drawn to it like he was to Ulla and the books in his room and the study. Soryn bent down to look underneath the desktop drawers. Perhaps he would find something he had missed.

Though it was hard to see with only the red light from his lanterns, Soryn used his fingers and was able to discern markings on the wood above him. The carvings were fluid—almost like a water pattern. They were very difficult to make out, but he traced them and thought he made out a swirled image.

“Want some help?”

Soryn was so startled by Arna’s voice that he sprang up, instantly smacking his head on the underside of the desk drawers.

“Aggh!” Soryn yelped.

“Sorry! I didn’t mean to startle you!” Arna exclaimed.

Soryn nodded while he plastered his left hand over a scratch just above his hairline. Arna extended her hand and helped him up from the floor. When Soryn brought his hand away, he saw a dark swath of blood.


“Here, sit down and let me take a look. Let’s make sure it isn’t deep.” Arna shuffled him to a chair and began to examine his head. 

Soryn had not even heard her come into the room. He wondered what sort of training serving girls underwent to be so graceful…and stealthy.

I told you she might be useful. If she can move that quietly, she may be able to help you get out of the tower, Ulla suggested.

Soryn was surprised that Ulla had spoken after nearly a day of silence.

I was busy today, Ulla said in response to the boy’s thought.

Lord Maslyn refused to comment on Ulla’s words. Instead, he spoke to Arna, “I didn’t even hear you come up.”

“Ah, sorry about that. I have always been quiet,” she replied.


“I guess I take after my mother. Before she married my father, she was a maid for Governor Frey and they had the best training in treading lightly through a household. I suppose I just picked it up from watching her.”

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