After cleaning up, they made their way to the dining room. Mara requested a table near the exit that would allow her to sit with her back to the wall. She surveyed the room looking for any sign of trouble.
At the table to their right sat what appeared to be a family of five, the three children all in their teens. Just ahead sat a couple, likely newlyweds. At the table to the left was a woman in a simple gown of royal purple, with canary yellow cuffs and neckline. She glanced repeatedly at Mara. There was something very familiar about her, but the Oathtaker couldn't place just what. A young man sat to each side of the woman. Both dressed in blue, they could well have been her grown sons.
The waiter arrived with the house dinner: freshwater trout in a hazelnut crust, wild rice pilaf and fresh green beans with bacon bits. Mara and Nina both inhaled deeply, then laughed softly.
"A little hungry are we?" Nina asked.
Mara nodded. Turning to the waiter, she placed her hand on his forearm. "Thank you. Now I wondered if I might trouble you?"
"Anything, Madam! What may I do for you?"
"Have you copies of the local evening fliers?"
"But of course. I will procure them for you." Leaning in, he commented, "It is a most curious story about Mr. Townsend, is it not?"
The color drained from her face. Her grip tightened. "Did you say Mr.—Townsend?"
"Yes, that's right, Dixon Townsend. From all I hear the City of Light is about to witness a real circus with a hearing for him. Just imagine, one of the Townsends!"
She patted his arm. "Yes, I'm sure. Ahhh . . . thank you. A copy of each of the fliers would be most helpful. Please put the expense on my tab."
"Certainly. Room one-fourteen."
She felt someone's eyes upon her. She turned to the table to her left where sat the woman who looked familiar. Mara avoided making eye contact. "Let's enjoy, but not linger," she whispered to Nina.
When they returned to their chambers, the Oathtaker sat with her feet up on the bed, perusing The Vixen, the first of the three fliers the waiter had given her. Quietly, she read aloud:
The Official Council has been informed of possible wrongdoing by Dixon Townsend, Oathtaker to the former ranking member of the first family of the Select, Rowena Vala, a seventh.
Rowena's sister, Lilith, a sixth, brought the information to the Council after Townsend, who had acted as Oathtaker to Rowena for nearly a decade, informed Lilith of Rowena's death. Rowena had been pregnant at the time with her seventh child. In light of her premature and unexpected demise, Lilith informed the Council that she now acts as the current ranking member of the first family and of the Select.
While no charges have as yet been filed against Townsend, Lilith, in her new official capacity, has demanded a hearing into the matter.
Word is that Townsend, of the Brecken Townsends, insists he engaged in no wrongdoing and looks forward to answering all of the Council's questions.
Townsend is the son of Brent and Francesca Townsend, well known for their history of service to Oosa.
Townsend's late father, Brent Townsend, served many years as an Oathtaker. When no longer under oath, he returned to his hometown in the hinterlands where he married. He served as an advisor to the Council and is perhaps best known for his efforts in bringing the traitor, Madden Chantray, to justice. It was his role as prosecutor for the Council in the course of those hearings that made the Townsend name famous.
YOU ARE READING
An Oath Sworn. A Struggle Engaged. A Sacrifice Required. When Mara, a trained Oathtaker, is drawn by the scent of the Select to battle underworld beasts summoned by powers of evil to destroy the guardians of life, she swears a life oath for the prot...