1868-02-28: A Warning Unheeded
A Warning Unheeded
Summary: Aidric speaks to one of Sir Tomas' men but finds his words not to his liking before putting other plans in motion.
Date: 1868-02-28
Related: All things Aidric and Azure Lake related

Aidric cocks his head and stares at the man standing before him in the hall of the Carling manse before he asks, "You honestly expect me to buy that?"

The man was tall, thin and swarthy and until recently had been employed amoung the men serving Sir Tomas Greycen at Azure Lake. He was free of that service now and Aidric had thought to hire him until he spouted this nonsense about men and women going missing. Still, undaunted the man nods resolutely, "It's not a thing I am trying to sell m'lord, it's the truth. We lost a good many men in Azure Lake and we never did find out why."

Aidric rights his head but continues to give the man a long weighing stare. His story beggared belief and Aidric could not quite shake the feeling he was being played for a fool.

"Did they perhaps run away?"

"If they did, they left their goods and loved ones, my lord. And we checked the roads and the rivers."

Aidric frowns. "Bandits then?"

"Never any sign of them. They just vanished," the man replies.

Aidric nods slowly, unconvinced. "So what are you telling me? That some thing got them?"

Looking at his feet the man replies, "I can't say m'lord, they just vanished. We never did find sign of some beast."

"Perhaps the Abyss opened up beneath their feet and swallowed them whole?" Aidric offers acidly.

"I know how it sounds!" the man snaps. "But I felt it was my duty to warn-"


Aidric's backhand sends the man staggering back, clutching his cheek. "Mind your tone," Aidric says coolly, rubbing the back of his gloved hand.

Goat and Scarecrow step from their positions by their lord's in case the stricken man should fall. There is no need, the man rights himself rubbing his cheek.

"Sorry my lord, but I only meant to warn you, before someone else goes missing."

"Forgiven," comes Aidric's curt reply as he lowers his hand. He looks to his men. "Show him the door."

The man doesn't fight as Goat and Scarecrow pulls him from the hall out of Aidric's sight. Alone in the hall, Aidric can't help but be glad his father wasn't here to witness this farce. Did the man think him a fool to repay his offer of employment with refusal and vauge warnings of men and women gone missing? Was he put up to it? Was it a plan of the man's own making? Was he telling the truth? That last came as a quiet whisper at the back of his mind and was quickly silenced.

"Bah," Aidric says striding from where he'd met the man to his half-eaten dinner set on the table of the hall. He ignores the food and takes a deep drink from the wine. All this trouble to run a simple lordly fief, One above, what ever possessed men like his uncle Anton to want the troubles of a whole kingdom? He shakes his head and finishes his wine before sitting down by his dinner.

Goat and Scarecrow returned then, "Goat gave the man a silver piece," Scarecrow reports as the pair made their way to the table from the door.

"We promised him a silver just to come talk, so I paid him."

Aidric shakes off the distraction of his thoughts to say, "Who cares, it's a silver. What do you make of his tale?"

"Bollocks," Scarecrow replies firmly. "Probably thought we'd pay him double for going to the trouble of warning us."

"Could be true," Goat answers. "I mean, not the bit about them vanishing without a trace, that's dumb, but could be someone is taking folks and they don't know about it."

Aidric frowns with a questioning look for the scarred man-at-arms. "Taking people, why?"

"Could be a lot of reasons."

"Slavers?" suggests Scarecrow. "Maybe someone who wanted to make Sir Tomas look bad."

Aidric snorts. "You two aren't behind it are you? I am touched if so, but that is the sort of thing you want to check with me about first."

The two men-at-arms laugh and Aidric gestures for them to join him at the table pushing his food towards them to pick at.

"We have enough real worries to address right now without adding phantoms to the list. Though, when we arrive I'll want you to take our guards and scour the place. If the town is as empty as they say there'll be no shortage of places for trouble to hide. I don't want any surprises."

The men-at-arms nod, Goat, with a chicken leg in his mouth. Scarecrow swatted the man's arm and then asks. "When do we go?"

Aidric considers it. "End of the week. We have a lot to do first though, chief among them is replacing my father's people among the staff. I'll be damned if I am going to have people who answer to him with me at Azure Lake," Aidric lets that settle on his two men for a moment while his eyes come to rest on their Carling tabards. "Speaking of which, we should discuss where you two place your loyalties. I think it may be time for a change…"

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