Ibai is a difficult child, to say the very least, but they are managing him. Really, the boy just needs entertainment and supervision--but those two needs are constant. It becomes clear that Ibai is unfit to be the House’s heir. They attempt to have a second child, but it is thus far proving fruitless.
He appoints Cousin Horatio as the new heir as a precaution. It is unfortunate, of course, and he does not tell Horatio of his decision, but he can at least rest easy in the knowledge that Horatio is a man of admirable, if curious, intelligence and fortitude. It should really be Cousin Melchor, he feels; but he has no idea where that man is, and even if he did, Melchor had already refused the role of leadership before and doubtless would again should the time ever come.
They reach out to Parson Miles once more. They aim to apologize for being so brusque with him before and hope that he has learned more about aberrations in the intervening years. Parson sends word, saying that he was planning to visit them soon, anyway.
When he arrives, however, he does not seem very interested in helping them with Ibai. Instead, he requires a favor of his own. “As Lord of Marshrock, you oversee the Northwestern Border Guard, do you not?”
“I do. Why?”
“On the fifteenth of next month, could I trouble you to give your guardsmen the night off?”
“What ever for?”
“I have some friends who need to get into the country.”
“What sort of friends would need to sneak past the Border Guard?”
“The sort you would be better off not asking questions about,” says Parson.
He narrows his eyes. “Excuse me?”
“Ismael, I come to you with this because it is a matter that requires discretion, which I know to be one of your strong points.”
“I understand that, but even so, I am afraid I must know more about these people if I am to help you smuggle them into my homeland. And the way you speak of them does them no service in my imagination.”
Parson’s youthful smile wanes. “Well then, this is awkward, because I can’t tell you anything else about them.”
“Then I cannot help you.”
“But you can. And you will. Or would you like the rest of your kin to know about your son?”
And there it is. The façade drops at last, though they do not yet know the extent of it.
Sunday, November 16, 2014
Written by George M. Frost