- 6th day of Hanotë -
Part 7 - Three Letters
Selina smiled maliciously, hidden inside one of those small warehouses where some of the materials used on the training grounds were stored, and peered outside through the window.
Just like she’d expected. When the third girl arrived the other two were already there, leaning against the wooden wall, trying to go unnoticed.
“You also received it?” asked one of them, waving a white envelop in the air, and the others showed theirs. “What does this mean?”
“It means we’re being blackmailed, Tereze!” answered the one with brown hair, patiently.
Tereze crouched down, suddenly pale.
“We can’t give in! Today is this, tomorrow may very well be something else!”
“Are you an idiot?” asked the one that looked to be the oldest. “If we don’t comply with what’s written in this letters we’ll be facing a scandal. Forget being expelled! We’ll never be allowed to even set foot inside the palace! On the other hand, if we do as we were told, we may just be able to leave this mess with our reputations in one piece, and we’ll still have a chance inside the Court.”
“And just give up?” Tereze asked, tears in her eyes.
“Worse than that! Stay here for the battle? Freda!! This is madness!”
“Wake up, Larrisse!” Freda told her coldly, holding her by an arm and shaking her. “What’s written in these letters will make you a nobody, if it ever comes to public. And you, Tereze! What do you think your father will say when he learns about this? In the best case scenario he’ll probably lock you up in some old Temple or something, if he finds the heart to be merciful and decides to spare you being disowned and expelled from home!”
Larrisse averted her gaze looking quite despaired.
“How can he know so much? About the late nights … and about what happened with that stupid bitch!”
“If you want to know my opinion this is the hand of that stone-faced Knight that is always around her …” Freda suggested and Larrisse looked at her critically.
“And how’s that possible? He’s not even here!”
“So what? He may very well have left someone else in charge of his dirty work! That stupid bitch probably told him all about what happened. And the rest he knows the same way many of the others do. Men just don’t know how to shut up!”
“Can’t we just deny it?” Tereze suggested in a sad, small voice, and the other two looked at her with fulminating glares.
“You’re really stupid! You really think there won’t be questions asked when all this reaches the Order’s Tribunal? It’s written right here that there are witnesses to what happened with that stupid girl!” Freda replied and took a deep breath, regaining her composure. “We have no other choice. Give me that white piece of paper he sent us. Let’s get this over with and write the damn declaration!”
Selina smiled, happy with the way her plot had turned out, and waited until they were done. It was already late when she finally left the small warehouse and practically ran towards the White Order’s main building, directly to Kahor’s room, where she awaited her.
“Selina! What happened?” the other girl asked the moment she entered her room, still gasping for air but with a smile plastered on her face, and Selina took a few moments to recover her lost breath.
“Oh, nothing important. How are things progressing?” Kahor looked at her suspiciously but decided to let it slide, since there were more important matters to attend to.
“I was just gathering some things I’m sure you’ll need. I heard that all the Noble families will be leaving tonight …” she added and Selina nodded, trying to focus on the task at hand.
“Yes. I don’t have much time. Is anything missing?” she asked, trying to make herself useful since Kahor had taken care of most of the things.
“Do you know how to fight with a sword?”
“Hum … let’s see, then …” She opened one of the drawers from the bedside table and took out a small dagger sheathed in a painted leather scabbard. “You have to take something you can use to defend yourself in case of need. Kai gave me this one … take it,” she offered her, showing her the shiny, thin blade.
“Thank you. But I could never …”
“Just take it, please. It may save your life.” Selina looked at the small, sharp blade, still unsure, but ended up accepting Kahor’s gift. “Is there anything else you’d like to do before leaving?”
Selina looked out the window from where she could see the huge palace and shrugged.
“Not really, no … There’s nothing in there that means anything to me.”
“Alright, then. Get ready. I’ll go and prepare your horse, since no one will question my presence in the stables. Wait here,” Selina nodded and watched as Kahor left the room, leaning heavily on her wooden cane.
She changed her clothes, sighing heavily when she looked at her own image in the mirror. With another sigh she took off all the shiny accessories that made her hair look so pretty, the honey-colored strands falling over her shoulders and down her back, and tied it all up in a single knot, on the top of her head. She had never looked so … manly and ugly, she decided, giving up on looking at her own image.
Kahor came back not long after, her breath heavy from the effort of walking around so much.
“Everything’s ready. Come, I’ll take you to the gate. Put on your cloak, pull the hood up and try to walk like a guy. All we have to do is make sure that Marcus doesn’t find out that you’re a girl and everything will be fine.”
Selina stood up and hugged her tightly.
“Thank you for everything.”
“You’re welcome. I understand why this is so important to you. I too, wish I could be out there, helping Prince Elian in any way I can.”
Selina smiled and handed her a white envelope, the same she had collected as soon as the other three girls had left.
“Here, something to show you how much I’m really grateful for all you’ve done.”
“There’s no need …”
“No. It belongs to you.”
Kahor took the envelope and turned it around, looking for a name or address.
“What is it?”
Selina smiled and took a deep breath.
“Inside there are three letters of self discharge.” she told her and Kahor looked at her questioningly. “On those letters some members of your Order volunteer to serve the Kingdom of Mithir during the difficult times ahead, after which they’ll quit and leave the Order of Knights,” she explained and Kahor opened the envelope, reading the letters in disbelief. “I do understand that this can never make up for what happened. But still … I couldn’t just let it slide, just like that. Besides, even though this has nothing to do with me, really … People like those three would only give Knights all over the world a bad name!”
“Freda, Larrisse and Tereze ...” she read the signatures, still perplex. “But how …?”
“It wasn’t all that hard, really. All I had to do was ask the correct questions to the correct people. Also there are some who suspect that they were the ones behind your … accident.”
“Was it Karl? Was it Karl who told you?” Kahor asked, sounding angry, and Selina frowned, confused.
“Karl? I don’t know any Karl.”
“If you really must know, it was this other girl … Mihail?”
“Mihail?! But … how did she know?”
“Well, she sounded very well informed about a lot of things. Anyway, like it or not, this is the explicit will of those three. And you, as a future Knight, have the obligation to make sure that it is fulfilled!” Selina added and Kahor still wavered, but then… What was done was done, and she couldn’t deny that the contents of those letters had left her somewhat happier.
“You’re terrible! But I suppose you’re right.”
“Of course I am!” Selina stated pulling her hood up. “I’m ready!”