Jan 2009

Chapter 87Of Whine and Wine

I knocked first, but there was no immediate response. An unclosed door was something to be alert for. Mostly the Masters did not like open doors, as it would 'interrupt their concentration'. Sometimes I wondered what secrets lay behind closed doors.

When I opened the door, the Master was bend over forwards on his desk. There was a goblet on his desk that stood out with it's golden sheen shining in the candle's light. Unfortunately I couldn't see what was in it from this angle. Had he been poisoned? The room didn't look particularly disturbed by anything but the Master was eerily silent. Had he been murdered?

I stepped into the room. Carefully.

Deirdre stayed close behind me, but she kept glancing in the corridor to be sure that no one would come and accuse us of murder or something.

Closer and closer I got to the Master. I imagined I could see some movement. Maybe he was only unconscious. Again I looked around if I could see anything that brought this on. The goblet appeared to contain wine or port and it kind of surprised me that it was still upright. If the Master had been poisoned or attacked, wouldn't it have been knocked it over?

The master mumbled something that was impossible to understand.

He was alive.

I felt so stupid. He appeared to be merely sleeping. If he'd been working all day and most of the evening and had some wine, he might fall asleep. Only human after all. It was a bit of a shock to me to see such a high up Master so... fragile for a change.

I shook him gently. "Wake up, Master."

The master mumbled something again, but didn't appear to wake up immediately. I shook him again, a little harder this time. It took him a moment to actually wake up and respond to the world. Even when he did, he wasn't his usual snappy self. Deirdre was smart enough to immediately stand back and move out of the room silently while he was still regaining his wits.

"Master, I return with a message from the silversmith."

He took a breath and mostly obtained his composure. "Ah, Taran was it? What is the message?"

I bowed politely. "He says that he will have it delivered in a little over an hour, Master."

He blinked and nodded. "Ah yes. Thank you. You may leave." He really sounded tired.

I turned around and moved back to the door.

"And Taran?"

Looking back at him. "Yes?"

"Thank you for your tact."

I nodded in silence and headed out of the room. Deirdre welcomed me with a smile as I exited and we moved silently to my room. But it didn't feel good to sleep there now. There was little we needed from the rooms that I could remember. Maybe get my bag and some clean underclothes.

When we arrived at my room, I thought this was a good time to ask. "Shall we sleep in the forest tonight?"

Deirdre smiled. "Yes, please."

We got our stuff and took the short time required to put on some cleaner clothes. Even though it was not ideal to change clothes without a bath first, we didn't have that luxury just now. We also took my messenger bag as it felt good to have it with us as well as

A hesitant knock on the door interrupted my thoughts.

I was mostly dressed again and went to open the door. There was a girl standing there, a servant by her clothes.

"The Master send me up to ask if you needed help with anything."

I smiled. "Sorry, no. But thank you."

She looked at me as if she was supposed to do something but wasn't quite sure what to say. After a moment of this she curtsied and left. I let her think her own thoughts about all of this. What was much more important is that we got out of the castle and slept where we were safer. With a soft nod to each other, we left my room and the castle.