Staquard Est (Ch 4)

“Peter,” I called his name as I entered his room, but this wasn’t our house, but I was somewhat familiar. I put my hand to my head and entered the room where the scuffling had occurred.

He acknowledged me, but he wasn’t the diminutive light elf I expected, he was a full sized human — and so was I.

“Luce, I’m in trouble, we’re in trouble.”

He knows me well enough, that shaky feeling you get when you first encounter something unexpected was wearing off, I took him in completely, maybe Karin was right about the kindred spirit thing.

“Oh, the other Peter.” I said.

“Luce, no time for your strange sense of humor, I’ve gotten us in trouble, and I have a safe place for us to go for tonight, get Karin, there’s no time.

Karin didn’t have the trouble waking and getting her act together that I had. We met Peter within minutes on the fire escape.

“Really Peter? We’re climbing down this?” I questioned wearily as I looked down through the grated balcony and almost lost my balance and conscientiousness.

He grasped both my shoulders to get that laser vision thing going again, I was his subject. A crash was heard at the door of our apartment and Peter kicked the trigger that loosed the metal ladder to freedom. I closed my eyes and counted the steps to the ground. Karin dropped the final four feet to the ground, but Peter had to grab me by the waist and pull my hands away from the security of the metal ladder. We all managed to run well enough.

“I’m sorry I got you into this.” Peter said as he escorted us into the small basement apartment he had rented in anticipation. “I overheard something at the shop and now I’m a wanted man.”

“What could be so bad?” Karin wondered.

“A small land grab and ensuing law suit has turned into murder and I happened to be there when the plant manager was informed. His lawsuit to gain back his legacy opened up a secret that the lawyers and his brother worked out with the help of a Mata Hari. It was murder and McLeod escaped pushing me out the door in front of him. They can’t let this go any further, either McLeod and I die or the ‘gang’ goes to jail.”

“Not to be selfish, Peter but exactly how much are Karin and I involved in this? Can we go to work? Do they know where our families are?”

“I start my new job tomorrow, I can probably sleep there.:

Karin I think you’re safe for now, and it’s safe to sleep here, I used a different name to lease it. Luce, though I’m sorry, I think they know where you work and they think you’re my girl.”

“I’ll have to call my boss and tell him I need some time off, why would they think I’m your girl?”

“I’ll take you to the pay phone in the morning, thank God for obsolete technology, we can’t use our cells, and I talk about you all the time Luce, after awhile they assumed, and I never told them otherwise. The clincher was when I described your Rudolf minus the red nose Reindeer slippers, no girl would ever let just anyone witness that.”

We hunkered down in the corner of the small basement apartment, the three of us. Peter had his arm around me and Karin on the other side. We were cozy and warm and drifted off to sleep.

Joachim the goat boy had plenty to say as I rode up on Mirro and kept my promise to hear his story. He was one of those rare beings that believed in the legacy of his family and put his pride away to work the land he was promised. He believed someday the wrong would be righted and he would be reinstated.

I knew Arthur … or Sir Dominic, would have the answer and a plan to revenge the death of his liege. I left Joachim, as always working the field and tending the sheep.

Sir Dominic was up and about and the jacked rabbits were a fearsome lot. Peter was looking for my impression of his host of hares. I dismounted and went to my knees. I embraced him with all my might. I noted that Sir Dominic was staring at us. He had time to figure out Peter’s attributes and was now trying to assess mine.

My mother was human that was quite obvious, but my father was Phibian. That lineage showed up in my eyes and legs from the knees down. I always kept them covered. I learned to control the second lid on my eyes which was great for swimming, however, the scales on my legs and webbed toes were a secret, only Peter knew about that. My innards were a different story, I had no problems to speak of but I often craved shellfish, which was hard to come by.

Being half-human I couldn’t run or swim with my Phibian clan if I chose to seek them out, and the slim connection to them was lost when my father died. Arthur or Sir Dominic would have to continue to wonder about me.

He was glad to hear that the Varnum received his message and he was happy to report that Fedor was still alive as was the third brother, who turned out to be a girl. The message arrived by courier after they tracked Sir Dominic to our farm. We were to meet them in a few days when Sir Dominic could travel, this would also give him time to find a new horse, I was not about to give up Mirro.

In the waning hours of the day Peter and I sat cozy by the hearth as Sir Dominic told yet another story of his adventures in war and drink. When my leg slipped out from beneath the covers I saw the controlled reaction from across the way. Good, that will put an end to Karin’s illusion that the warrior was my knight in shining armor. Peter’s arm was around my waist as I drifted off.

 

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