Captive Ch. 08byLadySneak©
Lord Elrik didn't even knock on Sir Kern's door. He simply walked right into his chambers that morning. His actions fueled by being upset about seeing zara walking out of his chambers. Sir Kern was startled a bit by his door opening like as it did.
"Did you forget something zara?"
Sir Kern didn't look up at first and simply assumed that it was zara returning quickly for something. He was further startled to see anger on Lord Elrik's face as he burst through the unlocked door. Lord Elrik looked like a man on a mission and Sir Kern quickly realized that Lord Elrik must have seen zara in the hall leaving his room. He quickly composed himself for the conversation that was sure to come.
"I hardly think that Your Lord has forgotten something, but I think you have forgotten your place in My House."
"It's not what You think, M'Lord. she was picking up my dinner tray from last night M'Lord."
"Do you take Me for a fool? she was dressed in the same clothes as yesterday and looked as if she needed to still comb her hair. What have you done to her?"
"I haven't done any thing M'Lord."
"Don't lie to me. I'm not stupid"
"If You want to know the truth M'Lord. I talked to zara about her life before coming here. I am only trying to help her M'Lord."
"You can help her by staying out of this. This matter doesn't concern you. When are you going to get that through your head?"
"You made it my concern when you asked me to look after her M'Lord. You can just toss a human aside like they are nothing. zara is a human being beneath the fur. You of all people should realize that."
Lord Elrik moved quickly and shoved Sir Kern up against a wall and held him there. He was greatly angered by the words Sir Kern has just said because He knew it was the truth. He has shoved zara aside but there were reasons that He wasn't quite ready to share even with Sir Kern.
"Don't you ever tell Me again what I should and should not realize. Stay out of My business. I don't want to see you in My presence for a long time. You will remove yourself from this House. I don't care where you go but you are to stay the hell away from zara from now on. I'll have someone else look after her. I thought I could trust you but obviously you have your nose where it doesn't belong."
"So You are going to take away one more person that zara has come to trust? You are not thinking straight M'Lord. What ever it is that You are trying to hide its is going to come out. Can't You see that You are hurting her. Who cares who her father is. If that is why You have rejected her then You are not better than Lord Ulrich."
"Get the hell out of My House! Don't ever come back here again. Don't ever compare Me to that man."
"I'll go M'Lord. I can't stomach seeing You destroy her further. You are so blind M'Lord. she don't care who she is. she only knows that she loves You."
"Love means nothing when it comes to station Sir Kern. If I am right about who her father is. zara will not be allowed to remain here with Me. I am trying to save her that heart break now."
"Considering that she was left in Lord Ulrich's household as a child I doubt that her family cares that much about station. I'm sorry M'Lord for everything You perceive I have done wrong. I am just looking out for the people I care about the most. I care about You M'Lord and about zara. I can't help but care for her."
Lord Elrik loosened his grip upon Sir Kern with a growl on his face. Just then there was a knock on Sir Kern's door. Lord Elrik sat down in a chair before the fire. He was tired of fighting about this matter with Sir Kern.
"I am looking for M'Lord. Is M'Lord with you Sir Kern?"
"M'Lord is here and you may enter."
The messenger walked in and presented the message to Him. He read is quietly and shifted in His seat. He did not have a happy look upon His face.
"Is there a messenger waiting for a reply?"
"M'Lord an emissary came with this message. He is dinning in the hall with his men. I thought that it would be prudent to see that they were fed first."
"I want you to go down to the hall and make sure that zara is not seen serving. Tell Tara that I want zara in the kitchen until I come down."
"Yes, M'Lord, I will see to it that Your instructions are carried out."
The messenger left the room then to carry out the orders. Sir Kern waited to hear who the visitors were. He didn't have to wait long.
"Well all of the speculation as to whether or not zara is who I think she is will come to an end when I go downstairs and meet with her Father."
"He's here M'Lord"
"Yes, he is. Instead of sending a messenger back he came himself to attend to the matter. I know I told you to get out of my House moments ago but right now I need you. I need the Captain of the Guard to bring zara into the hall dressed in something nice. I know that her clothes should be ready by now. I had a set of clothing made for just this day. The tailors should have it. Please stop by there and take them to zara in the kitchens. Take the back kitchen exit and around to the dinning hall and present her to Me."
"Yes, M'Lord and thank You for charging me with this task for You. I know we have had our differences lately but I truly only what is best for her. You are good for her M'Lord."
"I can't think about what is good and what isn't at the moment for zara. I have her Father sitting in My dinning hall. I don't want to keep him waiting too much longer. Can the angry words we have shared be water under the bridge until after this pressing matter is settled?"
"Consider it forgotten all together M'Lord."
Lord Elrik composed himself before entering the dinning hall. He wasn't sure what to expect upon meeting zara's Father. This could be good or it could be bad. He took a deep breathe and strolled to the table where several Cat Person's were seated.
"Greetings gentleman and welcome to My home. I hope that My staff has been treating you well and that your food needs are being met. I am Lord Elrik, Lord of these lands."
The one not dressed in leather and chain maille spoke first. He was dressed in leather that was a contrast to his fur.
"I am Zarn, official Emissary of the Cat People. I am here on official business. My men and I have been given a nice hot meal which is most welcome after our long journey. Please join us and we can begin to discuss why I have come."
"I would be honored to join you and your men, Emissary Zarn."
Lord Elrik motioned for food and drink to be brought to Him at the table. Tara brought the items over to the table and discretely passed Him a note concerning zara. It indicated that zara had been successfully removed from the dinning hall without discovery.
They had been making idle chit chat when Sir Kern entered the dinning hall with zara on his arm. Zarn stopped speaking as soon as he saw her. There were a few tense moments until they were at the table. Lord Elrik couldn't believe what a beauty zara was in the velvet gown He had made for this very day.
"Emissary Zarn, may I offer you greetings and welcome. I am Sir Kern, Captain of M'Lord's guard. The lovely lady on my arm is zara. she recently came to this House as a guest of M'Lord's."
zara looked across over those seated at the table and was a bit uneasy. These were her people but she knew so little about them. The last time she had seen one of her own people was right after the stable incident.
Zarn was the first to stand. He threw his napkin upon the table in what appeared to be a fit of disgust.
"Lord Elrik, You have a world of explaining to do. This woman has no business being in Your House. This is not where she is supposed to be. I demand that You explain Yourself!"
"Emissary Zarn, I mean no disrespect to you or your people. As my man has explained zara is here as a guest. If you wish we may retire to my study to discuss this matter at length."
"No, Lord Elrik, we will have this conversation here. You seem to have interfered in a matter that does not concern You. This woman is not supposed to be here. She belongs in Lord Ulrich's Household. I do not remember receiving word that Lord Ulrich wished to change our agreement. You have brought dishonor to Your House."
It was zara who went over to Zarn and placed her hand upon his arm.
"Please there are things that you do not understand. Things better explained not in front of all of these people whom this does not concern. There are many things that you need to know about me. Things that perhaps you were not told about."
"Unhand me you filthy urchin. A guest would not smell of the kitchens. I am not easily made to believe lies. If you have something to say then say it here before all these people."
"Very well then since you insist this be a public i will tell you how i came to live here in Lord Elrik's House. Five years ago, the man you seem to have such high regard for made me his personal slave. i was made to bend to his sadistic hunger in his chambers. My own people doomed me to that existence the day they did not return me to my people when they had the chance to. Lord Ulrich is a vile man and i am glad to be rid of him. Lord Elrik's men rescued me from that existence. i am thankful to be here and insisted upon earning my keep here."
"You tell me lies woman! Lord Ulrich would not touch you in such a manner."
"Emissary Zarn, zara is not telling a lie. Several of my men can confirm what she is saying. Lord Ulrich was under observation for several months before her rescue was attempted. Several of us were witness to how zara was treated. We have secreted within these walls one of the women who tended to zara after one of Lord Ulrich's nights of indulging his sadistic nature."
It was Lord Elrik that spoke up on my behalf. i was a bit surprised that He had but was relieved as well. This man needed to understand the truth of my life in Lord Ulrich's House.
"Bring forth your proof for I do not believe you. I demand a full inquiry into this matter. I will have Lord Ulrich brought before me as well."
"Very well Emissary Zarn a full inquiry will take place. Sir Kern, see that messengers with full guard are sent to Lord Ulrich and bring him here. I will see that a messenger is sent to the King concerning these proceedings."
A rush of activity began and quarters were assigned to Emissary Zarn and his men. It was going to be tense time until the inquiry could begin. Lord Elrik placed guards outside my quarters, and i was instructed to not roam the halls without an escort. i wasn't going to complain. i certainly didn't want to end up back in Lord Ulrich's House. That was the one place i never wished to see again.
Sir Kern was sent on the journey with the messenger and a representative from Emissary Zarn's men to personally ensure that Lord Ulrich would be attending the proceedings into the matter. Lord Ulrich was none too happy about having to leave his House all over a chit who was once his slave. The man with Zarn was none to happy upon hearing the word slave out of Lord Ulrich's mouth. Sir Kern and the man chatted at length while Lord Ulrich went into furry of activity to prepare for the journey to Lord Elrik's lands.
The King was going to be coming himself to meet with Emissary Zarn. He didn't like hearing that there was dispute of this nature. The King could be at Lord Elrik's in two weeks time. Lord Elrik set His House into full scale preparations for the King's arrival. This was no small matter to have the King involved in it.
zara was forbidden from duties n the kitchen. Instead she was required to sit with the sewing ladies and learn to embroider and sew handkerchiefs and pillow cases. Truly woman's work but it would keep her mind occupied and she would be contributing to the House. she insisted that she earn her keep somehow since she was unable to serve as she truly wanted to.
Emissary Zarn did not speak to zara any after the day in the dinning hall. The first time that zara tried to speak to him after the talk that lead to the inquiry doors were closed in her face and people scurried her back the way she came. she did not understand why she was being treated so. she hoped that the inquiry would prove that what she said was so and that she could return to what she had been doing prior to his arrival.
Lord Elrik was arrested by Emissary Zarn and was being held captive in His own dungeon. He found some irony in it but none the less did not struggle overly much. He only wanted a better life for zara and wanted her Father to know what had become of his child. It was now apparent to Him that perhaps sending for her Father had been a mistake. Perhaps Sir Kern was right....maybe He should have allowed zara to continue as she was with Him but of her choice.
He spent His days receiving messages and conducting His daily regimen from his cell. zara had attempted to visit Him once but she was barred from the dungeon by Emissary Zarn. Sir Kern acted as a messenger between them upon his return to the House. zara sent Him a rather lengthy note.
i do thank You for what You have tried to do. It is, however, apparent to me that my Father for what ever reason wishes to have nothing to do with me. Yes, i am aware that Emissary Zarn is my Father. It is hard not to be aware of such when the staffs whisper about it in a manner in which i can still hear them speak. Do not fault them M'Lord for they do not realize just how sharp my hearing can be at times.
i have made myself scare since the arrival of Lord Ulrich in this House. He has sent for me several times now and each time i have refused to go. This is to the dismay of Emissary Zarn as well.
With the help of Sir Kern, i have made it known that i will not return to Lord Ulrich until the King stands in judgment of this matter and finds that i must be returned to my former Master. i do pray that i do not live to see such a day M'Lord for my heart, body, and soul still yearns for You.
They will not let me below to see You and have asked Sir Kern to deliver this message to You. Tara has told me that You are being fed well at least. That is a relief to me. i will worry for You and for myself until this inquiry is finished.
It is my hope that the King will see that i have a mind of my own and that i do not wish to be kept in incestuous enslavement with my Cousin. Sir Kern while he was at Lord Ulrich's House was able to retrieve the book that was given to me after the incident with the lad in the stable. It was not until i sat down to read it that i discovered a letter that has explained a good many things about myself to me. Far more than the book could ever reveal.
i am not sure that even my Father knows of the letters existence but i will ask the King to submit it as evidence in my case. Sir Kern has had the scribes make a replica to give to the King.
i pray for a just hearing and that the King is a just and honorable man. It has been told to me that He is. The tailors are making me several outfits. In exchange for them i am showing them how to craft a few things that my Mother in Lord Ulrich's House taught to me. It will help them make better use of the bolts of fabric and scraps that are laying about the House M'Lord. i know the value of a barter in times such as this.
Be at peace M'Lord and know that my love is still here for You.
and so end chapter eight...