The maid's truth

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Chapter 16: The interrogation

KIERAN’S POV

This woman was intriguing. It was as if she just realized she wasn’t supposed to be in the middle of the forest running around and playing prey with a wild animal. I began to interrogate her, knowing Terrance was watching attentively her every move and listening carefully to every note and edge in her voice; if there was something amiss with her answers, he’d know.

She explained how she ended in the forest, deliberately leaving out some details. However, there were some things I wanted to know with more urgency.

“When I found you, you recognized me. How?” she gave me a funny look and fidgeted with her fingers, taking her time to answer.

“Your eyes, my lord” she finally whispered, glancing at me from under her eyelashes. “I saw them for the first time in a vision and I’ve been dreaming about them often for several weeks.”

I coughed in embarrassment, taken aback by her answer. A deep blush tinted her cheeks and she fixed a strand of hair behind her ear, turning her head to avoid my eyes. An uncomfortable silence sat between us. I didn’t know what else to ask, still flustered by the brazen implications behind her words, and she didn’t say anything else. Noticing my discomfort, Terrance intervened, talking for the first time since entering the infirmary.

“Would you care to explain more about that vision?” the deep voice of my companion startled her, the sound reverberating in the empty room, but she seemed relieved for the change of topic and averted her attention to the intimidating man standing in his towering height at the end of her bed.

“During my awakening I had a series of visions. The attack of the wolf was one of them, but I only saw some bits of it. The lord’s eyes and the embroidered crest in his cape remained in my memory.” She answered eager to change the topic. Terrance inquired more about the awakening she mentioned. “It’s a ceremony to manifest our powers and pass on our family legacy.”

I was a little surprised by the similarities between our cultures. That ceremony of hers was similar to our Night Flower Dream. Instead of waiting for our powers to naturally manifest, we forced it at the age of sixteen by drinking a potion made of Night Flower harvested on a blue moon. This was with the intention to train those teenagers with potential to serve the empire, or teach the ones with dangerous powers to control them and not harm others or themselves. That’s how I’d ended with Terrance in the academy at such a young age; it wasn’t that special but young trainees were scarce, for many of them decided to wait a few years before enlisting. However, I’d never heard of having visions during our ceremony.

“And I presume those same visions led you here?” she nodded, not adding any more information to my statement. I admired her game. She answered all our questions truthfully but didn’t overshare; if we wanted valuable information from her, we had to think our questions carefully. Perhaps there wasn’t that much information to get from her to begin with.

We kept asking questions about her visions but she replied those were personal and sacred, but swore they didn’t relate to us. Pressing the matter wouldn’t give us any more information, and I didn’t deem necessary to use rougher techniques, so we dropped it. I was surprised how smart her answers were, Terrance had to intervene to rephrase some of my questions or she wouldn’t have given us nothing more.

An hour went by between asking the same things differently to find inconsistencies or new details. Reluctantly, she gave out two addresses to confirm her story; one of them here in Sion and the other across the borders in the Seven Lands Kingdom. I was curious to find out more about what a baroness and a duke had to say about such a peculiar commoner like her.

“Well now, lady Enid…”

“Just Enid is fine, my lord, I don’t possess any title to be regarded in such high manner” I raised my eyebrows, surprised at that piece of information she so willingly gifted. I already assumed something like that, but I didn’t expect her to correct me from my mistake.

“Miss Enid, now that you are here, what are your plans in Silver Oak?” she bit her bottom lip and fidgeted with her fingers. Taking a deep breath, she locked her beautiful bright blue eyes with my stormy ones and I felt trapped by their spell.

“I’d like to ask your permission to inquire a little about my family. I won’t ask for your help, just some time to figure out my next step.” I nodded absentmindedly, not caring what she asked of me. She could’ve asked for anything in my possession and I’d probably have gifted it to her.

“You’ll have to wait until we verify your story, miss Enid” Thank the gods I have Terrance with me to correct my mistakes. The effect this woman had in me was unprecedent and I didn’t like when someone else had the control.

“Of course.” She broke eye contact and I felt somewhat empty, missing the energy her eyes transmitted. “I just have a few questions, if you don’t mind.”

Intrigued by her request but not trusting completely my judgment, still a little affected by her mesmerizing eyes, I glanced back at Terrance asking for confirmation and his intervention if needed before agreeing.

“Are your father’s eyes blue, my lord?” She blurted, leaving us staring. Of all the questions I pictured, this was not on the list.

“No, they are gray like mine.” I mumbled, still perplex. She frowned and pouted a little, dissatisfied with my answer, increasing my curiosity. Without a second thought, she voiced her next question, as if she’d been considering them for a long time.

“What about his hair?” her face was calm but her eyes were pleading for a specific answer, and I could see the disappointment when I gave the same answer as before.

“Just like mine, slightly darker.” Her shoulders slumped visibly, dejected by my father’s physical appearance.

“Is there any chance I might be your sister?” The question was barely audible, as if she were afraid to ask. The thought of her being my sister sit wrong with me, an uncomfortable knot forming in my stomach.

“No, my father died a little after I was born. You are too young to be an illegitimate.” She nodded, her head hung low and a stray tear fell down her cheek, shining with the light until it landed on the back of her hand. A sudden urge to comfort her invaded me and I didn’t like that, deciding to leave as soon as possible. “I think we should let you rest, miss, you haven’t recovered fully. If you need anything don’t hesitate to ask.” Not waiting for her to say something, I got up and left, knowing Terrance would be right behind me.

We exited the infirmary and I spotted the nurses at the end of the aisle chatting quietly about everything but the woman across the doors. They bowed as we passed by and I ordered to be informed regularly about miss Enid’s progress.

The way to my office was silent, our long strides taking us there in record time. I rushed to my desk and pulled out a bottle of whiskey and two glasses, pouring a generous amount of the amber liquid and handing one to Terrance. I downed mine in one gulp and poured some more before taking a seat.

“What now?” he finally asked me. His simple words holding more questions behind. What was I supposed to do with her? Enid didn’t seem like a threat but everything about her was a mystery, unpredictable and out of my control.

“I need this controlled. Send a letter to both addresses and confirm her story, dig in her past if possible and bring me an answer before the duke arrives.” I rested the back of my head against the leather of my chair and pinched the bridge of my nose, a headache beginning to form despite the alcohol. “And keep an eye on her until we get more information.”

Terrance downed his drink and got moving, efficient as always, sending our faster riders with the letters within the hour. I busied myself with paperwork and financial reports, this would usually fill me with content but today I was unable to focus; bright blue eyes plaguing my thoughts.

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