Untold Tales of Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling
by Ronovan Hester
“It would seem so, Miles.” I held the parchment in my hand, somehow not surprised by its words.
“Gabriel, they can’t mean it. The hand of his own first lieutenant killed Admiral Hawthorne. That dagger you pulled from the Admiral’s chest belonged to the man and we all know it.” The big Scotsman paced before what was once my father’s desk.
I scanned the message again. “The court seems to hold a belief the Admiral would be alive today if I not for my restraining him from murdering young Lieutenant Carbonale.”
My best friend and first lieutenant stopped his pacing. “So you are to be tried for stopping a murder?” Hands flew in the air in exasperation. “That’s the Admiralty for you. How this nation remains in control of the seas with that lot of idiots in command is beyond me.”
The firm knocks at the study door kept Miles from further expounding upon his thoughts of England’s lack of leadership. “Yes, Mildred?”
The housekeeper entered with paper in hand. “Another?” I asked.
“Yes, sir, only just now delivered.” A delicate hand passed the message over. “The young man would not say from where he came, but he had an air of polish about him unlike the previous.”
I saw her hands ring with anxiety. “Mildred, all is well. There is no need to—”
“All is well? Gab—”
“Miles, there is nothing to become upset about. The Admiral’s murder took place in a sailors pub frequented by less than reputable sorts. It is only natural for there to be some sort of inquest made.” I turned to my housekeeper. “Mildred, will you make certain Adam stays away from the study for the next hour? I don’t want those highly tuned ears of his overhearing just enough to become worried himself.” I smiled and squeezed one small hand with a reassuring firmness.
A deep breath escaped the housekeeper that had worked for my father before me. A smile returned to her face and she nodded. “Yes, sir, I’ll make certain the boy is busy elsewhere.”
I sat behind the polished mahogany as the door clicked shut behind her. I broke the seal and opened the message.
“Is it another accusation?”
I looked up at Miles, his fists pressed onto the desk. “No, only a simple message. It would seem the Admiralty does not have a monopoly on my life.” I folded the letter and replaced it in its envelope.
“What do we do now?” Miles stood straight, prepared for battle.
“We are to do nothing. You are to return home or find a barmaid about who hasn’t heard of your reputation and may be able to calm that rising blood in you.”
The broad smile stretched across the sea-tanned face as if a reflex. “That sounds like a good idea. Why don’t you come along?”
“No. I have other things to do. At some point we need to gather the crew and explain to them what is occurring.” I rose and turned to the window behind me. “I have no fear of their doubting my honor in the matter. Enough were there that night and they know me as man and captain. They need to hear from our mouths what is afoot.”
“Agreed, I’ll spread the word to gather two days’ time aboard the Majesty’s Venture. And now, I’m off to find a cure for what ails me.” The big laugh infected me and my spirits rose. There was nothing like a happy Scotsman to chase away a dark cloud.
My fingers rubbed the envelope in my hand.
I returned to my seat and opened the letter again. With Miles now gone, I could read for better understanding.
Come to the site of the King’s fall at one past noon.
Your father’s friend.
The clock showed it was nearing noon now. The invitation was not a request as much a command, a command not to ignore. I exited the study with purpose. “Mildred! I will be out for a time. Make certain Adam completes his studies. I expect a report from his tutors left for me to examine later today.”
“Yes, Lord Wallace.”
Jerome would need to run strong to make the meeting. I smiled. The big roan loved given his head, or at least given a direction and allowed his own speed.
What would he of all people want to meet with me at a time like this?
© Copyright-All rights reserved by Ronovan Hester 2016