That evening when Benor returned to his room over the stables he checked carefully. His backpack had been disturbed. He looked around the rest of the room; somebody had disturbed the hoarded dirt under the bed. Not only that but there was a faint print of a shoe in the dust on the room’s only chair. Somebody had stood on it, perhaps to check on top of the battered cupboard that did service as a wardrobe.
His room had been searched but what for? Suddenly it came to him, were they looking for the crossbow? Given he didn’t actually possess one they’d have to look long and hard to find it. Then he had an idea. The privy needed emptying. It was getting disgusting, and the smell had turned his stomach that morning.
Next morning he made his way to the privy. He did so with the furtive air of a man who doesn’t want to be seen. He was carrying what might be a crossbow, wrapped in sacking. Once in the privy, trying not to breathe too much or too deeply, he unwrapped the sacking. This left him two pieces of wood tied together with a length of string. He tied one end of the string to the underside of the seat and then wrapped the remaining end of the string around a stone. The stone he hurled down the privy with as much force as he could muster, backing away sharply to avoid any splash. Then he stuffed the sacking and the two lengths of wood under his shirt. Then with the contented air of a man who has hidden his crossbow where nobody will ever think to look he went back into the stable. Hopefully whoever pulled the string would think that the crossbow had come untied and would then be forced to empty the privy if they wished to recover it.
Whilst he was eating his breakfast, Winnith the lady’s maid appeared.
“Master Dorfinngil. Madam Grasia wondered how much longer you’ll be busy with this mapping business.”
Benor put down a half eaten oatcake and tried to give the impression of a man engaged in complex calculations. Finally he said, “Master Grayer asked me to do various things other than the actual mapping. I estimate I shall be here another week.”
The expression on Winnith’s face indicated the household had hoped to see the back of him rather sooner than that.
Thoughtfully Benor added, “Look, I’m due to be paid for my next week’s work now, so give me the money and then when I do complete my task I can deposit the finished documentation with Cook at breakfast time and then leave.”
Benor felt he was chancing his arm with this request. He was entitled to five alars a week, and he only had another day’s work, perhaps two. Still it all depended on how keen they were to be rid of him.
Winnith considered his statement. “I’ll go and tell Madam.”
Before he’d finished his second oatcake she was back with five alars for him. Benor wasn’t sure whether to feel elated at getting the money or downcast at how ostentatiously keen the household was to get rid of him.
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