Consummate artistry

The story continues, now we’re with

6) Consummate artistry

There are times when a chap finally begins to feel put-upon. Benor rolled
the ten alar piece across the table from his left hand to his right, and
then back again. He watched the light glinting on the gold coin.
“Benor, stop it.” Shena’s voice cut through his musings. “Tallis and Mutt
are sitting there watching with their tongues hanging out.”
Benor looked up; both Tallis and Mutt were indeed fixated on the coin.

“Sorry. I was thinking.”

“Meks a change,” Mutt muttered.

Benor ignored him, “It was that note our clerk friend saw. I wrote it down,
but I can damned near remember it word perfect. ‘So if the two lilies will
die from salt water, how are you going to kill the little dragon? I trust
that too will look like an accident.’ Well are the two lilies the
Chevaleresse of Windcutter Keep and her daughter? And who is the little dragon?”

“Has she got a son?” Shena asked.

Benor shrugged. “I haven’t a clue to be honest. We didn’t discuss families.
I wasn’t even introduced to the daughter and she was in the room.”

Tallis muttered something under his breath which sounded like, “I wouldn’t
introduce my daughter either,” but Benor chose to ignore it.

“Let us assume there is a son,” Shena said, reasonably. “What can we assume?
I’d say he’s still a junior, younger than the sister, or he would have
stepped into his father’s shoes and taken over Windcutter Keep.”

Benor nodded thoughtfully, “I’d guess that the son must be in Port Naain or
close by, otherwise Minny wouldn’t be expected to deal with him.”

Obviously feeling he wasn’t contributing Tallis added, “I know ladies who
know the Chevaleresse; they’ll know how many children there are.”

Benor rubbed his eyes with one hand. “If you could do that, I think it would
be useful.” He turned to Mutt. “We could do with somebody watching Minny to
see what she gets up to. She might even know where the boy is.”

Mutt held out a grubby hand. “It’ll cost.”
Seeing Shena glaring at him he shrugged. “Not me. I’ll need others as well.
They’ll want paying.”

“Who is paying for all this?” Tallis asked, rather too casually to be


Almost simultaneously, Mutt and Tallis exclaimed, “Nobody?”

“Because I’m the idiot who is doing it as a favour for a priest who has
managed to make me feel guilty.”

Mutt pointed at the coin lying briefly ignored in front of Benor. “You got

“Not for long,” Benor sighed, “and how long do you think this will last if
we have to find and then hide the boy?” Then he appeared to see the coin for
the first time. “Mutt, you know all sorts of people.”

“Yeah.” Mutt’s reply was distinctly cautious.

“I know somebody with a lot of money, but I need a forger. I assume you’ll
know one.”

“Yeah but it’ll….” He stopped, looked guiltily at Shena and just mumbled,
“Yeah, I’ll take you to him.”



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