Far Horizons: Tales of Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror. Issue #13 April 2015 - Page 177

Ethan took the envelope and the merchant palmed the gold coins he’d been given in exchange. The envelope was tucked into Ethan’s pocket and the merchant took his leave. Brian didn’t even bat an eye. “Somehow I knew Father would find a way to prosper.” “He never gave up hope we’d find you, Brian.” Margaret looked around herself and quietly took charge. “Reginald, your brother and his friend are invited to use the spare rooms in my home if they so desire. I’ll contact my sister and have her meet with us there. I’m afraid there’s no room for your other friends unless they wish to sit on the floor.” One of Reginald’s friends bowed slightly. “Madam, as long as we can assist our friends in any way, we don’t much mind what we sit on.” Ethan chuckled quietly and Margaret smiled. “Well then, gentlemen, if you’ll come with me?” Margaret was a retired schoolmarm and it wasn’t uncommon for her to be leading groups of younger men around the city. Her specialties had been geography and mapping. Brian and Ethan, however, caused people to start whispering behind their hands. One overzealous lad went so far as to step in front of Miss Margaret and her companions. “Begging your pardon, Miss Margaret, but might I inquire as to who these two strangers are?” Margaret raised her head and pointed at him with her folded fan. “You may inquire but it is up to them if they answer. Have you no manners, Charles!?” Ethan laughed. “It’s all right, madam, we don’t mind answering. He does need to brush up on his manners though, I’ll grant you that.” Brian had long since loosened the top button on that stuffy frilled shirt he’d been forced to wear and he was the one who answered the question. “I am Brian Fairchild of Marshlight, brother to Reginald Potterfield. And this is the son of my liege lord, Ethan Driscoll.” PAGE 176 Charles remembered his manners and bowed deeply. “You honor our fair city with your presence, sir.” Margaret nodded slightly. “That’s better.” Ethan smiled. “In future do remember your manners when addressing other people... They won’t be as genteel about it as we are.” “I’ll remember sir, I promise. Have a good day, Miss Margaret.” He bowed again and stepped aside so they could continue their progress. It wasn’t long before the whole city knew Ethan and Brian were there. Margaret opened the door to her house and they filed in quietly. Boots were scrubbed off on the mat inside the door so they wouldn’t have to remove them. The last one in gently shut the door and they found various places to sit. Reginald went with Margaret into the kitchen. Brian and Ethan moved back so they could talk without being overheard. Brian leaned in close to Ethan’s ear. “Thank you so much for finding me... If we were in other surroundings I’d thank you properly.” Ethan smiled and spoke softly. “There’s plenty of time for that later.” Brian’s smile was music to Ethan’s heart. Reginald came out of the kitchen and pointed down the hallway. “The extra rooms are on the right. Aunt Margaret’s been a widow for five years, God bless her.” “Thank you Reginald. Are you off to contact your mother then?” Reginald saw how awkward it was for Brian to say that. “Yes. I think it’s a fair assumption that either she or my father will have an unusual reaction to what Aunt Margaret has to tell them.” Margaret came out as well and spoke rapidly. “Hurry, Reginald, it’s nearly the end of the business day. Bring them both here as quickly as possible. I want the same answers you do.”