Not two minutes after Hannah and Holly had gotten Skye off and into a bath, Valdermar’s steward appeared at the door. “Lord Hamdun is here to see you?” he man smiled.
Peering out of the window at the blackness Valdermar sighed, “It’s going to be one of those evenings” he grumbled. On the upside he’d not yet been down to see his sister to find out what she knew of the girl at least he could be grateful for the small mercy of being saved her rage.
Pouring himself a quick glass of brandy he knocked it back, he was going to need all the courage he could get if he was going to deal with Gabriel. The lord was no-doubt here to somehow involve Valdermar in covering his track.
Heading off into the lounge he found Gabriel waiting “What can I do for you?” he asked cooley.
“Two things” Gabriel smiled “Firstly I was hoping to scrounge a bed for the night, I’ve spent half the day trapped in a carriage with snivelling girl”.
“And secondly?” he dared.
“I want to discuss an Indentured family you own”
“Really?!” he asked, somewhat surprised he was sure the lord’s appearance somewhat tied to Skyes.
“Yes what else did you think I’d come for?” Gabriel asked.
“Oh I don’t know” Valdermar replied, “I suppose I was wondering if you were here about the Vaux’s”
“No” Gabriel replied “Why on earth would I visit you for that?” he asked, “I’m quite capable of dealing with Christopher myself”
“I’m sure you are” he replied, eager to be off the subject of Christopher as quickly as possible “So what about one of my family’s?”
“I want to buy them” Gabriel replied simply.
“A family, not just one person?” he asked, “What’s the rush… I mean.. Surely you could have written?”
“I could” Gabriel agreed, “but I didn’t. So would you be prepared to sell them?”
“Which family?” he asked, offering Gabriel a drink.
“The Gothier’s? do you know them?”
“Yes” Valdermar nodded, their father was my groom he died recently a crate fell out of the loft and crushed him. What interest do they hold for you?”
“None of your concern” Gabriel snapped, “So will you sell them to me?”
“The whole family?”
“Yes, is that a problem?”
“Well… I yes I suppose it would be” Valdermar agreed. “They have three sons and what you have to understand here is that I’m trying to find my feet here .. I can’t just hand over 3 solid workers”
“I’ll buy their indenturement” Gabriel reasoned.
“It’s not just about right now” Valdermar reasoned, “Sons, have son’s surely you understand that … it’s not just about losing three workers it’s about the future.. I need to build something worthy of leaving Eadric when I’m gone”
“And you think that’s what you’re doing?” Gabriel sneered “Its common knowledge your estates a mess, you owe money to Daniel and Lorcan’s education is crippling you almost as badly as your wife”
“You leave Holly out of this” Valdermar hissed.
“Look Valdermar I’m trying to do you a favour” Gabriel sneer, “I’ll pay you what they are worth.. heck I’ll double it”
Suddenly he was interested, not because the offer was so high but more because Gabriel was willing to pay so much. “Why do you want them?” he asked.
“None of your concern” Gabriel snapped, “Are you interested or not?”
“Not really” he lied. Truthfully he did desperately need the money now, however he was slowly starting to realise the value of men…. Perhaps it was that his estate now had such a pitiful number but workers where hard to find and without men, there where no tax’s and his coffer’s where looking desperately short.
“Fine I tell you what you keep the boys .. let me take the girls? I’ll pay you what one man’s indenturement would cost”
Now he really was interested, “What on earth do you want with the girls?”
“None of your concern” Gabriel scowled. “Look this is a good deal, you keep the boys and without their mother and sister’s draining off them they will stand a much better chance of being productive”
He couldn’t argue with that, the boy’s would undoubtedly be held back by trying to support their family. “I still don’t know why you want them?” he reasoned, “Do these girls mean something to you … “suddenly he had a thought. “Didn’t the eldest girl start working for you recently… have you been… involved with her?” he chuckled, though it perhaps it was not the wisest question.
Valdermar could not help but be amused by the notion especially after all the grief Gabriel had given him over Holly.
“Don’t be absurd” Gabriel hissed. “Now are you going to take the money or not?”
“Two men’s indenturement” Valdermar relied “That’s what it will cost you” he decided.
“Two….” Gabriel scoffed, “For four pathetic girls?”
“Take it or leave it” Valdermar decided feeling confident for the first time since the conversation had started. He still wasn’t sure why Gabriel wanted them but he was sure he wanted them badly.
“Fine!” Gabriel sneered “two men’s…. Now pour me another drink”