Orrick ducked into the small alleyway, to his rear Gadric stood protectively his sword drawn he watched out across the street. “Do you really think anyone would attack me here?” he asked doubtfully.
“Perhaps Milord, best be safe”
Nodding Orrick knocked lightly on the wooden door, it took several moments but eventually a familiar face appeared. The hairs on the back of his neck bristling as he saw the old woman. “Lynette” he nodded grimly, “I said I would call”
“You did” she agreed “and I am grateful, come in”
Entering the house he watched as Gadrick followed closely behind, not missing the exchange between Gadrick and the older woman, “You know each other?” he noted as he watched Lynette give the man a warm embrace.
“He was a friend of Christopher” she reasoned bluntly, homing in yet again on the fact that she knew Christopher better than he, in only a way the infuriating woman knew how.
Sighing he peered around the small dim room, it was homely comfortable even, it seemed as though Lynette had at least manage to spend his money wisely.
“Girls!” Lynette called up the stairs “It’s only his lordship you can come down”
Several uncomfortable moments passed, but eventually two young girls made their way into the light of the lounge down the stairwell before him. Each clung to the others hand fearfully with a terrified look in their eye.
The younger of the two looked fearful, but it was the elder one that drew his eye. Grazed across her cheekbone her eye’s showed sign’s that she had not slept in some time and her wrists still red raw showed the bruising bore of brutal men.
“So what are we to do with you?” he asked. Neither girl replied, they only stood and stared. “Well do you have any family?” he prompted.
“Brothers back in Brightden and a grandmother” the elder one replied nervously, “I think she lives in Graymont, my mother was trying to head there”
“Well I dare say she got a little lost” Orrick reasoned, “If Graymont was her goal, she couldn’t have gone more in the wrong direction” The girl didn’t replied, she simply nodded accepting. “So what is your name?”
“Gayle Milord and this is Edith”
“Do we have any idea if her mother still lives?” Orrick dared ask Lynette.
“Not for sure” the old woman agreed, “But Gayle seems to think her mother is carrying Gabriels child so it stands to reason he won’t hurt her”
Orrick nodded, the logic was not flawed. “Then once we get the girls safe we should try and get word to her… she must be worried.”
“I can do that Milord” Gadrick reasoned, “I know the woman you speak of, blonde woman right?”
The girls nodded, “Her name is Helena” Gayle confirmed.
“I can get word to her” the young man agreed.
“Any chance you could get Maegan out while you were there?” Orrick reasoned, half joking half serious.
“I could” Gadrick agreed, “But it wouldn’t do you any good… unless you aim was to get your head on a royally decreed pike”
“It would almost be worth it” he grumbled, turning back to the girls. They looked terrified, common girls yes and used to a hard life but neither deserved what had been done to them “So we can get word to your mother but what should we do with you? I would send you to your grandmothers if I didn’t think it would be the first place Gabriel would look”
“He didn’t want us Milord” Gayle spoke out timidly, “He only wanted my mother”
Orrick looked towards her he could see the fact that it pained her clearly drawn across her face. “What do you mean he didn’t want you?”
“He only cares about my mother” the girl explained, “His men, they had me…. They could have taken me when they took my mother back to him, but they didn’t they just left me”
Orrick nodded, understanding what she meant when she said they had her. Yes she was probabally right. Gabriel wasn’t interested in two young girls when he had his child in the belly of their mother. It was reasonable to assume his search would stop as it had with Finian the moment he realised it bore him no further along his path to fatherdom. “In that case we are probably reasonably safe to find you somewhere to live” he decided, “That doesn’t mean there isn’t risk, if for whatever reason Gabriel discovered where you where, I’m sure he would use it as reason enough to go to the king”
“I’m sure my Grandmother would take the risk” Gayle reasoned.
“Tell me, would Gabriel know you well? If he was to see you… how familiar are you too him?”
“Sort of familiar” she agreed, “I served Maegan”
“Begging your pardon” Gadrick cut in, “You were a little more familiar to him than that where you not? Intimately familiar one could say?”
The girl paled and Orrick realised the truth of it, he shot Gadrick an unwelcome glare the girl was clearly embarrassed and the mercenary had done nothing to save her from it. “Is there nothing you don’t know?” he growled.
“One or two things” Gadrick admitted.
Still Orrick couldn’t help but reel, each time he thought he’d reached the full acceptance of Gabriel’s depravity new news came to lower his realisation further. The girl was young, too young.. too young by half.
“I doubt Gabriel has much time for wandering amongst commoners” he decided “But you’re your Grandmother and Brother live on estates he has reason to visit frequently. It would only take for him to see you once in passing as you walked down the street to alert him to your presence. If that happened I could not protect your family”
“Then Orrick why can they not stay here?” Lynette reasoned, “It will be a cold day in hell before Gabriel will set foot in Fraymont surely?”
“You mean to keep them with you?”
“Why not?” Lynette reasoned, “Chase and Bailey have moved out and I have the space”
“Think of the risk” Orrick reasoned. “You could have yourself hung. No … I’m sorry I feel for the girls I really do but right now I don’t have the political clout to protect you or them”
“Then we need to find someone with the clout” Lynette reasoned, “Surely there is still a nobleman who would be sympathetic?”
“Well there is always Tarik” Orrick reasoned, “He has a reputation with the waifs and strays, I dare say he has a few runaways already”
“I have an Uncle in Darkfire” Gayle offered, “Kaiden Gawen, perhaps if you contacted him?”
Orrick nodded, “Leave it with me, I don’t like to bother Tarik but the way things are going in Grimstead, I may be seeking exile with him myself before too long” Turning he moved to leave “Can they stay with you for now?”
“Of course” Lynette nodded “But what about their sister?” she asked sensitively.
Suddenly remembering the death he nodded, “I will have someone collect her” he promised “She will be suitably and respectfully buried” he promised.