Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Tuesday, April 09, 2013 -

The Lord and the Librarian

by Lucy Appleby & DJ Black
Published: Apr 09, 2013
Words: 37,482
Category: romance
Orientation: M/F
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At this time of year the surrounding mountains still carried snow but the mists had yet to clear and Lord Collden could not yet see the village in the valley below.

Today was the day of the first Manorial Court of the year, held as it was on the spring equinox. There would be many petty disputes for him to resolve as his people jostled in a Finding Year to make the most of their positions.

Yet as usual it was not all boundary disputes and breaches of contract that must be dealt with. There were men to be fined and assigned to public service for breaches of the peace and other offences. There were women to be whipped at the pillory. It was ever the same.

This court would be no different, except that this year of all years there was to be a ruling that touched his house.

There was a knock at the door.

"Come in," he said, knowing who knocked.

The door opened to admit Megan, his housekeeper, a dour woman only a little younger than himself. She had come to his service on the death of her husband, a loyal servant if a little taciturn.

"Will you come to the court today?" he asked her.

"If I may my lord," she said.

"It is not too late to excuse your daughter. I could deal with it in private, as is my right, or leave her to you," he said without turning as he buttoned his best coat.

"She is not strictly of this house, as was her choice when she chose to remain with my sister. She walked her path of mischief, also her choice. Let her be judged as the other girl will be judged." Megan spoke softly but with iron.

"So be it," Lord Collden said with finality. "Oh Megan - those books - please return them to the library."

"Of course, my lord. Not that I see much point, as the Library is scarce worthy of the name," Megan sniffed, speaking freely as she dared.

"I have taken steps to acquire someone to address that particular matter," he replied. "An outsider."

"It is a Finding Year my lord, so why not?" If Megan sensed any further import to the possible arrival of an outsider, she made no comment.

"When she arrives you are to say nothing," Lord Collden said. The edge to his voice was hard. "And see that no one else speaks out of turn."

"As you wish my lord."

A she, is it? Megan smiled to herself.


Rowan stared disconsolately out of the window of her tenth floor flat, watching the remnants of the rain trickle down the windowpane, while below an endless twisting snake of London traffic belched exhaust fumes into the humid air. But beyond the traffic to the west, sitting astride a sandy ridge, lay Hampstead Heath. The oasis of green space beckoned invitingly. Rowan put on her coat and left the flat.