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The Hawk's Triumph- Part 4
2 hours later…
The people told us they were from the Order of the Hawk. I believed them because they had found the cottage, and had not seemed surprised by the secret entry. Wes, on the other hand, still looked wary. I took his hand and squeezed it, to show him that I thought these people were earnest. He glanced at me and smiled.
The women in the group were very nice. They called us “darling” and “honey”. The men on the other hand were just trying to get rid of us. Only the elderly man seemed to like us. The other two were talking in hushed voices over in the other side of the room.
One of the women leaned close to us and whispered that the men were planning on recruiting us to the Order. I nodded and then looked at Wes. What would he say? He was the one always up for adventure, but I didn’t know if this was beyond him. I decided to buy him some time and asked the three conspirators what, or who, they were planning on taking down.
“Why the king of course, deary!” she said as if it was common knowledge. My next question went up in smoke.
“But why the king, Miss?” I asked.
“Honey, you must have been living under a rock to not have noticed how terrible the king treats us all!” She exclaimed. I was surprised, but then thought about what she had said. It was true that people complained about the king, but everyone has their grudges. Since Wes and I lived outside the town boundaries, being a farm and all, we didn’t get much news from the city.
“Did you know that the king has been executing one common folk a day for the last year?” The other lady asked us. I thought of the bustling city of Knavesmire, the town about a mile from Wes and I, and felt queasy. A person a day!? I willed myself to calm down and find out more about these people.
I was stumped. I had known the king was out for himself, but murdering people every day? That was cold. I glanced over at Anabella who looked like she was about to cry. This was a lot to take in, especially since we haven’t known about it for so long. We live on the outskirts of Knavesmire, yet we don’t know when the king’s committing a crime!
I turned to the elderly man, courteously.
“What can we do to help?” I asked.
The old man turned toward me and opened his wrinkled mouth. However, nothing came out.
“Roger’s mute,” one of the women said, “has been since the king killed off his wife and children.” I was astounded. The king would do something like that?
Anabella’s hand slipped out of mine a she stood up from the chair beside me. She hesitantly walked over to the old man. She bent down to whisper something in his ear, and then gave him a hug. Her face was tearstained as she turned to come back. The old man looked shaken, but when she sat down, he nodded to her in gratitude. Anabella sagged against me from her chair and I held her.
The men finally came back from their conference and looked at Anabella and I.
“We’ve decided to recruit you,” the pompous man said, “on one condition: you tell no one what you’ve leaned today, and you don’t get caught.” I nodded and Anabella stared up at them.
“Will any harm come to my family if I agree to your proposition?” she asked with a surprising amount of confidence.
“We cannot promise that, young’n, but if you don’t get caught and you don’t leave any clues behind you, your family should be fine.” One of the women said.
Anabella sighed, and agreed to their compromise. I was unsure about my answer, but once Anabella agreed, I did too. I would never let her come to any harm, and the only way I could make sure of that was to stay by her side.
We were introduced to everyone. The two who looked like sisters were Margaret and Beatrix. They were going to be hard to tell apart. The younger man was Simon, the elderly man was John, and the man that found us in the secret room was Geoffrey.
They had brought food because it was nearly lunchtime. We sat around and ate the bread they brought while Wes and I listened to the new information. They told us that before they could tell us all of their secrets, we had to prove ourselves to them. As they deliberated what task we should be assigned to, horses hooves started to approach the cottage.
The man Geoffrey looked up in alarm as the horses’ hooves approached. His face then relaxed as he saw who it was. There was a lady dressed in a regular peasant dress carrying a cloth bag full of something. As she came through the door, she held her head high and had a regal air about her. I looked at Anabella with a questioning look. She almost resembled her. Same face structure and bright blue eyes, but her hair was a nut brown instead of a golden yellow.
Anabella looked surprised too, but she asked no questions. The five people that we were sitting with abruptly stood up and bowed, which was more than a little odd.
“Children”, Margaret, or Beatrix, said. “This is Queen Mirabell.”
Anabella and I gasped. The queen was here?! This was getting odder by the minute.