11: For a Father’s Approval
“And thanks to your differing, they burned their sins to the ground before we could force them to stand trial,” said Oscar’s father. He was putting on the same lordly tone he used to address the town council. “Do not make the same mistake again.”
The Director steepled his fingers in front of him. “Very well, then, if it is an investigation you require, I shall arrange one.”
“It was your attempts at investigation that enabled the Donara to escape justice.”
“Then what would you have me do?” The Director raised a golden eyebrow. “Storm their headquarters? I would not fancy our chances.”
“Have the trespassers arrested, of course! They are only children. They would soon confess to Rembrandt Payne’s sins.”
The Director slipped once again into that momentary, sleep-like trance. It was as if he could escape into the space between heartbeats, where he could consider his options and rehearse his words. A Seelie trait, thought Oscar. A damning indictment of the Director’s true allegiance, if only he could prove it! His father, however, had none of the experience that Oscar did with Seelie, and to him the moment was just that — a slow blink, a half-second of consideration from a man with no options left.
So it took him by surprise when those ice-daggers once again snapped open and eyed him as if he were the enemy. “And you think Rembrandt Payne will sit idly by while we bring his charges into custody?” asked the Director.
Without that same eternal moment to consider his reply, Oscar’s father snapped back, “Why not? Rembrandt Payne is a coward! We moved against the Donara and he did nothing. They burned themselves to the ground, every woman and child, and he did nothing. If he was willing to sacrifice them to spare his reputation, what makes you think he would spare anybody else?”
If looks could kill, Basil York would have died on the spot. The Director’s silent reply seemed to please him. With a grin that puffed out his cheeks, he tweaked his cufflinks. “Or perhaps there is something else that prevents you from taking direct action? Something other than fear of Seelie’s unlikely retaliation?”
Oscar inched further into his father’s shadow, hoping the Director might forget he was even there. He caught the blue-green eye of the Donaran aide, his doll-like face a blank canvas of emotion, oblivious to the battle before him. In the end, the two of them were nothing more than squires, witnesses to spread the tale of this epic clash between titanic men. The history books would not remember Oscar York. They would remember his father. Always, his father.
“And what,” said the Director, “are you so keen to insinuate, Lord York?”
“I noticed that I was the one to bring you this news, which leaves me to wonder where your daughter might be. Surely, as a loyal subject of the Founding Fathers, she should have raced here to tell us of this treachery, as Oscar did, and yet she is not here.”
The Director remained silent.
“I would hope she isn’t in any danger,” continued Lord York. “I mean, it would be awfully … inconvenient if someone were to order a lockdown of the Scar and happened to find her there, wouldn’t it?”
Chapter 11 End
I had loads more written for this little confrontation that I ended up cutting. It was rather fun to write! Hopefully this chapter has served its purpose of showing things from another perspective. But don’t worry, we’re not done with Astrid or Oscar just yet…