Orphic Phantasia

11: For a Father’s Approval

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“And thanks to your differing, they burned their sins to the ground before we could force them to stand trial,” said Lord York. He was putting on the same 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, 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. “And you think Rembrandt Payne will sit idly by while we bring his charges into custody?” he asked upon his return.

“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. Wearing 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.

“And what,” said the Director, “are you so keen to insinuate, Lord York?”

“I noticed that I was the first 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?”

The Director remained silent.

“But still,” continued Lord York. “if you are not willing to act upon this information, I am certain there are others who would relish the chance. After all, Lord Hierodula well rewards those who present the heads of proven heretics.”

Oscar 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.

And given the deflated look on Rosencrantz Guirlande’s face, the way it aged ten—no, twenty—years in a single breath, his father had emerged from that clash victorious.

No, the history books would not remember Oscar York. They would remember his father. Always, and without question, his father.

Chapter 11 End

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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…

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