|Lady Elvira Grey|
|Series||His True Destiny by Azaelia Silmarwen|
|Previous||His True Destiny: Chapter Nine|
|Next||His True Destiny: Chapter Eleven|
|← His True Destiny: Chapter Nine||Chapter Chronology||His True Destiny: Chapter Eleven →|
Chapter Ten: Lady Elvira GreyEdit
Before everyone knew it, Rowan was up and about again, though the Guildmaster made him do some basic training exercises before he went back out questing, in order to make sure he was fit enough to head out.
Once the Guildmaster was satisfied that Rowan was fit enough to go out questing again, Rowan pretty much bolted to the map room to find a Quest Card. This amused the Guildmaster immensely, as he followed Rowan to the map room.
‘I suggest you go and see Lady Grey,’ he said as Rowan flicked through some Quest Cards. ‘She is most unhappy that you still haven’t taken up the invitation she gave you when you won the Arena.’
‘She does realise that I’ve been busy, doesn’t she?’ Rowan asked, looking up from the Quest Card’s he was holding.
‘She is the Mayor of Bowerstone, Rowan. She expects people to make time for her.’
‘Okay, I’ll go there now,’ Rowan groaned. He didn’t want to see Lady Grey. He didn’t feel comfortable around her like he did with Briar and Whisper. ‘I’ll pick up some flowers on the way.’
‘Buy her a black rose,’ said the Guildmaster. ‘I hear that’s her favourite flower.’
‘And the most expensive flower on the market,’ Rowan grumbled as he teleported to Bowerstone to buy the black rose.
With the black rose in hand, he made his way to Lady Grey’s mansion. Many citizens of Bowerstone and guards greeted him on his way there. They either praised him on his latest victory or told him how glad they were to find him in good health.
When he arrived at the mansion, he nervously knocked on the door. A maid ended up opening it and she showed him to a sitting room, before going off to get the Mayor. Rowan sat there waiting and when he saw Lady Grey enter the room, he hastily jumped to his feet.
‘My Lady,’ he greeted with a small bow. ‘I am sorry that it has taken me so long to accept your invitation. Please accept this little token as an apology.’
Rowan handed her the black rose. She accepted it with a big smile.
‘It is beautiful,’ she said. ‘You are forgiven, Rowan. Come, sit with me.’
Rowan sat on the couch next to her, though she was sitting uncomfortably close to him.
‘I am so glad to hear that you are better,’ she said, seducingly putting her hand on his thigh. ‘We need real Heroes like you in Albion. Heroes who are brave, powerful, helpful, and even good-looking.’
Rowan moved uncomfortably. Lady Grey noticed and she seemed to be amused by this.
‘Tell me, Rowan, have you got a girlfriend?’ she asked innocently.
‘No, my Lady,’ he replied. ‘I haven’t had time for a girlfriend.’
‘Really?’ She seemed to become even more interested in him. ‘You know I still haven’t been able to find the right man to marry.’
Why is she telling me this? Rowan thought nervously as she ordered a maid to bring them some tea and something to eat.
‘So tell me, Rowan, have you got any siblings?’
‘Yes, I’ve got an older sister, Theresa. She’s four years older than me and a seeress.’
‘We’ve got something in common,’ Lady Grey informed him. ‘I am the youngest of my family. I had an older sister called Amanda. She was such a kind hearted girl. She went missing the year I became Mayor, though it was because of her disappearance that I became Mayor.’
‘I’m sorry to hear that,’ said Rowan. ‘As far as I known, Theresa is alive. I would hate it if anything ever happened to her.’
‘You must worry about her.’
‘Yes and no. She’s stronger than most people think. She can take care of herself. She has Heroic blood like me, after all.’
‘Listen, you couldn’t do me a little favour, could you?’ Lady Grey asked. ‘Would you be able to find my necklace for me? It is most precious to me.’
‘Sure, I can do that,’ said Rowan, before thinking, I’ll do anything to put some space between us.
‘Thank you. Perhaps you could investigate around town, later on?’ she suggested. ‘Someone must know its whereabouts.’
‘Of course, my Lady.’
‘You’re such a sweetheart.’
Rowan ended up staying with Lady Grey until midday. He was sure he would have had to stay longer if she didn’t have an important meeting to get to.
Once he was free from her clutches, he started walking around Bowerstone North to see if anyone had any information on the necklace. He did learn that the necklace was in fact Amanda Grey’s necklace. Rowan found that a little suspicious at first. The reason for this was because he wondered how Lady Grey got it when her sister went missing. He then realised that it was probably a necklace that Amanda wasn’t wearing when she went missing and that Lady Grey was wearing it to keep her sister close to her.
After talking to guards and villagers a like, Rowan learnt of two men that had been acting suspicious around the time of the necklace’s disappearance. He managed to track the men down in the Oakvale Memorial Gardens where he overheard them talking about where they hid it. They hid it in between two boats at the Oakvale docks. Knowing this, Rowan headed for the docks and uncovered it, before going to the local guards and telling them about the men’s crime. They were arrest before they could even say they were sorry.
The next morning, Rowan returned to Lady Grey with the necklace.
‘Here is your necklace, my Lady,’ Rowan said, giving it to her.
‘I don’t believe it!’ she said, happily accepting it. ‘I thought I’d never see it again! Please, help me put it on.’
She took it out of the box and handed it to Rowan, before turning around. Rowan awkwardly undid the clip and lifted it over her head, before clipping it around her neck.
‘The two men who stole it have been arrested,’ Rowan informed her as she turned to face him again.
‘You really are a wonderful Hero,’ Lady Grey purred, ‘and you would make a wonderful husband to any woman, including me. I shall expect a proposal from you in a weeks’ time… until then.’
She then walked away, swinging her hips exaggeratingly, leaving the stunned Rowan behind.
He absently returned to the Guild and made his way to the Guildmaster, who was in the training grounds, training two new, young Heroes-in-training.
‘Guildmaster, I’m in a bit of a situation,’ Rowan said as he lent against a fence watching the young Heroes-in-training practice melee with wooden sticks.
‘Rowan, didn’t I say that my heart couldn’t take any more danger with you?’ the Guildmaster replied with a touch of annoyance in his tone.
‘Um, it’s about marriage.’
The Guildmaster turned to look at him.
‘I didn’t know you have a girlfriend,’ he said.
‘Then why are you asking me about marriage?’
‘Lady Grey wants me to propose to her. Apparently I’d make a good-husband.’
‘I don’t see the problem.’
‘I don’t want to marry an older woman!’ Rowan said as though he was talking to an idiot.
‘Listen, Rowan. You are almost twenty years old, it’s time you started thinking about the future,’ the Guildmaster said patiently, motioning for the apprentices to stop. ‘Marrying Lady Grey would be good for you. She has money, power, respect, and she is beautiful. There aren’t many women out there like her. Besides, if you don’t, she could have you arrest with a snap of her fingers, which would destroy your future.’
‘But I don’t love her! I don’t even like her for that matter,’ Rowan said furiously. ‘I want what my parents had. Is that too much to ask?’
‘I’m afraid it is. You need to do what is best for your future, Rowan. Think about that.’
-----HIS TRUE DESTINY-----
And so, a week later Rowan returned to Lady Grey with an engagement ring. He had prayed to Avo to create something that would prevent him from having to marry Lady Grey, but nothing seemed to have arisen.
‘Rowan, how nice to see you,’ Lady Grey greeted as he walked towards her in her garden. ‘What brings you here?’
You know very well why I’m here, Rowan thought bitterly.
‘I have come to ask for your hand in marriage, my Lady,’ Rowan managed to say.
‘And I would love to accept,’ said Lady Grey, ‘but you are not the only Arena winner who seeks my hand.’
Then why don’t you just marry him and forget about me? Rowan continued to think bitterly.
‘No doubt you have heard about how Thunder feels about me,’ she continued. ‘It’s quite bewildering to have two such fine suitors. Now, I just need you to prove yourself a better man than he, perhaps in a battle? That would be the only way the two of us can be together. Thunder will not allow it otherwise.’
‘If that is your wish, my Lady,’ Rowan said brightly. He had just thought of a way to avoid marrying her.
‘It is. I’ll be waiting for the winner in the gardens. Best of luck to you, my dear.’
‘Thank you, my Lady,’ Rowan said, before walking off.
Once he was out of sight, he hurried back to the Guild and spoke to the Guildmaster.
‘Did you propose?’ the Guildmaster asked the moment he saw Rowan.
‘Ah, yeah,’ Rowan replied distractedly. ‘Have you seen Whisper?’
‘Yes, she’s out in the training grounds training. She’s determined to beat you.’
Rowan immediately headed to the training grounds and looked around. He found her attacking a dummy with all her might.
‘Looking good,’ he said.
She stopped and looked at him.
‘One day I’ll be able to beat you, farm boy,’ she replied with a grin as she walked over to him. ‘What are you doing here? I thought you were proposing to Lady Grey, today.’
‘How’d you know about that?’
‘Rowan, you are the most famous Hero here. Nothing is a secret when you’re involved.’
‘One of the apprentices told you, right?’
‘Good guess. So what wrong?’
‘I found a way to avoid marrying her; I just need your help.’
‘Well, she has ordered that Thunder and I battle each other, and the winner will get her hand in marriage,’ Rowan explained. ‘I want Thunder to win, but I don’t trust him not to kill me. So, I kind of need you to restrain him. That way, we’re all happy. I won’t have to marry an older woman like her, and Thunder can marry the woman of his dreams.’
‘Do you really hate her that much?’
‘I don’t hate her, I just don’t like her. Not to mention I don’t want to know what your brother will do to me if I marry her.’
Whisper laughed. She couldn’t believe Rowan was still scared of her brother.
‘Very well,’ she said. ‘He is at the prison in Bowerstone North. Let’s go see him.’
Whisper sheltered her sword and the two of them made their way to the prison.
‘Avo must have heard my prayers and intervened to prevent me from marrying Lady Grey,’ Rowan said happily to Whisper when they were outside the prison.
‘Avo is a kind god. He would never allow someone as pure as you, Hero, to marry that witch!’
Rowan and Whisper stopped and looked at a glum prisoner.
‘What do you mean?’ Rowan asked, approaching the bars.
‘The Mayor’s having me executed,’ said the prisoner, ‘all because I asked too many questions.’
‘So she’s executing you because you merely were asking questions?’ Rowan asked to clarify.
‘She is a demon, and no one will believe me because I was wrong about the guards controlling our dreams by spiking out water supplies.’
‘Yes, I can see how that wouldn’t help your case,’ Rowan said, while Whisper turned away to hide her laughter.
‘Her sister was an angel,’ he continued. ‘She would have made a wonderful Mayor, and I know Lady Grey killed her!’
‘Do you have any proof for that accusation?’ Rowan asked sharply.
‘No, but I know that she did! You have to help me prove it, Hero! If you don’t, Bowerstone will remain in her clutches, I’ll be executed, and you will be married to a demon, who will probably kill you once she grows tired of you!’
Rowan looked at Whisper.
‘What do you think?’ he whispered to her.
‘I think you should go with your original plan,’ she said firmly.
‘But what if he’s right? What if she is responsible for Amanda Grey’s death?’
‘Rowan, if you help him and he turns out to be wrong or lying, you could end up on the executioners block with him!’
‘I’m going to help him,’ Rowan said eventually.
‘I guess I’m in too,’ Whisper sighed. ‘Someone’s got to keep you out of trouble.’
‘Thanks, Whisper.’ Rowan turned back to the prisoner. ‘We believe you. So how do you suppose we prove this theory?’
‘All you need to do is get her dead sister to tell you what really happened,’ said the prisoner. ‘Amanda had a sweetheart called Rhodri. Nice guy. He usually hangs out in Barrow Fields. If anyone knows how to entice her out of oblivion, it’s him.’
‘We’ll head there now,’ Whisper murmured before the two Heroes quickly hurried away as a guard approached them and the prisoner.
‘I think that guard was getting suspicious,’ Rowan muttered to her.
‘I wonder why?’ she replied sarcastically. ‘Wouldn’t you be suspicious if you saw someone whispering with a prisoner?’
‘Well, according to Briar, I’m oblivious to a lot of things so no, I probably wouldn’t find it suspicious,’ Rowan replied truthfully.
‘Figures. You really are a farm boy.’
‘Come on, let’s go to Barrow Fields.’
The two Heroes teleported there, and after a bit of asking around, they found Rhodri standing by a Demon Door.
‘Hi, Rhodri,’ Rowan said as he approached the man.
‘Hi! Aren’t you the Hero of Oakvale?’ Rhodri asked, while wondering how such a celebrated Hero knew his name. ‘And aren’t you Whisper, the Hero of Oakvale’s lover?’
‘Whoever told you that she was my lover?’ Rowan asked, going red in the face, while Whisper looked horrified.
‘It’s not true? Oh, well that’s what everyone was saying after the two of you refused to fight each other in the Arena. Everyone believed that you two were lovers, and when none of the Heroes denied it…’
‘I’m concerned about the way news travels around Albion,’ Rowan muttered. ‘Anyway, the reason we are here was because we were told that you knew Amanda Grey. Is that true?’
‘Yes, it is,’ Rhodri replied sadly. ‘I think about her all the time. She was so beautiful, so pure. She was afraid that her sister would find out about us and use it against her, stopping her from becoming Mayor. I’m no noble after all.’
‘So how did you see each other?’ Whisper asked curiously.
‘We’d meet in secret in the Grey House cellar. I would sneak out to the stables and flash my lamp three times to let her know I was there.’
‘Do you know what happened to her?’ Rowan asked gently. He could see this subject was causing the man great pain.
‘Yes, I do. One night she didn’t come out, and I found the cellar door locked. Her sister, Elvira, or Lady Grey as she’s now known, told me she had died of some terrible illness. I never even got to say goodbye.’ Rhodri collapsed to his knees and cried. It was obvious that he loved Amanda deeply.
‘Thank you for your help, Rhodri,’ Rowan said softly, before leaving with Whisper.
‘If Amanda died of an illness, then why did Lady Grey tell me her sister went missing?’ Rowan said thoughtfully to Whisper. ‘And why does everyone else think she went missing?’
‘I don’t know, but I have to agree that there is something suspicious about her disappearance and that it is somehow linked to the Mayor,’ replied Whisper. ‘Should we go to the Grey House and investigate?’
‘I think we should,’ said Rowan. ‘I think I know how to talk to Amanda now.’
‘Do you have a lantern?’
‘Why would I have a lantern?’
‘Well could you go and get mine out of my room? You know where I keep it. Then meet me in the stables at nightfall.’
‘You’re going to call to her the same way Rhodri used to, aren’t you?’ Whisper looked impressed.
‘I’m going to try to, and it’s the only lead we have.’
‘Clever, farm boy.’
-----HIS TRUE DESTINY-----
That night, Whisper made her way back to Rowan, who was hiding in the shadows.
‘Rowan?’ she whispered. She was unable to see him and she didn’t want to light the lantern encase someone saw it. It took all her energy not to scream when Rowan reached out from the shadows and grabbed her hand. ‘You scared me, farm boy.’
‘Sorry,’ he whispered. ‘Are you ready?’
‘Ready as I’ll ever be.’
‘Sure you’ve recovered from your fright?’
‘Just try and call her, Rowan!’
Sniggering at his friend’s impatience, Rowan flashed his lantern three times. At first, nothing happened, but then the Heroes saw the ghost of a young woman walk out of the house, in the moonlight, before entering the cellar.
‘That is the weirdest thing I have ever seen,’ muttered the stunned Whisper, as she followed Rowan out of the stables and towards the cellar next to the house. ‘Up until now, I never believed in ghosts.’
‘I found out they were real just before I spoke to the Oracle in Snowspire Village,’ Rowan admitted. ‘I was in a ghost town. There were ghosts everywhere.’
‘I don’t think that’s what a ghost town means,’ said Whisper.
‘It does now,’ Rowan said as he bashed open the cellar door, allowing them entry.
They silently entered and looked around the cellar. The ghost had her back to them and was looking down at a skeleton leaning against some barrels with a letter under its hand. Sensing their presence, the ghost turned around excitedly.
‘Rhodri, is that you?’ she excitement vanished when she saw Rowan and Whisper. ‘Oh, you’re not Rhodri.’
‘No, we’re not,’ Rowan agreed quietly. ‘I know why you must have thought that we were. We’re sorry for tricking you.’
‘That’s alright,’ Amanda sighed. ‘I prayed that he would rescue me, but he never came. I don’t know why I got my hopes up that you were him.’
‘Is that you?’ Rowan nodded to the skeleton on the floor.
‘Yes, that’s me. When the air ran out down here, I closed my eyes and imagined I was dying in Rhodri’s arms.’
‘So you didn’t die of an illness? You were suffocated?’
‘Yes. Whoever told you that I dead of an illness?’ Amanda asked curiously.
‘Your sister told Rhodri that when he came to see you and you never showed,’ Whisper answered. ‘She said that you had died of a terrible illness. He was heartbroken when she told him that. He still is.’
‘Why doesn’t that surprise me?’ Amanda said bitterly. ‘People must know the truth about Elvira! Take this letter,’ she added, pointing to the letter underneath her skeleton hand. ‘Show the world what really happened.’
Amanda then disappeared.
‘I can’t believe she killed her own sister,’ Rowan said, sounding disgusted as he picked up the letter. ‘And to think that I was about to marry her, and you could have had her as a sister-in-law if Thunder had married her.’
‘You were right to believe that prisoner,’ Whisper said quietly, staring down at the skeleton. ‘Let’s get back to Bowerstone and show everyone the true.’
The Heroes turned to leave only to find Elvira Grey herself, blocking their way out.
‘So, now you know the truth,’ she said coldly.
‘How could you?’ Rowan growled. ‘How could you kill your own sister?’
‘Amanda was a weak, romantic fool,’ Lady Grey replied uncaringly. ‘She didn’t have what it takes to run Bowerstone. She would have turned the whole place into an egalitarian slum.’
‘So you killed her?’
‘My dear, if you were given the choice to choose power over your sister, you would choose power.’
‘You’re wrong!’ Rowan snapped. ‘When I first defeated Jack of Blades, Theresa gave me the option to kill her and become the most powerful man in Albion. I choose to keep her alive, because unlike you I have a heart!’
‘We’re going to expose you for what you really are!’ Whisper declared.
‘But you wouldn’t do that to me, would you, Rowan?’ Lady Grey purred, moving seducingly towards him. ‘Wouldn’t you like to be Mayor? Think of the power… it can all be yours! You just need to hand over the letter.’
‘No,’ Rowan stepped away from her defiantly.
‘What?’ she growled. ‘No one refuses Lady Grey. No one!’
‘Looks like we just did,’ Rowan said coldly.
‘I was wrong. You’re just like the rest of those imbeciles, infecting my city with their petty lives,’ she snarled. ‘Tell everyone, if you want. See if I care. Have your moment of glory, Rowan and friend. But know this; I will return one day, and I will wash away all the filth with your blood. Remember that, Rowan.’
She then stormed off.
‘That was dramatic,’ Rowan said mildly.
‘Don’t you think you should take her threat seriously, Rowan?’ Whisper asked as they exited the cellar.
‘Nah, she was just being a drama queen. Besides, she scarier when she’s trying to hit on me.’
Whisper shook her head at her friend’s thinking. She serious wondered what went through his mind at times.
When they arrived in Bowerstone North, they went over to the prison and spoke to the sheriff, who was standing outside the prisoner’s cell.
‘Hello, Heroes,’ the sheriff greeted. ‘What can I do for you?’
‘We’ve come to have you arrest Elvira Grey for the murder of Amanda Grey,’ Rowan said seriously. ‘Here is a letter written by Amanda before she died, explaining exactly what happened.’
The sheriff took the letter of Rowan and quickly read over it. As he did this, Rowan turned to the prisoner and winked at him, before looking back at the sheriff.
‘Unbelievable,’ he muttered. ‘So Gethyn was right all along. I suppose we’d better release him.’
‘That would be for the best,’ Rowan agreed. ‘If it wasn’t for him, Thunder or I would have ended up married to her and Bowerstone would have never known the truth. We owe him much.’
‘You’re making me blush, Hero,’ Gethyn informed Rowan, hiding his face in his hands.
‘It is the truth,’ said Rowan.
‘Yes, well, as long as he doesn’t start that nonsense about me spiking the water supply again, though,’ the sheriff warned. ‘We’ll have to find a new Mayor too,’ he added, looking slightly annoyed.
‘Well good luck with that,’ Rowan said, turning to leave.
‘Hey, Hero, I don’t suppose you’d be interested in the job?’ the sheriff asked suddenly, stopping Rowan in his tracks. ‘You have proved your worth after all.’
‘You want me as your Mayor?’ Rowan was shocked beyond words.
‘He’d love to be your Mayor!’ Whisper said at once. Rowan turned and stared down at her.
‘Excellent! I will make the necessary requirements at once.’ The sheriff then worked on releasing Gethyn while Rowan chased after Whisper back to the Guild.
‘Why did you tell him that?’ Rowan exclaimed once they were in the map room.
‘Because it’s like the Guildmaster said, you need to start thinking about your future,’ Whisper said knowingly.
‘The apprentices told you that too, didn’t they?’ Rowan groaned.
‘You should know better than to talk with the Guildmaster about private matters on the training grounds.’
‘What’s going on?’ the Guildmaster asked, entering the room. ‘Rowan, when will you marry Lady Grey?’
‘Never,’ Rowan laughed. ‘Whisper and I have just uncovered that she murdered her sister to become Mayor. A warrant for her arrest is now being written up.’
‘Not to mention the preparations are being made for Rowan as the new Mayor of Bowerstone,’ Whisper informed the Guildmaster innocently. Rowan glared at her.
‘That’s wonderful! Congratulations, Rowan.’
‘Does anyone care that I don’t want to be Mayor?’ Rowan asked.
‘Just do it for the ten year period you are required to do, and then decide,’ the Guildmaster suggest. ‘You may find that you are good at it.’
Groaning, Rowan began looking for a new Quest Card.
Written: 20 February 2013