Andrevo had invited me to his room for a sketch, so we walked down the hall together. "I hope to make this quick, Lady Juliette; this sketch won't be much of a piece."
"Brevity is much appreciated. Why do you want to do another sketch?" My own trump was included in the Royal Deck, after all.
"A point of comparison."
"Interesting. I'm afraid I don't know much about your art."
"Well for now, that will be quite sufficient; being a study requires none."
His arrogance was beginning to annoy me. Grandmother was surprised to include him. Why had she done so? I smiled weakly. "Guarded, are we?"
"You don't strike me as an artist, sorry. Here we are." He opened the door, and invited me in.
"Art has it's purpose." I followed him in. The room was well decorated, with a few pieces of art here and there.
Andrevo retrieved a large, flat pad, and indicating a chair, began sketching as I sat. "Please sit over there, this will take half an hour maybe, less if you don't squirm."
"Any particular pose?"
He chuckled. "Just be pretty."
"If you don't mind..." I reached up and removed the jewel, placing it inside my tunic.
Andrevo chatted with me as he sketched. "So.... I'm curious."
I maintained my perfect posture as we talked. "If you wish to indulge your curiosity, please feel free. You won't ask anything I haven't heard others thinking." If he wished to satisfy some morbid curiosity, then so be it.
After a bit of thinking, he proceeded. "Are you married?"
"I am not. What an interesting question."
He smiled. "I could feign about and ask questions I already knew to pretend I didn't, but things are not as they normally are."
"They are most certainly not."
"There are obvious questions that are begged by nature alone; such as why did you run away, where did you go, what happened there, why did you come back; but I feel the answers to these questions are not important anymore."
"I find the answers to those types of questions often help to interpret the answers to others, but please continue."
"What weapon do you prefer?"
"I would say...a saber. But it really depends on the situation in which it is to be employed. The right tool for the right job."
"I'll add one to the sketch, it fits you. You do indulge me and my searching questions, my Lady." At least he was polite.
"We are thrown together, it is the least I could do. And it gives me insight into you as well. Besides, it is not often I have a frank conversation without some overtone of pity or revulsion."
He pondered my answer for a while. "No purpose in that now. Do you think we should stay in the castle long?"
"We need to find a safe place. And I think at least one of us needs to stay to watch the fall out."
"My home away from here is safe as long as I am not directly sought, depending on how much is needed."
"I have been thinking, and I believe Arden would be best for now. It is, at least, partially under my control, and it has never been breached."
"Once there, what shall we do?"
"After going there, I think we should return, and continue about our business for now. After all, we are not contenders...and they do not know we have a choice to make."
"Then why leave at all?"
"To store it."
"Leave it unattended?"
"I do not posses the power or knowledge to hide its presence here. And soon they will start looking."
He pondered the sketch a moment. "Nearly done."
"If I might ask my own question...Do you believe her?"
"I find myself with one lingering question."
"If all was truly destroyed, if there was none but herself - then where did my mother come from?"
"Perhaps you are thinking too linearly in time."
"Not so much linearly in time, but...in life. Of those here, now, I have the only branch from her line.." I didn't understand what he was saying at all. "Is your sketch complete?"
"Yes. It is."
I outlined my plan for him. "In the morning, before breakfast, I always train, in Arden. When I return, I will no longer bear a physical burden. If you wish to know where it goes, then you must join me."
"Its best I do not know for now."
"Then, for now, I will keep it's location from both of you." I will need to find a way to reveal its location in the event of my death. I stood. " If you wish answers to those other questions..."
"A moment for something."
Andrevo frowned but said nothing.
"That doesn't make sense."
"Trump didn't work right."
"We were told that there was a problem with it."
"True, but I was hoping to gain more understanding of what she meant by that. I had guesses, but they didn't add up to what I felt." He is our only expert in this area. I hope he has the knowledge to assist.
"So you had noticed a problem already?"
"I was guessing maybe... they were compromised and watched." He has the thinking of a political mind. Not a surprise, but at least a nice confirmation.
"That was my thought. Is this not true?"
He winced thoughtfully. "More is implied now. I cannot speak much on what it means yet, I must consider it more."
"Then I will continue to be guarded in *all* conversations."
Andrevo nodded. "Smart."
"As I was saying, if you wish answers to those questions that beg answers, you are welcome to them. For now, I find I wish to mourn."
"Someone you might not expect may hear what you say, no matter what."
I made my way towards the door. "Very true." He put away the sketch, lost in thought. I paused as I reached the door. "I do not know how well you knew her, but if you did, you have my sympathies."
"She was... family. Thank you." I opened the door and let myself out, leaving him to his thoughts.