The Tale of Edgar and Essa Part Two
It is only to be expected that before a trial that could decide the fate of a kingdom, there is a lot of work to do.
But no-one expects it to be this unsavoury.
The lawyer arrives first, an old man with an almost unnatural head of perfect grey hair. “Hello. I’m Simon Fox-Heathley. Your lawyer. Prosecuting a… Mr Pendragon-Gremlaine.”
“You’re the lawyer?” Beatrix asks. She’d imagined someone younger, maybe forty, with a clipboard. A clipboard always made someone more official.
“I said that, didn’t I?” He walks off briskly, pulling Merlin and Dovey along, as the closest people to his own age.
“I don’t like him,” Echo decides.
“Neither do I.”
“He’s a smarmy old -”
“Let’s go.” Beatrix cuts Fifer off before she starts insulting Simon for real. “We’ve got some people to speak to.”
“We – oh, ******. We do.”
There’s a room in the castle for ‘asking questions’ to criminals. Mostly it’s just used for aforementioned criminals to insult their captors and the captors to gloat. That’s what interrogation rooms are for.
This particular one is grey, with a table in the middle, a chair on either side. There’s a mirror facing the accused.
“Why aren’t there two chairs?” Fifer asks. “I’ll have to stand.”
“Okay.” Beatrix sits in the chair, shifting every few seconds to get comfortable. “These seats are really hard.”
“They should have spinny chairs.”
“They should.” She spins around as someone else enters the room. “See? That would have been so much easier on a spinny – Rhian.”
“What’s a spinny – oh, I get it.”
Rhian takes the other seat. “What do you want?”
“Ideally, a confession. But since I doubt I’ll get that out of you, I just want to talk.”
He nods. It’s almost unfair how much prison life suits him. His hair has grown a bit, and it flops rakishly over one eye. His chin is covered in stubble and he’s obviously been eating well and exercising. Even Fifer has to look away. “Who else is watching?”
He sighs. “I know how a one-way mirror works.”
“No, that’s a normal mirror. There are cameras.”
A voice comes in and they all jump. “Actually, it is a one-way mirror. There are cameras too, though, if that makes you feel any better.”
“It actually does.”
Fifer cuts in before the conversation derails. “Rhian, who was the Snake?”
“No, no, who was the person that everyone thought was the Snake? Like the one that you killed?”
“I’m not going to tell you that.”
Beatrix slams her hands onto the table. “You’re such a -”
“What? What am I? A monster? A liar? Evil? I’ve heard it all before.”
She shakes her head. “You’re not going to get around me like that.”
“I’m not a bad person.” He says it like he’s trying to convince himself more than her.
“I know someone who would disagree with that.”
His head snaps up, and for the first time she sees something more that resignation in his gaze – anger. “You can tell your someone that she can talk to me herself.”
Beatrix leans forward. “You don’t get to speak to her. You don’t deserve to see her ever again. You deserve to rot in this prison for the rest of your miserable little life.”
“Look, if you want to know more, speak to Edgar. I can’t do anything.”
“Uh-huh.” Beatrix looks unconvinced, but gestures to the guard anyway. “Could you bring in Edgar, please?”
It’s Miles’ funeral today, and Jade doesn’t want to be there.
She hated the man. Couldn’t stand him. He was a terrible person in life and she hopes that he’s going to ****. But her mother wants to be there, so Jade has to stay.
The church is almost empty, just Jade, her mother, Amber and Sapphire, and a few people that she doesn’t know. Someone that has their face covered by a heavy black veil, a Storianist nun, two older people that she knows must be his parents, plus a few people that are probably his friends from wherever he was before he came to Camelot.
The service is long and boring, and Jade finds herself yawning. The priest leading the service glares at her, but speeds up, cutting out parts of the speech and talking faster. It’s over before she can get too bored.
She stares around, curious. How did the veiled woman know Miles? What was his relationship with his parents? What was his life like before he came to Camelot? What was his connection to the Storianists?
She follows the veiled person as they walk over to Miles’ friends. “Excuse me? Do you know anyone called Arsinoe?”
That voice… and the height is right…
Ruby’s head snaps back as Jade slaps her as hard as she can, the veil flying off to reveal a face that Jade knows better than her own… but different. One eye is clouded, and her face is thinner, the angles sharper. Different, but similar. She blinks a few times. “What?”
“You’re supposed to be dead.” Jade’s voice is low, angry, bitter.
“I should go,” Ruby says hesitantly.
“Please do.” Jade gestures to the door.
Which is blocked by her mother and two people, one that she doesn’t know and one that she knows too well. “Rhian…” she breathes. “That’s where you’ve been, isn’t it? You were in the castle living the high life after James died fighting people like him.” She’s too angry to think about the fact that Rhian is out of prison.
Her mother steps forwards. “Jade, I’d like you to meet Rowan. Rhian’s brother.” She takes another few shaky steps and engulfs Ruby in a hug. Ruby stiffens and pulls away, but not before her mother can feel how frail and thin she is. “What happened to you?”
“I should… I should go,” Ruby repeats. She turns and walks towards a carriage, leaving Rowan and another girl standing there with no clue what to do. “Hi,” the girl says. “I’m Essa.”
“Hi. I don’t care.” Jade kicks a stone and it flies into a tree. “I’m just waiting on an explanation.”
“Don’t judge her. Not until you know everything that’s happened,” Essa says calmly.
“Nothing’s going to justify leaving us to think that she was dead.”
“Wait and see.”
Edgar’s brought in next, and Beatrix has to fight to keep herself from punching him. “What do you want?” he asks.
She knows better than to start with ‘ideally, a confession’, so she tries something else. “I need you to tell me who the Snake was.”
She notices a fading bruise on his cheek. “What happened to you?”
“Fell down in my cell.” She knows he’s lying, but doesn’t push it.
“Why did you do it, Edgar? Why get yourself involved in something that was doomed to fail?”
“Because it wasn’t. It was only because of you and your crazy, stubborn friend that we didn’t succeed.”
Beatrix nods knowingly. “Uh-huh. Well, maybe you’ll be falling down in your cell again sometime soon.”
He nods back at her. “And maybe, while I’m busy falling down, I might let something slip about a little something I saw just after I was poisoned.”
She gasps. “You wouldn’t.”
“I don’t think our friend would be happy to know that you took advantage of -”
“Took advantage of what?” Her words come out too fast to be anything but scared. “Took advantage of you beating her into unconsciousness? Yes, I can see why she’d be angry at me for that.”
Edgar smiles, a slow smile that is far too knowing for Beatrix’s taste. “You kissed her and you’re too scared to tell her.” Beatrix looks around wildly, relaxing only when she sees that Fifer doesn’t look like she’s going to tell anyone.
“And you’re going to be the one to tell her? Like anyone’s going to believe you.”
He shrugs. “You really want to know who the Snake was?” She doesn’t say anything, scared that any one thing will stop him from telling her. “You’d better tell your girlfriend to watch the people close to her.”
“What do you mean?”
She shakes her head. “But… but…”
His mocking laugh echoes through the room. “Who else did you think it was?”
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