Tiberium Letters

Part Fourteen

By Dwayne MacInnes

A quick glance at the papers revealed that they were what I was looking for. It is interesting to note that Brunis was not blackmailing the Lady Tiber for anything she had done wrong. In fact, it was the opposite.

The story about the Lady Tiber's father's assassination turns out not to be completely correct. The Empress hired an investigator so that she may try to remember her youth. The investigator succeeded far beyond anyone's imagination.

The papers I held in my hand are the correspondence from the investigator to the Empress. I have already related the well-known tale of the assassination of the Baron Rhem decades ago by his ambitious younger brother.

However, there are corrections and additions to the tale. The Baron had a loyal minister. The minister was the one who insisted that the young Lady Rhem remain in the temple under the care of the priests in the hope she may remember her past.

The minister would come in, relate the family history, and teach her on whom her relatives were. She started to learn about courtly manners and practices. Essentially the minister was teaching Lady Rhem how to run a barony.

Meanwhile, the story of the scullery maid is not complete either. It turns out the young girl survived her plunge into the lake. She stripped off her dress in order to help her swim to shore. On reaching the shore the young girl clothed only in a wet and dirty shirt climbed into a hay cart to warm-up.

Unknown to her, the cart belonged to a poor farmer who was traveling back to his village. It took two days before the farmer returned to his village with his hay. Imagine his surprise when he started to unload it and he found a half-clothed unconscious girl.

The farmer woke the girl up, who had been sleeping two days, but she could not remember her past either. Further, she did not even know how she climbed into the cart. The farmer had no idea where his stow-away came from it could have been a dozen hamlets or villages he passed.

The girl begged the farmer not to turn her out. The kindhearted man had neither wife nor heir but he took pity upon the lass and adopted her as his daughter. As she grew to maturity, the young woman wed one of the villagers that had land adjacent to her adopted father's farm. When her adopted father died, her husband inherited the small farm willed to him by her adopted father.

The two prospered on the combined farm and had five children. This is where the investigator found them.

Now that I have filled in the gaps, I will now correct the story. I am sure some of you have already guessed it. When the investigator presented his tale to the young farm wife her memories unlocked immediately. There was something wrong.

She -- not the woman running the barony -- was Lady Rhem. She remembered her fall over the balcony and the gown that she shed which was of the finest quality and a gift from her late father. Nonetheless, she was happily married to the farmer. Her children were happy and content she felt a sense of accomplishment and did not desire to rule a barony or an empire.

Surprised -- the investigator presented his evidence to Lady Tiber. Again when presented with the evidence, the Lady Tiber's memory miraculously reappeared. She corroborated the farm wife's story. Lady Tiber felt unworthy to be the Empress and wanted to confide the truth to her husband. However, the investigator pointed out that by doing so would move the farm wife from her content life to a place where she knew little and the reverse would happen to Lady Tiber.

The two women began a correspondence and the two agreed that Lady Tiber would remain as the baroness and Empress. It was because the loyal minister feared bloodshed by civil war that he put a pretender (albeit unknown to Lady Tiber) onto the throne. First, he destroyed the tattered remains of the dress found on the lakeshore. The girls looked remarkably alike and after a few years in the temple away from the public, no one would know that the Lady Rhem was actually a scullery maid.

Unfortunately, the mage Brunis somehow learned about their secret. He stole the letters he needed to blackmail the Empress. He threatened to reveal the truth and ruin both women's lives if the Lady Tiber did not pay his ransom demands.

After reading the papers, I shoved them into my haversack. I was about to check the other contents of the chest and table when I heard the chinking and clanking of a troop of goblins running up the stairs. I looked at my sword and realized in all the excitement I left my elven longbow on the stairs outside the room.

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This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on May 30, 2007 7:49 PM.

"Iapetus Saves Miami" - Chapter Seven was the previous entry in this blog.

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