Trying To Connect the Dots

Last Friday night. Yeah I think we broke the law. Always say we’re gonna stop this Friday night do it all again.

Clatan 18th, 1513 – Outskirts of River Sulis, Lothianshire, Albion

Of all of the things that Darin had expected to be doing on St. Skip’s day, introducing the son and heir of the local baron to a crime lord was not one of them. However, as Darin watched Reggie and Joshua shake hands, that seemed to be exactly what he was doing. Of course if you’d asked him six weeks ago what he planned on doing on St. Skip’s day, he would have had to pause for a second to remember what day it even was, and told you that he expected to spend it either at home studying or at one of his friends’ with maybe a jaunt over to the Boar.


What he wouldn’t have told you was that he was going to be going out for a night on town with several of the wealthiest, most influential boys under the age of eighteen in the entire town.

When he’d seen Joshua off that morning just a month ago, confused, bewildered, and–just generally wondering if maybe someone had gone a few rounds on him, he had expected to see Joshua in class on Monday morning. Then he hadn’t, he didn’t see him again until the following Saturday. And it involved another rescue, though from nothing more serious than Darin’s friends and the catcalls that they gave the “pretty boy” who had rode down their street on a white horse. And that rescue was admittedly safe enough for Darin, all he had to do was point out that the young man on the white horse was the son and heir of the local baron and even Neal’s trap had slammed shut.

After he’d gotten Joshua away from Neal and them, Joshua had offered Darin the most peculiar not-an-explanation explanation that Darin had ever gotten for what had happened the previous weekend. From that had come an inquiry about tutoring and if Darin would be willing to take on another student for tutoring.

And as if some sort of magical portal had opened up with that conversation, Darin had gone from being an outsider on the outside looking in to being an outsider on the inside looking forlornly out. Instead of going from his tutoring sessions home to the empty cottage where he would spend his evening studying, he was now fielding invitations to go out drinking in some of the best taverns in the city, to go riding or hawking or hunting or attend entertainment.

Except, of course, that Darin didn’t have a horse or a hawk, he didn’t know how to hunt, he could barely afford a cup of the cheapest beer in those taverns and the masques and entertainment was all high brow, classical stuff. And whenever Darin offered one of those protests, Joshua just shrugged it off. Darin could ride his other horse. That one didn’t actually need a hawk to go out hawking. That they weren’t really “hunting” anything, it was the wrong season for it, mostly it was just an excuse to get out of the city and out from under the eyes of their parents. Joshua always picked up Darin’s drink at the tavern.

As for the masques–well, all Joshua would say on that subject was that it was culture and good for him. (That one rather sounded like Raven trying to coax peas into Johnny, in all honesty.)

Darin sort of wondered why Joshua was bothering, he could spend the next two years being Joshua’s shadow and what would it prove? But you couldn’t say that to Joshua, he was incredibly good at somehow not hearing any protest that Darin could offer.


“So that’s Reginald Rose?” Joshua asked after they had shaken hands and politely mouthed formulas of things they didn’t really mean at each other. “I thought he’d be–um.”

“Oh, he can be. That’s Reggie on his day off.” Darin smiled.

“And he makes my father cry himself to sleep.” Joshua said wonderingly but with a laugh. Darin shot him a look. “Joke. It’s a joke.” A strange one. But then again, Darin had never met the baron and if he had his way, he wouldn’t, ever. Maybe it was one of those jokes that made more sense if you knew the person involved.


“Are you ready to go?” Joshua asked. Darin shrugged but followed as Joshua lead the way back up the street.

“I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but this is the sixth tavern we’ve been kicked out of tonight.” Darin pointed out to Josh after the disgruntled tavern keeper took his broom and turned to head back inside.


“And the night is still young.” Someone from the front of the group declared drunkenly.

“What’s wrong, Princess,” Constantin slurred. “You turn into a turnip or somethin’ at midnight?”

“You moron, it was a cabbage.” Edouard protested.

“I’m pretty sure it was a pum’kin.” Charlie countered.

“If you think it was a pum’kin, you need another drink.” Edouard told him.

“Now all we need is a tavern that lessus in.” Constantin thrust his fist into the air and pointed vaguely forward. “For-red marsh!”

“So when’s this end?” Darin asked, glancing up at the narrow sliver of moon in the sky.

“It’s a pub crawl. It ends when we pass out, run out of taverns, or the guard gets called.” Joshua told him cheerfully. What in Wright’s name have I gotten myself into.


“And it looks like it’s the third option.” A completely sober voice that caused Darin’s stomach to sink somewhere down in the vicinity of his shoes. He didn’t even have to turn to see the black and red guard uniform to know who it was walking out of the shadows behind the tavern.

Of all the bad stinkin’ luck…

“Let’s go, you two. Looks like your friends will have to catch up.” Colby told them gesturing toward the front gate of the square.

Joshua slumped in the wooden chair in a nicely appointed office in the guard’s station. A frozen expression of vague pleasantness was plastered on his face. He hadn’t said anything since the guardsman had opened the door to the building, any genuine good humor long since vanished.

“What’s the matter?” Darin asked.


“We know most of the guards, there are ones that you can negotiate with–there are ones you can’t. He’s firmly in the ones you can’t.” Joshua told him. “We’ll have to stay here until our parents come get us.”

“That may be a while.” Darin muttered. Joshua looked up at him. “My parents are dead. I hope Sara-Beth’ll work as substitute.”

“I wish my sister would work.” Joshua crossed his arms over his chest. “Unfortunately I don’t think they let eleven year olds come bail you out of gaol.” Darin looked at him for a moment before Joshua sighed and slumped further. “You–don’t know my father.”

Darin flashed back to what Josh had said in the alley behind the Boar. “They’ll tell my father.” memory whispered.

“Well, isn’t there anyone else you can ask? A servant, your father’s steward?” Darin asked.


“Cox would be worse.” Joshua whispered, before Darin could ask why, the door to the office opened and a man not dressed in a uniform came through and made his way around the desk. Passing close enough to Darin for him to easily smell the miasma of wine lingering around him.

“M’lord,” He bowed his head to Joshua. The captain ignored Darin entirely. “I understand the urge to get rowdy sometimes but must you boys leave a swath of destruction behind you every time you do?”


Joshua said nothing.  “What would your lord grandfather think?”

“The same Lord-grandfather who helped burn down a tavern at Camford?” Joshua sneered coldly. The guard captain blinked slowly, apparently being saved from wringing another soggy thought from his obviously underused brain, by a tap on the door.

“Captain, sir, the boys’ sisters are here.” Colby told him.


“I asked for parents, Guardsman Rose!” He thundered, the wine smell around him seeming to billow out with the word.

“Mr. Capshaw is an orphan, sir, if you insist upon making him wait until his parents arrive, you may never use your office again. As for Lord Joshua, well, perhaps you should talk to her yourself.” The captain grumbled and got to his feet.

“Not you!” He exclaimed from the doorway.


“Why not me?” A strange female voice inquired cheerfully. “Whoa, boy, what’d you do, drink a wineshop outta business, Miguel?”

“You are not Lord Joshua’s parents.”

“Obviously.” Though Darin couldn’t see the speaker’s face, a smirk was obvious in her voice.

“Cousin Miguel, mother and father are at the Finessas for their Saint Skip’s day dinner, I thought it would be just as easy, when the boy arrived, just bring Madame Cox and come myself.” A younger female voice interjected. “And I know that father has on record his permission for my brother and I to be released into the custody of any of our upper servants.” That must be Elizabet, Joshua’s sister, Darin decided.

“But she isn’t a servant.” The captain said triumphantly.


“Please don’t lean toward me when you yell, Miguel, I’m getting tipsy off the fumes.” The woman, Madame Cox? said.

“This evening, Madame Cox is serving as my companion, that makes her technically a servant.” Elizabet told him sunnily.

“She’s got you, old boy. You couldn’t think your way outta this one sober, and it’s painfully obvious you’re not that. Just release the kid, then you can go back to drinking yourself flat.” Madame Cox told him.


“Fine! Rose! Get the Wright-be-damned papers and get these–women–out of my guard station.”

“See you on Sunday for brunch, Miguel.” Madame Cox called after him as he stormed off.

5 thoughts on “Trying To Connect the Dots

  1. Sorry about the lack of cohesion, for some reason this post did not want to flow. It just sort of chopped. Also, just so you guys know, Colby, the guardsman who brings in Josh and Darin is Reggie’s younger brother, that’s why they know each other, I just couldn’t seem to shoehorn that into the post.

  2. So … wait, what did Joshua and Darin do to be picked up by the guards? Sure, they were on a pub crawl, but it seemed like all the other boys in the group were a lot drunker and a lot more rowdy. Darin and Joshua seemed pretty sober, all things considered.

    Or was Colby just shooing them off to the guard’s station to make sure they didn’t get into real trouble?

    However, we all met Miguel this fine evening! Um … yay? I had to chuckle at how he was outwitted by an eleven-year-old. And Annette, of course, was FANTASTIC as always. It takes balls of steel to stand up to the captain of the guard on his own turf. Though I guess if Miguel arrested her, he’d have to answer to Cox for the embarrassment to the family, and I sure as hell wouldn’t want to have to answer to Cox for anything …

    (Also, Annette has to do Sunday brunch with Miguel? YUCK! How have they not killed each other?)

    All in all, it seems like Darin’s social life has done quite the 180. If he’s always as calm and collected with the other noble boys as he was tonight, he’ll be fine. He’s smarter than most the rest of them put together, and it shows. Hopefully he can make some good connections from his time with Joshua and get a good job when he graduates.

    (Although … I do have to wonder … Joshua goes from avoiding Darin at all costs to wanting him with him at all times … what is going on in that pretty blonde head, I wonder?)

    Oh, and one last bit of advice for Joshua: If there’s ever a revival of The Princess Bride, take Darin to that. He should stop complaining in a hurry. ;)

    1. Well, as for why Colby picked them up, I think that there was a little bit of Josh and Darin were attached to a group of boys who probably broke some stuff on their pub crawl. Plus, I think there are probably some curfew laws. River Sulis has seen it’s share of conflicts and keeping young, rowdy men off the streets will hopefully lead to less pointless deaths and such. (Like Cookie’s.) Plus there could be some other things having to do with what might have happened mixed in there.

      Miguel was pretty drunk and Elizabet is pretty smart… As Van pointed out, it’s not too hard to outwit a Bors.

      Part of the reason that Miguel didn’t have Annette arrested is simple, he doesn’t want to have to put up with her until the Magistrate shows up. (And considering the Magistrate thinks Bors is every bit the idiot that Annette does… ah the wonders of nepotism… he’d need a better reason than Annette basically implied that Miguel was a moron.) And he would have to answer to his cousin if he put his wife into a common jail cell and left her there, especially considering that Josh and Elizabet would probably still be sitting there…

      Brunch is not a weekly thing, don’t worry. Tawny and Cox don’t want blood on their toast. The brothers Cox arrive on Sunday and they’re having brunch together because of that. (Mostly just me having a lead in to the VISIT.)

      Yes, Darin’s life has done a bit of a turnaround, even if Darin still sorta wishes it hadn’t. There are several reasons that Josh has decided to go from “I don’t want to see you to the point of getting my head busted” to “I want you around constantly.”

      Josh sees how hard it is for Darin and Sara-Beth. I mean objectively he always knew that life wasn’t so great for the lower classes, but this is someone he knows. Someone who sits in class next to him. And Josh’s mind runs along the same lines as Sara-Beth’s. Use this time to build connections, the more exposure that Darin has to the upper class, the more likely it is that he will find that good job post graduation.

      Josh can’t really give him money or anything, Darin and Sara-Beth hate charity like a house cat hates taking a pill, and I think Josh would understand that. But the other thing he’s doing in taking Darin out all the time is feeding him, and making sure he’s got the appropriate gear for events and things, all under the guise of “you’re my friend now and you’re stuck going to the same things that I am” which is a good way of coating the metaphorical pill.

      Plus there’s the fact that the more he gets to know Darin, the more he just likes him.

      Lol, if there’s ever a revival of The Princess Bride I’m sure that Josh will take him and that Darin would love it, thanks, Morgaine!

  3. Yeesh, poor Annette, having to put up with this idiot on top of Cox. She can more than handle him, but still.

    So Colby is Reggie’s brother? Hmm. So did he bring them in, like Morgaine suggested, to keep them out of trouble? Or is he on the outs with Reggie, and either didn’t know either boy or actually wanted them to get in trouble? Either way will make for a very interesting arc.

    I’m guessing Darin will feel guilty for putting Sara-Beth through the stress and worry and disappointment, especially if the bail payment is steep. But I think Sara-Beth knows as well as anyone else (if not better, working at the hospital, dealing with a ton of accidents) than people make mistakes and shit happens.

    And man, was I relieved to see Elizabet and Annette instead of Jayson or Cox or even Marisol (at this point, I’m thinking Marisol is a good person over all, but I’m willing to bet that she’s strict). I love that an eleven-year-old knows what’s what better than Miguel does, even if Elizabet is a hell of a lot smarter than the average eleven-year-old (and any incarnation of Bors would be a hell of a lot dumber than the average however-old-he-is). Annette was also spectacular here. She just does not take crap from anyone and it’s brilliant.

    1. Colby and Reggie are not on the same side of the law, but they’re as close as two brothers with very dissimilar natures can be. Family means a lot to both of them. Reggie can use his connections to keep Colby relatively safe and while Colby has enough ethics that he won’t just let Reggie or Reggie’s guys off, he does what he can when he can too. So it was a little bit more to keep them out of more serious trouble and we’ll find out a little more about that when we see a little more of Reggie (who was supposed to feature much more prominently in this update and then I couldn’t get it to work.)

      Darin probably would have felt terribly guilty (though just breaking curfew is hardly a lot of bail and there’s no way to prove that the boys broke anything themselves.) But every copper counts with these two and he’d still have felt horrible, except that Elizabet insisted that Josh cover Darin’s bail on the grounds that Darin wouldn’t have been out if not for Josh. (And while Sara-Beth would have objected, heavily, if say Reggie had made the offer, she doesn’t feel like she can just up and tell the baron’s daughter that they don’t need charity. Besides, Elizabet can be enough of Marisol’s daughter to go right over the top of her. If she and Josh both tell Colby to hand over the papers, there’s not much Sara-Beth can do and Sara-Beth’s smart enough to know it.)

      Yes, Marisol is strict. Josh wouldn’t have ended up eating more of Cox’s knuckles if Marisol had come to bail Josh out, but it still would have been pretty bad for Josh.

      But yeah, I’m sure that Josh probably went light headed with relief that it was Elizabet and Annette there and not his parents or Cox. I’m glad you like the Annette/Miguel dynamic, sure he irritates the hell out of her, but what can he really do to her? It would be a terrible scandal if he hit her or arrested her or anything of that nature. (Plus the whole he’ll be answering to his very scary cousin if he tried to do anything to his cousin’s wife.)

      Plus Annette isn’t exactly helpless on her own. Cox is the big scary monster to a good chunk of the nobility and Annette is the wife he’s afraid of. There are reasons for that. (Not the least that Annette captained a women’s fencing team for many, many years. Plus she’s an excellent shot with a bow. He might end up at St. Betsy’s with an arrow “accidentally” in his butt if he tossed her in jail…)

      Thanks, Van!

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