Kinyarwanda: Inzu ya Minuet ya karindwi
We left the music room soon after that. Brom, Nikolai, and Tobias played the third minuet, then suggested that we take a break from the ballad, as dinner wasn’t long off. Stefan went to the other side of the manor house with Brom, Nikolai, and Evander, while Aubré and Tobias took Larsa and Killian outside. I returned to my room to talk with Jean-Marc and Sir Maël.
“Look,” I told them as I relaxed into one of the armchairs, “let me just get right to the point. Everyone is clearly worried about Brielle, but nobody’s asking the obvious question: what’s stopping us from going to the vampire castle and checking on her?”
“I had a feeling you would ask something like that, Lady Moss,” Jean-Marc said. “You are a precocious one.”
“Sure, but the facts are still the facts. You’ve talked a lot about how your world isn’t going to survive without what amounts to huge doses of music, yet one of your musicians– one of the people who has this exclusive ability to keep your world stitched together– is in peril– or at the very least, nobody here is sure that she’s going to be able to play with the rest of you again.”
“It is my understanding, Lady Moss,” Jean-Marc replied in a more even tone, “that you have read a good many vampire stories, and have even written one or two of them.”
“Yeah,” I said, “I know the lore of vampires. I’m sure there are a few different details here and there; I’ve read enough stories to know. So tell me, what happens if we go there and ask how Brielle is doing? What are they going to do to us?”
“That is one of the major unknowns,” Sir Maël admitted.
“Okay, but they’re not going to drain me, right? And you’ve already given more than enough of yourself. Plus, just like they’re not going to let Brielle die, they’re not going to let any of the others die, either. And if Brielle wasn’t supposed to have been turned in the first place, I doubt that any of us will be turned, either.”
“That is a great many assumptions, milady,” Sir Maël said. “The biggest problem with Brielle being turned was who did it, not that it happened at all.”
“I should tell you also,” Jean-Marc said, “that there have been satyrs who have been known to make friends with the vampires.”
“Okay, what does that mean to you? Was the satyr who tried grabbing me that night at the club trying to kidnap me and take me to the vampire castle?”
“I’m afraid we don’t know,” Jean-Marc said. “None of the other Terrans were threatened by the vampires. As you know, Brielle was missing before you even came to us, and the vampires surely knew a thing or two that we didn’t.”
I sighed heavily and sat back. I’d suggested being taken to the vampire more in jest than anything else; to find that it was an actual possibility troubled me. “There are way too many unknowns… and we can’t act on any of them.”
Jean-Marc exchanged looks with Sir Maël, and then with me. Maël looked to me as well.
“Lady Moss…” he began. I met his eyes, and he went on. “We are all prepared to take direction from you. Not simply because the ballad said that you would be different from the others, but because you have a strong will and a keen mind.”
“Not just for logic,” Jean-Marc added. “You believe in magic and mystery a lot more than you’ll admit to most people.”
“And your friends,” Maël said, “never lost that sense of wonder.”
“Just seeing Sleipnir opened Stefan’s eyes. That man really will do anything for you.” Jean-Marc glanced in Maël’s direction. “We can’t claim to serve you as unconditionally as he does, but we do trust you.”
“We believe in you,” Maël corrected him.
“The same way Larsa and Killian never stopped believing in elves and faeries?” I asked.
Jean-marc smirked. “Something like that. But what I really want to say is this: we’re not going to ask you to ride straight into danger.”
“Especially dangers we don’t know the full extent of,” Maël added.
“Ummm… okay.” I stared at them both, trying to process what they were getting at.
“But whatever you decide,” he went on, “we’ll be with you the entire way.”
“So… you want me to be the one to say we need to race to the vampire castle? And what, ask how Brielle’s doing? Bring her back with us?”
“Not exactly,” Jean-Marc replied. “If that’s what you want, we’ll do it.”
“Even though Stefan will hate that idea,” Maëel noted.
“I have to admit, he would hate that idea,” I agreed.
“At the same time, If you feel that Brielle would be stable, knowing the Vampires wouldn’t let her die, you could choose to focus your quest on finding the musician you’ll be teaching.”
“Or perhaps your chateau.”
“But do we have time for that?” I asked.
“There is time, enough, yes,” Jean-Marc told me. “Lord Morrigan took months to track me down, and several more to locate this manor. He then spent years teaching me the viola and writing the seventh minuet.”
Jean-Marc nodded. “Do not worry, though; he was always going back and forth between Earth and Tierney Ríocht.”
“But I thought…”
“There is plenty of time for what must be done,” Jean-Marc explained, “if you are willing to do it. You won’t be alone, either.”
“But if you won’t even try, that is where we must start over, and the threat to our world grows worse,” Maël said.
“Okay…” I sighed. “I think what I could really use right now is time to think about all of this. And maybe I’ll share my thoughts with Stefan. Or Killian and Larsa, if they’re really in this with me.”
“Of course,” Jeann-Marc said. “When it comes to you being willing to help us, we are at your service.”
“Yeah,” I said. “I’m sure you would be.”
“Perhaps a bath would relieve some of your tension, milady?” he suggested.
I nodded. I’m sure I looked grumpy and overwhelmed, but it’s not like I didn’t have reason to be.
“I’ll send Ilphara in to assist you Jean-Marc said as he got up from his seat, “if that’s all right with you?”
“Sure,” I replied.
He helped Sir Maël up, but didn’t take his eyes off of me. “Milady…”
“Let her be,” Maël told him in a half-whisper. “A responsibility like this needs time.”
Jean-Marc nodded, and then they left the room together.