Chapter 5

In Land, in the manor house of Baron Charles Lewis, old Ezra Teague, the Lewis family’s faithful, lifelong chamberlain, hastily gave orders to the house staff to secure the manor against an unnaturally violent windstorm that was assailing the house with bestial fury. As if the violent winds weren’t bad enough, eventide would soon fall. And the only thing worse than being trapped in a howling windstorm, was being trapped in a howling windstorm in the dead of the night.

The manor had many narrow, faceted glass windows that needed to be shut tight against the gale that seemed determined to break in. “David and young Michael, go down to the stables and make sure the horses are secure. Deborah, check the west wing; and Lisa, the east. Francis,” who was the respected head butler, “you’re a responsible one. Take charge until I return! When the house and kitchen staff have finished with their tasks, make sure everyone is accounted for, and then hie them to safety in the storm cellar. Meanwhile, I’m going to try to get Lord Lewis to leave his tower and return with me to the cellar.”

“Oh, Ezra, can you?” cried Anna, the head cook. Anna was Francis’s wife, and was tall and thin with snow-white hair and ruddy hands and cheeks. She had served the Lewis family most of her life, and she, like the rest of the staff, had effectively “adopted” the precocious but sad little boy who had grown up so alone in the manor house. “I’m worried about young master Lewis,” Anna said fretfully. “He’s locked himself in his tower for days, again. And he’s hardly touched the meals I’ve had left for him outside his workroom door.”

Ezra didn’t say so, but he was worried about Lord Lewis, too. He feared the young baron was forgetting to eat and sleep so he could spend more time studying his endless books of sorcery and alchemy, and then based on what he learned there, perform more of his arcane experiments. Nor would this be the first time young Charles nearly starved and overtaxed himself in pursuit of some enigma. He’d done it before, he had. 

But Ezra thought that in the face of such a violent storm, Lord Lewis would surely fear for his life and leave his tower for the safety of the storm cellar. At least in that regard, thought Ezra, the storm was a blessing.

The windstorm roared like a lion. As Teague turned to leave, he cast a parting admonition over his shoulder: “Hurry, everyone, hurry! Strange happenings are upon us tonight!”

Previous page | Next page