Edmund walked quickly through the winding halls of the mansion towards his room as the bell tolled nine. Once Tricknee had showed up, the evening had turned remarkably quiet. Edmund asked a few questions about Brackenburg, the estate and other simple things that anyone could have answered–and all the while, Tricknee stared at him angrily with his good eye. Edmund didn’t ask all of his questions of course. It must have been instinct, but he was beginning to think that revealing exactly how much he didn’t know wasn’t a smart idea.
Eventually everyone began to make poor excuses and left to return to their rooms, or walk about the grounds, until it was just Tricknee and Edmund who still sat at the table; and Edmund didn’t remain there long. The whole meal had unsettled him greatly. He wasn’t sure what he had been expecting, but he certainly hadn’t expected… whatever the meal had been.
Edmund was out of his depth; he didn’t even have the words to describe what was happening. Meals in the orphanage had been large and somewhat noisy affairs, with children of all ages talking or laughing, while Mrs. Mapleberry desperately tried to keep everyone proper. This had felt more like an interview with prospective parents than an actual meal.
Of course, none of his cousins seemed to want him anywhere near the family.
Edmund turned a corner, passing by a strange coat of arms that displayed two men pointing pistols at each other across a large field. Edmund paused a moment in thought. Perhaps he was supposed to challenge them all to duels? Edmund didn’t like the idea and hoped that there might be some way to split the estate and make everyone happy. His second thoughts told him to be honest with himself and admit that wasn’t likely to be possible.
His third thoughts were thoughts of despair. He couldn’t fight, couldn’t hide, couldn’t run; he felt trapped, like some animal being hunted through the brush. It sounded like the cousins would stop at nothing to achieve their ends–not even him. It didn’t seem quite fair, really; he had only become a Moulde a day ago.
Moulde. It was his name now.
It was hard for him to not feel a little resentful of the fact. Matron had adopted him, thrown him at her cousins, and expected him to survive. It didn’t seem right to him; this wasn’t the sort of thing that a parent should do to their child. He had taken Matron’s name, did that mean he had to like her? In the epic stories of the great knights who died for their King, there had never been any mention of how the knights had actually felt about their Lord. If he didn’t like Matron, did that make him a bad son? Or a bad Moulde?
He smiled to himself. From the shape of things, it sounded like not liking Matron made him a very good Moulde indeed.