After Joaquim's gift wore off, and a page heard my yells, Keir patiently heard out my story.
"I don't know what to tell you, Jero. You've had a rough time of it, though."
I managed not to grumble too loudly, and asked, "Any chance there'll be a group going after them, Your Highness?"
He shook his head sadly. "We can't spare the men or the time, I'm afraid."
I tried not to glare as I mentally urged him to send out a search party. This brilliant strategy did not work, however, and it was not long before I found myself out in the hallway, glumly strolling down to my rooms with my hands in my pockets.
Now, I don't know how you feel about Mirelle, but it's probably not how I feel about her. I hate her for the pain she gave my lord Andrys and my lady Elaine, but I reckon I also respect and admire her. I think she tried pretty damn hard to keep Elaine safe and happy, in spite of the manipulations she put her daughter through. I mean, Mirelle didn't have to give me to Elaine, did she? She made that shadow, she must have meant for me to be there. So, seeing as how I feel about Elaine, I feel that Mirelle did try, at least a little. I'm not much to look at, but I'm loyal.
So, those were my thoughts, as I was going down through the many hallways it takes to make it to my rooms. And I'll be damned if I didn't find that sneaky old door again, the one with all the mirrors. I've already found this door in two different places in the castle. Each time with Elaine along, though. I've heard plenty about it. Servants have gotten lost in there, and you can sort of see why, since it never stays in the same place.
I was considering just ignoring it, since I hadn't seen anything in there of particular interest before; but I did happen to remember a snippet of conversation with a lusty wench who bakes bread down in the kitchens. And she said, it always appears for a reason. You may not know what reason, but it does. Once, in one of the mirrors, it showed to a chambermaid who was trothed to one of the squires that her boyfriend was killed. And sure enough, a day later, she got the word. So, I'm liable to think there's something to it. Hopefully, the other times, Elaine got something out of it.
I opened the door, thinking maybe I'd see what Elaine was up to, if the Hall was willing. And I went in. And you'll never guess what I saw, not in a million years.
Every single mirror, as far as I could see, was shattered. Some were in a hundred little pieces on the floor; those were the ones closest to the door. Further down, some were just split in nine or ten spots, but still on the wall. But every single mirror was broken. I followed, all the way to the Grove of the Unicorn, to make sure, and not one was spared.
I was perplexed. What on earth could have happened? And what did it mean?
I went back to see the Regent.
"Ah, yes, that," Keir said, when I told him. Like it was something he didn't want to think about.
"Ah, yes, that what, Your Highness?" I asked.
"It happened during one of the Ordeals of Knighthood. One of the candidates turned out to be a little more powerful than we thought."
A cold, cold hand gripped me; I knew there was a goose stepping over my grave at that moment. "It wasn't... Harlan, was it?"
Keir looked... strange. Surprised, and sad. "Yes, it was Harlan, Jero."
I had been afraid for Elaine before; now I was petrified. I stood, made my leg to His Highness, and wandered up to Elaine's rooms, to sit alone in the dark.