A midwinter carroll Money and other riches, third part (and final probably)

disclaimer : see the first part, top of the page

summary of previous events : The year is 897. In a severe winter Tiran Sellsby, a wealthy merchant aged 28, finds himself Chosen by a female Companion five days before the great Midwinterfest. He denies her Choice and convinces himself it's all one big mistake. His second man in business Alvin falls ill, leaving a lot of work up to Tiran. On top of this, Tiran has the unsettling feeling someone (or something) is following him around Haven.

On the evening before Midwinter Tiran meets Landris (the old woman mentioned in part one) and reluctantly offers her his hospitality, which she accepts, mostly for the Companion's sake.


This time when Tiran got home, followed by the Companion and Landris, who carried a small bundle with her possessions, he was sure there would be questions asked by his household-staff. To his surprise the housekeeper didn't even raise an eyebrow when he introduced Landris to her and asked her to prepare a room for her. She did not welcome his guest warmly, but then again, he hadn't appointed her for her warmth of character. He wasn't such a stickler for warmth and coziness himself either after all.

"I assume she will also have dinner with you, sir?" she asked.

"Uhm, yes, I think so." Was she a few degrees colder than usual when adressing him?

"And I assume you'll want her to have some more decent clothes."

Before Tiran could answer this question, Landris lashed out.

"My clothes are good as they are. I'm not going to wear others just because they aren't up to your posh standards."

Tiran felt a headache coming up as the two women regarded eachother. He remembered his mother having fights with his father's sister who came to stay with them every once in a while.

On their own, both women had been kind, sensible persons. But when put together in one room, they always seemed to transform into two vicious, irrational humans. He and his father made a habit of going out whenever his aunt came by. When they couldn't they had had to live in a house resembling a battle-field ...

: Be a bit more positive. It's not going to get that bad here. :

"And how would you know that?" he mumbled under his breath, not wanting to speak out loudly in front of other persons and hoping she'd hear him anyway.

: I hear your thoughts, when you speak. It's a Companion's Gift and often a Herald can also communicate with his Companion and other Heralds like this. Maybe you could too, if you tried.:

"Sounds very ... convenient." How useful would such an ability be in the world of trading! The ability to know what was happening miles away from you, because someone who was actually there could tell you about it, as easy as if he was standing beside you.

: Heralds do not engage in trading activities.:

"Glad they don't, knowing what they can do now."

Landris and the housekeeper -of whom Tiran currently couldn't recall her name to his shame- still hadn't said anything. He wondered what would be his wisest course of action. Maybe he should just try to leave silently and hope they wouldn't notice ...

: Don't you dare even try that! You brought Landris here and it's your housekeeper snubbing her. That makes it your responsibility to rectify this situation. Say something.:

"I am sure the question wasn't meant to insult, Landris. Isn't that right?"

The last was directed at his housekeeper -why couldn't he remember her name??- who he figured was on his paylist after all and would hopefully take the hint.

: Not the best thing to say, but not the worst either. :

"I merely meant to suggest some dry clothes might be more comfortable to wear." she said stiffly.

Tiran felt the lingering headache slowly fading. Things were moving in the right direction!

"Well, yes, dry clothes would be nice." Landris admitted.

"Since we all agree then, why don't you go and find some clothes to wear, while I go to do some work? I'll be in my study if you need me."


That night Tiran found himself unable to sleep. He looked back on the last few days and compared them to his past life. They were not very alike. And yet ...

It was nice to have someone at his side. Nice to have someone who cared about him. Nice to have someone to care about. If only things could stay as they were ....

Making a decision he rose and grabbed a cloak before heading downstairs to the stables. The Companion was awake, as he had known her to be before he came. The certainty didn't even puzzle him anymore ; she was in the back of his head, and it was right for her to be there.

What was he thinking now? It certainly was not right, it was dead wrong! It was like, like loving someone else's wife. She was not his and he'd better remember that!

: When will you finally accept that I am yours, Tiran? :

"I am not."

: Yes, you are. I am yours and you are mine. :

"You are wrong! I don't want - "

No, I do want you to be mine. I do. Your eyes are like the heavens and I would do anything for you. But I don't want to admit that. I don't want to loose the sureties of my present life to exchange them for a life of dangers, a life in which I might loose you every day.

: At least you know being a Herald is not about glory and heroism. :

"Can't I have any privacy around you?"

: I only heard those thoughts because you wanted me to. :

"Not consciously."

: Unconsciously then. Are you going to answer my question? :

"When I will accept that I'm to be a Herald? I'll never accept that. Never."

: You're supposed to be such a logical person. Why not in this? Give me a condition which will make you accept the Whites. Something reasonable. :

Tiran remained silent.

: Soon the war with Karse will be resumed. Valdemar needs you. :

No reaction.

: Tiran? :

He stood with his back turned to her. As she nudged his shoulder he slowly turned around.

: Tiran? Are you ... crying? What's wrong? :

He spoke, but his voice sounded strangled.

"How can Heralds face it? Knowing they are heading straight into danger, knowing they might loose the one most dear to them on earth and still go there? I am too weak for that, I could never do it. Do you know why I chose my present occupation? Because it meant I would only have to deal with numbers, never with people. I want to be your Herald, I do, but not if the price for that is to live in constant fear of losing you. I'm a weakling and a coward, I know."

She softly nuzzled his wet cheeks.

: No you're not. If I promise you I'll never leave you, would you come with me? :

"You can't promise me such a thing."

: Yes I can. And I do. We will always be together. Unless - :

"Unless ?"

: Unless you refuse me again. Then I will leave you and never come back. :

She was fairly sure he wouldn't. But not entirely.

"I won't refuse you again."

: Good. :

He sighed. "So I guess Valdemar has a new Herald huh?"

: You're not quite a Herald yet, Chosen. There are some lessons you'll have to attend first. :

"You mean I have to go back to school again? At my age?"

He could feel her grin. It felt very good.


As soon as Alvin was well again, Tiran handed him the books of the firm they had created together and left him in charge of everything. For Landris he found a nice house in a little village in the North called Inniswood. Before she left, she asked him to take care of Carlin, a boy she had met on the streets and he promised her he would do what he could to find the boy and help him. As she moved from out of view, he turned to Fenella, his Companion.

: Well, I guess I'm ready for the real thing now. :

: Absolutely sure? No second thoughts? :

: None. :

: Glad to hear it. And don't fret about having to go into war yet :

: Why not? :

: Because we're going to stay in Haven for the time being. Valdemar needs you as an Envoy of Trade far more than as a soldier. :

"What?" He spoke aloud and looked at her accusingly.

: Was this your intention from the beginning? That I would become an Envoy? :

: Perhaps. :

: You could have just offered me the position. I wouldn't have refused and then you wouldn't have had to bond with such a lousy Herald as I'll probably turn out to be. :

: Ooooh, Tiran. Don't start on that line again. Please. :

"Well, at least it will be a lot easier to find that boy Carlin now."

: Indeed. :

"And maybe, as an Envoy I can also do something for other people like him and Landris."

: I cheer your intentions, but I think I should warn you for one thing. :

"Pray, what would that be?"

: If you work yourself to death, I'll come and haunt you. And if you bury yourself in your office too much to my liking, I'll come and kick in the door to drag you out. :

"You know something, Fenella?"

: What? :

"I love you too."


Endnotes : All right, I know this story isn't properly finished yet. There's still the 'unknown presence' to be explained and Carlin's story isn't told yet either. Nevertheless it will probably be quite some time before this story will be continued. If you are really that interested you can e-mail me and I will notify you as soon as I have a new chapter (but be warned that it'll probably take me a month if not longer.) I would like to thank everyone for their reviews and hope you haven't been disappointed by the line of events.