Wren enters Wolfson’s office and he looks up from a stack of reports. “Squire Brightguard,” he says in acknowledgment.
“Ser Wolfson,” she bows respectfully. “I’ve come to report. I see you’re very busy, I’ll be brief.” Her voice is hoarse.
He sits back, cracks his neck, “I’ve been reading reports all day, I could use a distraction. Have a seat. As she takes a seat he notices a dark bruise around her throat, “That bruise is very nasty, are you all right?”
She shrugs, “It’s nothing, Ser.”
He accepts this, “Tell me what trouble you got into with Ser Titus.”
She smiles slightly. “Some sword work, some bow work, killed a troublesome boar… incidentally I’m supposed to ask you for coaching with a longbow… when you have time of course.”
He nods, “As soon as I have the time…” looks at the cluttered desk, chuckles. Turns back to Wren, “We had heard there was some sort of trouble in a little village called Silver Creek. There were rumors of attacks, but no actual accusers. Titus thought you might be the best person to handle that. Did you get a chance to check into?”
She frowns, nods, “Yes Ser. The attacks were on local girls from Silver Creek. I think Ser Titus thought they might talk to me, when they were… reluctant to talk to the local Watch. Sometimes young women are more comfortable talking to another young woman. This was the case in Silver Creek.”
“The Valistar’s son was the offender, Irith Penbrook. Initially he was just using his position and charm to seduce girls who didn’t know any better and had the bad luck to be daughters of men he wanted something from. Then he would blackmail their fathers in exchange for his silence. Eventually he just started luring girls into traps and then forcing them,” she colors slightly, but continues. “Then he would threaten their families borrowing his father’s power to do it. They kept quiet out of fear of retribution. There was one girl though…” she pauses, frowns, clears her throat. “She was engaged and he couldn’t get her to pay any attention to him. So he ambushed her and took her away, held her captive for more than a week. When she returned she wouldn’t say anything to anyone about what had happened to her, where she had been. A few months later it became clear she was with child. They guessed what had happened, but she still wouldn’t talk to anyone about what happened, because she was so frightened of Penbrook.”
“Our plan was to get this young woman away from Silver Creek and away from Penbrook. I went to take her into protective custody, but he had discovered the investigation and already had her cornered in a barn. When I encountered them I was unarmored and unarmed, excepting the daggers I conceal in my boots. I tried to distract him by pretending to be a friend of hers, hoping he would turn his attention to me and give her a chance to escape. Unfortunately she was so terrified she didn’t take the opportunity. When he tried to corner me I dropped him and tried to get her to run. She was too terrified and he recovered too quickly.”
“I informed him that she was under my protection, but he was undeterred. He attacked me, I evaded him. I offered him the opportunity to surrender. He attacked me again. He got lucky and got a hand around my throat, was attempting to strangle me. I was forced to pull one of my daggers. The strike probably wouldn’t have been fatal, but he chose to pull the dagger out and both Ser Titus and the town healer agree, that act caused significant damage. In any case, he is dead.”
“The Watch investigated. The other girl witnessed the whole thing. My actions have been ruled self-defense. Before I left more than a dozen girls had come forward to give their statements. I suspect there will be more. His father, Valistar Penbrook, is shocked by his son’s behavior, but is being reasonable in the face of so much evidence.”
William is quiet for a moment, then he says, “Sounds like Ser Titus was right. You were the best person to handle this.”
She shakes her head, “I wish I’d been able to take Penbrook into custody instead of killing him, but I’m glad the women of Silver Creek are safe now. You’ll have my written report by the end of the day. You can add it to the stack,” she grins wryly.
He rolls his eyes. “Well at least I won’t have to read it. Thank you Squire.”
She nods, “Thank you, Ser.”