This section is both a re-post and continuation of yesterday’s. I am hoping to get this chapter done today:
“And what does he want?”
“A word with his son.”
“Were it simple as that, you’d have it to give to me.”
A shrug of broad shoulders, “You would know better than I, Yarvis.”
“Carefully said, Novis.”
A toss of the head, getting iron-grey hair out of grey eyes. “I’ve had some experience treading the ground between you two.”
Yarvis pulled his hat from the peg by the door, pushing past the older man and out of his home. “Tell me, does it ever get muddy, that ground?”
His father’s oldest servant turned to follow. “Never more than it was when you denied him, Yar.”
Yarvis snorted, “You mean when I, a grown man, decided I knew what was best for me?”
“Each has his place in the thing, I suppose.”
“What does that mean?”
Another shrug. “Your father thinks different.”
“Every man entitled to his thoughts, I suppose. Of course, my father would like to charge everyone for his, even while he’s ramming them down your throat.”
Novis stopped walking. “Will you see him?”
Yarvis turned to face him, “In due time.”
“And when can I tell him to expect you?”
It was Yarvis’ turn to shrug. “When I arrive at his door.”
Thin lips drew tight around the scar he’d earned turns ago, defending the old man’s money, not his family. “You know what he’ll say to that, Yar.”
“I do,” Yarvis said, “and aside from the shit he’ll likely toss your way for telling him, can’t say I much care.”
“Then just come with, start a fresh ledger. You know he won’t.”
“No, he won’t.” Shaking his head, Yarvis patted his father’s man on the shoulder, “I never understood why you stood by him all these turns, Novis. You’re too good for him, should have left him ages ago.”
Novis raised scarred hands: “I’m an old man, set in his ways. I’ll thank you for not starting in on me for doing as I have always done.”
Yarvis nodded, turned to go.
“It’s important, what your father wants to talk to you about.”
The man’s tone gave Yarvis pause, “But he didn’t–wouldn’t–tell you what it was?”
“No, just an old man’s instinct, earned in close to thirty turns of service.”
“But not important enough for him to come himself.”
“Your father does have many demands on his time.”
Yarvis sighed. “Alright, let’s go.”
After a few steps the pair was walking in lock-step, much as they used to when about Sadris’ business.
They made it across Market and entered Mintside before Novis broke the companionable silence with a question: “How’s the wife?”
Yarvis smiled, “Ciorran’s well, thank you for asking.”
“Still working for her father?”
“Yes, the mill is doing quite well.” Despite Sadris pressuring the other moneylenders to deny them credit for the repairs last year.
“Any grandsons on the way?”
Yarvis felt his smile thin, shook his head. “Not yet.”
“Plenty of time, plenty.”
“I heard you were recently before the magistrate, some murderous gangster?”
Of course you heard: I’m sure father gave the Lord Magistrate an earful on that. “Two, actually. One for trying to kill me and another for murdering the first gangster. Both hung for their crimes against Duke’s Law.”
Novis shook his head, whether in wonder or disapproval, Yarvis couldn’t say.
“What?” he asked as they turned onto Mint, the spacious boulevard lined with the most prosperous of the counting and exchange houses of the city. Yarvis felt his guts clench. Kolp House was the last of the houses at the far end, at the corner of the small square fronting the imposing building of the Duke’s Mint.
And inside it, your father.
“Always knew you for a hard one, Yar.”
Yarvis grinned despite the tension, “I had a good teacher in you, Nov.”
“And your father.”
Never one to take credit where it’s due, are you, Old Nov? “By the time I was old enough to learn, he wasn’t doing his own collections.”
“There’s hard in the heat of things and hard in the head and heart when things need to be done cool as you please and right the first time. Whatever talent I might have at the first, your father is the best I’ve ever known at all of it. You are two sides of the coin in that.”
Yarvis didn’t argue.