Chapter Four: Scorpio House

Now, where was I in my narrative? Ah yes, I was telling you about the day when Arwel decided to tell me about himself.

“My dear fellow, I know that you have been upset with me because I have not been forthcoming with my own story. No doubt you imagine that I am keeping secrets from you,” Arwel said with a smile on his face. Since what he was saying was true, and not knowing how to respond to his words, I decided to nod my head in a dignified manner.

“I have decided that the best way to answer your questions is to invite you to my home, Scorpio House. There you will see how I live, and after I have given you a tour of the place, we will sit in comfort and I will tell you how I came to be a bard.”

As we left my home, I asked Arwel why the house had such a strange name, and he explained that it was named after Scorpio, one of the signs of the zodiac. With a strange gleam in his eye he told me that a scorpion is a small insect like creature that is able to fell a man or even a horse with its sting. “It is a tiny animal that has the sting of a giant,” he said to me. Did he identify with the little creature in some way?

I was delighted that I was finally going to see where and how Arwel lived, but I was also concerned because I did not want my appearance to cause a problem either for myself or for Arwel.  Arwel assured me that everyone at Scorpio House “knows how to keep their mouths shut. If I direct them to be discreet, that is what they will do.” His tone was so cold that I did not broach the subject again. Indeed, the sudden change that I saw in Arwel, from genial friend to this hard-eyed young man, left me feeling quite chilled.

We traveled along paths that were rarely used by the people who lived locally. The path we took wound its way through a pine forest, and I enjoyed sniffing the scent of the trees.  After a time, the pine trees became fewer in number, and we found ourselves in a woodland. Down into the valley we went until at last we came to a gently sloping hillside that was cleared of trees. In the center of the open area was a large prosperous looking two-storied residence that was made of stone. The windows were very large, and I saw a veritable forest of chimneys on the roof. Beautiful gardens surrounded the house, and I saw that there was a stable and other buildings behind the main house.

Arwel and I made our way up the gravel path that led to the front door. I thought that this must be the home of Arwel’s master or benefactor, and I was surprised that he was bold enough to use the main door instead of a rear servant’s entrance. Imagine my surprise when the footman who opened the door bowed to Arwel saying, “Welcome home Master. I trust your walk was enjoyable?”
“Indeed it was Worth. As you see, I have a guest with me. I will be showing Master Frenthfar around the estate, and then we will repair to the library.”

“I will make sure that refreshments are waiting for you in the library sir,” the footman said bowing again. How was it that Arwel was able to afford such a home? He had told me that he was a bard, a performer, a spinner of tales, poems, and songs. Clearly he was much more, and clearly he did indeed have a story that would be worth hearing.