Chapter Three: My suspicions are aroused

A few days after we met on that bitterly cold day, Arwel came back to see me. He brought me some sweetmeats that I greatly enjoyed eating. I have a terrible sweet tooth!  Lady M: No kidding! He just ate my entire supply of gummy bears! Arwel told me that he was a bard of sorts who traveled widely. He was a handsome young man who had much charm, grace, poise, and a great deal of confidence. Indeed, he practically glowed with assurance. Dressed in his fine clothes, and with gold rings shining on two of his fingers, he was certainly an impressive sight. I could well picture him standing in front of an audience in the hall of a fine house. No doubt the ladies were particularly fond of him.

When he came to visit me week or so later, he brought his harp and I was able to hear for myself that he had a good singing voice. He also showed me that he had a gift for telling stories and reciting poetry. I could see that he would make a very good bard.

Soon after I met Arwel, I went to visit my family, and I told my relatives about my visitor. I heard from one of my cousins that it was said that Arwel was very well liked by his audiences, and was sought after by the gentry to perform at their revelries. “I have heard that powerful personages vie with one another to secure Arwel’s services. They all want to have him perform at their feasts and banquets,” one of my aunts, who lived in England at that time, told me.

When Arwel found out how much I liked to read and write, he brought me gifts of paper, pens, printed tracts, a pamphlet or two, and even some books to read. I was astonished that he would give me such costly items after such a short acquaintance. How could a bard, even a skilled one, earn enough to buy such items? The bards that I had heard about where very sorry looking fellows who barely had enough to eat, let alone being able to purchase elegant clothes and valuable jewelry to wear. Perhaps the clothes, rings, and the things he brought me had been given to him as gifts. I felt slightly uneasy about the whole situation. Something about his generosity rang false, but because I could not explain what was causing me to feel this way (I am a logical sort of fellow) I accepted his gifts.

Arwel’s liberality made it hard for me to refuse him when he asked me questions about myself and my clan. Every time he visited me, he would ask me many questions, and I ended up divulging more of my personal information to him than I had to any other person. There was something about his merry grey eyes and his open smile that encouraged confidences. I told him about my family, our history, and our traditions. He listened avidly, and seemed to enjoy listening to my accounts, always encouraging me to tell him more. “You have such an interesting life dear fellow,” he would say. “I declare that I cannot get enough of your stories.”

Just as he was interested in me, I was interested in him, and I asked him many questions about his life and people. Somehow he always managed to tell me a great deal about the people he met, and very little about himself. As the days passed, his disinclination to tell me about himself began to bother me. Who was he really? Where was he born, and who were his people? I asked these questions again and again, and yet I never seemed able to secure any answers. Over time I became less and less willing to tell him about myself because I felt that he was hiding something from me. A coolness developed between us, and I know that he saw wariness in my face.

Then one day Arwel came to call, and soon after I found out what his secret was. Or at least what part of his secret was.