[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]
.All murmurs of conversation ceased almost instantly and all turned towards her.‘As you all know by now,’ she said, ‘Brehon MacClancy has been unlawfully killed here tonight.Under the law of this kingdom, unless the person who did the deed confesses it within twenty-four hours, I will count it as duinetháide (a secret and unlawful murder) and the fine of forty-two séts, or twenty-one milch cows, or twenty-one ounces of silver will be doubled to eighty-four séts, or forty-two milch cows, or forty-two ounces of silver.I will start my investigations tomorrow morning and until this crime is solved, no one present in this room during the last hour shall leave the grounds of Bunratty Castle.But for now, I would like everyone to retire to their own room and to avoid discussing the matter in public.’The die had been cast; she had taken the investigation of this crime into her own hands and it would be for her, not for Enda, the assistant Brehon of the kingdom, to conduct the case.She avoided his eyes, telling Domhnall to collect the scrolls of evidence and then to escort the scholars to their sleeping place.The legendary King Cormac had advised his son, Cairbre, not to have an indulgent man as his judge; she, Mara, could not show any indulgence towards Enda until she had cleared him of all complicity in the murder of a man whom he hated and who had wronged him.SixCain Aigillne(The Law of Base Clientship)‘For what qualifications is a king elected over countries and clans of people?’ asked Cairbre.‘He is chosen,’ said the King, ‘from the goodness of his shape, and the nobility of his family, from his experience and wisdom, from his prudence and magnanimity, from his eloquence and bravery in battle, and from the number of his friends.’‘You didn’t mean that about no one leaving the castle grounds; did you?’ Turlough had, with unusual tact, delayed his protest until all, except for Donogh O’Hickey, the physician, had filed out of the door of the great hall and gone to seek their sleeping places.Conor and his wife occupied the south solar and its adjoining bedroom; the others had rooms in one of the four towers that were attached to the central block.It was a luxurious castle and there would be no hardship for anyone to stay there a couple of days longer than they had planned.‘Hopefully, it won’t take too long,’ she assured him.‘But what about the hunt tomorrow? Everyone is looking forward to that.’Mara sighed slightly.She had noticed lots of muttering as they filed out.Fionn and Raour had their heads together and Maccon was earnestly pouring whispers into the host’s ear.The poet and the harpist, both men in their prime, had been urgently whispering also.‘Well …’ she began.‘The women can stay and keep you company,’ said Turlough obligingly.‘I’m sure that they will be a great help to you in the investigation.You wouldn’t keep the young lads at home, would you? They’d be very keen.And Enda, he’d like to come.But most of the women wouldn’t like those marshes – they’d get their gowns wet.You could talk over the case with them.Ellice, now, she’s sharp as a …’ He stumbled, not liking to use the normal comparison sharp as a knife about his daughter-in-law.‘And then there’s Fionn’s wife,’ he went on, ‘and Maccon’s eldest daughter, and Donogh – you’re not too keen on chasing through the marshes, are you, Donogh? You can stay with Mara.’‘I think, my lord, that the murder must take preference over the hunt,’ said Mara.‘But, of course, it may well be that a confession will have been made, or else the identity of the guilty person proved before your breakfast is over tomorrow morning,’ she added and was amused to see his face brighten.He had a great belief in her cleverness and efficiency.‘You go up to bed,’ she said comfortingly.‘I’ll follow you in ten minutes.I just wish to have a word with Donogh first.’When the physician had finished, she decided, she would summon the captain of the guard and have the body carried into the nearby church and locked inside it.A messenger would have to be sent to his sister and to the servants and workers at Urlan Castle – the burial would take place there, though it would, of course, be obligatory for King and court to attend the funeral.She glanced through the scrolls while Turlough was making his farewells to Donogh, and while he was examining in a fascinated manner, once again before he left, the knife in the man’s back.There was little of use to her in her assistants’ written accounts, she realized with dismay.Conor had been sitting on a cushioned bench on the dais for most of the time; Ellice had danced a little, wandered around the room, and eaten, drunk, chatted.Raour, their son, had danced for most of the time, and had talked with Turlough about hunting – he wasn’t sure whether he had gone down to the end of the room, but thought that he hadn’t.Couldn’t remember whether he had noticed the Brehon or not.Fionn O’Brien and his wife were equally vague.There was, of course, one person’s evidence missing from those scrolls, thought Mara as she gave Turlough a hug and promised to come up to the bedroom as soon as possible.Tomás MacClancy’s young assistant, who might well hope to inherit the position of Brehon of Thomond, had not been interviewed.Tomorrow she would have to talk to Enda before doing anything else, she planned, as she went across to the window recess where the physician was standing, yawning over the corpse [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]