Over the next week, the only person Barrett saw was Margerit. His wounds healed some… enough that he could move his fingers, and even stand up, though changing positions still brought great pain. Even so, he felt it was less than before… though maybe the parts of his body that weren’t already numb were just becoming that way.
Barrett wished the pain of his family being lost had lessened, for he had far too much time to think about it. He tried to sleep as much as he could, but that was often interrupted by nightmares. Usually, they were of fire and flames… and pained looks on Reina’s face before blackness overtook him.
Barrett was awakened by the door opening. He was surprised he missed the sound of the knock… but in a few moments he realized it wasn’t Margerit. It was Denton. Barrett was glad that his expression couldn’t be seen, because he grimaced. That wasn’t the appropriate response.
“Ah, good, you’re awake.” Denton casually walked over next to the bed, “I have something to talk to you about.”
“First, I must say something.” Barrett steeled himself. He didn’t really want to say it, but he had to. “Thank you for taking care of me.”
Denton sneered, “You owe us more than thanks. That’s what I’m here about. We can’t have you lying here pampered forever. There are expenses, you know.”
Barrett continued to be glad that the look of disgust on his face couldn’t be seen under the bandages. He had been polite and proper but his cousin still remained… himself. This was pampered? He was nearly crippled and resting in bed, and not a good bed at that. This was a small room with inferior furnishings. Barrett knew Denton wouldn’t be caught dead in sheets of rough cotton. Actually, that wasn’t a bad idea… Barrett imagined strangling Denton with the bedsheets. “Expenses… you said?”
“Of course. Bandages aren’t free nor is food. Of course, we also have to pay the servant taking care of you. Not to mention the medicinal salves.”
“…And? What are you suggesting?”
“Get off your lazy ass and go get a job. Otherwise, we’ll have to leave you to yourself at the end of next month.”
“I… see.” Barrett wanted to stand up and punch Denton in the face, but he couldn’t do that. More importantly, it was unwise. If he did anything rash, he could be thrown out that very day, and he was still injured… and without any possessions.
“We’re only extending this courtesy because you are family. Remember, the end of next month.” Denton turned on his heel and walked out at that.
Barrett stared at the door. Courtesy? Real family would take care of him at no cost… no, they would take care of him no matter the expense. As for the food expenses… they must have been trivial. The food he got wasn’t good by any means… though it was adequately filling. The bandages weren’t good quality either. Once he could stand a bit better, he would go to the bank. Then he would throw some silvers at Denton and return to Durham. Perhaps there wasn’t much left there, but the land was his…
“Margerit, have I been treated with any medicinal salves.”
She shook her head, her face neutral as always, “You have.”
“Why don’t I remember that?”
“You were merely unconscious at the time.” Margerit turned to look at the door, then moved close to Barrett and whispered, “The mistress and the young master declared they were unnecessary. In reality… you have not. I cannot go against the orders.”
Barrett nodded. He understood that she didn’t have any real choice. He also considered the cost of medicinal salves in his head, and put that among the pool of various numbers that were floating around.
A few days later, Barrett really couldn’t walk… but he was doing it anyway. He didn’t care that his body protested it had no energy… he couldn’t stand the thought of remaining in his cousin’s household any longer. For some reason, he came by every day to remind Barrett of his “debts”. Though he shouldn’t really owe anything for a myriad of reasons, the idea still annoyed him. Thus, he shuffled his way down to the Bank of Triridge. Though the main accounts were in Durham, Barrett’s family still had some funds accessible in other cities through various banks or branches. The Bank of Triridge was not, in fact, the only bank in the city… but it was by far the biggest.
As expected of a bank, it was large, imposing, and quite ornate. A flight of stairs led up to the entrance. The doors were fine ebony, and flanked by armed guards. It was these very guards who stopped Barrett. “No beggars in the bank. Please leave the property.”
“I am no beggar. I am Barrett Ravenhall, a customer of the bank.”
The guards looked at each other, then one turned back to him, “I’ve never heard of a Barrett in the Ravenhall family. The only young man is a Denton, and you aren’t him.” He looked over Barrett’s bandages… as well as the poor clothing he had on top of it. “Sorry, we can’t let you in without some kind of proof.”
If Barrett had proof of his identity, he might have already come earlier, even if he had to drag himself. However, he didn’t have his signet ring. He didn’t wear it to bed, and wasn’t worried about it as the house burned down around him. Perhaps he should have been. His pendant that was now part of his chest… wasn’t proof by any means. It only barely looked like the crest now anyway.
“What’s going on here?” A corpulent banker walked up the stairs leading to the door, and he frowned at Barrett.
“I’m Barrett Ravenhall, a customer at this bank. The guards didn’t know me and wouldn’t let me in.”
The banker sneered, “I’m sure you are. And I’m the young prince. Throw him off bank property.”
One of the guards immediately seized Barrett and dragged him down the stairs. Barrett couldn’t walk fast enough to keep up, so he really was dragged, though at least not along the ground. The guard held him up by his bicep, which caused pain to shoot through his whole arm… but that was still probably better than thumping down stairs. For his part, the guard left him standing on his feet at the end of the stairs instead of literally throwing him. Barrett looked up the stairs at the building, and thought of the face of the corpulent banker. He didn’t know his name, but he engraved the face into his memory.