By Chris Sakkas.
“Wise enough to play the fool”
– William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
The heroes come across a dirty and huddled lump of rags and silks, their bright colours stained by road dust and blood. If they help him up, they find his narrow and gaunt face is a battlefield of bruises and cuts, and his wheezing sends little jets of blood off his broken lip. He only has half of his right ear, though that is an old wound.
In his right hand he holds a fool’s many-belled hat and in his left a jester’s mock sceptre. He has the harlequin’s motley with a donkey brooch. His fingers are long and fine, and a flute hangs from his belt. He has a sack full of potatoes and his few worldly belongings.
Iordan Ewenstill is happy to admit he was for a long time the fool for a powerful noble, the Lord of Hilfort. A week ago, Iordan’s wit got the better of him and he made a quip that angered the mild-mannered lord to such an extent Iordan was beaten within an inch of his life and told never to return to the Duchy. Iordan has wandered ever since, singing for his supper in inns and taverns or by the firesides of halfling caravans.
What Iordan does not tell the heroes is that he and Lady Hilfort had lain together many nights. Iordan’s jest was intended as a private joke between the two at the Lord’s expense – but he was painfully aware of his wife’s infidelity and Iordan’s unwise joke was all he needed to confirm the adulterer’s identity.
What Iordan does not realise is that the Lady Hilfort is one month pregnant with Iordan’s child, and she revealed her lover to the Lord so that Lord Hilfort would think the child his own. Soon, Iordan will have a daughter.