Equinus takes a well deserved day off. Lately, his mind has been filled with thoughts about a future among his loved ones. Against all odds he would very much like to spend the rest of his days with just one lady; the enticing Jade Rosa. There must be a way to enable this to happen. To find out how Equinus is going to have that talk with his trusted lawyer today. Viela will surely be on his side; he’ll know what to do. Equinus arrives at the Viela residence in a cheerful mood.
“Glad you invited me, mate,” Equinus says elated as soon as Viela and he takes a seat in the living room. “You are just the friend I wanted to talk to.”
“Tell me what it is. Here for you, you know that.” Viela says with a careful smile before he continues in a gentle voice as if he wants to sugarcoat his words: “We have known each other for quite some time now and you are a true friend, Equinus. But seriously, I am not delighted that it seems we need to have this conversation. I realize that we really have to though since I wouldn’t like to see you make decisions any day soon that you will come to regret.”
“Oh, don’t be evil and hear me out, Viela. I need you to hear this,” Equinus refutes his friend’s seriousness; as always oblivious to the gravity of the situation. When Viela replies silently by shrugging his shoulders, Equinus continues: “I’m not much of a marrying guy. I told you that when I first arrived at these parts with you. And I truly wasn’t. Though now the time is passing blissfully with Jade and little Agnes by my side, I wouldn’t mind settling down, you know.”
On hearing this Viela frowns quite stern; concern written all over his face. “Look, I understand that Jade makes you feel special. Though I would like you to take some things into consideration before you act on any longing to settle down. Did you forget you promised your uncle to oblige to his last wishes when you signed that contract?”
“I thought you might say that. But how stringently can this agreement be, it shouldn’t have to be difficult, right? I assume all uncle wanted is to see me happy, and I AM!” Equinus replies not very tactful.
“Sure, I see what you mean. But NO! You should hear me out now, Equinus. Your view is selfish and out of proportion. Viela rises to his feet and his voice sounds agitated as he continues to speak: “You do realize that the only reason you are not some poor schmuck still living with his grandparents, is your uncle? What kind of troll are you!?! When you start breaking the agreement, the manor will be taken away from you. And did you really believe a, be it lovely, but nonetheless fortune-digging dame would still be your girlfriend when it was just poor old you? She would run into the arms of a handsome, rich fella before you could blink an eye!”
After realizing how harsh he is being to his good friend, Viela seats himself next to Equinus again. He gives him a glance as he tries to get comfortable on the couch. Equinus is visibly stricken by the words Viela just uttered. With his lower lip trembling, Equinus looks at his friend. “Is that really how you feel, Viela?”
“Oh boy, it doesn’t matter what I feel, I’m afraid. Friend, give me the opportunity to rephrase my words… Viela tries to compose himself again. He feels bad for letting his emotions get in the way. He wanted to keep this talk civilized, as a friend and a lawyer.
“I really understand that you and Jade are a pair. I don’t want to come in between the two of you. And yes, your uncle Kurzol loved you, that is why he gave you the manor and a set of rules in order to cover both of your intentions and needs in life and beyond when it comes to family. You can be ever so successful and lavish in riches for the remainder of your life and the life of your children to come. But why am I explaining all this? The rules in your contract combined with the letter I gave you must have told you that a weight rests on your shoulders for the future heritage and work of your beloved mother and uncle? May they rest in peace.” As Viela finishes his explanation, he looks at Equinus for a reaction.
At first, Equinus just sits there obviously uncomfortable looking down to the floor. Then he looks up to meet Viela’s gaze. Equinus starts muttering: “I am sorry. When I first arrived here my energy levels were too far depleted and at arriving at the manor I was too overwhelmed by its grandeur. I know, the reasons are flimsy, but no, I have not read the contract. I only read the letter from my mother to my uncle, to be honest.”
Viela drops his head in defeat though quickly raises it to continue talking in a serious tone: “That truly disappoints me, friend. How the plum are you going to make decisions if you haven’t the slightest clue what criteria to meet? I am willing to help you in any way possible, but I will not be talking to you again until you have completely read that agreement front to back.
Viela ends his narrative by saying: “Come to think of it when we meet again I want to hear whether you still feel the same way and if not, what you plan to do to honor your true heritage. And just so you understand things fully; when I don’t succeed in making you honor the contract, another lawyer will be sent to replace me. Believe me when I say that once you get to know the replacement you will be missing me like the smell of breakfast in the morning.” The last remark is followed by a mischievous poke in Equinus’ belly and a big laugh.
On returning home Equinus feels like an idiot for being so thoughtless and ungrateful all this time. He has been enjoying the riches of his late uncle and the family before him without even thinking, let alone knowing, how he could ever repay this honor.
His childish confidence made him think he could pull this off nonetheless. But his friend is right. The least he could have done is take a look at the set of rules Viela had been talking about since Equinus met him in the woods.