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“I’m sure you are. Keep the other one covered, Marco.” Briskly, almost kindly, he came and tied up Raffi’s hands and feet with the ends of rope, then with a strip torn from his shirt gagged him gently and pushed him over. Raffi sat down hard next to Galen.

Solon crouched. “I’ve been a prisoner of the Watch for a long time,” he said, his voice strangely quiet. “I’m never going back alive. You might be spies—I can’t take the risk. You may also be what you say. If so, I pray to Flain to forgive me. And that they don’t find you.” Turning, he said, “Come on.”

He took the bald man’s arm over his shoulder, sagging a little with the weight. “You should leave the bow.”

Marco grinned. “Good try, Your Holiness. Maybe later.” He clutched it tight, like a crutch.

Then they were gone, lost in the tangle of quenta trees like shadows, the only sound a rustle and a cracked twig.

Raffi kicked and struggled. Furiously he squirmed around onto his side and nudged Galen with his tied feet, then shoved harder, trying to call the keeper’s name. Only stupid muffled sounds came out.

Far off, where the lake must be, a razorhound howled. Another answered it. Galen didn’t move. Raffi tugged his wrists frantically, feeling the tight bonds scorch his skin. Then, deliberately, he lay still and opened his third eye.

He was tired and scared, and it was an effort. But after two minutes’ forced concentration he managed to make a small circle of light and let his mind crawl through it, into a room. Dimly he recognized it, the lamp, the bare, dusty floorboards. Galen lay here, crumpled and still, one arm flung out. But now there were flowers scattered on him, over his back and hair and all around him, the fresh strange yellow flowers of Flainscrown. Raffi brushed them off hastily, grabbing the keeper’s shoulder.

“Galen!” he said. “Wake up!”

Galen’s eyes snapped open. He rolled over, looked around at the room and the flowers, picked one up. “These again?” he muttered.

And suddenly they were back in the quenta forest, and in his fingers there was only a shriveled leaf.

“Raffi!” Instantly the keeper was on his feet. He rolled Raffi over, whipped off the gag, and fumbled for a knife. “What happened?”

“Solon. He used the Third Action. Thinks we’re Watch.” Raffi wriggled out of the ropes hurriedly. “They can’t have gone far. Are we going after them?”

“Of course we are!” Galen’s eyes were black with annoyance. “He’s a keeper! We need him!”

“But if he won’t believe us . . .”

“I’ll make him.” Galen hauled him up roughly and grabbed the pack. “Go on! Quickly!”

They hurried, following broken leaves, branches. There was no need for anything more; the trail was only too obvious. Behind them the razorhounds snarled and spat, answering each other across the lake, always closer.

Galen burst through a hanging curtain of leaves, Raffi breathless behind. The keeper stopped dead; peering past him, Raffi saw why.

Solon was kneeling, deep in the leaves. He wasn’t touching the tree, but they could feel his contact with it, his struggle to reach its deep intelligence.

Galen stepped forward. To his left, a crossbow swiveled up.

“My God, you’re persistent!” Marco muttered.

“He needs me to help him. Or none of us will get out of this.” Without moving from where he stood, Galen sent sudden sense-lines of energy flickering between the trees, their power raw and sharp. Instantly Solon glanced back. He looked amazed, then afraid.

“Who are you?” he breathed.

But Galen spoke to the forest. “Let us through,” he said quietly. “Make a way and close it after us. The men behind us are despoilers, burners of trees. We need to escape from them. Will you do this for us?”

Like the stirring of many leaves the forest answered him, its voice rustling and multifold.
It has been many years.

“I know that. But you see who we are.”

We see. You are Soren’s Sons.

Raffi was surprised. It was a name for the Order rarely heard now, written only once or twice in very old books, like the Prophecies of Askelon.

Something dragged and slithered next to him, so that he turned in fear. Branches and leaves were drawing back. Beyond them was a dim green darkness.

We make a way for you,
the wood whispered.
Go through.

The hole led deep into the forest. It was a network of spaces, the knotted boughs easing apart, leaving gaps to scramble through and over; far in front of them Raffi could see it unfurling, a dim tunnel of branches. He went in front, pushing and climbing. Galen came next with Marco, Solon was last, and behind him with scarcely a sound the trees closed their mesh again, the giant branches sprouting and interlocking.

Down here the gloom was so deep nothing else grew, only pale toadstools and ghostly threads of fungus fingering up from the accumulated springy mattresses of a century’s dead leaves. Stumbling, Raffi remembered Galen once telling him that the quenta forest was supposed to be all one tree, a vast, sprawling entity. If that was the case, they were deep inside its body now, miles inside, the smooth green-lichened trunks rising above him into rustling canopies.

After what seemed an age Galen gasped, “All right, Raffi. This is enough.”

It was a small clearing, musty-smelling. When Raffi sat down he sank into leaves to his waist, dry and crumbling.

Galen, limping now, eased Marco down. The bald man still held the crossbow. Leaning over, one hand on a tree bole, Galen dragged in deep breaths. He looked haggard, as if his old leg wound ached, but his eyes were sharp with that reckless triumph Raffi knew only too well. When Solon caught up, they were all silent a while, recovering. Raffi lay on his back and listened to the forest, the cold wind making an endless whistling in the high leaves above him, though down here everything was still, as if it had never moved. Lichen grew thick on trunks and bark; hanging green beards of it, as if snow or wind never penetrated, never disturbed it. Only the slow drip of the rain would reach this place.

Slowly the terror died in him. They were safe here. No one else might ever have come this far in, not since the Makers walked the world.

Solon must have thought so too. He sat down wearily and looked up at Galen, rubbing one hand through his smooth silver hair. “It seems we have much to thank you for.” Then he stood up abruptly and held out his hand.

Galen took it, their fingers tight in the sign of Meeting.

“Another keeper,” Solon breathed. “I hardly believed there were any left!”

“A few.”

“Flainsteeth,” Marco muttered. “More fanatics.”

Solon smiled at him. “Excuse my friend. He is something of an unbeliever. But still I have to say I don’t understand how you could do all this.”

Galen looked at him sidelong. “When we get to Sarres, I’ll explain everything. Not before. We may still be captured.”

“Sarres!” Solon’s eyes went wide with intense curiosity.

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“Sarres is a lost place! A place in legend!”

Galen smiled a wolfish smile. “That’s what you think,” he said.

Mardoc’s Ring

7

Artelan traveled. He never knew how long or how far. He never knew how he was brought to the hidden island.

Artelan’s Dream

C
ARYS PUT THREE CARDS DOWN carefully. “Crescent,” she muttered.

Sitting cross-legged opposite her on the grass the Sekoi smiled. Its seven fingers plucked out an Emperor and pushed it carelessly into the last gap in the ring.

“Circle,” it said smugly.

Carys swore. “You can’t have!”

“I have.” The creature smirked, its yellow eyes bright. With both hands it gathered the great pile of withered chestnuts toward itself. “So all these are mine. I make that four thousand gold marks exactly that you owe me.”

Disgusted, Carys flung the cards down. “You were cheating. You had to be cheating!”

“Prove it.”

“You deal too fast.”

“Skill,” the creature said, crunching one of the nuts.

“And these.” It waved its fingers at her.

Carys leaned back against the calarna tree, folding her arms. “You know you’ll never see the money.”

“I live in hope. But I would have thought that a Watchspy would have been able to teach me a few tricks in card-sharping. What do you people do in your time off?”

“There isn’t any.” Carys brushed the blown hair from her eyes irritably. She didn’t want to think about the Watch, let alone discuss it. But she said, “And I’m not a Watchspy. Not anymore.”

“Ah.” The Sekoi looked over the smooth lawns of Sarres to the house, and the strange green hill beyond. Geese wandered under the trees, pecking at grass. “My people have a saying. ‘Darkness is a stain that will not wash away.’”

Carys’s eyes went hard. “Meaning?”

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Idly it stroked the tribemark on its furred face. When it looked at her again its eyes were sly. “I think you know I’ve never been quite sure of you, Carys,” it said quietly.

She laughed bitterly. “Only too well. What do I have to do to convince you? Isn’t it enough to be on every death-list for miles?”

The Sekoi lounged elegantly on the grass. “Ah, but I know the Watch. Anyone can be on a list. Anyone can seem to be an outlaw, and still be working undercover.”

“Galen trusts me. And Galen—”

“Is the Crow. I know. He is also a man wholly possessed by his faith. Sometimes I think that makes him blind to danger. Certain dangers.”

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They looked at each other in silence, Carys hot with annoyance. In the stillness the birdsong seemed louder. The endless ripple of the hidden spring, Artelan’s Well itself, bubbled from under the yew trees.

When she spoke again her voice was spiteful. “Time will tell.”

The Sekoi closed its eyes against the sun. “Indeed. I will be watching.”

“So will I, Graycat. Because the Sekoi would sell their only sons for a bent button. That’s an old saying too.”

As it opened one eye and stared at her, surprised, the door of the house flew open and Felnia ran out, racing wildly over the grass, her short hair flying. She flung her arms wide.

“They’re coming! The Guardian says they’re coming!”

Carys scrambled up, the Sekoi tall beside her. “Now?”

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“Soon. Any time!” The little girl was breathless with delight, her face somehow smeared with soil from the gardens. Behind her the Guardian, Tallis, came slowly, in her old-woman shape, wiping her hands on her dress. She looked uneasy, her face tense with worry. “They’re not alone,” she said as she came up.

Instantly Carys was wary. “Who’s with them?”

“I don’t know. More than one.”

The Sekoi flicked her a glance. “We should be ready in case . . .”

“I’ll get my bow. You go to the causeway.”

Hurtling into the house and into the small room of sweet-smelling wood that was hers now, she rummaged in the corner chest anxiously. The bow had been in here since she came; there was no need for weapons on Sarres. But her Watchtraining was always sharp in her, so she’d kept it oiled and clean. Grabbing a handful of bolts, she racked the mechanism back and jammed one in.

It might be all right. Galen might have found some more of the Order. But all the time she knew only too well what else could have happened. The Watch had expert interrogators. They used pain relentlessly. There were no secrets left after the rack, after being hung by the wrists, and as much as she loved Raffi, she knew that he would never stand up against that.

(Redirected from The Adventure of the Beryl Cornet)
'The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet'
Holmes, Watson and Holder, 1892 illustration by Sidney Paget
AuthorArthur Conan Doyle
SeriesThe Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Publication date1892

'The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet', one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is the eleventh of the twelve stories collected in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. The story was first published in The Strand Magazine in May 1892.

Plot[edit]

A coronet of a British earl

A banker, Mr. Alexander Holder of Streatham, makes a loan of £50,000 (equivalent to approximately £5.76 million in 2019[1][2]) to a socially prominent client, who leaves a beryl coronet—one of the most valuable public possessions in existence—as collateral. Holder feels that he must not leave this rare and precious piece of jewellery in his personal safe at the bank, and so he takes it home with him to lock it up there. He is awakened in the night by a noise, enters his dressing room, and is horrified to see his son Arthur with the coronet in his hands, apparently trying to bend it. Holder's niece Mary comes at the sound of all the shouting and, seeing the damaged coronet, faints dead away. Three beryls are missing from it. In a panic, Mr. Holder travels to see Holmes, who agrees to take the case.

The case against Arthur seems rather damning, yet Holmes is not convinced of his guilt. Why is Arthur refusing to give a statement of any kind? How could Arthur have broken the coronet (even Holmes, who has exceptionally strong hands, cannot do it) and without making any noise? Could any other people in the household be involved, such as the servants, or Mary? Could some visitor, such as the maid's wooden-legged suitor, or Arthur's rakish friend Sir George Burnwell, have something to do with what happened to the coronet? The failure to resolve the case will result in Mr. Holder's dishonour, and a national scandal.

Holmes sets about not only reviewing the details that he learns from Holder, but also by examining the footprints in the snow outside. Eventually, Holmes solves the mystery, and Holder is flabbergasted to find that his niece was in league with a notorious criminal (Sir George Burnwell), although apparently she is unaware of his character. The two of them escape justice; however, Holmes is convinced that they will receive their punishment in due time. Arthur's motive in allowing his father to think he was the thief was that he was in love with his cousin Mary and saw her passing the coronet to a confederate outside the window. (The coronet was broken when Arthur was struggling to wrench it from Burnwell's grasp.) Holmes regains the jewels after threatening Sir George at gunpoint.

Publication history[edit]

'The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet' was first published in the UK in The Strand Magazine in May 1892, and in the United States in the US edition of the Strand in June 1892.[3] The story was published with nine illustrations by Sidney Paget in The Strand Magazine.[4] It was included in the short story collection The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,[4] which was published in October 1892.[5]

Adaptations[edit]

Film and television[edit]

The 1912 short film The Beryl Coronet was released in the Éclair film series featuring Georges Tréville as Sherlock Holmes.[6]

The story was dramatised as a 1921 silent short film as part of the Stoll film series starring Eille Norwood as Holmes.[7]

The story was adapted for an episode of the 1965 television series Sherlock Holmes with Douglas Wilmer as Holmes, Nigel Stock as Watson, Leonard Sachs as Holder and Suzan Farmer as Mary. It also featured David Burke as Sir George Burnwell. Burke would later play Watson opposite Jeremy Brett in the first two seasons of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

A 2001 episode of the animated television series Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century, titled 'The Adventure of the Beryl Board', was based on the story.[8]

The story was used in part in the Elementary episode 'How the Sausage Is Made.'[9]

Radio[edit]

Edith Meiser adapted the story as an episode of the radio series The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes which aired on 28 January 1932, with Richard Gordon as Sherlock Holmes and Leigh Lovell as Dr. Watson.[10] Other episodes adapted from the story aired on 24 March 1935 (with Louis Hector as Holmes and Lovell as Watson)[11] and 26 September 1936 (with Gordon as Holmes and Harry West as Watson).[12]

A dramatisation of 'The Beryl Coronet' was broadcast on the BBC Light Programme on 30 June 1959, as part of the 1952–1969 radio series starring Carleton Hobbs as Holmes and Norman Shelley as Watson.[13] The cast also included Frederick Treves as Arthur Holder and Ronald Baddiley as Roberts. It was adapted by Michael Hardwick.[14]

'The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet' was dramatised as a 1977 episode of the series CBS Radio Mystery Theater with Kevin McCarthy as Sherlock Holmes and Court Benson as Dr. Watson.[15]

The story was adapted by Vincent McInerney for BBC Radio 4 in 1991 as an episode of the 1989–1998 radio series starring Clive Merrison as Holmes and Michael Williams as Watson. It featured Anthony Newlands as Holder, Angus Wright as Arthur, Petra Markham as Mary, and Timothy Carlton (father of Benedict Cumberbatch, another famous Sherlock) as Sir George Burnwell.[16]

A 2010 episode of the radio series The Classic Adventures of Sherlock Holmes was adapted from the story, with John Patrick Lowrie as Holmes and Lawrence Albert as Watson.[17]

Print[edit]

The novel The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Improbable Prisoner by Stuart Douglas is a subtle 'sequel' to this story.

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^United Kingdom Gross Domestic Product deflator figures follow the Measuring Worth 'consistent series' supplied in Thomas, Ryland; Williamson, Samuel H. (2018). 'What Was the U.K. GDP Then?'. MeasuringWorth. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  2. ^This calculation assumes that the story takes place in 1886, which is suggested by Leslie S. Klinger in Volume I (p. 761) of The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes (W. W. Norton, 2005). The year in which the story takes place is not stated in the story, and could be considered slightly different.
  3. ^Smith (2014), p. 66.
  4. ^ abCawthorne (2011), p. 71.
  5. ^Cawthorne (2011), p. 54.
  6. ^Eyles, Alan (1986). Sherlock Holmes: A Centenary Celebration. Harper & Row. p. 130. ISBN0-06-015620-1.
  7. ^Eyles, Alan (1986). Sherlock Holmes: A Centenary Celebration. Harper & Row. p. 131. ISBN0-06-015620-1.
  8. ^Barnes, Alan (2011). Sherlock Holmes on Screen. Titan Books. p. 226. ISBN9780857687760.
  9. ^Valentine, Genevieve. 'When Joan and Sherlock fight, Elementary wins'. TV Club. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  10. ^Dickerson (2019), p. 41.
  11. ^Dickerson (2019), p. 64.
  12. ^Dickerson (2019), p. 76.
  13. ^De Waal, Ronald Burt (1974). The World Bibliography of Sherlock Holmes. Bramhall House. p. 386. ISBN0-517-217597.
  14. ^'Sherlock Holmes'. BBC iPlayer Radio. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  15. ^Payton, Gordon; Grams, Martin Jr. (2015) [1999]. The CBS Radio Mystery Theater: An Episode Guide and Handbook to Nine Years of Broadcasting, 1974-1982 (Reprinted ed.). McFarland. p. 229. ISBN9780786492282.
  16. ^Bert Coules. 'The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes'. The BBC complete audio Sherlock Holmes. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  17. ^Wright, Stewart (30 April 2019). 'The Classic Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: Broadcast Log'(PDF). Old-Time Radio. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
Sources
  • Cawthorne, Nigel (2011). A Brief History of Sherlock Holmes. Running Press. ISBN978-0762444083.
  • Dickerson, Ian (2019). Sherlock Holmes and His Adventures on American Radio. BearManor Media. ISBN978-1629335087.
  • Smith, Daniel (2014) [2009]. The Sherlock Holmes Companion: An Elementary Guide (Updated ed.). Aurum Press. ISBN978-1-78131-404-3.

External links[edit]

  • The full text of The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet at Wikisource
  • Media related to The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet at Wikimedia Commons
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