Lord Wenestra’s eyes welled with tears

on

Sigle, Wenestra’s daughter, and the Earl of Vladhaven were lovers. The pair
were more than half a year apart. That morning, the girl’s father had
returned home from hunting. Sigle had been asleep, but her eyes were open,
her chest rose and fell with a faint snore, her lips were pursed in sleep.
The lord had tiptoed up the hall, a smile on his face as he knelt, kissed
Sigle’s feet, then whispered a few words the girl did not understand.

The Earl of Vladhaven sighed as he took the lead. This was no time for
doubts. “Lord Sigle, I apologize for waking you; I wanted to speak to you,
Sigle. Wenestra has been taken off guard duty and has been missing for just
a few days.”

“Please,” Sigle said, looking to her father for understanding. “Wenestra is
a child. Nothing more. She is still young and must take her time getting
married.”

“But she has been missing for a few days,” he said, and the lord’s frown
changed to a smile. He turned to the guards. “Take her back to bed and lock
her in her room.”

“Yes, sir,” one of the guards said with a low bow, the other one stood
erect, hands on hips. “What happened?”

“I do not know exactly, but the servants say she was attacked by a man
whom they could not see. She was taken from the servants’ quarters and then
taken to her room.”

The constable nodded to his men, then he followed his sister in silence.
When he tried to open the door of the girl’s room he found it locked, so he
stacked a foot up behind the door. He looked at the closed door for a
moment, then quietly returned. The girl’s room was large and well kept.
Sigle’s father had paid extra to have it clean. The girl slept in a large
soft bed, the walls decorated with a colorful array of tapestries depicting
the stories of the old, old days. There was a large ornate wardrobe on her
way to her closet, a tiny washbasin, two chairs, a chest, and a large
earthenware bowl. Sigle’s father had even had one of their servants bring
her the finest silk sheets to use in the bed.

“Come in,” Lord Wenestra’s deep, rich voice called out.

The door opened, and the lord’s handsome, muscular body filled the
entranceway. Sigle’s eyes widened. “Father.”

Lord Wenestra was slightly flushed, and his eyes were filled with emotion,
fear, anger. The lord looked at his daughter and his face softened.

“I am sorry I was so late coming home. I was hunting, and I could not help
myself.”

“You hunt?” Sigle asked, a bright smile on her face. “I have never seen
you.”

“My hunting is something I do with one eye open. I have never hunted
alone.”

Sigle had a curious expression on her face, as she reached out to touch her
father’s arm. “Do you have a hunting blade?”

Lord Wenestra’s smile turned to a laugh as he pulled Sigle into his arms,
his lips touching her cheek. “No, my love, but I have a pretty handkerchief
with a blade stitched into it.”

“A hunting blade is a very sharp blade.”

The lord’s brow furrowed a moment, then he pulled back. “That I know. But, my
dear, I had no choice but to bring home, someone I know is here, and I had no
choice but to bring your brother home, and that is what I did. Wenestra is
an important noble; she deserves to be safe.”

“You are right, father,” the lord said with sincerity in his voice. “I
will give her peace.”

The lord’s eyes softened, but he said nothing more as the constable closed
the door behind him. Sigle looked to him, then glanced at her father.
“Wenestra does not need to be locked in her room. I will escort you to the
palace.”

“Thank you, Sigle.” The lord took the girl into his arms, his lips
touching her forehead.

Sigle was suddenly unsure, she was not used to being held by her father;
the warmth of the moment was fleeting in its short-lived glory. But the lord
wished to return to the castle, so Sigle led him to the courtyard and out the
back gate. The lord was so lost in thought, his face still pressed to his
daughter that Sigle felt sure he did not hear the sound of the heavy door
lock.

The lord reached for the door, and Sigle stopped him, pulling back,
gently, but firmly. “There is no need to lock the door. I shall be gone for
just a few minutes, I will send a servant to bring in the carriage.”

The lord nodded as she took the lead, her hand resting on his arm, then
turned in silence to walk towards the carriage. The moment his back was
turned the lock fell down, the door opened, and Wenestra exited quietly.

Sigle led her father back to his desk at the front of the main chamber.
Her father, the noble from the east, rose from his seat, his face a
chilled, concerned expression. His face was pale, his brows were tightly
curled, and his mouth was dry.

“My lord, I am sorry for the disturbance I caused. Sigle came to say you
might need to give her peace.”

“I apologize, Sigle,” the lord said, his voice quivering. “It is my fault
that you do not find comfort in her arms. The reason we had no choice but
to bring you home is because your father is not pleased with how much
trouble you are causing him.”

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