The Marquise of Vlade, Earl of Vlade, and his wife, Monseigneur Wenestra, were awoken in the early hours of the morning

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A man with a neatly trimmed white beard, dressed in black velvet robes,
entered the hall.

“Monsieur,” he smiled with the most charming smile Wenestra had ever
seen. “Good morning my Lord, how may I serve?”

The man in black robes, a stranger to Wenestra, bowed his head in a bow of
respect, placing his gloved hand upon his sword.

“I am Wenestra’s chamberlain,” he said with a polite smile.
“I am here to escort you to your room.”

The man in black robes looked with curiosity at Wenestra and the guards as
they bowed in response to his.

“I am to escort the Marquess of Vlade, Count of Vlade, Earl of Vlade, to his
room?” He asked.

“Yes, Monseigneur,” said the chamberlain.
“Follow me, please.” He led the three guardsmen through the vast chateau
into the dining room.

The man in black robes bowed again, then turned and placed his hand upon
Wenestra’s shoulder. He looked with the most compassionate smile Wenestra
had ever seen upon his face.

“Monsieur Wenestra, I understand you are under a great deal of
apprehension, my Lord. I wish you to return home immediately, however I
have seen fit to place you in my care.”

“A fine gesture of charity, Your Grace but I am under great
apprehension already, it is the Marquess of Vlas and Count Vlas
entertaining a madman on a grand scale.”

He moved to the door and spoke with his bodyguards. He bowed with respect,
taking her hand in his own, “Monsieur, I shall need your help. I would
like to send the Marquise home as quickly as possible.”

“Very well, Monseigneur.” Wenestra smiled, “I shall leave right at
present. I am only concerned for my people’s well-being and their family
happiness.” She said with a soft and deep bow.

The count turned to the guardsman, “I shall see you in the morning,
Monseigneur, I look forward to our time together.” He stated with a bow.

“As do I, Monseigneur.” She smiled, her blue eyes turned to meet his.

The count turned to the guards, “Comely ladies, please escort the Marquess
and Count to their room, please follow me.”

“My husband and I are leaving now, Monseigneur, I assure you, we will be
right back.” Laying a hand on Wenestra’s forearm.

“I hope that we are not needed, I am anxious for our time together.” He
smiled, “I hope that whatever is troubling you is just a bad dream and we
can talk about it in the morning.”

She smiled, “I hope that I can think of it as a nightmare, Monseigneur.”

Wenestra moved to the door. “Good night, Monseigneur.” She smiled
again, her blue eyes turned to meet his.

The servants were waiting by the door for their masters. They led Wenestra
and the count to the large bedchamber. They were escorted into the room and
the servants bowed in respect, placing the trunks and luggage into small
coffins on either side of the large bed.

Wenestra’s chamberlain took her hand, “Monsieur Wenestra, I
fear that I have been remiss in not seeing you before this. I was
unhappy that I did not have the time to see that you improved. I have
received news from your father regarding your progress and I want to make
sure that we are treating you properly.”

She looked with concern at the man. “A great man, Your Grace, was
dying, Your Grace, the illness and his death came out of the blue. I am
only a woman and my husband is a man with his head in the clouds. I am
trying to be his wife and I am afraid that I am not doing much to earn his
respect.”

“I am sorry, Madame, this is why I was concerned about who would look after
you. If you do not feel that you are being treated well, why not ask your
maid to come back, let us get a few days start. I can take care of your
husband.” He said with a smile.

“I am sure that we both would find it difficult to keep the household
working if we were away from home.” She said with a smile. “I thank you
for your concern, Monseigneur.”

He nodded then turned to the servants who were waiting for his
consent. They bowed to him and left the room. She turned, walking to the
door, she placed her hands on her hips, “I am worried, Monseigneur, I need
help and my help is the only help that I can give. I can not trust anyone
else with my husband and our family. I am only concerned for who is my
husband and who is not.”

He smiled with a nod, “I see, Madame, I will do all that I can to
ensure he is treated correctly. I need to go to the king and the
queen. They need to know that a madman is entertaining an assassin on his
house?” He said with a devilish grin.

She laughed, “A madman. That is what your men have been claiming.”

“Monsieur Wenestra, with your help and your kindness, I believe I may be
able to find your husband. If you accept my help I believe everything may
be resolved.” He stated with a deep bow. “The king and queen, you
understand me, need to know that we have a madman, what else can they expect
from the king and queen?” He said with a smile.

She laughed again, “I understand my husband, he is a man with his head in
the clouds. I have heard that the king and queen are under a great deal of
pressure. Their kingdom is under attack by the Vlade.”

He smiled, “I understand, Madame, so I will do all I can to ensure that
everything is correct.”

She placed her hand on his arm, “Thank you for the help, Monseigneur, I
want to help.” She smiled.

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