[Author’s note: Ryan, as we all know, loves his words and when he gets going it’s hard to stop the flow. So when it came to editing down Chapter 11, A Tour and More (part 1), in Phoenix Triumphant, I took a lot of his chatter out. I don’t know if you find reading it as exhaustive as I find writing it. But, like my own children, Ryan seems to pull energy from me. I don’t mind though. He is a joy to write.]
“Come on,” Ryan pulled Sarah into the foyer.
“So this is the entrance, It’s got really high ceilings and lights that hang from them.” Ryan pointed up.
Sarah looked up to see a chandelier hanging from, what was indeed a tall ceiling even to her. It wasn’t grand or anything and only held a total of ten candles, but it was well polished.
“And a really big window.” Ryan turned her so she faced the door.
The window wasn’t big to Sarah but she smiled anyway. Though it she could see Madam Vivian and Grand Moyther Magdalene heading towards the Willow trees.
“And this,” Ryan pulled her to the right, “Is the council chamber.” He listened at the door and then slowly opened it. “You can look, but we’re not allowed to go in. Not unless they call us in. Sometimes my Dad and Unca Griffon get called into council meetings, but not me. Well of course not me, I’m not old enough yet. Soon they will call a meeting with Harold to determine if he gets to become a Squire or not.”
Ryan pulled her in another direction, this time to the right of the front door. He scampered into the large room. “This is where they hold betrothal and wedding feasts. That will be exciting. You and Phoenix will get to sit here,” he ran to the table that resided in the middle, its head between the two large fire places. “Then everyone else will sit where ever they want and we’ll all eat and drink and sing songs and...” he skipped back to her and grabbed her hand. “We’ll dance too, when the eating is done, they move all the tables and people dance. And ooh, it will all be lit by candle light,” Ryan pointed up again.
The ceiling here was a high as the one in the hall. There were five chandeliers each with ten candles. None were lit since the sun set was streaming into through the west facing windows. It gave the Willows a strange orange glow, making them look like they burned but didn’t. But by the time she noticed it, Ryan had dragged her into a Kitchen.
“Can you imagine working in a kitchen this big?” Ryan asked. My mom would be able to cook for all of us all in one place! Madame Vivian doesn’t do it all by herself of course, there are Ladies Madams-to-be and Mistresses who all come to help when they have a celebration. Down there is the root cellar, which is nearly as big as the kitchen!”
Ryan pointed to a door in the corner, as he pulled Sarah through another one on the same wall. They were back in the foyer but Ryan made a sharp right and pulled her up the stairs. As with all stairs here it was quite dark, but it wasn’t long before they were out in a dimly lit hall. Ceilings here were more the height Sarah was used to seeing now.
“Up here,” Ryan pulled her up three stairs to the left, “is where the Mistresses and Madams-to-be and Masters and Squires sleep.” He thought for a second, “Well only one of each, there are only four beds, but I think they can fit in more if they wanted to. But they don’t.” Ryan turned and took her back down the steps. “Madame Vivian and Sir Merlin sleep in that bedroom down there,” he pointed to the room at the end of the hall. “This,” He pulled her to an open door on the right, “is the sitting room where we spend a lot of time. Madame Vivian likes to weave.” He pointed to a large loom that was set by the window across from the door. “And we,” he grinned, “get to sleep in here!” he pointed to the door opposite the sitting room and dragged Sarah into it.
“I sleep in this bed,” Ryan bounced upon the bed that was right next to the door, “and you can have that one,” he pointed to the one next to the wall. “A trunk was delivered for you shortly before you arrived.” He pointed excitedly to the trunk that lay at the foot of the bed. “They said Lady Abigail had sent it for you. It’s got all your clothing and everything.”
Sarah nodded as Ryan kept talking about this and that and how he’d been here for so long and had really hoped he hadn’t missed it. And everyone but Grand-Moyther Magdalene had been totally confused about his presence here. They’d sent a messenger to his home, but he didn’t know if his mother would come. He hoped she would, because she deserved to be a part of it, since she didn’t have any girls herself and...
“Wait?” Sarah looked from her examination of the trunk as she took an opportunity of Ryan taking a breath, “you mean no one brought you here? You came all by yourself?”
“Yup!” Ryan grinned and he bounced again at the edge of his bed.
“Did you walk?”
“Nope,” he bounced some more.
“Hitched a ride with someone?”
“Nope,” Ryan’s bouncing slowed down.
“Then how did you get here?” Sarah stood and looked at the boy.
“By Willow,” he stated in a tiny voice, “Only I didn’t get it right the first time.” There were hints of fear and sadness in his voice.
“What do you mean?” Sarah moved to the child and sat beside him, her arm going around his shoulder. “What happened Ryan?”
Ryan cuddled up to her, trembling, but before he could say a word, a male voice rang through the house.
“Sir Merlin’s home!” And Ryan forgot his troubles bounced off the bed and pulled Sarah downstairs to great the Knight Commander.
“Vivian!” the man called again as they stepped from the stairwell.
“You’re not Vivian,” the man stated a little perplexed.
The man next to the High commander chuckled. “No she’s wouldn’t be, but if I remember faces well enough her name is Sarah and,” he smiled, “Sergeant’s Phoenix’s fiancée.”
“Yup, that’s who she is. I came to see their betrothal ceremony.” Ryan stated grinning.
Sarah squeezed Ryan’s hand to keep him from chattering. “Vi, Madame Vivian went to speak with grand Moyther Magdalene while Ryan showed me where I was staying.”