Slowly their carriage pulled into the Lord’s stables. It gave her time to contemplate her visit to Dawnrose, and she found that as much as it had been pleasing to see her family, it reminded her of her weaknesses and she could not afford those right now.
                They had stopped at Popping along the way to Ascocen; she liked the town most of all purely because it gave her the chance to be a little more free if she could get away from her guards. Though since Edaran had been with her, she was restricted in what she could do. So Dalaena spent some time on the waterfront eating fresh cooked fish and listening to the waves. Then she spent the night at Weston Dray’s castle, although the Steward informed her that he had been absent for over a week, but he graciously accepted her and even went so far as to throw a feast of salmon, green beans and potatoes cooked in herbs with a cheese sauce, and an array of other foods.
                Edaran had found it all very fascinating, he had not done much travelling, so he wanted to see every sight, taste every food, smell the sea and hear the musicians play old songs. He adored it more than she did.
                She wondered if that was what she was like when she first came here. Now she was older, it seemed nothing special, though a pleasant distraction regardless. Here she was not constrained by Lordly duties, but a guest and treated as one.
                The carriage stopped and she looked around. Part of her wondered if she had brought her weakness with her. I cannot think that.
                Dalaena stepped out of the carriage after Arran helped her and she in turn helped her brother. He looked a little queasy, he had not spent so much time as she getting used to the bumpy ways. She giggled at him and he stuck out his tongue, and then regretted it, putting his hand around his stomach.
                “So this is Ascocen, eh m’lady?” Arran asked, he smiled at her, and she found his company was highly reassuring.
                “Indeed sir.” They had entered the castle’s stables where the Lords horses stay. From there, you could see much of the city; Arran looked rather amazed by the place. Part of her still held the place in awe; least of all that she would inherit it all someday. “This shall be our home for a long time now Arran, I hope you will not miss home too much.”
                M’lady, my home is with you.” He muttered. Dalaena raised her eyebrows and Arran turned around, scratching the back of his head, his face a little red. “And by that I mean, you are my reminder of home, so it shall not be too bad.” Dalaena giggled and moved towards the Keep with Edaran and their guard.
                They made the walk down the columned entrance hall. Edaran was looking up and around, his mouth hanging open as he did. Sandstone which was prominent down in the south, tiled the ground and rose up in columns to the ceiling which held a series of paintings wrought in gold frames. Intricate patterns of vines and fruits in green snaked up the columns. Greenery pervaded the room, pots of flowers growing here and there, just like many of the bigger, southern castles.

The End

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