When they had gone, she noticed Eldin stand up. He turned in a flurry of silks.
                “’Go in peace and prosperity’?” he scoffed.
                “A courtesy my lord, to bring hope to the common people of the generosity of their lord. He explained. Eldin rolled his eyes.
                “What nonsense, Great Uncle. If they felt peaceful and prosperous they would not be hounding my halls.” He let out a frustrated noise. His Great Uncle bowed his head.
                “My apologies Lord Eldin, I shall alter this for the next time.” His old tones barely carried across the room now.
                “I should hope you will old man.” He turned around again. “Dalaena, my love, come forth and tell my Great Uncle just how ridiculous his notions are.” Eldin shouted to her.
                “Stay behind the column,” Dalaena uttered and walked across the hall, each step pounding like a heartbeat in the big room and echoing as thunder. She held her shawl up as she walked to stop it trailing along the floor.
                Eldin stepped down the stairs to meet her. He clasped her upper arms and kissed her roughly on the lips. “Beautiful.” He breathed on her ear and she felt a tingling on her skin.
                “Whilst you hold the right of it My Lord Husband,” she began to answer his initial question. “We can but hope that your people leave more peaceful and more prosperous than when first they entered your halls, can we not?” She looked to him and his face attained an arrogant smile, the one she loved.
                “I knew there was a good reason I married you.” He said out loud, and pulled her closer into an embrace, and then he whispered. “You will make me happy tonight.” She felt herself blush.
                Dalaena thought of something then. “I did not see you notice my arrival.”
                “It is a good Lord that sees all without moving his eyes.” Dalaena wondered at the implications of that. “Tell me, what did you speak to that farmer about?”
                “I merely questioned him about the item he held in his hands.” She did not want to say more.
                “And what of it?” he pushed.
                “He—his wife and daughter were—“she could not say more.
                “Yes?” he insisted and she coughed.
                “They were raped, Eldin.” Her voice was so small she didn’t know if she had spoke it or thought it.
                “Is that all?” Then he looked over her shoulders and his arms seemed to freeze around her, then he held her hand and spun her lightly around. “Who is this little warrior?” he asked, opening his other arm out beside him whilst keeping a hold of her. “Come forth young man, your Lord commands it.” Edaran came forward, looking slightly nervous. She noticed he still held an arm around his stomach.
                He bowed before Eldin and muttered. “My Lord.”
                “Ah, the young man knows his manners. He can be but my Lady Wife’s brother, surely.” He looked to Dalaena, then Edaran, something working behind his eyes. “Little Edaran, your sister speaks highly of you.” Eldin released her hand and used that hand to place it on Edaran’s shoulder before kneeling down to his level. “Mostly, she speaks of your good behaviour. Your sister did not speak falsely now, did she?” Dalaena saw the hand on Edaran’s shoulder whiten as the skin stretched taut.
                Dalaena took one step forwards, but Eldin halted her with one quick glance. He turned back to Edaran.
                “No.” Edaran muttered, tears forming in his eyes. Dalaena’s stomach squirmed once more.
                “No...?” the hand went tighter.
                Edaran winced, his own face becoming just as white. “No... My Lord.”
                “Very good.” He released the hand and ruffled his hair just as she liked to do. “Good little boy.” Dalaena suddenly found herself able to breathe. She immediately moved to her brother’s side and placed a hand around him, looking at her husband. All sense of happiness had now vanished. Eldin walked slowly away then. “What is most important...” Eldin began, speaking softly. He walked around in a circle, and fixed his eyes on Dalaena’s. “Is that you and your sister know your places.” The smile slipped just slightly as he spoke.

The End

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