“No she wouldn’t be,” the man next to him stated, “but if I remember faces well enough her name is Sarah and she is Sergeant Phoenix’s fiancée.”
“Yup, that’s who she is.” Ryan nodded vigorously. “That’s why I’m here. I’m going to see their betrothal ceremony...”
“Ryan,” Sarah spoke quietly to hush the boy before standing up and smiling at the men. “Vi, Madame Vivian went to speak with Grand-Moyther Magdalene while Ryan gave me a tour, which ended here.”
“Well, seeing as it’s a bit improper to be introduced to a lady while in her bed chamber,” the first man smiled, “why don’t we retreat to the sitting room and let Goodman Ryan do the formal introductions?”
Ryan nodded as he hopped of the bed after the two men had left the room. They merely stepped across the hall and the boy stood silent for a moment. Sarah smiled to see him concentrating hard. He obviously wanted to do it properly. At last the boy smiled and pulled himself up to be as tall as possible.
“High Commander Merlin,” he nodded to the first man, “and Scout General Hector,” he nodded to the second man, “may I present to you Goodwoman Sarah,” his shoulders dropped slightly as he looked at her perplexed.
“Ann Smith,” she completed for him, but before she could offer her hand for a handshake, Ryan had taken her hand and offered it to Sir Merlin first.
“Sarah this is Sir Merlin,” he told her.
Sir Merlin took up Sarah’s hand and kissed it. “’It is a pleasure to meet you Goodwoman Smith.”
Sarah couldn’t help smiling slightly. It was odd to get such a gesture from a man who looked old enough to be her father.
Ryan took her hand again. “And this,” he held it towards General Hector, “is General Hector.”
“Smith,” General Hector nodded as he took Sarah’s arm in a Scout’s grip. “I had wondered where Sergeant Phoenix had come up with that name.”
Sarah felt her cheeks flush. “Easier than trying to remember to answer to a completely different name I suppose... General,” she hastily added.
“You do not mean to imply,” Sir Merlin chuckled, “that this is Hopeful Smith, whom we’ve been hearing was pivotal during the attack on the First Year Trails.”
“Well I don’t think...” Sarah began as Ryan piped up.
“You were at the Scout Trials?” Taking Sarah’s hands back for his own, he tugged on them with each question. “What was it like? What do they test you on? Did you have to face one hundred men screaming at you with swords...”
“Ryan,” Sir Merlin’s voice broke into his chatter. “Please make sure there is plenty of wood stored inside for tomorrow’s memorial feast.”
“But...” he began.
“Ryan,” Sarah knelt before the boy, “we’ll talk more tonight, I promise. I’ll tell you what I was tested on, but right now you need to do as Sir Merlin asks okay?”
His face ran through a variety of expressions as he looked about the room. At last, his gaze returned to Sarah. “Adult stuff?” Sarah nodded and the boy heaved a sigh. “All right.” Looking very much dejected, he shuffled out of the room.