Standing next to Lady Abigail, by the front dining room door, Sarah tried not to be nervous. It was hard. As she heard voices through the ceiling making polite morning greetings, she tried brushing the soot off her skirts once more.
“Stand up child,” Lady Abigail whispered.
Sarah straightened herself up just in time to see a stately man come around the corner from the stairs. He stopped a few paces before them and studied Sarah. Lady Abigail waited a moment before stepping forward.
“So this,” the man stated in a deep voice before Lady Abigail could speak, “is the woman chosen by the Gods for our youngest son?”
“There is no doubt of it, my husband,” Lady Abigail informed him.
“She is enough of a looker for Gregory. Pity they didn’t choose her for him.” Jason’s father breezed past them into the dining hall.
“I do not think Gregory would know what to do with her,” Sir Arthur chuckled, giving a wink to Sarah, as he passed by with a lady on his arm.
“Gregory? Not know what to do with a woman?” another male voice snorted. “That would be the day.” A mop of blonde hair came around the corner. Giving Sarah a nod, he passed by to join the others.
Lady Abigail heaved a sigh and fluttered her hands. “Seeing as protocol has all been but forgotten, let us join them.”
She led Sarah down the hall and through the back dining room door. There Lady Abigail stood at the head of the table by her seat with Sarah. The men were still chatting about Gregory, when the other woman coughed. Lady Abigail, Sarah noted, was staring pointedly at her husband. However, Sir Arthur stopped talking first, followed, one by one, by the rest.
Seconds passed by as if they were minutes. Lady Abigail did not break her gaze upon her husband as everyone tried not to fidget. Sarah got the sense that this happened often.
“All right,” the Lord sighed, “do your introductions if you must, but by the Gods I am hungry.”
“Thank you,” Lady Abigail nodded. “I would like to present to you, my family, Sarah Ann Smith, fiancée to Lordling Jason, Scout Sergeant Phoenix.”
Sarah did her best curtsey for them. Lady Abigail showed no reaction to it, but Sir Arthur seemed impressed.
“Sarah, I would like you to meet Jason’s family.” The Lady now smiled at her. “At the head of the table is his father, The Duke of Laville, Lord Robert Borguez.”
“Charmed,” Lord Robert muttered as he stabbed at the plate of cheeses.
“As you know,” Lady Abigail ignored her husband, “I am The Duchess of Laville, Lady Abigail de Borguez. Seated to the right of my husband is Sir Arthur, Knight of the Royal Guard and next to him is his wife Madame Guinevere, Lady of the City of Verdas.”
“A pleasure,” the Madame murmured as Sarah tried desperately to swallow her astonishment at their names.
“To my husband’s left is my son, Master Phillip de Borguez,” Lady Abigail stated, “he is but awaiting his bride to become a Fayther.”
Tumbling into the room, Gregory interrupted Phillip.
“Have I missed breakfast?” he asked plaintively looking around, but his eyes stuck upon Sarah.
She watched amused as he managed to compose himself in a matter of seconds.
“No, I see I have not, though I have so rudely interrupted your introduction, My Lady.” He gave Sarah a sweeping bow with flourish. “Please forgive me.”
Your brother Gregory is something else isn’t he, Sarah mused to Jason, not really expecting an answer.
I could say the same of your brother Robert, was the startling reply.
Sarah was about to ask what he meant when she noticed Gregory was still bowed. Everyone was watching her. Realizing she was supposed to say something, Sarah said the first thing that came to mind.
“Your apology would be better asked of your mother.”
The gasp beside her made Sarah cringe internally, but she wasn’t about to take it back. Gregory looked up startled though he remained bent. She tilted her head toward Lady Abigail and raised her eyebrows at him. His head went back down.
“Then Mother, I offer you my sincerest apologies for the interruptions, please continue.”
Sarah bit her tongue to keep from telling him to sound like he meant it; a phrase her father had been fond of using. Beside her Lady Abigail sighed, while Lord Robert took a new interest in her.
“And that... is my second youngest son, Lordling Gregory de Borguez.”
Gregory at last rose from his bow. “A pleasure to meet you My Lady.” He gave her another bow before slipping behind his father to take a seat next to Philip.