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Sarah had just banked the fire to keep the soup warm when the first knock came upon the door. Jason gave her a quick kiss to the cheek before he went to let in their guests. To Sarah's surprise, it was Sergeant Griffon and Weathermage Lynn.

“Didn’t expect to be partaking of your food again so soon,” Griffon chuckled as he inhaled the smells of the kitchen.

Lynn, however, looked to Sarah from within her hood. Sarah nodded understanding that tonight she wished to not be revealed. But, before Lynn could say anything, another knock sounded upon the door.

“Come in General Hector,” Sarah heard Jason greet the new comers, “and Sergeant Sparrow.”

“I should probably get some mugs of ale out eh?” Sarah asked the crowd, but before she could move to the root cellar there was a knock on the back door.

Puzzled Sarah opened it to see three hooded figures.

“A simple request for hospitality, Goodwoman Sarah Smith,” a familiar voice spoke from the most rotund of the three.

Sarah looked about confused for a moment, but, since no one else looked puzzled, she let them in. “Of course, please come in.”

“Thank you.”

The three stepped in and the speaker removed his cloak.

“Your Majesty,” Lynn and Sarah recognized him at the same time.

“At ease please,” the King smiled. “We hold no protocol tonight.”

A third knock sounded from the front door and Jason hurried forward. He soon returned with Master Phillip and Mistress Laura.

“Ah,” the King rubbed his hands together, “we are all here now. Though I’m afraid,” he chuckled as he took a seat, “we may be a bit much for this small household. Still there are benefits to meeting here.” He looked to where Lynn stood still hooded. “Mage Lynn, I presume you know how to prevent sound from escaping the walls?”

“I do, Your,” but the King shook his head and Lynn left it at that.

“Master and Mistress, please help her maintain the spell. It must be discreet, for we must be discreet.”

The two nodded as Lynn reached out her hands. They formed a circle and bowed their heads together. Sarah continued to set the table as Griffon and Jason moved a chair and the couch in from the parlor. At last, all was ready.

“No need for the cloaks.” King Demetrioso’s gaze passed by Lynn and looked more pointedly his two companions.

As the first one pulled back his hood, Sarah recognized him as Prince Hermanus. The second companion did not remove his until the King glared at him. Heaving a sigh Prince Theodoso revealed himself and sat down as if he was suffering some sort of ailment just being here.

“Well sit down before the soup gets cold,” Sarah chided as she began to ladle it out into bowls. No one needed to be told twice.

“Please seat yourself Goodwoman Sarah, for you too are part of this.” The King gestured to the empty chair by Jason. “And I thank you for setting such a feast before us on such little notice, shall we?” King Demetrioso smiled. “Master Phillip and Mistress Laura, please lead us in prayer before we eat and discus serious business.”

The two exchanged glances nervously.

“Sarah has a good prayer,” Jason nodded as Sarah looked up to glare at him.

Phillip and Laura looked to her with such relief that Sarah smiled.

“Good food, good friends, good Gods let’s eat.”

She raised her mug of ale in toast. For a moment she thought Jason had misjudged the crowd. Then smiles broke out. King Demetrioso and Griffon raised their glasses as they chuckled.

“Huzzah.” Mugs clinked and everyone drank.

Setting his mug down the King spoke. “I hope that we can all be friends here.” His serious gaze fell upon them in turn. “For friendship means respect and trust and we will all need that in the trying times that we face together.” He smiled. “But let us fill our bellies with this wonderful food before we speak of such things.”

The End

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