“Alright, that’s enough.” Anny cut in. “You do realise you are insulting our relative, do you not?”
                “Oh no, no, no. I insult nobody, I swear it. This is a masterful tale. There is more, she is saved before he was able to kill her, and the Goat kept her land and name for her own. She lived happily if you would let me finish.”
                “No that is quite enough. If it were up to me you would be walking behind us, hounding the trees with your mournful shrieking.” Was that too harsh? Anny cared not, at this rate her head was like to be split down the middle before she made it to the wedding of the Goat and the Wolf.
                The bard looked taken aback, though only for an instant, then like a change of wind, he looked his nonchalant self.
                “I see, my lady has had a long ride so far and she wishes for sleep. May I interest you in a lullaby, I could sing The Resting of the Stars?” He offered, the model of sincerity.
                “If I wanted to be up all night I might. Eli, make him stop.” She begged. Anny could not remember a time she had begged before but this man made her want to leap out of the carriage and off a cliff.
                “Sir, I noticed that some of our guards seemed a little dispirited, perhaps you could enliven them with a tale or two?” Eli suggested, looking rather concerned.
                “I know just the tale, may we stop—?“
                Anny leaned over him and opened the door. “The train stops for no man,” she indicated outside and he paled. “Try not to get trampled.”
                The bard looked from her to Eli and back. He whimpered a little but she did not falter.
                The man braced himself at the door and jumped down, rolling in the dirt and getting his pretty blonde hair and light blue cloak all messed up.
                Anny felt good.
                “You were rather forward, don’t you think, Anny?” Eli grumbled, closing the door.
                “Let’s not talk about him, dear brother.” She rested her head on the seat and closed her eyes. “What do you know of Lord Lupus?”
                “Little more than reputation. He is one of Lord Ridling’s vassals, and an ambitious one at that. He fought the Rouenites and styles himself as quite the warrior.”
                “Truly?” The Rouenite war had been twenty some years ago. “He must be forty, poor Anella.”
                “Six and thirty, if my memory serves.” Eli corrected her. “He is supposed to be handsome, so I wouldn’t feel too badly for her. She is herself two and thirty.”
                “It’s hardly surprising that she has never married before. Remember when she visited father and brought that ugly goat with her as if it were a dog. She used to kiss it.” Anny made a retching sound.
                “Now, now. We will have none of that when we reach the Windpeaks.” Eli chided. Sometimes he sounds just like father. She found it oddly unsettling, and yet oddly comforting at times. She would never admit it, but she doubted she could survive without him. He grounded her.
                “I am not a fool brother, I know how to handle myself with other Lords.”

The End

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