“Lord Vaux, I mean Orrick what are you trying to do to me?” Valdermar asked, the fear in his voice suddenly evident, his gaze not even for a moment lifting from Ailana. While by his side Lady Baeumont sat in her wheeled chair, her huge swollen belly evidence of the baby that was by now due very soon.
“We where trying to pass though your estate without being noticed” Orrick chuckled, dabbing his swollen lip with the sleeve of his shirt.
“Well you didn’t do a very good job” he argued, “And what is she doing here? Do you know what she did to Gabriel….. of course you knew… how could you not…. Orrick are you really trying to cause a war?” Valdermar raged.
“Valdermar will you calm yourself” Orrick reasoned, “We will pay for the damages… ”
“Damn right you will! But what about Gabriel?”
“I won’t tell him I was here if you don’t”
“And what about you?” Valdermar growled at the large blond man. “What the hell where you doing, you killed a man? A working man…. how is he supposed to pay tax’s now?”
“I’m sorry Milord, he drew a knife on a noblewoman what else was I supposed to do?”
Valdermar snorted and Ailana couldn’t help but flinch, she wanted to curl up and disappear. Lord Baeumont clearly didn’t want her to be here. Her mere presence threatened the well being of his house. Over the years she learned kingdom politics was a tender thing, one little slip up and a nobleman like Valdermars whole world would come crashing down…. in this case one little thing was her.
“Get out of here!” Valdermar hissed, towards the blond man.
Bowing the man did not seem to need to be told twice to remove himself, but Ailana did not miss the glance he gave Raeanne before he left nor the lingering stare she returned. She didn’t quite understand what it meant, a mutual attraction perhaps though it clearly seemed quite rediculus.
He was she gathered, a soldier, a mere serf and she a noblewoman what precisely did she see in him, he wasn’t even a handsome man. The scar that ran down the side of his face, was quite disfiguring.. vulgar even. Yet Raeanne didn’t take his eye’s off him till he was clear out of view.
“Damn it, if it’s not one thing it’s another”
“Valdermar we will leave first thing in the morning” Orrick promised, “The women have had an exciting night, let them sleep and tomorrow we will slip away without so much as a sound”
“Val please” Holly begged, “Can’t you see poor Ailana is terrified, “Let us clean her up and give her a warm meal”
Aliana managed to smile gratefully she didn’t know why the woman wanted to help her, not after all she had done, but she was grateful for the kindness all the same.
“Valdermar I will owe you a debt” Orrick reasoned.
“Damn right you will….if you don’t make me a dead man first” Valdermar hissed, “Well get them some rooms”he barked at his steward.
A short hour later Ailana was being helped by Raeanne into a nightgown, there was a great sense of relief in being here rather than in that dreadful inn, she was sure she wouldn’t have slept a wink, lying there looking at the ceiling while drunkards and roughian’s cavorted outside.
“Are you al-right?” she asked Raeanne quietly, “Did that man hurt you?”
“This?” The woman smiled, looking down at her wound “It’s barely a scratch”
“It’s a good thing that soldier was near by” she reasoned, looking eagerly for a hint of the noblewoman’s involvement.
Raeanne smiled “Yes I suppose it was” she agreed. The dim light of the room unable to hide the colour flooding to her cheeks.
“You know him already?” Ailana reasoned.
“No.. not really” Raeanne argued, lying badly. Her whole demeanour shifting. Telling Ailana all she needed, not only did the noblewoman know him, there clearly more to this than mere attraction.
“Yes you” Ailana smiled, “He’s just a soldier… I mean … what do you see in him?”
“I don’t know” Raeanne admitted, “But he makes me feel, so very alive”
“Oh heaven’s” Ailana gasped, “Makes you feel alive… have you heard yourself… you haven’t? Please tell me you haven’t … fooled with him?”
“What do you mean fooled?” Raeanne asked coyly, her voice clearly giving away more than she intended.
“You have!” Ailana gasped, “Lady Raeanne what have you done, he’s just a soldier… its… it’s just so unseemly”
“Hush now” Raeanne scolded, “And you can’t tell anyone… I mean my father he wouldn’t understand”
“I’m not sure I understand”
“Oh Ailana have you never held a torch for someone? Had someone who simply made you feel weak at the knee’s whenever you saw them”
“I suppose” she admitted her thoughts instantly going to Danson. The pain of his marriage suddenly coming flooding back, it still hurt in a way she could scarcely describe. Not only because she had lost him but also because Dawn knew of her affections. “But please tell me you haven’t done something to get yourself into trouble?”
“Trouble… oh heaven’s Ailana” Raeanne gasped “I think I’m a little beyond saving ”
“Oh Lady Raeanne please tell me you didn’t let things go that far?”
“Oh please don’t make me say it” Ailana begged horrified.
“Dear girl, by this time tomorrow you’ll be doing it” Raeanne chuckled, “I think your clear old enough to say it”
“You know what I mean?”
“Yes I do” Raeanne agreed “And yes we did … and It was magnificent”
“Oh Lady Raeanne!” Ailana gasped in shock and awe at how freely the young woman admitted it. People called her a whore, a harlot for what she had done with the king, but here was Lady Raeanne freely admitting doing the same with a man an owned man, a serf a peasant and she didn’t seem bothered by it at all. “But he’s just a peasant”
“I know” the young woman nodded, “And I know I should care but I don’t… I love him.. and that’s all there is too it”
“Does he feel the same?”
“I don’t know, he says not” she admitted “but did you see the way he ran to me when that man pulled the knife? I mean surely that means something?”
“I don’t know, I’ve never been good at reading men”
“Ailana I need to know” she decided, “I’m going to go and see him”
“Oh no, Raeanne no… “
“Ailana I simply must know….If I sneak out, please promise not to tell my father?”