Knightober 2021 – leaves

“You’ve had an eventful ride, Liamath. I regret needing to cut it short.”

Liamath couldn’t tell whether Lord Kaerna was joking or not. His liege was hard to read at times, with a cool professionalism forged in the fires of political war, and he admired her steel even as it made him occasionally second-guess himself —

“But do breathe, wolflord, you’re looking a little peaked. It won’t suit to have one of my finest wilting like a snipped flower.”

— like right this moment. He winced, and she chuckled, icy eyes sparkling. The sound echoed through the hall’s cedar ceiling beams, muffling into the tapestries that lined the walls. Liamath covered his moment of discomfit with a carefully contemplative sip from the pearly cup, blossom-like, he cradled. It wasn’t like him to act so much the callow squire, truly, but his nerves felt a touch raw after the gift, and the lost stranger, and the chase afterward, and …

I never thought I’d see the time I preferred to sit in Cor-cael and sip from fancy service. But …

But the warmth of the hearthfires, the smoky cedar beams, the brilliant tapestries and the glittering pillars, the soft dark pelts strewn across benches and chairs …

Maybe I’m getting old. Maybe …

“Liamath.”

Lord Kaerna set down her own cup. Her circlet gleamed in the lantern-light, thorns in grizzled silver.

“Will you ride to Ranah?”

-*-

Fernsilk: A creeping, delicate fern, tiny in the wilds of the forest but growing to luxuriance indoors, whose trailing curlicues of feathery leaves lend a cool, minty, earthy savour to Kauvri teas, meads, and raw dishes.

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