FOREVER KNIGHTS: #3 Forsaking the Vanquished

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RHYERS - What'd You Do To Him?

WaterRose, Meadow Mountain, Grier Country

RHYERS

“What’d you do to him?” Elsabet emerged just after Mardichi deposited Bast on the settee in the parlor.

Mardichi heard the shouting and crept out the door without looking back. Never even seeing the woman. He’d successfully managed to dodge her since her arrival. Having no desire to listen to a woman railing about whatever inconveniences she found.

“Mardichi!” Rhyers called to his retreating back.

But the barbarian was gone.

Coward. Rhyers thought.

Leaving Deragan and Rhyers under the valkyrie’s narrowed gaze. Deragan tilted his head at her. “Have you grown fond of him?”

She flushed.

Rhyers nudged the Captain.

The Captain’s head slowly turned to stare at him. And the air tightened with Deragan’s irritation.

Shouldn’t have done that. Rhyers instantly regretted touching him but knew not how else to get him to pause.

The Captain always saw straight into the heart of a matter.

But has little skill in using decorum rather than raw truth.

“We did nothing but help him. We’re much of the reason he was able to come back.” Rhyers defended.

“He didn’t come back.” She said acidly. “You carried him in.”

Fair point.

“Actually,” Rhyers tucked his hands behind his back thoughtfully. Willing to disperse the blame. “That was Mardichi.”

She’ll remember his name now, if she ever sees him again.

“What were you doing?” She demanded.

He wouldn’t want me to tell you.

But her stormy blue gaze was permeating. Rending at his soul.

“We were rescuing his boy.” He admitted.

“He has a son!” She exclaimed accusingly.

Not what I meant.

Deragan astutely turned on his heel and went into the parlor to tend their brethren.

Don’t leave me here! Rhyers sent his back a betrayed look. Traitor.

The valkyrie closed in on Rhyers, expecting an answer.

Rhyers immediately remembered the many times he’d reprimanded her and was fair certain, perhaps he was due this tangent she was preparing. Though he shifted uneasily and considered ways to avoid it. At least she now shows feeling for him. He told himself as she began a loud tirade.

“He is not his son.” He did manage to interject.

“Then who is ‘his boy’?”

“A cabin boy.”

“From what cabin!” She shouted.

“A ship cabin.”

“The FireStar.” Her eyes narrowed.

“Well, yes.” Rhyers admitted. Wondering if he was giving something away.

Should I have confirmed that?

Probably not.

“Tell her I got the strawberries.” Bast called from the parlor.

Strawberries? What do bloody strawberries have to do with a damn thing?

To Bast’s credit, that did end the woman’s verbal attack. She hissed through her teeth, gave a squeal of outrage, and fled up the stairs.

“Run Harpie, run!” Bast called weakly from the parlor.

Making her pause at the top of the stairs. “I was worried about you!”

And suddenly it was her turn to silence the great Protector. For not another word emerged from the Parlor.

Well done, valkyrie. Rhyers looked after her as she disappeared down the hall toward her chamber.

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