The Imminent Arrival
An extra story today just for fun.
The Imminent Arrival
The following day was divided between the marketplace of the town square and the barracks of the Hallanys regiments. The giant insisted on entreating the Regent for an early visit so that he may bear all the ill training and supposed wretchedness of the western forces with all the forbearance of an appeased mind and a full stomach. His wished were obliged and after a small stroll around the square, the commander and Den Asaan were met by their patroness.
The Regent of Hallanys was a sensible and hearty woman, short for a woman of such prominent standing, but where her height lacked in significance her voice acquitted her for all the deficiencies she may have suffered. She was a woman of strident character but always forthcoming and always pleased for everyone enjoying everything. She had been a craftswoman before the war. Her knits and creations had kept her well while waiting for news from her husband who was stationed at the border but while others may have fancied her Patteigh Cauldun, eager mother of a son and respectable housewife, she imagined herself more of a rallying woman. While the men were away from Hallanys, she was industriously working away, gather those who were left behind to build fortifications for their small city, and when the soldiers had returned they were astonished to find a housewife at the forefront of their ramparts. The people of Hallanys had voted her as regent to the king and there was not a word in opposition to this assertion.
The shortness of her hair gave the Den Asaan come cause for concern, as he wondered how someone of high rank could be respected with so small a mane to recommend her, but she had a commanding presence, which was something the giant found effortless to esteem. Although Rautu greeted her with a cold bow and a look of circumspection when she entered the main room of the Golden Crown, he was pleased to see she bowed in return instead of searching for his hand and she abided all the customs of his people she could recollect. Most importantly, she came with a gift: a small sample of the chocolate and treats he would be asked to sample on his promised tours of the shoppes and traders he would be visiting. The Den Asaan suddenly felt obliged to tell his mate he would be indisposed for their inspections of the Hallanys ranks on account of the delights that were waiting for him.
The commander was pleased to see her mate so willing to make a visit to the crowded markets on his own but she retained the suspicion that he had only made the proposal since he felt her added presence would advocate his requirement to share his trove with her. She understood his short, chary glances very well and encouraged him to accompany the regent while she made her examination of the garrison.
Everything seemed to be in perfect order for the barrack’s concern. The First Captain in charge had a high command over the training regiments of his forces and every order made was adhered to. The commander was not surprised to see the company in faultless order, as it had been the same when she had left it in such a state years before, but she felt Rautu would have been pleased to see that though the Hallanys regiment had no commander, they obeyed their First Captain as if he had reached such a rank. She made a note of his service and she would remember to mention the good captain to Alasdair upon his arrival to ask for a possible promotion in rank on the captain’s account.
After overseeing the grueling training of the day, the commander returned to the Golden Crown to find her mate sitting at the front table of the main room, dividing his stash into that which he would eat while in Hallanys and that which would last the journey home. He poured over toffees and chocolates, taking care to sniff each one and taste only a crumb to form his opinion the items before him. He was kind in acknowledging his mate through his important duties of selection and even invited her to try some of those he deemed to lesser in significance to his collection. She was given most of the fudge much to her happiness. The giant had considered it a travesty for being called chocolate fudge when contained more sugar than the treat he so craved. The commander was only too please to oblige him in ridding of it and delighted in the sectioned blocks while enjoying some tea from the parlour.
When evening came, the arrival of Alasdair’s carriage was announced. The giant went to pack the remainder of his chocolates and the commander stood at the front of the inn to greet the king and collect her small fortune. She smiled when the carriage was brought to the main entrance and Alasdair appeared first, handing Carrigh out from the coach behind him. His usual pristine shirt was ruffled, his fitted jerkin was undone, and the object most concerning was his molded hair in disarray. It was not the notion that Alasdair so freely displayed his carriage activities that pleased the commander but it was the principle that he had not cared to mend himself before appearing that had. The state of his muddled hair and dress had meant that something far more significant than the worries of a perfect appearance had taken place within the dark auspices of the coach. The commander pursed her lips and smirked at the exasperated king. She noted that as Alasdair ordered the attendant to take the carriage to the stables, Carrigh had turned away to steal a moment’s grace to make herself presentable.
The Den Asaan came to his mate’s side in time to receive an embarrassed smile from the seamstress as she retied the top of her dress. The giant scoffed at remarked Alasdair’s disheveled state as he neared. “He did not take her in that,” Rautu murmured, pointing to the absurd article being driven past.
“No,” the commander quietly replied, “there is hardly room for more pleasurable activities in such an uncomfortable contrivance. A sheep cart is more appealing than one of those is to me. At least the hay offers a sufficient bed.”
The commander raised her brows to her mate and the giant gave her a terrible grin, thinking of perhaps enjoying the means on an open cart on their return journey.
The commander greeted Alasdair’s approach with an open hand in wait of her winnings. “You had a pleasant trip,” she archly said with a look toward Carrigh.
The king removed a few gold from his pocket and happily gave it to the satisfied woman. “I did indeed,” he agreed.
“Your seamstress looks particularly lively for such a strenuous journey. One should wonder why.”
The king and commander shared a look in Carrigh’s direction. Alasdair observed that though their bouts of fevered osculations and improper groping had been freeing, the seamstress remained composed. She neared and greeted her king with an embarrassed and demure smile.
“Could it be that the close confinement of the carriage added to the tension of the long road made a certain king’s gentlemanly manners give way?” the commander whispered to Alasdair.
“Actually, it was the broken axel and the rain that were responsible,” the king replied in a pleasant hush. He noted the commander’s devious expression and he narrowed his gaze at her. “It isn’t as though you two didn’t do the same.”
“You can be certain we did. We did give the good citizens of Varralla a fright, however. A few farmers thought I was being attacked and came from their fenced lands armed with torches and pitchforks. Quite entertaining, I assure you.”
Alasdair made a few remarks on the subjects of humiliation and improperly but the commander brushed them aside with a dismissive wave her hand.
“When one has a giant and adamant mate as I do who would not be refused for all the world, Alasdair, one learns to have no shame whatsoever,” the commander fleered, pressed her arm against the giant at her side. “You are fortunate he hasn’t acted upon his designs of taking me in court to rid himself of the tedium of such an affair.”
“I’m grateful you have the respectability enough not to horrify all the nobility at once, Rautu,” the king moaned.
The Den Asaan humphed and looked aside from the conversation, silently thinking of their next scheduled court session.
“They require is a good shock to excite their small minds,” the commander contended, “but perhaps the King of Frewyn shall be the one to astound them.”
Alasdair surrendered to a stupid grin. He was immensely happy and was not in the humour for hiding. His attendant returned to him with their effects and Alasdair entered the inn to gain their room and show him to his quarters. He had made the mistake of not taking the seamstress with him and when left alone with the commander, Carrigh was subject to all of her female prying.
“You enjoyed yourself, I see,” the commander said, giving Carrigh a suggestive look.
Carrigh averted her beaming eyes but she could not remove the blush from her cheeks. “I did, madam,” she murmured.
“No need to madam me, Carrigh. I’m not the witless daughter of a noble trapping in the armed forces to prove my immense worth to my king and kingdom. I was farmer and I daresay that is far less respectable position than a seamstress.” She exchanged an amiable expression with the seamstress and noted the change in her demeanor. Her shy character and sweet temper remained but there was something mischievous in her air that suggested itself liberated. “Have you finally done away with the majesties and sires?”
Carrigh was silent. She only responded with an uncomfortable cough.
“Wondrous,” the commander exclaimed. “Now we shall both of us be rude to Alasdair, a privilege I longed to share with another of my own sex and station.”
“I had always wondered,” Carrigh slowly said, “why you never address him as the rest of us do.”
“Those who command respect achieve names and titles but are called such with as little reverence as possible. It’s better to have a king who makes demands on himself than upon others, wouldn’t you agree?”
“Alasdair isn’t so interested with something so inconsequential as address when he must pride himself on ruling a kingdom. If you must use a title, you may call him First Captain if you like.”
Alasdair returned to collect Carrigh just in time to hear the commander continue.
“I’m certain he would adore regaling you with tales from his days in the armed forces, and his silver earring makes him ever so much more charming,” she told the seamstress with a wicked smirk. “I’m certain he would love to tell you how well he behaved when the needle pierced his ear.”
“What are you telling her?” Alasdair shouted.
“Nothing of material importance,” the commander said with a laugh. “The secrets pertaining to your moments of weakness are safe with me. Well, enjoy your time meeting the missus, Alasdair. I’m certain she will be all smiles for your boyish and gentle charms. You were always good with parents.”
The notion of a meeting with Carrigh’s mother had suddenly come over Alasdair. He had been so concerned with the pleasurable release of his affections that he had forgotten the reason of their journey. His defensive nature was soothed looking at the two women paying him attention. “Your mother liked me,” Alasdair boasted to the commander, ever proud of such a feat.
“Only because she believed you were going to make me a respectable wife one day. Little did she know I was fated to be neither married nor reputable. I daresay if she ever would have known you were a prince at the time of your meeting her, she would have chained you to the fence and forced you into marrying me,” she scoffed. “I was a poor sight then, Carrigh. A filthy woman in workman’s clothes with not a pretty feature to recommend me. You should have cried in repulsion to see me as I was then. My hair was always the same unbridled mess only now I have found someone who actually enjoys beating me into the mud.”
Upon the commander’s intimation of her mate’s enjoyment, Rautu’s awareness was drawn back to the conversation. He observed the seamstress with his stern appearance and Carrigh made a worried bow in reply.
“No need to worry, Carrigh. He is perfectly tame now that he’s eaten.”
Carrigh found it difficult to gaze at the Den Asaan for more than a few seconds and turned away with nervous laughter on her lips. She thought a formal introduction would advocate herself to the giant’s ease and she murmured a how do you do accompanied with a respectful inclination in hopes of gaining Rautu’s favour.
The giant sniffed at her attempts but was requested by his mate to accept her shy company. It was uttered that if all went well at dinner, Carrigh may one day become Frewyn’s queen and as the Den Asaan was more inclined to listen to a woman who had accomplished much in her field than a king who had only become captain in the ranks, he grunted his greeting and resolved to observe her with a his shrewd and calculating eye.