Aslyn and Ryus in the village square ~

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     Ryus turned back to the woman and smiled. “I would have more words with Lady Aslyn, but I see you are readying for a celebration.”

     Aslyn rolled her eyes to the heavens. Would no one listen to her that she was not the Lady of Cardamon Long? Aslyn turned her attention to her mother’s friend once again and thought Twegan would melt into a puddle because Ryus was smiling at her.

     “Oh, then ye must stay—” Twegan flicked a glance at Aslyn. “Join us for the feast, why don’t ye?”

     “Dear lady, I am Ryus. What is your name?”

     “I am Twegan Greenwood, yer lordship, but you can just call me Twegan, everyone does.”

     Ryus held out his hand for her to take. When she did, he bowed over it gallantly. “Twegan, I would be honoured to join your celebration.”

     Aslyn closed her eyes for a moment, stifling a frustrated sigh. She wanted to be rid of Ryus, not have him charm his way into the hearts of all of Cardamon Long. Turning to Ryus, she blurted, “Don’t you have other villages to visit?”

     “Nay, as a matter of fact, the good Bishop Folious knows that if I don’t return to our rendezvous point by a certain day, he is to send a massager here.” He turned again to Twegan. “Is there anything I can do to help?”

     “Oh, Ryus, I’m sure we can find somethin’ fer ye to do.” Her voice rang bitterly in Aslyn’s ears.

     Ryus offered her his forearm and Twegan placed her aged hand upon it, grinning smugly at Aslyn as she passed.

     Twegan whispered aloud and glanced up at Ryus, her eyelids fluttering, “Ye could always be me house boy, the post is open, ye know.”

     Aslyn nearly groaned.

     Ryus chuckled at Twegan’s mock flirtation, then paused for a moment to inquire of Aslyn, “Would you be so kind as to see to Meterio for me?” Then added belatedly, “Please?”

     Aslyn grunted in response and plodded over to what seemed to be her only loyal friend. “Come, I’ll see to it you get a nice warm place to rest and a proper meal,” she murmured to Meterio as she took him by the reins and led him to the smithy’s shed to request shelter for the animal.

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