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Cry for the Wolf, Chapter 17. by Richard Walker
The parade had been a glorious spectacle, but tiring. The response of his brothers to Eberulf's news troubled him, set him on-edge for some reason he couldn't quite pin down. What drew his stomach into knots, though, was the prospect of discussing the matter with his father, in light of the row they had had that morning. The work of the kingdom, the demands of duty to the royal house, would not wait, howsoever he wished they would. He thanked Trenton perfunctorily and called one of the household squires to saddle his horse. He quickly donned his mantle, riding boots, and spurs, grabbed his gloves and they were off. They spoke not a word as they rode through the streets toward the shining gilded crocketted spires and tiled roofs of MacDearth blue that marked Fairingay Palace. It would have done little good to try to converse, with the great din of the milling crowds that swamped the streets and slowed their progress. A futile gesture anyway, since Squire Trenton, his own cousin if a distant one, was entirely his father's creature. Trenton's future rode on the pleasure and good will of Sir Brandon de Chalmers, and anyone who refused to acknowledge that fact was nothing short of a fool. He was through playing the fool. For anyone.
He would attend to his duty, his honor, but not to the excesses he had known in the past. Never again.
He found his father in conference with his deputy, the round, florid Hugh de Beggington. With a brief "Yes, m'lord." the shorter man departed, leaving father and son alone.
Edwund's feelings of anger and resentment over wounded love, still being duty bound to Rhiarra, and disappointment in his father and the blind way the man had allowed himself to be used and then his attempts to shrug off all responsibility in the matter, lashing out at those Edwund still held dear, twisted painful and raw within him. He kept his mouth shut, jaws clamped tight enough to make his teeth ache, for fear he would betray himself and widen the rift between them.
Brandon took him around to show him what had been done, what was being done, and what still lacked for doing, then sent him about rounding up the staff he needed to get it all finished. His father's face never let slip a single hint of what Edwund knew he must be feeling, his voice never betrayed a single jot of feeling, much less ill humor, no word spoken was out of place. He was cold as stone. This was his father in public. The man he himself had been groomed to become and ultimately replace. They both played their parts to perfection. None of the staff suspected anything amiss. They were in public. Father would reap a bushel of heads if ever they were the subjects of court gossip for their lack of discretion. Edwund's own head would be on the top of that basket, as' well, should he break his public face or make any mention of their domestic difficulties where there might be witnesses not of their immediate household, whom they trusted implicitly.
A couple of hours later Edwund found himself with a moment of leisure and felt his belly grumbling at him for his thoughtless neglect.