Sunday, February 11, 2007
New Beginning 213
August 25th, 1485
Catherine didn't think the man lying on the dusty ground outside the kitchen was dead, but he did not look healthy, either. Outside the dented breastplate of his armor, bloodstained tatters of clothing barely covered his huddled form and his hair was so matted with filth she could not discern its color. His right leg bent at an odd angle. She could not imagine how painful it must have been for him to drag himself here with a broken leg.
He looked like a man who had just been through a war, which of course he must have. Several soldiers had passed by Redbourne Manor on their ways home, or perhaps to the docks and attempted escape from the country. Yes, the man lying on the dirt at her feet must be another survivor of the recently fought battle. The only question was, for whom had he fought?
She gathered up her skirts and squatted beside him. "Gentle knight, you are hurt."
The man groaned and muttered something that sounded like the word "water."
Catherine raised her voice. "Mab, bring water for this poor soldier."
Fat Mab waddled out of the kitchen, her three chins hidden behind a none-too-clean wimple. She carried a jug of water, recently drawn from the well. The knight's eyes lit up, and he struggled to sit.
Catherine helped him. "There you go, good sir." She accepted the jug from Mab. "I must know," she said. "What news? For whom did you fight?"
"For Richard," the knight gasped through cracked lips. "For the rightful Plantagenet king."
"Ah," Catherine said, withholding the jug and letting him tumble back into the dust. "Wrong answer. My husband is Duke Henry's man."
She handed the jug back to the servant and turned toward the door. "Mab," she said, "isn't it time milord's hunting dogs had their exercise? Let them into the yard, won't you?"
Opening: December Quinn.....Continuation: Marissa Doyle