“Sor, Sor Cadell, I think I found them.” The servant was wringing his cap in his hands, looking at the floor.
“Them?” Cadell asked not knowing who his servant was talking about. His accent was so thick, that ‘sir’ came out sor’.
“Them! Lord Idris’ wimmin. Them as went to Lord Rhys’.”
“Four.” The man held up the correct number of fingers.
Cadell smiled. “Saddle my horse.”
The servant ran for the stable. Twenty minutes later, Cadell rode for Clewth Hall.
“Lord Idris!” Cadell shouted as he walked into the hall which seemed strangely quiet. The rushes on the floors were sour and dogs had dragged a rabbit into the anteroom where they lay eating it. A bellow came from deep inside. Cadell followed the noise until he found Lord Idris in his study.
“Lord, I come bearing news of your wife and daughters.” Cadell bowed as he spoke.
Idris gave him a scathing look. “Oh?”
“Yes. I have reports of four women, Lady Tegyd and your daughters at Lord Rhys’ estate.”
“Are you sure?” Idris stood. It had been a week since he’d returned home to find an empty house.
“Yes. My servant trailed them from Lady Tegyd’s sister to Lord Rhys. He double checked, talking to a groomsman who said that the women had arrived disguised as beggars. He also said that the horses were returned to you, so that you’d not have a clue.” Cadell was rather proud of this information. He figured with Sian and the other women at her uncle’s, that he’d soon have her as a reward.
“Well, for your sake, you’d best be right.” Idris stood and stretched. “I’ll change and we will ride for Briar Rhos.”
Cadell nodded and went to wait outside by his horse.
“Lady Tegyd, my master wishes you to know that Lord Idris is here demanding to see you and your three daughters.”
“Thank you Bea. I’ve no desire to see that man.” Tegyd dismissed the servant and went back to her sewing. Fifteen minutes later, she heard scuffling in the hall as well as a few choice shouts.
“Cadi, Gwen, please go upstairs to your cousins rooms and stay there until called,” said Tegyd. The girls left quickly and Tegyd and Rhoslyn rearranged the room to look as if they were the only ones who’d been in the room. A moment after they seated themselves, the door burst open. Idris, Cadell, Rhys and two grooms poured into the room.
“I demand my daughters!” Idris yelled.
“Sir, I demand you leave my home!” Rhys countered.
“Lord Idris has every right to his daughters!” Cadell said trying to be heard. The confusion and chaos was growing louder with men shuffling about as they pushed and shoved one another. Lady Rhoslyn’s dog began to bark and bite at the ankles of the strangers. Idris yelped and the dog cried out when kicked.
“GENTLEMEN! ENOUGHT!” Tegyd shouted. All heads in the room turned to face Tegyd and Lady Rhoslyn who was comforting her dog. “I do not see why you are here, Lord Idris, let alone your henchman, Cadell.” The scorn in her voice would have scorched flesh.
“I… I’m here for my daughters. They are lawfully mine.” Idris tried to straighten his doublet, which was a little awkward as Lord Rhys had a handful of it.
“You sir, have no daughters. You gave up the rights to them when you tried to sell them and beat them half to death. I divorced you according to the rights of the people in these lands. Go home.”
“I shan’t! I will see all of my daughters, and hear from their own mouths that they are willing here, and not prisoners of Lord Rhys.” Idris finally pulled his doublet from Lord Rhys’ hand and stood up trying to look impressive.
“Well, I can’t produce all of My daughters. One has been missing nearly four months.”
“I have reports that you and our three daughters were seen arriving here disguised as beggars.”
“Well, you have been misinformed. I arrived here with Gwen, Cadi and Wyn.” Tegyd crossed her arms, looking more and more angry.
Idris turned to Cadell. “You assured me that all of my daughters were here!”
“That is what my servant told me!” Cadell nearly whined as he spoke.
“Fool! Idiot! Your servant lied. What else did he and you lie about?” Idris advanced on Cadell. The women moved towards the door at the back of the Solar. Lord Rhys and his men watched the other two begin to argue. They did nothing when the blows began to rain down on Cadell. When he collapsed to the ground, Idris turned to Lord Rhys.
“This is not over!” Idris kicked Cadell one last time and then strode out of the Solar and downstairs.
“Follow him and make sure he’s gone,” Rhys said to one of the men. “You two haul this piece of trash outside and throw it in the midden.” The two men picked up Cadell and carried him outside.
Cadell woke up in the midden pile reaking of kitchen slops and god knows what else. He hurt like hell, and it took him forever to crawl to his horse. Once he got there, the beast was frightened by the stench. He staggered over to the water trough, rinsed off as best he could and then mounted his horse and rode off towards home. He never made it, but instead passed out and fell off his horse. The horse wandered off.
Sian was proud of herself. She’d walked all over the farm and hadn’t needed to rest once. The scars on her back were healing up nice enough for her to tighten her bodice so that she didn’t look like a shapeless old woman. She gathered the last of the eggs and headed back to the farmhouse.
“Megan, I’ve got the eggs!” Sian placed the basket on the table. There was no answer. She walked into the hall to see where Megan had gone. She still didn’t see the older woman. “Megan!” Still no answer. Sian headed outside to see if Megan was in the garden. She saw Megan at last, with another person.
Sian, give us a hand! This poor man was tossed by his horse.”
Sian took two more steps and froze. Cadell!