No idea if this will end up in the final story or not. It takes place after Preternaturally Familiar.
Arthur finished his duties after worship and departed the chapel. To his mild surprise, Ladislu Padurowski, the current leader of the Hunters, waited for him. The young man seemed calm, but the scent of trepidation verging on fear surrounded Ladislu as he bowed to Arthur. “Thank you.” As he straightened up, Arthur guessed the reason for the young man’s presence, and swallowed a smile. Instead he feigned ignorance. “Yes?”
“I wish permission to court Mistress Deborah,” Ladislu blurted. He caught himself, not quite cringing back as he tried once more. “Ah, that is, sir, I have spoken with my parents, and I am prepared to support a lady as wife. I seek your permission to ask Mistress Deborah’s parents for permission to ask for her hand in honorable marriage.”
Arthur folded his arms. “Indeed.” He allowed silence to stretch as he inspected his nepatisha’s would-be suitor. “What makes you worthy of this privilege?”
“Nothing, sir. But I wish to try to make myself worthy of her heart.”
Ladislu’s complete honesty caught him by surprise. He recovered quickly. “Good. That is the proper answer.” How badly would this trouble the other Hunters? Not so badly as it once might have. He nodded. “I give you permission to court, should Mistress Deborah favor your suit.”
Were relief visible, the young man would have glowed as a beacon in the night. He bowed once more. “Thank you, sir.”
He straightened to find Arthur’s boot knife not quite touching his chest. “If you hurt her, I will take full measure of her pain from you in return. Is that clear?”
“Yes, Master Saldovado, sir.” To his credit, Ladislu’s voice did not shake, and he held gaze.
“Good.” Arthur stepped back, blade still in hand. “Go with the Lady’s blessing, and may Her Defender guide and protect you on your Hunt.”
A third bow, and Ladislu departed into the cold night. Arthur returned the blade to its proper place, folded his arms once more, and allowed himself to smile. The little one had accidentally revealed Ladislu’s interest, and her willingness to be courted by him. It would be a good match, if the young man had sufficient bride price, and if all parties were willing. He chuckled. Master Lestrang and the child might be harder to persuade. That was also good. A young man who wanted his nepatisha’s hand in marriage needed to earn that privilege. Not that any were worthy of such an honor, but Ladislu came close. Perhaps. Arthur walked with slow dignity down the steps and toward the main house. Perhaps.
(C) 2023 Alma T. C. Boykin All Rights Reserved
I like the “Perhaps.” at the end.
That’s about as risky as inspecting a magazine full of black powder with a lit flare. Perhaps.
It’s a good ending to one of the stories, wherever it would best fit.
They grow up so fast…
I like it!
Perhaps. … Especially after what you mentioned elsewhere about her likely bride price. :- 》
That poor sod. Bride price is going to be a killer until Deborah and Lelia put their feet down, seeing Lelia really wants grandkids to spoil.
Especially once Ladislu realizes that the in-town herb farm and the nature preserve come with Mistress Deborah. He’s going to be on tenterhooks for a while.
Ladislu must care for Deborah very much. I love the “Perhaps” at the end.
Not that any were worthy of such an honor, but Ladislu came close.
I wonder if the Christ would be worthy of such an honor in Arthur’s mind? [Crazy Grin]
This is going to be interesting… 🙂
Poor Ears, if/when Deborah says yes, the Ladies of the Clan will be in charge of the wedding and they won’t want his “help” 😈
This laptop is causing problems posting. sad: