Fiction Friday – More of the WIP

So, I’m  a bit late in getting this post up. Today has been a busy day.

But without futher ado…

Prior Parts – here and here

Three years earlier

They had ridden for two days, collecting the rents from the tenants of the king’s lands as they moved through the countryside. They had also been introduced to many fetchingly beautiful young ladies along the way – daughters of the Lords, Barons, Counts and other nobility.

Jonathan was well aware of his father’s motivation for sending him on this trip rather than leaving it to the treasury. The king was getting older and wanted to ensure his son was married and an heir to the throne was produced before the inevitable happened. Jonathan also made sure his father knew that this was going to happen on his schedule, not some cockamamie plan that his father had cooked up.

The end of the second day brought them to the Tailleur Barony. A small, somewhat remote area of the kingdom, however, the Baron himself – Nicholas – was well respected by his father, and the land itself was not without its charms.

Ryan, the son of one of his mother’s ladies in waiting that he had grown up with and considered his greatest ally in the court, was with him. His father had also ensured that a member of the treasury was with them, to make this a legitimate trip and to ensure that a proper count of all rents were kept. Unfortunately, he’d sent along one of the more absentminded members of the treasury, a new lad by the name of Rickard.

They’d ridden in as the sun started its downward slide in the sky. As was tradition, the entire household was there to greet the members of the king’s house. The family was there, and as usual, there were the daughters of the Baron.

Expecting the usual, they’d dismounted and had been surprised when the youngest daughter had taken the horses to the stable.

“Seems we’re in for a treat.” Ryan had remarked after the standard introductions to the people who were there – the Baron and Baroness, their two daughters and their main servants – the girls tutor Thomas and their governess Annabelle.

The meal that night had been served in the great hall, and it had been a change from the usual indeed. The family was well educated – the Baroness and her daughters were capable of intelligent discussion and were a pleasure to be around.

As the night had worn on, Jonathan had found himself speaking more with their eldest daughter. By the time that everyone had bid each other good rest, it was clear to anyone who knew the prince well that he was rather smitten with the young woman.

Before they headed out on their return journey a few days later, Jonathan had taken her father aside and asked his permission to court their eldest daughter, and was amused to be told that if she’d tolerate him, he had their permission.

So, it had begun. Jonathan, accompanied most often by Ryan, would set off from the palace to visit her, and word began to spread throughout the countryside that the prince had at long last found his match.

Two years passed, and the townsfolk had become accustomed to seeing the golden eagle of the prince at the baron’s keep. It was anticipated that soon the prince would ask for her hand in marriage, and the population fairly hummed with anticipation of such an event.