• Something in the air seemed to have a different feel on this day. It’d not just been this day, but the day prior as well. The air blew colder, and the clouds had grown grey. Winter had arrived. No snow had fallen yet, but, it seemed as if it was due at any time. “Albin, might you think it to snow today?” asked a noble voice. “My noble Lord, it looks as if it is to snow” replied Ablin, the Lord’s standard, his advisor. The Lord was a scrawny man, no more than five feet and six inches tall. On his sharp face he bore a thin red beard that surrounded his thin lips. Though semi-warm in his ‘wagon’, Alaric donned a fine crimson robe, with white and gold linings. Albin took note of the worry that seemed to cling from his brow. “My Lord, something is surely causing you much worry, yes?” Albin inquired, shifting himself on the cold wood bench that served as a seat. “Winter has come too early, Albin” Alaric began. “I have had a fear for the longest while now, in that being that death is as cold as the coldest winter” Alaric averted his gaze from the gap of the opening in the covered wagon, and situated it upon Albin. “Maybe, it is as cold as a crossbowmen’s bolt” Alaric gasped. Albin let forth a laugh. “My Lord, I do think you worry yourself so!” he exclaimed. “Should you worry yourself so, you will worry yourself into a potter’s field.” Alaric’s brow furrowed into a look of pessimistic irritation. “By the Gods’, I was born into royalty, only the Lady Gwendylon can decide upon my place of eternal rest.” Alaric snipped bitterly under his foul breath. “Oh, but of course!” Albin cried sarcastically. “Even the most royal of Lords’ is smitten by the bosom of Lady Gwendylon.”

    Snow soon began to be felled from the grey clouds’ hanging overhead. The snow fell in a light manner, blown westward, coving the dirt road in a fine sheet of white. The dirt had grown hard; this was evident with each clop of the horses’ hooves’. Inside the wagon, all had grown silent since the ending of the last exchange of words between Lord and Advisor. Two crossbowmen had taken position at the canvas opening of the wagon. One was situated behind the other, for in the event of ambush, the second would be able to take the place of the first in the case the first would die. Some time ago, the wagon had entered unmapped woodland at the edge of the kingdom. In the summer, these unmapped lands had made for beauty scenery. Though bare and naked in the winter, it still made for such. Alaric however had heard rumors of these woods. Many a man had spread the tale of roving gangs of vagabond and thieves. This all had been left to rumor, as in many places the wood was too thick to move any sort of battalion through. Though largely overcome by wild flowers and high grass, the trails that had been blazed by the men of the first Lordship were still evident. “I do say, Ablin, such dense foliage has stricken my nerves ripe with dread.” Alaric sighed, tapping his fingers against his bony chin. “Why might this be, Lord?” Albin inquired to Alaric. “I’ve heard tales from the soldiers’ of these woods” Alaric said lowly, almost in the manner of a whisper. “There are vagabonds ready to loot your drink and thieves at the set to steal your crowns!” Alaric cried. “My Lord you are gullible a man.” Ablin replied, equally low in his tone. “My brother, the soldiers’ had told me true!” Alaric cried once more. His beady brown eyes seemed to bore a hole into Albin. “You My Lord are impossible” Albin scoffed to himself. The wagon once more fell into an uneasy silence.

    It seemed as if Alaric had a reason to be such. “My simple minded friend, have you yet considered my reasoning? You certainly must.” Alaric asked of Albin. In truth, Albin had not considered the Lord’s reasoning, for the scrawny Lord’s reasoning was something that one would rather not to bother themselves over. “In the last week alone, there have been two disastrous attempts at my life.” Alaric went on. “The first was in which ended in the death of my beloved niece Elizabeth, she had been cut down in a cruel piercing of knives meant f or my ailing heart.” Albin frowned at this, for he had been close to the young matriarch. “She’d been pacing in the palace gardens’, My Lord; there was simply nothing you could do to avert her unfortunate passing” Albin spoke the truth in this. It however truthful mattered little to Alaric. “The second came at the hands of a mere beggar!” Alaric gasped. “Like Elizabeth, my sentence for death would have come on the tip of a stabbing dagger! The foolish Pig of a Peasant dared to invade my quarters in search of me! The lowly b*****d was soon caught and strung up upon the banisters by his neck.” Alaric cried, raising his voice to its squeally maximum. One could not blame the would be assassins for their futile attempts. “And my armies, they make a hasty retreat from the South.” Alaric said, almost in inaudibly to himself. “Might you think it to be wise to relinquish command of your armies to a capable general? You are hardly fit to command such men.” Before Alaric had the chance to answer, the rein master beckoned for their attention, and he’d received their attention. “My noble sires’, we have arrived back at the posterns in which we departed.” He announced. “Very well, we will continue upon this matter in the nearest hours.” And with that, Alaric, Albin, and the men left the wagon.