Black as Knight – Grimme and Brìghde Chapter 28

The screaming commenced as soon as the six of them were spotted rounding the turn into the lane that led to the keep just after suppertime. At first it was faint, but got sharper as it grew nearer.

The boys were slumped in their saddles, half asleep, more than ready to let their ponies carry them without direction and simply hold on to their pommels and the manes.

Brìghde and Grimme were leading the ponies from horseback, and their horses hadn’t had a good run all day so they were antsy and irritated, dancing and prancing and pawing. Grimme could almost see the ponies rolling their eyes. Read more

Black as Knight – Grimme and Brìghde Chapter 27

Brìghde supervised the loading of her linens and livery, which was a true count according to the bill Sir John had received. Furthermore, she had all the clothing she had ordered. She beamed at the seamstress, for the clothes were well sewn and softer than they looked.

“’Tis too plain for you, my lady,” the seamstress said. “You should be in green or black velvet.”

“Oh, I will be!” she assured her. “I ordered many new gowns in Hogarth. Only one black, but don’t tell Lord Kyneward. He hates black. But the clothier tried to sell me a yellow fabric, do you believe.” The seamstress studied Brìghde’s complexion then grimaced, and Brìghde nodded in agreement. “Just so. ’Twas the most expensive fabric in the shop, which is no surprise. My wedding dress was a red split kirtle over a turquoise skirt.”

“Oh, that sounds lovely.” Read more

Black as Knight – Grimme and Brìghde Chapter 26

Grimme had to do something. Gaston was ten. He should have been gone to apprentice as a page three years ago. Max was nine. He should have been gone two. Terrwyn was seven, and he should be preparing to go right this moment.

They could barely get into the saddle, much less ride. His head groom had told him the boys were so defiant about grooming, they were affecting the horses, so Grimme had ordered them to muck stalls and had had to stand over them to get them to work. He didn’t want to thrash them, but he was willing to, and since he had never expressed anger toward them before, this was dire. Read more

Black as Knight – Grimme and Brìghde Chapter 25

Brìghde spent the next week with Grimme in the mornings riding Helen and Troy, accustoming the animal to being cared for gently, which seemed to be her biggest problem. Helen still threw Grimme if he wanted her to run without Troy, but the distances she covered before doing so were getting longer and longer.

After the first day, Brìghde requested that they not take Helen out or allow her to see Troy immediately, but that they take time to comb her and feed her a small treat and speak to her gently before she was saddled. It took several days before Helen would believe that where Brìghde and Grimme went, treats went also.

“I wish I’d done this sooner,” Grimme murmured as he fed her oats from his hand before their ride. “I’ve been so busy trying to get her to obey I haven’t spent enough time getting to know her.” He looked up over Helen’s neck and smiled. “I suppose there is a point to spoiling a horse. Thank you, Lady Wife.” Read more

Black as Knight – Grimme and Brìghde Chapter 24

At breakfast the next morn, she leaned toward Grimme and whispered, “Did you talk about the bills with your paramours?”

He looked at her, confused. “No. Why would I? The merchants are paid and you told them not to serve them if they had no coin and you said you wouldn’t allow them to go shopping in the foreseeable future anyway. That is household business and your domain.”

Brìghde sighed and left the subject.

After breakfast, Grimme took Brìghde to the mares’ stable and introduced her to all of them. Half of them were named Mary. The other half all had names of Greek goddesses that he said fit their temperaments.

Then they came to a halt at Helen’s stall.

“If you could fetch Troy … ” he asked politely.

“Of course!” Read more