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
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. Read more
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. Read more
The lads came running, as did his women, whose welcoming smiles faded as soon as they noticed Grimme’s arm around her. She acted as if she hadn’t seen their expressions, and soon enough Grimme dropped his arm to stoop and gather all his sons in his arms. The clamor was happy and Brìghde stood patiently, her hands folded behind her. She noticed little Pierce casting shy glances at her from the circle of Grimme’s arms and she smiled at him.
She crouched then and gestured for him to come to her. He cautiously wiggled out of Grimme’s arms and approached her warily. “Good afternoon, Master Pierce.”
“Good afternoon, Lady Bridget.”
“I have something for you.”
His eyes lit up. “You do?” Read more
The next day found them purchasing what seemed like the entire town, and, indeed, there were merchants whose bills had gone unpaid, all at the finest shops. The word had gotten out that the new countess was in town and she was settling Kyneward’s debts, and the merchants began to come to her.
Grimme was mortified, but Brìghde courteously explained that the castellan had not received the bills or he would have paid them. Read more