P is for Pastoral
Godwin wiped the sweat from his forehead, glancing toward the sun. He had been chopping wood all day and piling it near the house.
Kenrick had left early that morning and had not yet returned. It was getting late. Though Kenrick could care for himself, Godwin was nevertheless concerned.
Men under the command of Aldred had recently begun to cause problems near the tiny town of Hedengarde, which Godwin now called home. These men had burned a house two nights ago, enraging Kenrick. Joan’s father ranted about it all day yesterday, and left this morning saying he would do something about it.
Godwin was concerned that Kenrick would get himself killed. Aldred was no man to be trifled with.
With a sigh, Godwin picked up some more freshly split wood and put it on the stack. He blinked over toward the house.
Joan stood in the doorway of the house, carrying Oriel on her hip. “Have you seen Father?” she said.
“No, my dear. Nothing.” Godwin straightened and stepped back to see the road more clearly. A lone horseman was riding toward them. He recognized the slight limp of the horse.
“Speak of the Devil, then,” Godwin said.
Joan turned her head, but her view was blocked by the building.
Godwin tossed the logs on the woodpile and approached Joan. He gave her and Oriel solid kisses on the forehead. “I see him down the road. I shall greet him.”
Kenrick was slouching in the saddle, clearly exhausted. “My Lord,” said Godwin.
“David,” said Kenrick.
Godwin caught the reins of the horse as Kenrick pulled up beside him. Kenrick leaned forward, slowly lifted his leg over the horse’s back, and carefully lowered himself to the ground.
“I am weary, David,” said Kenrick. “Could you bed this horse?”
“Of course, my Lord,” said Godwin. “We are glad you are home. I was getting worried.”
Kenrick frowned. “It is much worse than I had thought. Aldred is wreaking havoc.”
“We’ll speak of it later,” said Godwin, hoping to dodge the conversation. “Get yourself inside and I’ll care for this animal.”