In the twilight, Lord Tiernan’s camp moved languidly. The neatness of the tent lines gently hedged in the growing shadows from cook fires and torches. Canvas rustled, flaps opening and closing. Charcoal smoke drifted lazily. Ahead of Anie, one of the soldiers leading them encouraged them to keep moving, but her tone was unhurried. The whole crowd of them leaned lightly into their steps, looking around, talking quietly. Anie watched the men and women drifting between their tents, breathed in deep to catch the warmth of venison and broth boiling for supper.
And Momma leaned over one of the cookpots, long hair tied back with a single string, falling over one shoulder.
Anie stopped just where she was.
It had been a year to the day since he last saw her, which was about a thousand days too long. Yet, the exactness of the time seemed to bode well for Galen. He couldn’t help but grin.
Holding himself to a walk in the crowded lower city was like waiting on the tide. As soon as there was enough space, he ran. Rucksack banging against his back, new commission tucked tight inside his jacket, fast as he could without running into someone or tripping into any old lady’s lecture. The streets emptied as he wound into the richer districts. Cobblestones turned to smooth stone. The buildings spread farther apart, divided by lawns and neat gardens. He passed velvet-lined couples, men in fine coats and women trailing servants behind them. He knew they stared, but didn’t much care. He ran right up to the door of a gray stone house tucked into the crook of a street lined with three story homes, rapped hard on the door.