A few days had passed since the grand feast at the Rock and things had settled down a bit. The life of a squire was never easy but often dull and today was certainly that. Lord Amig had left early the same morning bringing one of his other squires with him, which had left Cadry to his own devices during the evening after having attended to his shores. Lately Cadry had been in a introspective and distant mood which for him was a completely new experience. Many of his thoughts were focused on the future: becoming a knight, being lord of a manor, earning fame and fortune and most of all the thoughts of marrying. This last thought was also the most perplexing since before last year no woman ever caught Cadry’s fancy for long and were soon forgotten. Brangwen had however proved quite different. It was not just that she was more beautiful to his eyes than any other woman but also the fact that she was a mystery and always made sure that every encounter happened on her terms.
Ponderings these thoughts, Cadry had slipped off to a secluded spot in one of the pantries to avoid being forced to do more boring shores. No one really knew about the loose shelves that could be pushed to the sides except for him and his little brother.
“I thought I’d find you here,” said Melkin as he pulled the shelves close behind him smiling. “How long have you been slacking off for?”
Caught off guard, Cadry jumped to his feet and banged his head on the shelf right above him. “Ow!” Glaring at his little brother he replied: “Who’s slacking? I have already done all I was supposed to. When did you get done or are you the one sneaking off dodging the Steward?”
Melkin made a face. “He seems to think that I work for him now ever since I served that wine at the feast. I look forward to going to Castle Borders again.”
“I mostly look forward to going home to Tisbury for my part.” Sighing a bit Cadry moved over to make room for Melkin. “I miss the forest” he said with a wistful look in his eyes.
“The forest,” said Melkin and studied his brother’s face carefully, “or her?”
Looking a bit annoyed and embarrassed over the fact that he apparently wore his feelings and thoughts on his face. “Well, I am complex and can miss many things at the same time. Missing ones home and missing a pretty woman are one and the same to many men”.
“True,” said Melkin, “if they are married, but you don’t seem to get this woman out of your head. I dare say you have fallen so hard for her that you’ve hit your head on the ground and lost your wits.”
“O ho, I think me that my brother sharpened his tongue on a whetstone this morning, for his words cut straight to the heart of the matter.” Looking a bit unhappy, Cadry sighed and leaned back. “You are of course correct. That woman has taken my heart into her keeping and she did it merely with a glance, a smile and a song. If I didn’t know better I would say that she was a faerie or an enchantress.” Scratching his head he continued, “I do know better fortunately but that doesn’t change how I feel”.
Melkin sat down next to his brother and looked at him. “She sure seems to have put a spell on you, but why not just tell her how you feel then? I mean it’s hardly like she’d say no, now is it? You are used to women, of course she will like you.”
Cadry looked exasperated and quickly retorted " I have told her but she merely smiles at me and then deflect the conversation to other matters. I don’t even know where she is from, not even that does she tell me. It’s infuriating and frustrating and annoying…." Cadry’s sentence faded out into nothing but he seemed feeling something rather different that what he had claimed.
“… and you like it,” concluded Melkin. “I see. Well, in that case you will have to win her heart. Sing her a song, read her a poem or bring her flowers, girls like flowers right?”
“Normally I would agree but in this case I feel like I know nothing. I feel like all my certainty is gone which I must say is a novel feeling. Is this how you usually feel around girls?”
Melkin cleared his throat and gave his brother a sideway look. “Yes, welcome to my world, you big handsome jackass. That is exactly how I feel around girls and,” he added, “probably how they feel around you except for this one.”
A slight glimmer of understanding flashed in Cadry’s eyes but quickly died again. “Well that must be exhausting” he said showing some sympathy but little true understanding. “It really should be easier: you meet someone, you love someone and then you make a life with someone.” Gathering up his thoughts he pressed on to a different subject to leave the one that made him uncomfortable behind. “There is something else I have been thinking about”, he said solemnly.
“You’re being exhausting,” muttered Melkin to himself and then added: “How’s your head doing?”
Missing the hidden barb directed at him, Cadry kept going: " My head is doing fine but that wasn’t what I meant. I was thinking about the day of the feast." Looking slightly ashamed he stroked his beard and glanced over at his brother. “We should have stuck together like we always do. Maybe things would have turned out differently” he said and looked at the still healing wound on Melkin’s neck. "I should also have turned around during the horserace last year instead of just staring forward and trying to win. If Gamond hadn’t been there you might have died in that damn cursed river. I just can’t seem to have the same overview or perspective that you and Amig seem to have. " Lowering his head Cadry for once looked truly ashamed and dejected.
Looking at his brother with a surprised expression on his face Melkin felt he had to object: “It wasn’t your fault,” he said loudly. “I fell into the water trying to ride after you, and the rat…” he touched his healing wound. “That was just me making a fool out of myself. If you cannot trust me to kill a rat even with Gamond, then I’m really no good at all.”
Looking unconvinced, Cadry looked straight at his brother and seemed to consider his words. “Be that as it may, but we are supposed to take care of each other and you seem to be the one who does most of that work. I just run ahead and forget that others depend on me just as much as I depend on them. If you and Maelgwyn and Gamond hadn’t been there for me then where would I be by now? Probably dead is where I would be.” Breathing in he kept going “We are going to be knights soon and if we can’t keep an eye on each other we are going to get killed because some lousy saxon manages to sneak up behind us and stab us in the back with a dagger or spear or something else.”
Melkin knew when his brother was serious. It wasn’t all too often but when Cadry really meant something he would prove it in blood if needed be. The passion in Cadry’s eyes almost always filled Melkin with the same feelings of unity and so he was swept away by his brother’s words. “We will not let any saxon cut us down!” he said fiercely. “Together we are strong, and if keep together we will only get stronger. We will do things that would have made our fathers proud, and we too will be remembered!”