The entire house was in an uproar, servants scurried about readying the guest rooms. Pig and lamb roasting in a pit, various vegetables being peeled and prepared, the baker had already prepared loaves of bed for the trenchers and pies of cherry and peach. Kegs of ale and honeyed mead brought up from the cellars.
Caelan viewed all the activity with amusement, her violet eyes sparkling. All this for a warlord. True her father owed his fealty to Malan, and to provide him with lodgings after a successful campaign was an honor.
“Caelan, girl you must make yourself presentable. Lord Malan is a fine man, a fierce warrior and he expects the best, it will not do for you to appear in your daily rags,” her mother chided her.
“Yes Mother,” she sighed heading to her room to dress. Her mother wore her finest garments, even her father was impressive in his finery. Caelan had no wish to be here; she wanted to be in the stables with Conri, the man she was desperately in love with. But Conri was busy preparing the stables to house several more horses. Horses he would be expected to groom and tend. His image danced before her eyes bringing a brilliant smile to her lips. She had loved him at first sight four years ago when her father hired him. Of course the tall, dark haired blue eyed man paid little attention to a smitten fourteen year old. At twenty four he was a man of the world. She had practically lived at the stable and he eventually fell in love with the spirited, beautiful maiden. Now eighteen the once gangly girl had blossomed into a beauty with her long dark hair and unusual violet eyes, full lips and curvaceous figure.
Running a brush through her waist length hair, long delicate fingers plaited two thin braids to grace either side of her oval shaped face. She pinched her cheeks and bit her lips to infuse a hint of color in her creamy complexion. Dressed in a lavender kirtle over her chemise, a gold filigree chain around her waist and soft slippers on her feet she left her room.
She heard a commotion and a booming voice praising her father for the feast and lodging for the night. Keeping her eyes averted she entered the room and all conversation ceased. Looking up in surprise her violet gaze met the steely green of a huge warrior. A thick mane of tawny hair and stern lips, his body well muscled. Her mouth dropped open, blushing as his gaze raked over her body, a slow smile curving those rakish lips.
“Don’t just stand there gawking girl, you can help your mother serve ale and mead to our guests. Her father barked.
Stunned Caelan jumped and hastened to fetch the ale, wanting to get away from the warlord. His gaze and presence unsettling.