“You’ll have to forgive the boy for not appearing,” said Lady Saul the next morning — or so Lord Baenarn called her in his head; he couldn’t always keep the names of the farmers straight. “I think maybe you reminded him of something untoward. When you spoke of Sirith, he went as white as a new babe’s tooth, and I would have thought he could have fainted, if he weren’t already sitting down.”
“When was that?” Baenarn asked. “I haven’t seen him either sitting or standing around this house at all this morning.”
“Oh, this wasn’t today,” said Lady Saul. “Only when your Captain came around last night, to see to the accommodations for your men. Some of the boys clustered all ‘round him, for they do love a good tale. I thought I might have to intervene, but they were able to get a few stories out of him. Where was I? Oh, yes, Chard. Well, now: the Captain was speaking to old Hutch of the tyrant lord: Lord Kobold. Chard, see, he was coming down the stairs just over there. He takes one look at your Captain and hears his words, and he goes white a new babe’s tooth, just as I said. I was stirring at the cauldron, and when I looked up next, he t’weren’t there anymore. Hutch found him round the back after, lookin’ like he might be sick.”
“The Lord Kobold has left deep scars on this land,” Baenarn said. “Do you think he was a refugee from the war, then?”
“Almost certainly,” said Lady Saul.
Lord Baenarn bowed his head, saying nothing.