I'm not part of the #SaturdayScenes official group, but I still like to post a scene now and then to prove that work is crawling forward on my current book. Often slowly and painfully, but still it moves.
Plains of Southern Kulhn:
Baron Jurtos snarled, “Mestil, if you don’t shut up I am going to ram my fist down your neck, grab your pouch, and yank it out between your teeth. If you weren’t my wife’s cousin I would have cut your throat years ago, but that won’t save you forever.”
Mestil laughed. “The day you try is the day I finally get to feed your carcass to my favorite pup.” He looked ahead, where Duchess Julianna’s fortress was looming. Her personal colors were flying from the wall towers, to show that she was in residence. But the main keep was surmounted by a larger flag that showed the royal deer on a some kind of forest-ey background. Over both of them, the queen’s own standard proudly challenged the afternoon wind.
“Besides,” Mestil said absently, “You need me to vouch for you with the guards. Otherwise, they will never believe someone as ragged as you are could possibly be noble.”
Jurtos growled something obscene, but Mestil ignored it. He looked back at their escort and said, “Tighten up! We are calling on royalty. If any of you embarrass us, I will draw and quarter you with my own hands.”
The men, ten of his and ten supplied by Jurtos, stiffened in the saddle. They started tightening and checking their armor and gear.
“You are more likely to embarrass us than they are, Mestil,” Jurtos said. “Can you please, for once in your rampaging life, try to act like a civilized person?”
Mestil barked a laugh. “Me? From what the stories say, the new princess grew up in a cave. Literally. Of course I’ll act properly around the queen, and the prince. And I’ll make a show of respect for the princess. But you don’t really think that she’ll know the difference, do you?”
The drawbridge and main gate were blocked by a camp full of soldiers, none of whom looked impressed by the approaching pair of nobles. They finally stopped when two men, one of whom was nearly as large as Mestil and Jurtos together, stepped forward to intercept them.
The big one wore plate and carried a warhammer. The smaller one, who was only slighter larger than the biggest man-at-arms in Mestil’s service, carried a bow and wore wolfskin leather. There was a dagger and a hunting horn on his belt.
Mestil eyed the smaller man with interest. So this was one of the men who lived with witches openly, and slaughtered temple warriors with such ease. He didn’t look unusual. Just proved again that you couldn’t tell much from appearances.
Jurtos said, “I am Baron Jurtos, this is Baron Mestil. We have come to offer respect and congratulations to the royal house, and to pledge our support to Prince Peteros.”
The two glanced at each other. The huge one said, “Wait just a moment. We’ll get you an escort.” The other one turned and blew a shattering blast in a simple pattern that Mestil didn’t recognize. It didn’t take long for a small child to stroll through the gate and head their way. Mestil blinked and even went so far as to look at Jurtos, who seemed equally puzzled.
The little girl, who looked about ten, ambled up to them whistling a soft tune. “Whatcha need, fellers? Who’s this bunch?”
The huge one bowed to the little girl. “Milady. They claim to be barons who have come to swear for Pete, and congratulate him and your sister. And grovel for everyone in the castle they can catch, of course. Are they lying?”
Mestil bristled. “Wait right there, sirrah.” The girl looked at him and he stopped thinking or breathing. Her eyes became his whole world. Afterward, he had no idea how long it lasted or what had happened. He slumped and shook his head, dizzy. She looked at Jurtos, who stiffened.
“They’re telling the truth,” the little girls said. “They wanna weasel some special treats for themselves, naturally. But Julianna said everybody is gonna be doing that. I’d say take ‘em in and let Lora sort ‘em. She told me every low down noble in the kingdom is gonna show up here sooner or later if she sticks around.” Mestil felt his belly tighten at her casual use of the queen’s given name.
Jurtos coughed softly and asked, in the politest voice he had, “I beg your pardon, milady. Did I hear correctly? Are you Princess Jessera’s sister?”
She spat on the ground between herself and their horses. “Yeah. What about it? And quite calling me milady. I put up with it from Lankar ‘cause kicking him just makes him laugh at me, and it ain’t right to use magic on a friend. But you ain’t a friend. So quit. You can call me Lili. If nothing else will do you, call me ma’am. It ain’t my fault that stupid Code wouldn’t let Pete and Jess get together until he made her a baroness. I was born a peasant, I’m still a peasant, and that’s good enough for anyone.” She pushed out her lower lip and glared.
“Certainly, er, ma’am,” Mestil said weakly.