Later that evening Charles sat with François, Childeric and Aoibeann in his pavilion. The servants had been dismissed and Charles himself poured a round of wine into the commanders goblets. Then he filled Pepins who was seated beside him, industriously working on his history. I just want to make myself clear on one point, Charles said, contemplating his cup. Childeric, your relationship with Aoibeann, umm... is it...
Its strictly professional, Childeric finished for him.
Charles looked at Aoibeann. Aye, that it is, she confirmed. Childeric has aye treated perfaissionlike [professionally], juist as if A was one o the laddies. She reached over and slapped him on his thigh. Isna that richt, lou? [love]
Absolutely right, confirmed the Alsatian.
Aoibeann jerked a thumb at Childeric while addressing Charles. Hes nae git a wanperfaisssionlike [unprofessional] bone in his bodie. Ma certes Ive looked but cannae find a one.
Um, Aoibeann, Charles started in a worried tone.
Sae no mair, yer lairdship, interrupted Aoibeann. I ken the reason you asked me here, an its nae fer tae follow ma own pursuits. All nae let ither things mishantie [lead astray] ma reason tae be here, whilk is tae whup the nyaffie Inglis. [worthless English]
So, if, umm... a certain knight, shall we say... took a mistress, from the camp followers, shall we say... it wouldnt affect, um... your judgement with respect to this certain knight in any manner, would it?
Ach nae! A think Ad count it as a measure o progress! If he be courtin ane leddy [lady], mebbies he could court anither as weel, e?
Charles seemed taken aback by this. This certain knight... hes not...
Nae, I dinnae think sae!
The preferences of this certain knight are...
Sames as normal.
And this certain knight, hes perfectly... fit?
Ive nae heard ithergates. [otherwise]
Do you think that...
Excuse me, interrupted Childeric. But what are we talking about?
Charles and Aoibeann looked at Childeric. François was sitting back in his chair, hiding a smirk with his hand. Charles and Aoibeann looked back at each other. Aoibeann whispered to Charles, Hes sae thick as the brick, aint he? Finally Charles shrugged and said out loud, I cant remember anymore. He sat back in his chair. Now, what did I want to talk to you about tonight? he muttered. Oh yes. Priorities. He took out a letter from his pocket and started reading it.
My dearest Charles. Life here is so dreary in London. It has rained twice this week, absolutely drenching one of my outfits. The Duchess of Exeter is giving a Ball next month, and I dont have anything to wear. What a dilemma. Please send several bolts of cloth along with six seamstresses post haste. And send along one hundred more barrels of wine, our stocks of good vintages is getting somewhat depleted. Your ever loving father.
Charles crushed the letter in his hands. He chafes under his English imprisonment so much, he sobbed. If ever you have the chance to free my father and return him to the throne of France, he growled with determination, you must do so, regardless of the cost!
We will, promised François.
Our next priority, learned at great expense on the field of Poitiers, is never let the ruler of France be captured. Or, in own case, the regent.
Why yes my lord, agreed François. I will set up a special detail for your protection. And always make sure you are in a rearguard battle.
Well, I was think of something a little more foolproof, smiled Charles. I was thinking that I would never be present for battle.
Er, yes, I suppose that it would be hard for the enemy to capture you if that was the case, agreed François. But dont you need the army for your protection?
A loyal castle is all I need in that regards, assured Charles. Now for your first assignment...
March on Paris and retake control? suggested François.
Ah, no, not at present. I prefer to try to retake it... diplomatically. After all, it is held by Frenchmen. I would prefer not to take it using bloodshed. No, what I had in mind was this: I received word that there is to be a tournament in Monterey. Most of the knights havent been on the field since Poitiers. This would be a perfect opportunity to get them out while giving you your first try at field commanding.
Very well, my lord. But, where is Monterey?
Oh, somewhere in Spain, I think.
I know the way! piped up Pepin. Been there many a time!
Charles spread his hands wide. There you go!
Pepin, started François warily, are you sure you know the way to Monterey? Ive never heard you talk about Spain before.
Oh, I know the route like the back of my hand, Pepin said with finality.
Then its settled, decided Charles. You ride tomorrow!