Wrapped tightly in her cloak against the chill in the air, Karissa walked through the woods and took the ferry over to the island. She climbed to the top of the rocks and sat down, looking over the docks at Roxeter.
It had been several weeks since Bryantt and Baylee had set sail for France on the Queen’s business. She missed them both terribly, but knew it must be important.
She loved coming up here. It was peaceful, quiet, and a good place to meditate. The town had been quiet recently. After questioning everyone he was suddenly absent. Jark, a traveling musician, had made himself a steady fixture in the town and the tavern. He had been most helpful, especially after the mysterious fire. Closing her eyes, she could still see the bright flash and the flames that took over. Jark, Desire, and many of the town people came to the aid to put out the flames. Desire helped poor Sally who was badly burned. Jark took over the repairs and completed them with the help of Will the blacksmith. Gregor took on the task of investigating the cause of the fire, but sometimes she thought he looked like he already knew. He had been busy with other things, but she was not sure what.
Karissa was grateful that he did. Her mind was far away these days. All she seemed to do was to drink herself into a deeper depression. Jark had shown an interest in her, but saw that her heart was aching for another.
The Countess had become somewhat of a recluse. She was not sure what she might be up to. She stayed locked in the castle most of the time since Bryantt left.
Karissa hoped that one day in the future the town would be the buzzing place it had once been. She thought of all the money coming in from Bryantt’s various businesses, and how much he would like that. “More money for the Countess to spend,” she thought, sighing softly. She knew she would have to do something to protect Bryantt’s interests, and that probably meant a trip to the castle to speak to Viv.
In Bryantt’s absence, the Castle Guardsman Roger had been taking on some of the duties of the Warden under Vivienne’s instructions. He had made short work of the warrant for Desire’s arrest to be questioned by Father Matthew. He captured her and threw her into the castle jail.
Karissa reached inside her pocket and took out the ring Bryantt had given her on the night of their handfasting. It was always with her. She twirled it around on her finger before sliding it firmly into place. She looked out over the water, took a deep breath, and closed her eyes. She exhaled slowly, trying to release the tension of the last few weeks. She stood and then made her carefully down the rocks. As she headed home, she said a silent prayer for Bryantt and Baylee’s safe return.