The ride along the river was peaceful and quiet. The breeze cooled the air of the hot summer day as he rode his jet black horse through the woods on his way back to Roxeter. He thought of the things the Queen had said to him. “The Countess has had a hard time of late good Sir. I know you will take care with her heart, but please do not be too easy on her.” He smiled to himself as he recalled the other things the Queen had confided in him. He thought it a stroke of genius that he had taken the best of his wines from his personal supply to give to the Queen. He had heard of her love of good wine, and the family weakness for bold men.
In the three hours with the Queen, he had kept her glass full and flirted with her. He knew well how to charm a woman, no matter whether she was Queen or tavern wench. He learned more in those three hours than he could bribe out of his informants in a year, and it only cost him a bottle of his best wine.
The Queen boldly bent toward him when she was whispering confidences in his ear, displaying her ample breasts. He had not known that a dress could be tailored so that a woman’s breasts could look like a bowl of melons spilling out.
He made note to purchase dresses of a similar design for Baylee to wear in the brothel, not that she needed them. That girl could keep a man’s attention with just the sway of her hips and the smile on her face. She was by far his best employee and top earner in the brothel. The dresses would be his way of thanking her for doing so well.
The Queen had let slip the amount of debt that the good Countess had amassed. It was not as bad as he had thought but he knew he would have to get what the Queen called “outrageous spending habits” under control. The Queen had also told him that the Countess was a hopeless romantic known to gamble and to drink a bit too much. Her love of romantic books and the theater had gotten her into trouble in the past. It was rumored that the Countess had had a dalliance with a young actor when she was visiting the Queen. It was said that the Countess had met the young man and he had wooed her with his soft voice and gentle ways. The Queen confided to him that she had caught them in the garden in what the Queen called “a compromising position” and the Queen had put an end to any more visits from the young man. He was never seen in the theater again and it was rumored that he left the city to seek another line of work. He was sure he could use this bit of information to his advantage in the future.
For most of the three hour audience, the Queen had told him things that he would be able to use to his advantage in his dealings with the good people of Roxeter. He asked the Queen if she knew anything about the priest, but the Queen had no knowledge of him. Something about that man did not sit right with him. There was not much that he did not know about in Roxeter. He would have to use his sources to discover the priest’s past and secrets.
He smiled to himself as he came over the hill into town. It had been a profitable visit. The Queen offered to pay for their wedding. He had learned much that would be useful to him in his new positions of Warden, Earl, and husband.
Soon the town would be totally under his control. More business would come to him, both of the honest and less than honest varieties. Business was business and money was money.
He would go straight to the brothel to see his Karissa. It had been too long since he had crushed her to him in his arms. Lately she had been quiet around him and he was sure it was because of things that were happening in his life. Being commanded by the Queen to take the Countess as his bride had not sat well with his Karissa. He would ask her soon for her hand also. He would take her as his Mistress before he wed the Countess.
After making things right with Karissa, he would ride to the Countess and talk to her about his conversation with the Queen. He was sure it would not be a pleasant conversation. There were going to be changes in the Countess’s life.
He spurred the horse to a trot and moved quickly to the docks. His life had surely changed over the past few months. He was a happy man, a very happy man!