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Braydon stared down the messenger, a letter in hand, with great concentration.
“Is this the truth?”
“Well, it would not have our father’s seal if it were not the case now would it?” His elder brother, displaying more composure than Braydon, looked at the letter or more specifically the seal on it. Braydon rolled his eyes at his brother’s literal answer.
“That was not a question for you, George, nor was it to be taken so literally.”
“On matters more pertinent, what are you going to be doing now?” George dismissed the messenger and pointed at the letter now laying on the desk with scattered letters and a quill within arms reach of the chair in front of it.
Braydon rubbed the scar on his cheek, thinking about his next course of action, ignoring the impatient stare of his brother. His thoughts were disturbed by the door of the study opening. A calm figure entering and settling his gaze upon the open letter among the scattered paper around it.
“I heard about it from the messenger, not quite the expected outcome.”
“It would be strange if you did expect such a result, Sam.” Braydon retorted, irritated that his thinking had been disrupted in such a nonchalant manner.
“Now, now Bray. It is not the time to be so feisty, you have a viscounty to inherit, and the border is still two days’ travel from here, and Sam would never wish such a fate upon our father.”
Braydon’s eyebrow raised at the use of a nickname his brother knew he held no fondness for. Thinking better of retorting as he knew it would only be fodder for Samuel; and George would only be more than happy to see it happen. He knew he would have to go to Cliforge to take up his inheritance of the viscounty, and his elder brother would not let him stay in the earldom long, not with his popularity among their father’s knights. Not that he would stay long, lest his younger brother claim his viscounty with the support of his elder brother, now Earl Fiton, head of House Fiton.
“At least our father’s contributions were not in vain, Braydon, you won’t have to deal with the Grand Duke’s armies for some time.” Samuel’s smile didn’t reach his eyes and Braydon knew it, whilst a truce had been drawn the Grand Duchy of Shuluk would still be a threat in coming years, and he didn’t have half of his father’s troops or reputation at court. Though his most pressing concern was that Cliforge castle was the only place left untouched after the viscounty was made the battlefield of choice of both the Grand Duke’s armies and the armies of the other lords of Fiveria; it wasn’t their domains so they had fought and taken previsions from the local villages with impunity. Matters which his astute younger brother would most definitely be aware of.
“I will be gone within three days, George, I presume you will not be so hard on me as to let me leave without provisions and my men?” Stating this was a must with George, lest he find his brother sending him off without even a horse and food for the journey.
“Of course, I would not want the other lords to think I do not even treat my own brother with respect.”
‘Or, you’re talking out of your arse and would happily leave me for dead if it didn’t bear negatively on your reputation.’ Braydon had half a mind to say as much but kept his tongue. He knew if he truly said that both his brothers would have spread rumours of his foul mouth and hatred for his family around half of the kingdom before he even reached his fief.
“Thank you, Earl, I should hope to see your virtuous nature bring great prosperity to your domain.” Braydon drew a line between himself and his brother, he almost shuddered at the prospect of the heartless bastard even considering him as family. He already hated the fact that he shared the characteristic brown hair and bright green eyes of the House of Fiton’s scions with his brothers, he didn’t need any more similarities with them.
Braydon held a great fondness for the knights especially those who chose to follow him to his new lands, despite the brighter future that would follow the knight of an earl, and choosing to be the knights of a viscount of a razed fief on the border. Albeit that meant two knights, but two of seven was nothing to scoff at. Heaven knows that Braydon needed all the help he could get. At least his father had the sense to equip the knights he didn’t take with him to purgatory as well as the ones he did, one of the few things that Braydon had going for him at the minute. He was not exactly going to the wealthiest of lands, the neighbouring Lords would have already tried to take it from him if it were, at least he and his retainers were well armoured and knew how to swing their swords.
“My Lord, we should think of where we rest for the night, this journey will still take us into tomorrow even if we try pushing on to the next town, I suggest we camp early as to make good time in the morning.”
Braydon looked up at the sun which was still a small way from setting yet, then looked down at his knights, musing that Gerald’s flattened nose must have come from a particularly drunken brawl. Their squires and Braydon’s attendant Steven following up behind them on the spare horses-c**-pack-mules, George had not been so gracious as to give him a wagon to carry his belongings. Though Braydon would have denied one had it been offered, he didn’t trust his brother’s good intentions as far as he could throw them.
“Sir Gerald, the sun is still high, we can travel for another hour yet. Let us find an appropriate place to rest the horses before we call it a day.”
Gerald and Rhydian saluted, holding their right arm across their chest.
As nightfall drew closer they stayed at the side of the road. Letting the luggage off of the horses and setting a fire with some logs they brought and twigs found along the journey. They sat on their bedrolls and ate the bread they had been given as provisions. There was no way George was going to give them anything better. At least Braydon could rest easy. Despite all the man’s hateful qualities he wouldn’t be caught dead being seen to have poisoned his own brother.
Just thinking of his brother with that pretentious smile and faux politeness ticked Braydon off. He was unsure whether to be glad to be rid of George, or to be annoyed that his brother was sleeping soundly in his mansion in Heimron. It was the town that his father had built up during his time as the 10th Earl of Fiton. He consoled himself the fact that at least his father cared enough about him to give him the viscounty. Given how popular Braydon ended up being with his father’s knights, his father had been forced to include him in the will. And Braydon knew this. There had been no great love between the two; not to mention the viscounty had been neglected by the Fitons since his grandfather inherited the title after the 13th Viscount of Cliforge had died with no heir.
“Bank the fire, we need to be up early in the morning and I do not want to be set alight before I have to wake up.”
One of the squires immediately set to it as the rest of the group turned over to get some sleep. They would need the energy in the morning.
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