Dragon Tales

Table of Contents

The Trouble with Willoe

This was a scene that had been cut from early in Fire of the Covenant, though I always thought it helped to understand Willoe and Rowyn’s personalities and their relationship. It also gives some insight into Willoe’s nature and why she constantly ran afoul of her grandfather and many others.

The sound of boots echoed on the stone floor, and Willoe looked up as her twin, Rowyn, approached; a book tucked under his arm. The solution to her problem suddenly came to her. She put on the sweetest smile she could muster.

“Row, I was just looking for you.”

“I was in the library researching something Uncle Brom had told me about.” He smiled in return. Well, as much as his dour personality allowed. In face and frame, they were almost identical, same flaming curly red hair and bright green eyes, and just of average height for twelve-year olds. Gender and personality were a different story.

“I should have guessed,” she said sarcastically, then remembered what she wanted and changed to a more sympathetic tone, “He sure knows a lot of things.”

“He does. Did you know that Pembroke used to be its own kingdom?” He opened the book, the History of Cainwen engraved in the cover, and flipped through it until he found the page he wanted. “It says that Pembroke and Cainwen were united through marriage and one of our ancestors became the First Duke.”

“You don’t say.” She feigned interest.

“Yes. It’s true.” He closed the book. “It was one of Casandra’s forefathers. That’s why she’s, our cousin.” He rarely grinned like he now was, except when he learned something new that he could share.

She frowned, lowered her head, just enough, but still making sure he could see her eyes, and sighed. “Speaking of Casandra and Uncle Brom.” She groaned again. “He’s expecting me for lessons, but Casandra needs my help.”

“Just tell him, he’ll understand.”

“Casandra wants it kept a secret.” She leaned closer and whispered, looking from side to side.

Rowyn paused for a moment, then said, “Don’t tell him what you have to do.” His lips twisted as he pulled back a little and titled his head warily.

“You know Uncle; he won’t give up until he gets it out of me.” She lifted her head a little, with the hint of a smile. “But if you took my place, he would never know.’ Her shoulders drooped and bit her lower lip. “It would really mean a lot to Casandra.”

“I can’t do it.” Rowyn’s eyes went wide.

The click of boots sounded from down the hallway, around a corner. She would have to hurry.

“Of course, you can.” She swiftly removed her cloak and put it over his shoulders, then pulled it closed. “His apartments are always cold; you can leave the hood up. We sound enough alike that he won’t know.” At twelve, Rowyn’s voice hadn’t changed yet. Then she looked to make sure no one saw before stepping away.

“I…” Rowyn said hesitantly as his nose wrinkled and his eyes narrowed.

“Casandra and I are indebted to you.” She said over her shoulder as she hurried up the hallway. It had taken her all morning to convince her ten-year-old cousin, Casandra, to sneak out of the castle. With Protector Dougal believing Willoe in lessons, they would have a couple of Turns of the sandglass before she was missed. More than enough time to explore some of the city without the Protector in tow.

 Dragon Image

Returning to the castle, Willoe was exhausted and just wanted to go to Casandra’s and her apartments. It had been quite an adventure, until they came across the Trader and his guards. If Protector Dougal had not come along and scared off the trader’s guards—she could still feel the strange heat that had filled her when the guard stood threateningly over her with the stable tine.

A page approached and bowed to Willoe. His face was contorted with contempt as he rose, but quickly reverted to the neutral expression common among his kind. Willoe realized she must look like she had just come from a farm. Straw still stuck out from her hair and clothing.

“The king requires you attend him.”

“Do you know why?” She hoped for a bath, while her handmaiden Dilys brought up a platter from the kitchens.

“I cannot say.” The page frowned as if she shouldn’t be asking him. He didn’t wait to be questioned further and bowed, then left.

Willoe imagined the King must have heard that she had helped a cutpurse escape from the Trader. He would be furious, and, in that mood, Grandfather would not want to hear her side of it.

She stood in front of the door and tried to straighten her dress, a hopeless attempt, as a page stepped through the doorway to announce her to the King.

“Grandfather.” She bowed as she entered the King’s Solar. A whiff of smoke, from the hearth, contrasted with the spicy scent of the room’s cherry wood paneling.

He sat at his desk reading but lifted his head long enough to give her a quick scowl before returning to the scroll in his hands. “A trader has come to the gate to complain that you prevented him from seizing a cut-purse.”

“I didn’t—” she blurted then brought both hands up to her mouth…too late.

The King’s fingers clenched around the scroll and Willoe could hear what almost sounded like a low growl. He looked up, his face crimson and his jaw clenched.

“Don’t lie to me!”

It seemed like she wasn’t going to be able to hide the fact and resigned herself to a confession when the page stepped in again.

“Prince Brom, Your Majesty.”

Before her grandfather could answer, the door opened wider, and Uncle Brom entered. He stepped up next to Willoe, her chin only coming up to this chest, and he looked down at her. “Didn’t I tell you to return right after you retrieved the book from your apartment?” His voice was a little harsh, which was strange for her mild-mannered uncle. In response to Willoe’s shocked expression, Uncle Brom turned slightly so grandfather couldn’t see, smiled, and whispered, “Keep quiet.”

“The girl was down in the city causing problems…again.” The king shifted his eyes from Uncle Brom to her.

Willoe’s uncle turned so he faced his father. “Ahh, yes. Rowyn came and told me about that.” He shook his head as if in disbelief. “A peasant girl, in league with the cutpurse, was dressed in a cape like Willoe and Casandra’s. A common ploy. They steal a noble’s cloak to get closer to their victims. A trick you would think beyond a peasant’s ability.”

“But the trader?” Her grandfather’s bushy eyebrows knitted.

“Trying to recover his losses from the realm I suppose.” Uncle Brom shook his head again. “Merchants will do anything for a golden dragon or two.”

“I…” the King started but seemed to change his mind. “Mattick,” he called out for one of his pages. “We will see if this trader still wants to lie to his King after a time with the gaoler.”

“I apologize, Sire.” Uncle Brom bowed his head slightly, and Willoe thought he really did look apologetic. “On my way here, I came across the Captain of the Guard, and I told the captain to send the trader away.”

“You did what?” The king stood and pressed both fists on the desktop as he leaned forward.

“I told him about the peasant girl and that the trader had no claim.” Uncle Brom shrugged; the serious expression partially hidden by his straggly beard. With his hair in disarray, normal for her uncle, he looked like he had just risen from a night’s sleep. “I saw no point in letting the trader stay and waste any more of the Court’s time.”

“Your Majesty.” Mattick came in from one of the other rooms.

Willoe’s grandfather just shook his head with eyes closed. Still leaning on the desk, he turned his head to look at the page. “Go back to your work.” Then he faced Uncle Brom and Willoe once again as the page left the room.

“And you two.” He glared at Uncle Brom. “Leave me.” He dropped back into his chair rubbing his temple with eyes closed.

“Sire.” Uncle Brom bowed, as did Willoe, even though the king was not watching. They both left.

Willoe couldn’t believe her luck. Uncle Brom’s arrival couldn’t have been better timed.

“I’m sorry Uncle. I was delayed getting back to my lessons.” She didn’t know which book she was supposed to retrieve but thought she could come up with a good excuse.

“You should remember something in the future.” Uncle Brom put a hand on her shoulder as they walked down the steps in the tower.

She looked up with a smile.

He looked down and his smile faded. “Rowyn loves his studies and is a far better scholar than you, especially as you see no point in delving into the past. He gets extremely involved when we talk about a subject he enjoys.”

She had to agree he was better at anything related to books. It was one of the few times he seemed to come alive. Suddenly, she remembered Rowyn had come with her newly met cousin, Casandra’s older brother Aeron, and Protector Dougal to rescue her in the city. Her lesson with Uncle Brom would have ended long before now.

He gripped her shoulder tighter. “Especially in history, his favorite subject.” He pulled the book Rowyn had been carrying earlier out from his cloak and handed it to her. “I expect a summary of each chapter.”

Willoe gritted her teeth. She was going to kill Rowyn when she saw him.

The sound of boots echoed on the stone floor, and Willoe looked up as her twin, Rowyn, approached; a book tucked under his arm. The solution to her problem suddenly came to her. She put on the sweetest smile she could muster.

“Row, I was just looking for you.”

“I was in the library researching something Uncle Brom had told me about.” He smiled in return. Well, as much as his dour personality allowed. In face and frame, they were almost identical, same flaming curly red hair and bright green eyes, and just of average height for twelve-year olds. Gender and personality were a different story.

“I should have guessed,” she said sarcastically, then remembered what she wanted and changed to a more sympathetic tone, “He sure knows a lot of things.”

“He does. Did you know that Pembroke used to be its own kingdom?” He opened the book, the History of Cainwen engraved in the cover, and flipped through it until he found the page he wanted. “It says that Pembroke and Cainwen were united through marriage and one of our ancestors became the First Duke.”

“You don’t say.” She feigned interest.

“Yes. It’s true.” He closed the book. “It was one of Casandra’s forefathers. That’s why she’s, our cousin.” He rarely grinned like he now was, except when he learned something new that he could share.

She frowned, lowered her head, just enough, but still making sure he could see her eyes, and sighed. “Speaking of Casandra and Uncle Brom.” She groaned again. “He’s expecting me for lessons, but Casandra needs my help.”

“Just tell him, he’ll understand.”

“Casandra wants it kept a secret.” She leaned closer and whispered, looking from side to side.

Rowyn paused for a moment, then said, “Don’t tell him what you have to do.” His lips twisted as he pulled back a little and titled his head warily.

“You know Uncle; he won’t give up until he gets it out of me.” She lifted her head a little, with the hint of a smile. “But if you took my place, he would never know.’ Her shoulders drooped and bit her lower lip. “It would really mean a lot to Casandra.”

“I can’t do it.” Rowyn’s eyes went wide.

The click of boots sounded from down the hallway, around a corner. She would have to hurry.

“Of course, you can.” She swiftly removed her cloak and put it over his shoulders, then pulled it closed. “His apartments are always cold; you can leave the hood up. We sound enough alike that he won’t know.” At twelve, Rowyn’s voice hadn’t changed yet. Then she looked to make sure no one saw before stepping away.

“I…” Rowyn said hesitantly as his nose wrinkled and his eyes narrowed.

“Casandra and I are indebted to you.” She said over her shoulder as she hurried up the hallway. It had taken her all morning to convince her ten-year-old cousin, Casandra, to sneak out of the castle. With Protector Dougal believing Willoe in lessons, they would have a couple of Turns of the sandglass before she was missed. More than enough time to explore some of the city without the Protector in tow.

 Dragon Image

Returning to the castle, Willoe was exhausted and just wanted to go to Casandra’s and her apartments. It had been quite an adventure, until they came across the Trader and his guards. If Protector Dougal had not come along and scared off the trader’s guards—she could still feel the strange heat that had filled her when the guard stood threateningly over her with the stable tine.

A page approached and bowed to Willoe. His face was contorted with contempt as he rose, but quickly reverted to the neutral expression common among his kind. Willoe realized she must look like she had just come from a farm. Straw still stuck out from her hair and clothing.

“The king requires you attend him.”

“Do you know why?” She hoped for a bath, while her handmaiden Dilys brought up a platter from the kitchens.

“I cannot say.” The page frowned as if she shouldn’t be asking him. He didn’t wait to be questioned further and bowed, then left.

Willoe imagined the King must have heard that she had helped a cutpurse escape from the Trader. He would be furious, and, in that mood, Grandfather would not want to hear her side of it.

She stood in front of the door and tried to straighten her dress, a hopeless attempt, as a page stepped through the doorway to announce her to the King.

“Grandfather.” She bowed as she entered the King’s Solar. A whiff of smoke, from the hearth, contrasted with the spicy scent of the room’s cherry wood paneling.

He sat at his desk reading but lifted his head long enough to give her a quick scowl before returning to the scroll in his hands. “A trader has come to the gate to complain that you prevented him from seizing a cut-purse.”

“I didn’t—” she blurted then brought both hands up to her mouth…too late.

The King’s fingers clenched around the scroll and Willoe could hear what almost sounded like a low growl. He looked up, his face crimson and his jaw clenched.

“Don’t lie to me!”

It seemed like she wasn’t going to be able to hide the fact and resigned herself to a confession when the page stepped in again.

“Prince Brom, Your Majesty.”

Before her grandfather could answer, the door opened wider, and Uncle Brom entered. He stepped up next to Willoe, her chin only coming up to this chest, and he looked down at her. “Didn’t I tell you to return right after you retrieved the book from your apartment?” His voice was a little harsh, which was strange for her mild-mannered uncle. In response to Willoe’s shocked expression, Uncle Brom turned slightly so grandfather couldn’t see, smiled, and whispered, “Keep quiet.”

“The girl was down in the city causing problems…again.” The king shifted his eyes from Uncle Brom to her.

Willoe’s uncle turned so he faced his father. “Ahh, yes. Rowyn came and told me about that.” He shook his head as if in disbelief. “A peasant girl, in league with the cutpurse, was dressed in a cape like Willoe and Casandra’s. A common ploy. They steal a noble’s cloak to get closer to their victims. A trick you would think beyond a peasant’s ability.”

“But the trader?” Her grandfather’s bushy eyebrows knitted.

“Trying to recover his losses from the realm I suppose.” Uncle Brom shook his head again. “Merchants will do anything for a golden dragon or two.”

“I…” the King started but seemed to change his mind. “Mattick,” he called out for one of his pages. “We will see if this trader still wants to lie to his King after a time with the gaoler.”

“I apologize, Sire.” Uncle Brom bowed his head slightly, and Willoe thought he really did look apologetic. “On my way here, I came across the Captain of the Guard, and I told the captain to send the trader away.”

“You did what?” The king stood and pressed both fists on the desktop as he leaned forward.

“I told him about the peasant girl and that the trader had no claim.” Uncle Brom shrugged; the serious expression partially hidden by his straggly beard. With his hair in disarray, normal for her uncle, he looked like he had just risen from a night’s sleep. “I saw no point in letting the trader stay and waste any more of the Court’s time.”

“Your Majesty.” Mattick came in from one of the other rooms.

Willoe’s grandfather just shook his head with eyes closed. Still leaning on the desk, he turned his head to look at the page. “Go back to your work.” Then he faced Uncle Brom and Willoe once again as the page left the room.

“And you two.” He glared at Uncle Brom. “Leave me.” He dropped back into his chair rubbing his temple with eyes closed.

“Sire.” Uncle Brom bowed, as did Willoe, even though the king was not watching. They both left.

Willoe couldn’t believe her luck. Uncle Brom’s arrival couldn’t have been better timed.

“I’m sorry Uncle. I was delayed getting back to my lessons.” She didn’t know which book she was supposed to retrieve but thought she could come up with a good excuse.

“You should remember something in the future.” Uncle Brom put a hand on her shoulder as they walked down the steps in the tower.

She looked up with a smile.

He looked down and his smile faded. “Rowyn loves his studies and is a far better scholar than you, especially as you see no point in delving into the past. He gets extremely involved when we talk about a subject he enjoys.”

She had to agree he was better at anything related to books. It was one of the few times he seemed to come alive. Suddenly, she remembered Rowyn had come with her newly met cousin, Casandra’s older brother Aeron, and Protector Dougal to rescue her in the city. Her lesson with Uncle Brom would have ended long before now.

He gripped her shoulder tighter. “Especially in history, his favorite subject.” He pulled the book Rowyn had been carrying earlier out from his cloak and handed it to her. “I expect a summary of each chapter.”

Willoe gritted her teeth. She was going to kill Rowyn when she saw him.

Table of Contents

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top

Account Login