The door opened, and Baron Fitzwilliam came outside, Albreda clutching his arm.
"Sorry," he said as everyone looked at him. "Did I interrupt something?"
"We were just discussing plans," said Gerald.
"Oh? What did I miss?"
"The queen is going to Weldwyn to confer with King Leofric," offered Beverly.
"Is she now," said the baron. "Good for her."
"I was hoping you'd accompany us," said Anna. "And we'll need Albreda to help take us there, of course."
"I should be delighted," said Fitz
"Yes," Albreda agreed. "How many are going?"
"Aside from you two, I'll take Gerald and Beverly."
A bark erupted from behind her, causing her to laugh. "And Tempus, of course."
"A small enough party," said Albreda, "but shouldn't you take some guards as well?"
"I hadn't thought of that."
"That means we'll need more mages," said Gerald. "No offence to Albreda, but even she can't take everyone."
"How about Aubrey and Kraloch?" said Beverly. "That would give you two extra casters."
"I wonder what King Leofric will make of an Orc?" mused Gerald.
"I think he'll take it in stride," said Anna. "Of course, I'll want to take Alric. It's his home after all."
"Speaking of Prince Alric," said Gerald, "where is he?"
"Looking after the troops," noted Anna. "He's taking his position as your aide very seriously."
"Yes, though I think he's a little miffed you didn't let him in on the full battle plan."
"It couldn't be helped. Secrecy was important to its success. Only Fitz and I knew the full details, aside from you, of course."
"Aha!" said the baron. "You finally called me Fitz!"
"Merely a slip of the tongue, my lord," said Gerald, adding a deep bow.
"Perhaps, but I shall remember it."