"As to your assumption of title," said Alric, "you may begin using it at your earliest convenience."
Jack straightened. "I daresay that ought to impress the ladies."
"Are you suggesting you couldn't impress them without it?"
"No, of course not, but it puts another arrow in my quiver, if you get my meaning."
"Yes, well, don't let it go to your head."
"I suppose I should visit Aynsbury and see to the estate."
"Have you any family left?"
"A few distant cousins, provided they still live, but I honestly don't remember their names. They’ll undoubtedly crawl out of the woodwork now that I've inherited my father's estate." He paused a moment. "Say, why don't you come with me? We can make an adventure of it."
"I’d love to, Jack, but I'm afraid I have duties here, not to mention back in Wincaster. Perhaps another time?"
"Of course, Highness."
"I should give you fair warning, Jack. The Clans ravaged the countryside. There's a distinct possibility you might not find things as you last saw them."
"Your father was renowned for his horses. I doubt the invaders left such a prize unattended."
The cavalier scowled. "Yes. I suppose you're right. I hadn't considered such an eventuality. Ah well, if they're gone, they're gone."
"You can always get more. You might even breed Mercerian Chargers. Malin knows we need more of them."
"That's an excellent idea, but we'll have to change their name. What do you think about calling them Jack's Chargers? Or perhaps Marlowe's Mighty Mounts? That has a certain ring to it."
Alric laughed. "I'll leave that entirely in your charge, my lord."