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"Ser," Godwyn said as he stepped up to where Anders had just dismounted. His bearing was straight and his tone respectful, something Anders hadn't seen from him in years.

Ser Anders eyebrows lifted, but he said nothing.

"Everything has been quiet while you were gone. No disturbances, and none of the guards have reported anything out of the ordinary. Dobbin arrived only a little while before you, we got the story out of him, as best he could tell it. I've had Holdfast men take charge of our dead, and I told Dobbin to stay with Jonkers, to stand vigil with him."

"Good," said Ser Anders, looking at Godwyn thoughtfully. "We're three men down - four, in some ways, for Dobbin won't work as well without Jonkers - and may not work at all for some time. We'll need all the help we can get - with dangers within and without the Castle.

"And there's something that needs looking into in the town."

His expression as he regarded Godwyn was speculative - perhaps wondering whetrher Godwyn could be entrusted with this task; perhaps wondering whether Godwyn had seen for himself the oddity that would need investigating.

Godwyn stared back at him, going back over the story Dobbin had told, wondering what he was missing. Then it hit him. "Tovis' cart," he said. "What was Tovis' cart doing out there?"

Ser Anders's expression changed briefly - surprise, perhaps? Then he nodded, slowly.

"Yes," he said. "I think it might be worth paying a visit to Tovis and finding out what he knows of this. But ... not alone. There could be danger, and if we have to clear the Wildings from the woods, I'll need every man."

Godwyn grimaced. "Aye," he said. "It needs every man that can be spared for that, while we don't want to have any fewer men to watch the situation here." He glanced around, looking at the small knots of Bolton men and Laughing Knives. "Pity we can't set our visitors on a Wilding hunt," he said with a sigh.

"It would certainly be a different form of entertainment for our guests," said Ser Anders. "And there's probably some that would prefer a good hunt to a tourney."

He looked thoughtful. "Perhaps it could be arranged."

[Godwyn] looked back to Anders. "Ser," he said. "What would you have me do?"

"For the moment," said Ser Anders, "see Tam and tell him we'll need all the dogs, I think, tomorrow. His, yours - and the Holdfast ones if they can be made to take a scent again. And then take a good man with you and go to the town to enquire after this cart."

"Aye," Godwyn answered. He waited just a moment longer, to see if Anders had anything else to say, and then headed over to where Tam was kneeling with the dogs, telling them what a good job they had done.

Tam looked up at Godwyn as he approached, regarding his expression thoughtfully, although he said nothing - for such was Tamlin's way. Instead finished removing a burr from Whiteface's paw before he asked, "The Captain gave you orders for me?"

"Aye," Godwyn said. He knelt down and rubbed Whiteface's head while his dogs and Tam's greeted each other. "He's planning on trying to track down the Wildings tomorrow. He wants you to have all the dogs ready. Take mine as well, and any of the pack as have recovered their sense of smell."

He sighed. "They won't all come back from this hunt, most like," he said regretfully. "But we can't leave those Wildings out there."

Tam nodded his agreement. "I'd best see to the other hounds then," he said. He shot a look at Godwyn - usually their friendship was confined to matter immediately in front of them, such as the correct management of dogs. But something was clearly not sitting right with Tam.

"That girl," he said. "Didn't recognise her."

Or perhaps his bewilderment came from the sight of Godwyn voluntarily spending time in the company of any female, save Syndra or Edlyn.

Godwyn grinned. "Lady Limosa," he said. "She's Manderly's daughter. She's not like any noble girl I've ever heard of." He added with approval, "The dogs like her."

Tam gave a grunt that could be taken to mean that if she was good enough for the dogs, then she was good enough for him too. Then he gave a nod of farewell as he set off to see to the dogs.

Page last modified on August 17, 2006, at 03:05 PM