Cedric lingered in the courtyard. He had never seen the queen lose her composure, nor use such a commanding voice. The Seer shivered, there was more than just the cold harvest air rolling in. Sure, the crops had been low this year, low river levels from a mild winter runoff, but this had happened many times before. It was something else, something that would not reveal itself, even to the Seer. He worried that this Harvest Fest was going to be different than years past.

Because of last night dream, he was sure something was going to happen at Harvest Fest, but what? The more he tried to form anything from this revelation, the hazier it became. He dared not try anymore, his last attempt left him a week unconscious. After the queen’s outburst, Cedric was afraid she might be involved. But how? Was she in danger, or the danger? He had to decide quickly who to trust.

Before the thought left his mind, another caravan approached the courtyard. The heavily adorned horses and over-dressed horsemen told Cedric immediately it was the Enchanter’s party. Two large carriages followed the parade of horses. Lord Malachi Rhys rarely came this far south, so Cedric was surprised and intrigued by his appearance.

As the carriage stopped in front of the manor, Malachi swung open the door, “Lord Seer,” he said with exuberance, “I have come to brighten up your humble abode!” He waited for his horseman to place a small step in front of the carriage, then he delicately stepped down and out toward Cedric. The two Lords clasped arms in warm greeting and Malachi kissed the other man’s cheeks (a tradition Cedric was not fond of but tolerated for an old friend).

“My friend, you know we always welcome you. My apologies, but Her Majesty just arrived, and we are busy with her arrangements,” Cedric wanted to suggest he stay at the inn, after the scene earlier, he was not sure Malachi’s presence would be welcome. Before he could say as much, Gwyneira appeared.

“Lord Rhys, what an honor to have you visiting the Southern Plains,” Her voice was poised and calm. “I am sure Lord Drystan’s staff will be available to assist you, shortly. I am almost settled.” The queen’s demeanor was formal, and both Lords bowed to her.

“Your Majesty,” Malachi began as he bowed with a flourish of his arm. His elaborate jacket and cloak flapping around as he made several circles with his hand. “I did not expect to see you at Harvest Fest. I would have thought you too long away from Oswin and the King.” His smile was gregarious.

The queen did not miss a beat, “I am sure the King can manage Belanore without me for a while. As for Harvest Fest, I always enjoy attending, duties permitting of course.” She nodded a gentle smile at Cedric, who was trying hard to suppress a chuckle.

“I have your horse, Your Majesty.” Niall appeared seemingly out of nowhere, startling Malachi, to the further amusement of Cedric.

“Are you going out?” Cedric asked.

“Just a quick visit on an old friend, I won’t be long. Don’t worry, I’ll have the Commander with me.” The queen mounted her white mare. The Lords bowed again and watched as the two left the courtyard.

“Cedric, what is troubling you so?” Malachi could sense something weighing heavily on his friend’s mind.

Fortunately, he didn’t need to coax out the information, the Seer was eager to share his distressing visions with a trusted confidant. This made it much easier on Malachi as he didn’t need to tap the Void to get what he needed.

“My dear friend, I have had some troubling visions,” Cedric began. Then he paused, there were still many people around the courtyard. “Let’s retire to my study,” he requested his wife to send refreshments and then not to be disturbed.

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