Q is for Questions
Godwin laughed. A solid laugh. He felt joy. Across the crowded room, Joan was holding Oriel in her arms and bouncing slightly to the festive music, drawing squeals of joy from the tiny child.
No one celebrated like the people of Baronwyth, the home of Joan and her father Kenrick, and now his own home. These people new the struggle of survival and they relished any opportunity to celebrate.
He was David of Baronwyth, husband to Joan, father to Oriel, and quite possibly the happiest man alive.
There were some new faces in the crowd. People who had been displaced by Aldred’s men. The new members of the community were happy too, twirling partners in a chaotic dance near the musicians.
“Are you of Baronwyth?” a man’s voice said beside him. Godwin turned and gazed at the bearded fellow.
“Aye,” he said. “And you are not.”
“No, my Lord. I am not,” said the man.
“Whence come you then?” said Godwin.
“The North,” the man said, rubbing the side of his face. “No place is safe.” He eyed Godwin. “Except maybe this place. What is Baronwyth’s secret?”
Godwin grinned. “I believe our laughter frightens Aldred away.”
“But truly, there are problems here,” Godwin went on. “We’ve been visited by Aldred’s men.”
“There are those who would fight him.”
“There are. I know naught of them, though.”
“Are you sure?” Another man joined the conversation. Godwin blinked. He knew this man. Simon. Godwin looked away, hoping Simon didn’t recognize him. “There are…” Simon stopped.
Godwin turned back to the first man. “I’m quite sure I know no man who would stand against Aldred.”
“Godwin?” Simon said.
Godwin kept his eyes fixed on the first man.
“Godwin.” Simon said louder. “That’s you.”
Godwin turned to Simon, “Who?”
“Godwin, it’s you!”
Godwin stepped back defensively. “I am not Godwin. I am David. I know no Godwin.”
“It is you!”
Godwin put his hands up to hold Simon off. “I do not know you sir. I don’t know who you think I am.”
“But you’re Godwin,” said Simon. “My oldest friend.”
“I am David,” Godwin said. “And you should drink less.”
“But, Godwin!” Simon was cut short when Kenrick grabbed him by the collar.
“Does he harass you, David?” Kenrick said. “Shall I remove him?”
“Aye,” muttered Godwin.
“But you’re—!” Kenrick hauled Simon outside. Godwin could only stand gaping.