As she descended the stairs, she tried hard to ignore the lump forming in her throat. The last thing she wanted to admit was her fear, but it curled through her with each step she took. When she reached the hall, a throng of people milled around the great room. Eventually, she located her husband, slumped in a chair with Ward beside him.
She gathered her courage and marched up to the chair.
"My lord, Edyth said you desired my presence."
"Aye," he straightened in the chair but made no attempt to rise.
The tightness around his mouth made her wonder if he was in pain. Her concern increased when he moved his long legs, grimaced, and a muted sound, like a sigh of hurt, slipped past his lips.
"Are you in pain?" The words escaped before she realized their significance. Nay, she must not indicate she had a care for his condition no matter how he affected her.
"I have questions. I'm weary from my journey and would seek my chamber. Your quick answers will satisfy for a time. Have my rooms been prepared?"
"There is hot water for a bath if you so desire. And your chamber awaits. Ward, take Sir Arthur to his rooms."
"I can manage," he snarled. "But first..." his voice trailed off. His look cut through her like the blade of a sword. Could he not be polite to her? Nay, nor should she expect a change in his attitude for it had not changed a bit in years. For one moment, she dwelt on that afternoon long ago when they arrived at the gates of his keep three days after the wedding.