Isabelle moved slowly over to the bed and gently touched the wooden posts and faded bear skin coverlet. “This is where my grandfather once slept?” she asked in a quiet voice.
“Aye, me lady,” Barker said. “So I have heard.”
There was a table next to the head of the bed where stood a three pronged candelabra which contained several candle stubs. Isabelle went up and gently touched each of the candles. “I never knew him,” she said. “He died before I was born.”
A pile of wood and a bucket of kindling were next to the fireplace, so Humphrey went over and started a fire to take the chill from the room. Isabelle sat down on a high-backed wooden bench which sat against one wall and her hand lightly stroked the carved wooden arm rest.
“Well,” Barker said, “I shall go start a fire in the other room and see what I can pull together for our supper while young Bruce finishes with the horses.” As he left the room, Barker softly pulled the door closed behind him.
Once flames were licking hungrily at the dry wood, Humphrey removed his cape, shook some of the water from it and hung the wet garment from a brace of deer antlers on a wall near the fireplace. He also hung up his wide brimmed hat and then warmed his hands before the fire for a moment as he surveyed the room again. The walls were thick and there were no windows, while the door had a heavy bar which could be lowered across it when closed to prevent unwanted entry. Humphrey decided that Isabelle would be safe and easily protected while she slept here.
When he looked over at her, he saw that Isabelle had closed her eyes and leaned her head back against the wall. He moved over and sat down beside her on the bench. “My lady,” he said softly, “you should change your wet clothes and warm yourself at the fire.”
“I will, Humphrey,” she said without opening her eyes.
She did not, however, show any sign of immediately following his suggestion. “Would you care to speak of anything, my lady?” he asked.
Isabelle opened her eyes and turned to look at the dark knight, then gave him a weak smile. “Nay, dear Humphrey, not at present,” she told him. “I am merely tired and in need of some rest.”
He nodded and stood. “Very well, my lady. I shall let you know when the food is prepared.”
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