Careful so the guard wouldn’t notice, he tossed his handkerchief over the side of the cart, someone would find it. The cart continued to trundle forward down the forest road. Reid watched the grey square go beneath a horse’s hoof.
Riding at the front of the cart, Reid’s captors remained unaware of the small defiance. The small patch of sullied silk disappeared as they left it behind. Reid sighed and settled back on the grimy cushion they’d fashioned for him. His bound hands and feet made anything more impossible. As the cart’s uneven gait rocked him back and forth, Reid just hoped that the right someone found it.
Rone pulled her horse up short at the fork. The rain was coming strong now, hard enough to make its way through the branches above them and turn the trail to mud. She twisted the reins one way, then the other, before swearing. The tracks were lost.
“Such language, and with a gentleman present.” Behind her, he clicked his tongue.
Rone stiffened in her saddle and bit back a second, more inventive, curse. Thus far the young lord had brought no help, only derisive comments and a foul mood. A mood he had no right to. It was her brother that had been snatched up. Still, when he’d offered to help Rone search, she’d been in no position to refuse.
Now though, without direction and hope fading, Rone wished she had.
“You’re no gentleman. People talk, you should hear the things they say about you.” Rone snapped. Their family’s common room was filled with rumors of the castle, in which the lordling in front of her featured prominently. Already half-sick with worry, she was finished swallowing his barbed words.
The lord looked at Rone as if she was some beast who’d learned to speak, and had just done so for the first time. The rain weighted his dribbling black hair over his eyes. She could only see his mouth, which crooked into a wound of a smile. “I do.”
He spurred his horse past her and down the left fork. She almost left him, edging her mount to the right. What did she care if the spoiled noble got lost on the twisting forest roads?
Through the rain she saw him dismount and bend to pick up something from the mud. Hope twisted painfully in her stomach. Rone’s boots hit the ground and she stalked over.
“What is it?” She asked. He held the bit of ruined fabric up to her. A grey silk handkerchief. Rone set her teeth hard against each other. She shook her head. “Its not his, he doesn’t have anything so fine.”
The lord folded the ruined silk and pocketed it almost reverently before pulling himself back into the saddle. “No, but I do. Come on, they went this way.” His horse’s hooves kicked up mud and he vanished down the left fork.
Rone balked for only a moment before scrambling to her own mount. She dug her heels hard and raced forward, hopefully towards her brother and some sort of an explanation.