Winter Feast

So much to do. Guests would be arriving within the hour. The cooks were barely on schedule. A single slip-up in the kitchen and there would be no appetizers ready for the first arrivals. But Gwen didn’t have time to supervise them. She would just have to trust that Mal had things well in hand.

The tapestries were dusted. The furniture was all in place, artfully arranged throughout the greeting parlor so as to appear casual – but not too casual. Lady Beneviere had been clear in her instructions. Oh, if only she were here! What a time for her sister to have taken ill, the night before the first grand feast of the Winter season.

No use worrying about that now. Where was that page boy? He was supposed to have brought Bartholomew along to forward instructions to the stable-hands. This would not do at all. She could hardly tread out into the muck herself. These were brand new slippers! And besides, there was no time to clean up if she trudged out there.

“Terry!” she called, lifting her skirts slightly to move more quickly down the hall. “Where are you, boy?” Drat. It seemed the help always thought they could slack when Lady Beneviere was out of the house.

How was she ever to get all this done?