Sunday, May 5, 2013
Seventh Son Rebellion Part 1
Jordan St John couldn't quite bring himself to add the at last that so many of his troops seemed to speak with enthusiasm. He scowled into the collar of his greatcoat as his hand reached automatically to smooth Rogue's neck. The gelding, perhaps sensing his rider's mood, side-stepped and snorted, and his head jerked with impatience.
"Right. It's cold. You want a warm stable and a belly full of oats."
Resigned to the inevitable, Jordan eased the horse back onto the roadway and into a slow canter. Duty had made Cliffside his first call, and he wished, for not the first time, that he'd followed his impulse to turn his back on responsibility and head north for Wiltshire and Annette. She, at least, would welcome him with warmth and affection. With love.
His heart tightened at the thought and Rogue faltered then resumed his easy gait as Jordan consciously relaxed. Too long. It's been too long. Two years too long. His mind conjured a sweet image, her classical features softened by the gentle smile that lit eyes too blue to describe... Annette, whom he'd loved since... since childhood, really, since he'd rescued her from a tree during a house party and smuggled her back inside through the servants' entrance to avoid her mother's wrath.
Soon, he promised himself. Just a few days, long enough to maintain the pretense and endure the distant disapproval of those he called family, a misnomer if ever their was one. Their was nothing at all familial in relationships among the St John family, never had been - not as long as he could remember. Perhaps things had been better before his mother died, but Jordan had only been two and his faint memories were long-since overshadowed by a cold, distant father and six older brothers molded irrevocably into the same unbending indifference.
Glacial as the weather, he decided irreverently and huddled deeper into his coat against the flurries of snow that swirled about him. He tried not to look at the unwelcoming red-brick facade that loomed like a grim dictator at the end of the long driveway. The old weathered house had always been that, utterly unwelcoming, and would remain so even with the glow of windows reflecting lamps lighted in the gathering gloom of dusk.
Damn the weather, damn the so-called festive season and, most of all, damn the sense of duty that drove him to endure it all.