“Forgive me, kind sir,” said the servant, as he tipped his top hat to Linvin. “Might I inquire as to your business here at Grithinshield Manor?”
Linvin had been hidden from view by his horse. Even so, Linvin knew to whom he was addressing. “Oh, I do not know, really. I thought I might climb trees in my best clothes or perhaps switch salt into the sugar container to give the cook some new added flavor to her cooking.”
The servant took the reins from Linvin’s hand and pulled the horse out of the way.
“Master Linvin!” he exclaimed. After tying the horse to the fence, he gave Linvin a great hug.
“I knew that was you who made the switch!” he half-heartedly scolded. “Worst pastry I’ve tasted in my life.”
“Well, I had to have a bit of sport, Theisen,” Linvin grinned. “After all, you would not let me do anything fun.”
“My charge was to be sure you grew up to be a proper young man in one piece,” Theisen said while repeatedly poking his finger into Linvin’s chest. Then he took more of a broad look at the man before him. “Well, all I can say is that you looked much better when you left as a youngster.”
“I could say the same of you,” Linvin said with a laugh.
Theisen chased him around the horse in a friendly gesture. “Don’t think I can’t find a switch around here to teach you to mind your elders.”
“You best make it a small one,” Linvin goaded. “At your age, I fear the strain of a big stick might exhaust you.”
Theisen caught Linvin in his lackadaisical effort to escape and placed the former general’s head against the bars of the gate. He proceeded to tousle Linvin’s hair and say, “I don’t believe I heard you right, young master.”
Linvin smiled and easily removed himself from the feigned hold. “I said that I have missed you, Theisen, and it is good to be home.”
The two embraced again, as if they never wanted to relinquish each other. When at last they parted, Linvin looked about and said, “Things certainly have changed around here. Well, everything that is, except the gate.” He walked up to it and stopped for a moment. A look of trepidation crossed his face as he gazed back at Theisen. “Go on, Master Linvin, open the gate.”
Linvin held his breath as he pushed the great gate open. The great hinges made a loud grinding sound of metal on metal as the gate swung open. Linvin smiled and proclaimed, “At last I am home!”