Corilon clasped Linvin’s hand and spoke before he could. “He knows that, Father, but there is a matter of the utmost urgency he must attend to. For that reason, he will be leaving for a time in the morning.”
Rolanna leaned forward and looked at her daughter with a desperately concerned expression, but Corilon only responded with a single, slow sideways shake of her head. Then she continued.
“It turns out the task Linvin had been neglecting was saving his uncle. Someone has taken him hostage and Linvin must free him before the first frost. Once Linvin has rescued him, he will return and has a surprise for us.
“My husband is the owner of the Grithinshield Trading Company and has promised to buy us our choice of farms in Sartan, where we may live in peace and without fear of danger. Whatever we need to make the farm work will be ours.”
“What about all the work we have put in on this farm?” Stynard asked. “Are we just going to leave it for someone else?”
Tibare spoke up. “Father, think of all the hardships we have had since we left Rador. There have been numerous bandits, fighting the land itself, and now giant wolves. A well-established farm in Sartan with the latest equipment and a policed community sounds most attractive.”
“What if the wolves return while you are rescuing your uncle?” Stynard asked Linvin directly.
“Cut off the heads of the dead Trogos,” Linvin answered. “Then stake them on poles along the perimeter of the farm. Between that and the losses they sustained, you will see no more Trogoandras for a long time.”
“And what about your promise never to leave?” Stynard pressed.
Linvin looked directly across the table at him and made eye contact. “This will just have to be an exception to that rule. I leave in the morning. You have more than enough help to finish the harvest without me.”
Stynard did not blink as he returned the stare. He could see Linvin’s mind was predisposed and his daughter supported his decision. “So be it.” The rest of the meal was spent avoiding particulars of Linvin’s mission.
After dinner Linvin and Corilon returned to their home for one last special night together.
In the morning, Linvin saddled his horse and packed the mule with provisions under Rolanna’s guidance. Corilon stayed in bed until the packing was finished. Then she dressed and joined the others by the barn. She came out as Linvin was nearly ready to depart.
As the family gathered around, Stynard said a last prayer. “Father Creator, we thank you for bringing Linvin into our lives. We wish him a swift and successful journey to wherever he is headed and ask that you return him to us unharmed.”
Linvin shook all the men’s hands and gave the women each a kiss on the cheek. When he reached his wife he turned his back to the others and handed her his dagger usually kept in his boot. “I will be back for this. You stay out of trouble until I come.”
Corilon smiled as only she could and said simply, “No promises.” Then she gave him a long kiss that neither party wanted to end. At last, Linvin pulled away and floated up to his saddle.
“Until we meet again,” Linvin called as he rode away.
Among all the well-wishes Corilon shed a tear and said, “Farewell Linvin Grithinshield; the man who has been my husband.”
Linvin headed north on the road, but would be sure to avoid the forest. Once he was little more than a speck on the horizon, Rolanna took Corilon by the arm and dragged her away from the others. Then she spoke in a hushed tone. “Why did you not tell Linvin about the baby? He would never have left.”
“That is exactly why, Mother. That is exactly why.”