three weeks later
Ezra was scheduled to take a few soldiers out to check the southern border of the kingdom. As he went to the stable to get his horse, he saw Sir Buck and Sir Vin conversing near the entrance. Whatever they were talking about seemed important. They both looked quite serious. When they noticed Ezra approaching, they stopped speaking in an instance. Sir Vin was looking at him with a bland expression on his face while Sir Buck chose to paste a ridiculous grin on his. What were they up?
"Gentlemen. Please don't let me interrupt."
Vin shrugged. "Just chatting. Nothing important. You ready to go?"
"I'm just going to get my horse. Are you here to see me off?"
"Only if I'm seeing myself off. I'm going, too."
Ezra raised an eyebrow at that. "I didn't realize you had been assigned this task as well."
"Chris is worried about things out there on the border. Thought it would be a good idea to send another knight along with a few more men."
Why did Ezra think something else was going on. "The company is appreciated, Sir Vin. Shall we?"
Vin entered the stables with Ezra right behind him. Buck gave a surreptitious wink to Vin, but Ezra noticed the exchange. Ezra mounted his horse in silence, unsure what to say.
As the two of them and their small party of soldiers made their patrol, very few words passed between Ezra and Vin. Ezra just couldn't comprehend the behavior of the other knights. It had all started right after Sir JD's birthday party. Ezra would come upon the other men while they were talking, only to have them abruptly stop. Then they would pretend nothing was amiss or would begin a new conversation about something banal like the weather. After a few awkward moments they would make their excuses and depart his company.
When they weren't avoiding him or keeping secrets, they were asking him strange questions. What colors did he like? Didn't he think jesters were hilarious? Wasn't chocolate cake the best kind in the world? Ezra was completely and totally baffled. He'd even asked Lady Viviane for advice. She merely laughed and told him not to worry. It was something good, she said. Just wait and see. Ezra trusted the Lady of the Lake and he was beginning to trust the others. But still... Their secrecy bothered him. In his experience, secrets often ending up causing someone pain--usually him.