“Taylor’s home!” A shout rang out as approached the house in which Taylor lived in with his brothers, sisters, and parents. The door was thrown open and the children all ran out, anxious to greet their brother.
Taylor rode up to the door just as his mother and father made themselves appear at the doorway. Taylor smiled at the site of his family. He climbed down off his horse and instructed one of the farmhands to give her a fresh pail of water.
Taylor bowed his head, “hello, Father.”
“Son,” his father said. He shook his hand and smiled, “how was the trip?”
“Very good, Father,” the son replied. “I brought gifts from my travels.” He extended his hand to his father offering the sack to the older man. The man took it and opened it, his smile grew and he handed it back to his son, “this belongs to your mother and sisters more than it does to me.”
Taylor smiled and nodded once slowly. “As you wish, Father.” The young man turned to his mother who hugged his neck tightly.
“I’ve missed you, Jordan,” the woman exclaimed holding tight in the embrace.
“I’ve missed you as well, Mother,” Taylor replied kissing her cheek gently with respect. Once the embrace was ended, Taylor’s sisters each took a turn.
“Brother!” The middle one said with a cry, “Penelope flew away while you were gone!”
Taylor knelt down on one knee in front of the small girl. He wiped away a tear from her eye with his large but gentle finger. “I am sorry, Avery,” he said with compassion. “Penelope was a great canary but canaries must fly if they feel the time is right. Perhaps she is now making beautiful music for the royal ears to hear.” He gestured towards the castle before them which rose high above the smoke stacks of houses in the town.
“Perhaps,” his sister agreed.
“She is a royal canary now,” Taylor assured the tiny girl. “No harm will come of her now, being a royal canary.”
To his delight the girl smiled. She nodded. “Princess Ann will care for Penelope, I am sure of it. She will, is that not right Taylor?”
Taylor nodded quickly. “That is true, Avery.” He rose to his feet. “Princess Ann will make sure Penelope is safe.” He took the small girl’s hand in his own and turned to the oldest girl in the family. She was twelve years of age, tall with long blonde hair, a match made for the prince in years to come. They had met at birth by chance in the market and had gone off together on outings many times already starting at age seven. They had become fast friends and soon it was made known to the village that they would some day be wed. There were no princesses born at the time of the prince besides his own sisters who were much older than he. One of the princesses was already married and living in the next kingdom, and the other was Taylor’s age and had rejected at least three of the suitors who asked the King for his daughter’s hand in marriage. There was good reasons behind the rejections and therefore she was allowed to speak her mind about it, something that would have been quite unheard of not less then twenty years prior.
“Brother,” The oldest girl said. She curtsied while holding the youngest of the family in her arms.
Taylor took her hand and kissed the outside softly. “You are looking more and more beautiful each day,” he complimented.
“I thank you, Brother,” She said, a small smile forming on her tiny red lips. “You say you brought gifts and Father decides they are more for us? Do you care to show?”
“Aye,” Taylor confirmed opening the bag. He removed the garments which his mother accepted graciously.
“Oh Jordan!” She exclaimed holding the shawls to her chest. “They are wonderful!”
“Wherever did you get them?” Jessica, the oldest girl, inquired.
“That does not matter,” Taylor replied sternly. “What matters is they are now yours.”
Jessica looked away from her brother understanding that the means in which he got them were not pleasant ones. She knew not to ask once more for Taylor would not tell her about the royal business which lead him to these glorious gifts, that business was between the young man and the King.
“Jewels,” Avery gasped as the mother pulled the gems from the bag. The women gaped at the shining stones in awe unable to speak so much as a syllable.
“Are you pleased?” Taylor questioned.
“Jewelry fit for a queen,” the mother said, her voice barely above that of a whisper. She picked out a necklace which Avery tied around her mother’s neck carefully. Taylor’s mother turned to him, clenching the heart of the necklace to her own heart, her eyes wide with shock and enchantment rolled into one. “You have caused me to lose all words, Lord,” she said, curtseying to him.
“Mother,” Taylor laughed, “I am not a Lord yet. Do get up! Won’t you? Please!” He begged. His mother rose her head, “you will be a Lord soon,” she declared. “King James will Lord you tonight, by God I know he will.”
Taylor looked to his father for a confirmation. The older man nodded, “you have pleased your mother therefore you have pleased me.”
“Food!” Jessica exclaimed. Taylor looked towards the women, now they were pulling out the food items from the bags. Jessica looked at him with reverence. “You have made us all very happy,” she praised, “and for that I thank you, my brother, Sir Taylor of Concertlot..”