When Frazea opened the manor house’s front door in response to the pounding it was receiving she found a knight, on horseback, filling the porch. A mounted squire hovered behind him on the gravelled area in front of the house.
“Sir Knight?” Frazea was sure she’d never seen the knight, whose helm was open, nor the arms emblazoned on his shield before.
“Is this the home of Don Alejandro Manuel Casas de Loyola y Iglesia de Cruz?” The knight looked both angry and impatient.
“Yes, but I’m afraid my father-”
He cut her off abruptly. “I have come to demand satisfaction for the insult he has given my mother.”
“How did my father insult your mother? He hasn’t been beyond the village for weeks now.”
“He wrote to her in terms that are unacceptable! My mother is not that sort of woman.” He was definitely indignant.
“If my father wrote to her, then surely he must know your mother?” Frazea was puzzled. “What, if I may ask, did he say to her in this letter?”
“He was overly familiar.” The knight was blushing.
“I do know that my father nearly married several times before he settled down with my mother. Perhaps they were betrothed at some point? I’m afraid my father’s not been quite himself lately,” Frazea admitted. “In fact, my brother and the menservants are out looking for him now. Perhaps the two of you would care to come in for refreshments while we wait for them to return, Don-?”
“Don Tomás José Arias y Ferriz de Cárdenas.” He bowed stiffly, probably due to his armour.
Frazea curtsied. “And I am Doña Frazea Maria Casas de Loyola y Expósito. Please, dismount and come in. I’ll get someone show your squire the way to the stables.”
“Thank you,” he was talking stiffly now. “Miguel, please take care of the horses then join us.”
“As you wish, Don Tomás.”
Frazea was pouring cool drinks for her guests when her brother, Joaquín, returned, gently ushering their slightly bedraggled father into the parlour before he realized she was entertaining guests.
Don Alejandro perked up immediately and strode across the room holding out his hand. “You must be Isabella’s son, Tomás. I see you’ve already met Frazea. Very good, very good.”
“Sir?” The knight looked puzzled. “You wrote a very improper letter to my mother.”
“And I can show you her letters to me where we organised this. What would you have done if she’d asked you to come up here to meet the daughter of an old friend?”
Don Tomás looked embarrassed, “Had to deal with some bandits elsewhere?”