Marie drew in closer to Justin’s side as they approached the farmhouse. He squeezed her hand but said nothing.
The door opened before they reached the garden area surrounding the house. A stern-faced older man stepped out onto the porch area in front and silently watched their approach.
Justin stopped at the base of the two steps up to the verandah. “Good afternoon, Sir. We were wondering if you had a place for two travellers to stay the night.”
The man’s arms remained crossed over his chest. “Might be there’s a spot in the barn. Where’ve ye come from?”
Marie sighed and laid her forehead on Justin’s shoulder. He wrapped his arm around hers in response.
“We’ve come from Avondale’s capital but were cut off from the rest of our party, and our horses, by a rockslide on the waterfall path this morning. We’re looking to reach Market Town tomorrow and trade what we can for another horse, and meet with our group at Druid’s Pass.”
The man’s face eased and his arms dropped. “Sounds like a long and eventful day.”
Marie gave a tired half laugh. “And a long and eventful journey. For all the prestige of being sent to assist with the wedding dress for the Imperial Prince’s bride, I would rather have stayed at home.”
Justin pressed a quick kiss to her hair. “My wife is as brave as they come, but she feels lost without her sewing things.”
The man raised a brow. “Married are ye? Lucky ye both ended on the same side of the rockfall.”
Justin snorted. “Luck had nothing to do with it. Not good luck at least. The rocks were coming down when Marie was in the middle of the bridge, I grabbed her and ran.”
Marie felt the tension through his shoulders at the memory and patted his chest. “And we both came out unscathed, and Grey said Sara’s injury wasn’t severe.”