Our quarters were upstairs on the first floor. A large room with six beds, a large table with six chairs. Oil lamps were on the table and in sconces on the walls.
“The table is for study and games, or whatever we might want to do. Sometimes we just sit around it and talk,” Olaf told me.
They showed me to an empty bed with an empty trunk at the foot. There was a wardrobe to hang my clothing, and stow my boots. I had given away my old leathers since they no longer fit me, and my old boots were quite worn and getting tight. There was even a thick rug on the floor.
“Would you like a bath? It’s always nice after a long ride to sit in a tub of hot water. There are three big copper tubs, and plenty of wood for the stove,” Rilla asked.
We went to the bathing room and began filling the tubs. A cistern in the attic provided well water and the stove had a boiler attached to it and that provided hot water. We mixed the water three to one, then filled two of the tubs. The room got steamy and we all stripped and hung our clothes outside the room.
I estimated that two men could easily fit in either tub, so it didn’t surprise me when Rilla and Bolly climbed in after me.
Bolly sat between my legs and I washed his back and then he did the same for me and scrubbed Rilla’s back too. We all took care of the rest ourselves. It felt good to use a bathtub again. I had used the one in the inn at Haluken, it had spoiled me for bathing in streams and rivers. The master and I had been working hard and we deserved a nice relaxing bath.
“Does the master bathe up here?” I asked.
“No, his rooms have their own tub, he’s probably washing right now,” Olaf replied.
“Do any of you speak the old Sama?” I asked.
“We all do,” Kiva volunteered. “The master said it might come in handy if we deal with clan folk, and we kind of like speaking the old tongue”
I heard the stable master talking about the cook, is she mean?”
“She’s like a trapped badger most of the time. She seems to think we’re her servants. We do a lot of things as chores but we’re not servants or slaves. She gets nastier when the master is away. She tried to beat Bolly with her rod, but the stable master took it from her and broke it. He warned her not to touch us again. She’s a bad cook and hard to get along with. The housekeeper is very nice though and she gets between us and Magda when she’s on a tear,” Rilla explained.
“I’ll give her a wide berth then. What are our chores?” I asked.
Nothing much, carrying fire wood and splitting kindling. We help Kristen with some of the cleaning, and carry laundry for her. We make our own beds and keep our quarters clean, simple things like that. None of us mind and it’s easy to help. We’d even help Magda, if she wasn’t such a cow.
Bolly had been leaning against my chest and now he was asleep in the warm water.
A knock at the door announced Karl and he looked as though he had bathed, shaved and dressed to go out.
“I must go to the palace and report to the Regent. I will also be visiting my bride to be. When you are dressed go see Kristen, give her any help you can.
Stay clear of Magda, I put her on notice that her position hangs by a thread. Did she actually hit Bolly?” Karl asked.
“No sir, Edvard took her cane and broke it to pieces. He was pretty angry with her,” Olaf told him.
“I see he’s found a new friend. He’s not bothering you is he Peng?”
“No, he’s just very cuddly. It’s kind of nice. I had no brothers or sisters so this is new to me. I like it,” I answered.
“You are a fine boy, just like all of your new brothers. Once Kristen is done with you, you can do as you please boys. Edvard will give you ponies to ride if you wish,” Karl smiled. “I will see you when I return or in the morning if I’m late,” Karl waved as he left us.
“Let’s get dressed and find out what Kristen needs of us, we have plenty of daylight left to go riding,” Rilla suggested.
I was introduced to Kristen, who was a warm and gentle soul. She asked us to help with a few minor chores. Sometime during the week, we would be asked to carry laundry down to the washer woman who visited once a week. She knew everything a person could know about cloth, and how to get it clean.
Kristen released us to go riding, and Edvard the stablemaster brought out horses for each of us except Bolly who was too small to ride on his own yet.
Bolly decided he wanted to ride with me and Olaf chuckled.
“I’ve never seen him take to anyone so quickly before, except Karl. You must be a good person. Bolly is a good judge of character,” Olaf explained.
We rode through the streets for a while, so the boys could point out various shops to me. After that we went west and out into the surrounding countryside. The rolling hills were pleasant looking, and a river ran through and split off into small streams, where they formed a couple of pools. At one of these several boys from the city splashed and swam. Rilla spoke to some of the boys who greeted me and bade me welcome. We decided not to swim that day, since we had already bathed. But it was clear none of the boys were shy. No one wore a bathing costume. I was captivated by a couple of boys who had no skin on their kucks. Kiva explained that the boys were Jews, and that the skin had been cut off just days after they were born. He said they were just boys like everyone else, they just had different beliefs than Clan or Christian people.
“The master says it is not which gods a man follows, but his own character that makes him good or bad,” Rilla added.
“What’s going on over there?” I asked while pointing to a row of shrubs where the heads of a few boys could be seen.
“Oh that’s just some boys having fun together, they are probably rubbing or sucking each other’s kucks. It’s better to do that behind the bushes, in case an older person comes by,” Kiva grinned.
I felt my own kuck stirring in my drawers at the suggestion.
I noticed many of the boys that were swimming were sporting hard kucks, and I suddenly missed my old friends.
We rode into the forest from there. We watched the deer and hares bouncing around in the tall grass. Two buck hares put on a boxing match in the middle of the path, and then shot off into the bushes. Since we were stopped, I slid out of my saddle and unbuttoned my trousers for a pee. The rest of the boys joined me as we peed in a half circle. We giggled at the sight of five hard kucks pointing skyward, ejecting fountains of pee.
We rode on and I wondered what was in store once we were all alone in our room.
We left the horses to graze, while we walked through the trees looking at the birds and flowers. I thought I saw the tail of a fox disappear around a huge fir tree. Red squirrels chattered their indignation at our intrusion.
We began walking back to the horses when a huge dog ran towards us snarling, and baring his teeth. I pulled the dagger out of my sleeve and herded the other boys behind me.
I scolded the dog and advanced on him. He wasn’t expecting that and he retreated.
“Jara come,” a man’s voice called out and the dog turned and ran to his master.
“I am sorry boys, Jara is a bit protective of me. He’s really quite friendly when I’m with him. We’re never far apart. I apologize if he scared you,” The man told us.
“He scared me but he didn’t scare Peng, he jumped in front of us to fight the dog if needed,” Rilla said.
“I’m afraid he’s developed a dislike for boys, because so many throw stones at him. Some boys taunt and tease him. I fear what he’ll do if he ever gets hold of one,” Dag told us.
I had sheathed my dagger and walked forward. I let the dog smell me and he wagged his tail. He allowed me to stroke him, then allowed the other boys to stroke him as well. Dag and Jara went on their way, and we walked back and mounted our horses.
“Look, there’s Magda!” Kiva pointed out.
The woman was staggering down the street ahead of us and appeared to be drunk. We watched as she disappeared into an alley and rode back to the house.
“That’s Magda?” I asked.
“Yes, and she’s drunk again. It’s the reason she’s so disagreeable. I suppose we’ll be cooking for ourselves. I hope you like turnips Peng,” Olaf grinned.
“I’m a fairly decent cook myself. I’m sure we can find something else in the larder to cook,” I told them.
There was everything and more than I was used to having. I was spoiled for choice.
“Is there anything out of bounds in the larder?” I asked.
“Just the Sommerstide hams, the ones hanging in the back there,” Kiva told me.
I checked the stove and it was cold. Momma had always kept coals in the stove so it could be ready to cook a meal on short notice. I took several aprons from the shelf and passed them out. We cleaned out the fire box in the stove and laid a fresh fire. Stove maintenance was the responsibility of the cook. Obviously Magda didn’t subscribe to that notion.
I scrubbed the stove top and waited for the stove to reach cooking temperature.
I mixed up some fritter dough and gave Bolly the honor of kneading it and showed him how to turn it and add flour when needed.
Mama’s stove had been stone with an iron top, this stove was all iron and had an oven where ours was separate and needed its own fire. We boiled water for a stew containing turnips, carrots and peas from the garden. A chunk of bacon rind was added to the broth and I left Kiva to tend the stew.
Rilla helped me fry the sausages in lard and butter. I used the spices freely not really caring what Magda would say about it.
Rilla rang the dinner bell and Edvard and Kristen came in to eat.
“Where’s Magda?” Edvard asked, and Kristen echoed.
“Drunk in an alley on Rukesgate, Peng organized this and we helped,” Olaf answered.
“She was walking very oddly,” Bolly giggled.
“Well thank you for pitching in boys, it looks and smells delicious, let’s not let it get cold,” Kristen suggested.
We made a plate for Karl and put it under cover. I had overestimated how much food was needed, because there were still sausages and stew left over. But that was okay, we could warm the sausages in the morning, and mix them into the porridge.
The stew pot was hung on the arm to keep it warm, and I added some oak to the fire box so there would be coals in the morning.
The fritters were gone. I had saved a few for Karl, the rest were devoured. Everyone was full so it was a success.
The other boys helped me clean up, and we took ourselves upstairs to bed.
We sat around the table and drank sweetwater while we talked. I did most of the talking because they wanted to know about my life up til then. I told them about my parents and the goats that I herded. What our farm was like, and then about my mother and sister dying, and my father dying too. I told them about my hut, and how comfortable I was until I met Karl. Bolly had gone to sleep in my lap so we put him in his bed.
“He won’t stay, when he gets up to pee he’ll crawl in with one of us, probably you Peng,” Kiva grinned.
With Bolly asleep I was able to tell them some of the things that happened at the monastery, and afterward. They were all near tears when I told them of Edgar’s fate.
“Do we have to wear our drawers to bed?” I asked.
“No, in the spring and summer we wear nothing. In fall and winter we wear nightshirts of flannel or heavy wool,” Olaf answered.
“Good,” I said and pulled mine off.
“Would you like to play with us, we like to taste each other and have fun,” Rilla invited.
“Yes, I would. Should we put out the lamps?”
“No, we just turn them down. I like to see what I’m licking,” Kiva grinned.
The four of us met by my bed and I felt hands all over my naked body.
“We drew lots, I get to taste you first,” Rilla smiled and pulled my skin back. He lapped away at my kuck like a thirsty dog, then slipped his mouth over the end and slipped down to my kucks base and licked. It had been a long time since anyone did that for me, and I didn’t last long. I warned him that I would finish soon and Kiva asked if I made seed. I told him I did and warned Rilla that my seed was coming out. It had been so long since I had seen Leyva, and the feeling was overpowering.
Each of my new brothers except Bolly gave me pleasure and then I did the same for them. We sat and talked about things afterward. I learned that we were all orphans. Kiva’s mother had fallen into a river, and his father had drowned trying to rescue her.
Rilla’s parents died in a fire along with his sister and brother. Rilla had been trekking with other boys.
“Bolly and I are forest clan, but we lived in the red forest to the north. Mother and father were walking to a clan gathering and Bolly was sick so I stayed with him. Later someone came to tell us that our parents were killed by deer running from wolves. Our grandmother from Mama’s clan took us in, but she beat us and didn’t feed us well. We were out hunting hares one day, when the master found us and we talked.
He told our grandmother that he would apprentice us both and she would no longer be burdened with our care. Our clans head man agreed it was best for us. We couldn’t go to Father’s clan, because they hadn’t approved of the match. The master has been like a father to us. I helped him at the monastery in Linvus as his scribe. He brought us back here and that was many months ago before the last winter.
“I was his scribe at Orata, and Kiva was with him in Kimulla, isn’t that right,” Rilla supplied.
“So it was no accident that he had clothes that would fit me when we met. But how would he even know where to look?” I asked.
“You’d have to ask him that. Can I ask you something?" Rilla said.
“Go ahead,” I prompted.
“Why weren’t you scared of that dog today?”
“But I was, though I was more fearful that he might harm one of you. I’ve dealt with mean dogs before, when he gave ground I knew I wouldn’t need to hurt him. If he was truly vicious he wouldn’t have backed away, he would have leapt for me and I would have buried the blade in his heart,” I explained.
“Are you warrior class?”
“No, but our Noaidi said I probably would be if I kept up the way I was going,” I told them.
We were all tired by then and slipped off to bed.
Kiva was right, Bolly got out of his bed, went for a pee, and then cuddled up to me like a kitten. I held him and went back to sleep.
When morning came we all got out of bed, put a kettle on the stove for washing up water. Then we emptied our bladders and bowels. We washed up for breakfast. Once again we all pitched in and fired the stove, warmed the sausages and I made more fritter batter. With Bolly and Kiva kneading the dough, I started the porridge. I used oats instead of barley, and then put it in the serving pot. Karl appeared and asked what we were doing.
“Magda got drunk and walked away yesterday. I thought she’d be back this morning, but it doesn’t look like she came back,” Olaf informed him.
“Who did the cooking last night?” Karl asked.
“Peng did, it was really good too did you find the plate we made for you?” Bolly reported.
“Yes, I haven’t had fritters like that since I was a boy. But we can’t have Peng do our cooking all the time. I will make arrangements with Ingrid for a cook and hopefully one with a better temper,” Karl smiled.
When breakfast was done there was still a lot of oatmeal left over. Edvard and Kristen had joined us so I decided to do something my mother did, I mixed in a couple eggs and some butter then added molasses and honey. I stirred it all up and added chopped raisins and currants and made cookies. While they were baking we cleaned. the cookies turned out well. Crisp and chewy, and nicely sweet. Everyone loved them. It gave me some pride that I could cook and bake as well as the cook they had. Better even, by their estimate.
Once we were done in the kitchen Karl pulled me aside and told me to dress in my finest because I was going to meet the Regent.
“Don’t be scared, the Regent looks stern but he’s really very nice,” Rilla assured me.
I rode a white pony while Karl rode a huge black stallion. The palace was exactly what I expected, there was a long drive through a formal garden ending at a set of gates where guardsmen greeted us and stablers came to tend the horses.
A page not much older than myself, led us inside to a formal room with one very large ornate chair, and several others around an oval table.
“Karl, so good to see you again so soon. Is this your new apprentice?”
“It is, he is Edrich of Haluken. He is Forest clan and well skilled in many things,” Karl told him.
“Is Edrich your preferred name?” the Regent asked.
“No your majesty, most people call me Peng.”
“Majesty? The man chuckled. “I’m not the King I am merely the Regent, although there is some talk of changing the title to Governor. You may address me as My Lord.
“Yes My Lord,” I replied.
“Take ease young Peng, I do not bite unless provoked. I have reason to thank you. I’m told you were of excellent service to the Lord Marshall. I don’t know how he manages to find such fine young men, but I must salute him for it.
Now then, as you have been of service to the Lord Marshall, you have been of service to me. Is there anything you desire, I wish to reward you for your service,” The Regent told me.
“Your thanks are quite enough for me. I have no wants, I have been paid very well for my service. The Lord Marshall has taken me as an apprentice and I have no other needs or ambitions My Lord,” I replied.
Well then, I will have to think of something on my own. But for now take this pin and wear it when you are on official business for the Lord Marshall or myself.
The pin was a combination of the Danish and Norwegian crowns with a jewel in the center and the words Prorex Emissarius engraved on a small shield. It was the size of a 10 Skilling coin.
I took the pin from his hand and Karl pinned it to my coat.
“That pin will grant you access anytime day or night,” the Regent informed me.
The meeting turned less official as the Regent’s wife joined us with Ingrid, Karl’s betrothed.
“So this is the wonderful Peng I’ve heard so much about,” Ingrid smiled.
She was the most beautiful woman I had ever met and I understood why Karl was going to marry her. She was beautiful in many ways. She was gracious, kind and cheerful. She was also the Regent’s niece.
“I am Peng, I don’t know what you’ve heard but I’m just a boy,” I replied cheerfully.
“Enough of this standing around, let us all sit and have some tea, we’ve just received a new shipment from Ceylon,” The Regent effused.
The tea was good but I couldn’t concentrate on it. A beautiful blond girl about my age kept peeking around a pillar at me and giggling when I made eye contact.
The Regent’s wife noticed my distraction and called the girl to the table.
“Valla, come meet this amazing young man. And that, was my introduction to love.
“Why don’t you and Peng take a walk in the garden, I’ll bet he’s never seen anything like it,” the lady suggested.
Valla grabbed my hand so fast, that I almost dropped my tea cup.
We walked among the many flowering plants, they were in their full glory, Valla either knew or made up names for them, I wasn’t sure which. After a substantial time touring the garden, Valla asked me to turn around and not peek so I did as I was asked. Then I heard water splashing on the ground and knew what she was doing. I waited until she walked past me and giggled. “I’m sorry, I needed to pee and the palace is so far away.
I heard an angry voice behind us shouting at me.
“Boy, you there! Did you just piss in my garden?!”
I knew I could deny it but he wouldn’t believe me so I tried something else.
“Well, I couldn’t very well escort the Regent’s daughter in wet trousers now could I?”
“Oh, hello miss. Well just don’t let it happen again!” The man growled and walked away.
“You could have told him, and I would have admitted it,” Valla said.
“I know, but he wanted to believe it was me, so I let him,” I explained.
“I watched you closely you know, you never peeked once. Now let me give you your reward,” she said and kissed my cheek.
“You may kiss me back if you like,” she told me.
I leaned in, and gave her cheek a peck.
We completed our tour under the watchful gaze of the gardener.
Valla took my arm as we walked past the palace guards.
“Tell me Peng, what did you think of my Ingrid?” Karl asked.
"She’s very lovely and kind. She seems like a very nice person. When will you marry her?” I asked.
“Next week is the day we set aside. The wedding and reception will be at the palace.”
“Will we boys attend master?”
“Of course, you aren’t just my apprentices, you are like my adopted sons. You all have wonderful qualities. Some you share and some are unique to one boy, but you are all loving, helpful and strong of character,” Karl smiled.
I smiled back but couldn’t think of anything to say. We rode along each locked in his own thoughts.
“Young Valla certainly took to you, are you already smitten?” Karl asked.
“She’s quite nice but I don’t know what smitten means,” I answered.
Karl explained and I blushed, my cheeks and ears felt hot but I couldn’t speak.
Our next stop was a tailor. I was measured for a special suit for the wedding, and several sets of work and school clothes.
Standing on a platform in my drawers, the tailors assistant ran a tape measure all the way up to my balls, I nearly fell.
“Jacob, use a little care. You wouldn’t like it I’m sure,” the tailor scolded.
Jacob apologized and went on with the measurements.
Then he asked which way I dressed. I told him I didn’t understand, and he whispered the explanation in my ear.
“Oh, it’s not big enough to go on either side yet, but I’m told it will grow,” I said honestly.
The tailor chuckled and the assistant blushed. Karl grinned at me and I grinned back.
Once I was dressed again, we rode to a stationers to buy the things I would need for my schooling.
“What am I apprenticed to learn master?”
“It’s a fairly new study called engineering. To be an engineer you need skill at metal smithing, woodright and masonry too. What you will most need to learn, is maths. Not just basic sums, but geometry and trigonometry. All these maths go back to the temple builders of Babylon and Egypt, it’s the keystone of our craft. The science of engineering is to make sure that whatever we build, will do as it is meant to, and not fall apart in the process. In addition you will learn language and literature, so that you can describe what you design and build. It’s of no use if you can’t convey it to others. I think you will find it interesting and entertaining. Man is coming into an age, when we will master our daily work with machines. They will reduce the strain on mortal men. It will mean industry on a grand scale, and a job for any man who would work,” Karl expounded.
From the stationers, we rode to the cobblers and tried on boots. One set for dress, and another pair for every day wear, plus school shoes. Because of Karl’s status we would only have to wait a few days.
“So Peng, tell me about this dog that threatened you and the others,” Karl instructed.
“There isn’t much to the story, he acted menacing at first, but when I challenged him he backed away. Then a man called Dag arrived, he explained that some boys teased him and threw stones. But we were able to make friends and all of us petted him,” I explained.
But you ran forward to protect the others without a thought for your own safety is that right?”
“Well, I had the dagger, and I’ve dealt with vicious dogs before. I could tell he wasn’t vicious so I put the dagger away. I didn’t know if the others had knives so I had to be the one. I’m sorry if it was wrong, but it seemed the only way to keep them safe,” I sighed.
“Do you think I brought this up to punish you? That’s silly nonsense. You are a brave boy and I wanted to hear the story, without the embellishments of your brothers. By the time you go back to school the dog will be eighteen hand-widths tall, and breathing fire,” Karl chuckled. You are all my sons and I care deeply for you. You may carry your dagger for defense when riding to the forest. If you go to the palace you must surrender it to the watch, and they will return it when you leave. I am allowed to carry my sword because of my rank, but as you noticed I took off my belt and hung it on the rack next to the Regent’s.
We rode on to the house and there was havoc.
Magda had returned to her quarters during the night and woke in a filthy mood. The boys braced the cellar door and Bolly ran to get Edvard.
Magda sat at the table tied to a chair with a gag in her mouth.
“Leave us,” Karl commanded when everyone began to speak at once.
We all left the kitchen but the door was propped slightly open. At first it was only Karl’s voice who was saying how disappointed he was in Magda’s behavior. He must have removed the gag because Magda began spewing vile oaths at him. When she was silent Karl told her she would collect her property from her quarters and that Kristen would inspect her bundles before she left.
“Take only what is yours, I don’t want to have to cane you for thieving. When you are packed you will take yourself to the Presbytery, and report there as their new kitchen help. If you continue your foul behavior there, they will whip you. They are not as tolerant as I am,” Karl concluded.
“Magda was sent to her quarters in the cellar to pack her things. Kristen and Edvard went too, just to make sure she did no damage or carried off anything she shouldn’t. She was told to take her bedding with her which was a custom. Edvard carried her things up the stairs and escorted her off the property. The presbytery wasn’t far and her things would be safe in our forecourt until she could make her second trip.
“Ingrid is sending her cook over in the morning. I will cook tonight…no, I think we will go to the Folkshus and save a bit of bother, and we can celebrate all of us being together.
Karl and my brothers gave me a tour of the workshop, where we would spend our afternoons studying the various crafts we were meant to learn. Mornings would be devoted to school. I was told the teachers were strict, but if you paid attention, they would be patient when you struggled with a concept. We didn’t have the same subject every day except maths. Some sort of maths was taught every day. It was considered more important than language and literature. Best of all there was no theological indoctrination at the school, only a class on theology that supported no specific religion. Brandesskøle was not there to teach about god. It was a modern school and used modern methods. The cane was still used, but sparingly.
The rest of the day we spent at a large field, playing Lacrosse with other boys, and even a few girls. I was new to it, but I got the hang of it quickly. After that we went home and practiced archery. In days to come Karl would fence with us, and we would have sword fights with wooden swords. Our martial training was well seen to and it kept us fit. Karl was an excellent instructor.
I was already an expert archer and I had brought my bow on our ride north. I had shaped and fletched all my arrows myself. I had a few of father’s metal broad heads, and the rest I made from flint.
School would begin again the week after Karl and Ingrid married. They planned a trip to a lodge for their honeymoon. No servants or guardsmen, just them. Kristen made daily trips to the flower market to buy dried out flowers in huge bundles, and we boys carried them for her. They were for the time after the wedding when the groom brings his bride across the threshold. Girls would be stationed on the balconies over the door, they would cut the cords that held up a huge sheet of flower petals, that would rain down on the bride and groom. Edvard kindly gave us a shed room to store the bags in and keep them dry.
The day approached quickly and we made many trips to the palace to prepare for our part in the ceremony.
When the day came we were all taken in two carriages to the palace. We walked in mostly unnoticed, while Kristen and Edvard had their own invitations. I had grown to like Edvard, he was kind and he was always ready to teach a willing pupil about horses. Donkeys were common where I grew up, but horses were for rich men or soldiers. I spent a lot of time helping Edvard with the dirty work of stabling, and got to do some of the fun things as well. Braiding manes was something I enjoyed and the horses seemed to like it too. These were the coach horses. All my brothers took a hand in shining up the coach. We polished the black lacquer and rubbed a lanolin paste into the leather portions. The coach gleamed in the sun.
It was the coach that Karl would ride to the palace in, and that he and Ingrid would ride back to the house after the ceremony. Bolly would ride with Karl acting as footman. Bolly’s name was actually Bolindor which was a bit fancy for the forest clan.
He looked adorable in his royal livery. It was what the clothes we wore while doing the Regent’s business were called. I had been reluctant to show my brother’s the pin I received but I discovered that we all had them except Bolly because he was too young.
I had started to ask about it while describing my audience with the Regent, but something distracted me and I forgot. Karl had told me to keep it in my trunk except for special occasions, like visiting the palace or being a messenger. The penalty for interfering with a royal emissary was quite harsh so nobody wanted to do it.
Our carriage drew up to the gates of the palace, and the guardsmen raised their muskets in salute. We donned our muffin shape hats with a gold crest on them, stepped out of the coach. When they arrived, I held out a hand for Kristen. She and Edvard were decked out in their best livery. Edvard wore his medals from the wars he’d been in.
Soon there was trumpeting as the grooms coach arrived and people cheered. The guardsmen all saluted with their swords held high. Bolly scrambled from his seat next to the coachman to fold down the step and open the carriage door. He removed his hat and bowed to the groom. He also wore a sash, and a medallion around his neck. On his belt was a small ceremonial dagger in an ornate sheath. Karl emerged in his royal uniform. He had a lot of medals and ribbons. He wore them on a large purple sash with a crest on it. He looked very impressive standing there.
There were eight guardsmen on either side of the doors, they all raised their swords in salute, as Karl and Bolly walked in. As the grooms men, we were shown to a room where we could relax with the groom and his second. It was Rudolph, he was Karl’s best friend, and they had served in the Calvary together.