Sorry if this isn't the best. Starts are not my strongest point of writing. Bryce had been spending too much time away from the place he'd been inclined to call home. A small skirmish had broken out a month ago, and he had been second in command of one of the groups of forces dispersed to settle the situation and calm the confrontations down. It had threatened to turn into civil war. He never did like being away from home for too long. He missed being able to see Cecilia every day, not that he told anyone that. Most people knew that he had a sweet spot for her but he couldn't admit it even if he wanted to. It wasn't allowed. Even though he was a knight in title, he was still just a lowly ackerman in his stars. There had been a lot of riding to get back home before the rest. His horse was tired and didn't want to go on much longer. It wasn't until the castle was in sight that he hopped off his horse and held onto the reigns, walking next to him. It was sunny out and he felt just as exhausted as the animal. The mails he wore clung to his clothes and his hair was plastered to his face. He would need to bathe before the day was out. But there was still a smile on his face as the castle grew larger. The horsemaster was his first stop. Bryce wouldn't have the death of his steed on his conscience, not when he and the horse had been through so much together. Deaghlan said the horse would be alright but not able to be ridden for a couple of weeks to recover. That was just as well with Bryce. There were absolutely no plans to leave again any time soon. Besides, there were more important things to think about. He asked one of the handmaidens where Cecilia was to be found before thinking better of it. "Just tell her I've returned," he said as he waved over one of the male servants to help him with his armour. "I'll find her on my own when I'm done."