66 Chapter 66 Visitors From The North
Joseph chuckled to himself after everyone had left. He had made everyone shake his hand after he spoke with them, to ensure that they understood how important what they were doing was to him, even the slaves. Some had been reluctant, and others had downright refused, on the principle he was too far above them to shake hands with, but he insisted. If Daniel hadn't snuck out, he would have shaken his hand too.
They all knew where they were supposed to be and what they were supposed to be doing, so now it was only a matter of time before everyone would be out of the weather.
Pulling a book out of one of the drawers of his desk, he opened it and started writing. Even though he remembered everything in his head, he wanted to be able to share with the king every little thing that those who were here, had been helping with. That way when the nobles tried to make a fuss about something, he could pull it out and have proof.
He honestly didn't know if it would be used or not, but he wanted to make sure that everyone who deserved credit, had a chance for it. The mages would still be jerks, but the civil and military people who were here, would start listening to him a bit more.
It had been a week since the food had arrived, and everyone was almost back to their former strength. Having healers helped a lot.
"Joseph? There are scouts from the border with news," said Stella.
"Let them in," he said, finishing his notes.
"Master Joseph, we come to report that there are barbarians approaching. Not many, and they don't seem to be trying to sneak or anything." The man was easily six-foot-tall, and held his sopping wet hat between his hands like a school boy. Joseph didn't care about the carpet he was dripping all over, it was still muddy from the meeting just a short while ago.
"Stella, have several of the slaves escort them here. I don't want any misunderstandings."
"Of course, Master Joseph," she said, leaving the room quickly.
"Thank you very much for the report, Tony. It is such a relief to have you helping to relay information so well."
The large man grinned wide, from him knowing his name, and bowed a bit lower than he probably should have as he left.
Joseph grabbed his cloak and headed out himself. He had a sneaky suspicion that someone would try to cause trouble, and he figured it would be easier to deal with, if he was there.
He arrived just in time to see Dominic turn with a small group of mages, away from the incoming barbarians. His four guards glared at the mage as he smiled while passing. Joseph wasn't sure what he had been planning, but it was obvious it wouldn't have been anything good. As soon as he had seen the slaves surrounding the 3 large barbarians, they had turned to leave. He would have to remember to praise Stella when they were alone later.
"We greet you, young chieftain." The largest of the barbarians hit his chest in a way of showing respect. The necklaces and ornaments he wore rattled.
"Greetings. Welcome to our temporary home, Warriors of the North Lands."
Surprise flashed over their faces, quickly replaced by pleasure.
"We come with a message from our chieftain. He wishes to meet with you. We have moved to the Valley of Horses. It is two days from where your men are."
He pointed to the wall in the distance.
"The cold comes."
Joseph nodded his understanding. Thinking quickly, he considered who he needed to take with him. This would be an excellent time to get out from under the noses of the mages. Turning to one of the slaves, he sent him to bring Danial. Then he sent another to get Stephan and Derek. They waited patiently, as passersby looked on in interest at the unusual look of the barbarians.
"I need to meet with the leader of these men, and discuss many issues that directly affect us all. If I had more people I trusted, I would bring all of you with me, but I don't trust Dominic to stay out of trouble while I'm gone. Daniel, would you mind watching out for things while I'm gone? I've mapped things out pretty well for a good long while."
Daniel nodded hesitantly. "Are you sure this is so important that you can't send someone else?"
"These people do not think the way the rest of us do. Their priorities are different. If I send someone else, and they misspeak, it would affect everything we are doing here. Dominic is trying to pull off some kind of shavist so I need you to stay on your toes."
"Will you be safe enough?" he asked, still not happy with the decision.
"Of course. I'm taking my guards and Stella."
"What of us?" asked Stephan, including him and Derek.
"The two of you will accompany me. I have a few things I have promised to share with you, and the journey will provide much time for talk."
They both looked excited, and hurried off to gather a few things to leave. Stella also hurried off to grab a pack.
"I hope to be no longer than a week, but there may be something I need to address before I can return. If so, I will send a messenger back to let you know. Oh, and Daniel?"
Daniel looked back at him.
"Whatever you do, don't let any of the mages near where you sleep. Ever. If you get so much as a sneeze, visit one of the healers. Got it?"
Daniel's eyes narrowed and he nodded, very seriously. "I will make it very clear to everyone that I am acting in your stead until you return."
Joseph spied one of the mages standing between tents not too far off, having just arrived, and nodded to him for Daniel to notice.
"So, I think Dominic must just be compensating for a small penis."
The mage stiffened noticeably, and Daniel broke out laughing. It was too far for the mage to have been able to hear without some kind of magic hearing, and Daniel nodded his understanding.
"I want Dominic's mages kept too busy for this nonsense, and they are to stay away from my slaves."
"Don't worry, I have a couple ideas for them that should work wonderfully." Daniel's grin warmed Joseph's heart and he wasn't as worried about leaving.