"Where does your cousin think you are? Surely you did not sneak out of Vaclav Castle, did you? Your note said only that you would be coming here clandestinely: how does it come about?" Rakoczy asked Imbolya as they hastily climbed toward the warder's quarters in the gate-house, he leading but facing her, so that he moved backward up the dimly lit spiral staircase. They were making as little noise as possible, for although outside the gate-house freezing rain buzzed on a gusty wind, rattling the slates on the roof and hooting smokily down the chimneys of Mansion Belcrady, they knew someone might well be listening for any unusual sound.
"I am on a mission for the Konige," she said, trying not to giggle; her hair was damp and drops of rain spangled her face in the light from the gateway torch.
"Yes. As the Konige's messenger, Csenge has sent me to the Sorers at Sante-Zore to secure their agreement to participate in the festival planned when the Konig departs to resume his campaign in the south. Csenge doesn't like going out in the wet, and decided to send me in her stead. The Konige doesn't interfere with Csenge's decisions. Besides, my cousin can't read, so she chose me, because I can. Right now, I'm the only one of the Konige's ladies who can." She tossed her head. "It's good to speak Magyar again. I get tired of Bohemian. There's nothing like my native tongue in my mouth." She chuckled at her joke.
"I agree," he said, uncomfortably aware that he was the last surviving speaker of his native language.
"So you give me two pleasures while I attend to my mission, one of the flesh and one of the ear." She was becoming a little breathless as much from anticipation as from their rapid climb. "I yearn for them both."
"I suppose it would not be wise of me to thank Csenge of Somogy for assigning you the task," said Rakoczy sardonically.
"No, it wouldn't," said Imbolya, halting in her upward rush and regarding him worriedly, frowning as she looked at him. Then her countenance lightened and she pushed at his arm in feigned reprimand. "Oh. You're teasing me."
"Not successfully," he said, a trifle chagrined. "What about the festival?" he inquired as they resumed their climb.
Imbolya lifted her skirts to enable her to move more quickly. "Ordinarily the festivities would be held at Easter, but since that won't come until the middle of April, the Konig is determined to be under way by the end of March, so I'm charged with asking the Sorers what they would be willing to do to help send the army on its way with God's blessings and the blessings of His servants before the Resurrection Masses." She saw him nod, and went on, "The Sorers keep stringent Hours; I would have had to wait for some time to speak to Mader Svetla, and that seemed to me to be unnecessary, especially in this weather, and so when I was left at the gate to the convent, I sent my escort to the tavern and I came here-I didn't say where I was going. And you're only two streets away from Sante-Zore; it's not as if I've been wandering about the city unprotected."
"A prudent explanation," he said. "I am glad you decided to come here."
"And I'm glad you got my message in time to admit me yourself; I only realized later that you might not get the note in time."
"The terms of my exile keep me here, inside the walls," he said. "If I am not where the Konige orders me to be, I am here."
She nodded. "I remembered that just before I reached your gate, thank God and Sant Persemon." She crossed herself. "I might not have sounded the bell if I hadn't recalled that; it would have been awkward explaining my presence to a servant, who would be certain to remember that I came here, and might report me to his Confessor, who would report to the Episcopus, which would be harmful for both of us. Fortunately, nothing bad transpired." She grinned, still a little out of breath, as she burst into the cold room above the gate; it was a spartan chamber, with a bed, a chair, a chest that also served as a table, and a brazier, with pegs on the wall for clothes. A simple wooden crucifix hung on the door. The rushes had been swept out, and so the floor was bare and cold. "When will your warder return to his post? He must still be recovering if he isn't here in his quarters." She wrenched off her gorget and wimple, tossing them on one of the pegs.
"He will be back here in a few more days," said Rakoczy. "He has not put on much flesh since he became ill, and that worries me a little; his tainted lungs have left him depleted and unable to strengthen himself. He needs someone to keep an eye on him, and he needs to stay warm. I have ordered him to remain where he is until he is less gaunt. If his appetite strengthens, it will be no more than five days before he is back here." As he spoke, he went to the brazier in the middle of the room, removed its tarnished copper lid, put a handful of kindling into it, added three branches of rosemary, and used flint-and-steel to strike a spark. "This won't give much heat, but it will be better than nothing."
Imbolya laughed as she unfastened the lacings on her bleihaut. "Then I rely on you to keep me warm." Much of her shyness around him had faded, and she looked at him with sauciness in her eyes. "We haven't much time. You don't have to take time to woo me; I'm yours for the taking." She stepped out of her bleihaut as it dropped to the floor, then sat on the edge of her bed to remove her solers and braccae before skinning out of her chainse and diving under the bear-skin cover on the bed. She wriggled up to the small pillow and poked her head out. "I'm waiting for you."
Rakoczy made sure the fire was truly started, then put a branch on the rising flames. "It may get a little smoky," he warned.
"What fire does not smoke? At least your flues are clear so they draw well." She snuggled the fur around her, shivering in anticipation as well as cold. "Hurry, Comes. I've been dreaming of you and all you do for two weeks."
He unfastened the lacing on his Hungarian bleihaut of Damascus black silk and removed the garment, dropped it over the chair, then pulled off his red-tooled-leather ankle-boots, putting them beside the bleihaut. His chainse hung to his knees and was of dark-red Anatolian wool, so soft that it felt almost like velvet; the braccae beneath were of supple deer-skin leather dyed black. He took off no more clothing. "Make room for me, Imbolya."
She laughed and lifted a corner of the bear-skin. "You'll have to lie close; there isn't much room."
"I think I can manage," he said as he crossed the distance between them in two strides and slid under the bear-skin beside her, gathering her into his arms as he did; the ropes under the thin mattress groaned and the bed swayed while the ropes balanced the load. As they shifted themselves, making room for elbows and knees, he murmured, "It is disappointing to have to be so rushed; I hope you will be fulfilled, but-"
"It's this or nothing, Comes," said Imbolya very seriously. "I would rather have some than none. You have given me so much already." She snuggled to his chest, remarking as she did, "Your body seems ... chilly. No wonder you keep your chainse on." On impulse she stroked the Hungarian collar of his chainse. "This is wonderful cloth."
"Those of my blood have cool flesh," said Rakoczy, pulling the bear-skin more closely around them. "How long can you stay here?"
"Not as long as I'd like. Until the clock in the German church strikes twice," she said. "You can hear it from here, can't you? even with the rain and wind."
"Yes," said Rakoczy, quickly reckoning their time together. "It is not loud, but we do hear it. Pacar, my cook, depends upon it."
"Then I won't fret about it." She smiled slowly, her eyes alight.
He sensed her eagerness and something more, perilously close to gloating, that private knowledge of a delicious secret she could relish in private. "No word of this must get out, for both our sakes."
"I know," she said with a hint of disappointment. "I would not make a good marriage, and you, most likely, would be gelded or burned at the stake. But Konig Otakar wouldn't dare to hang you in chains-it would be the act of a despot, not a Christian Konig, hanging an exiled nobleman in such a disgraceful way. And Konig Bela wouldn't like it, which would make matters difficult for the Konige. Still, you would be reviled as a seducer, and I would be a fallen woman. The best you could hope for would be a prison cell and torture. I might have to travel to Roma on my knees to make expiation for my lust." She shook her head. "But it isn't lust, or not only lust."
"What is it, then?" He moved his arm so she could rest her head on it.
"Something between you and me, Comes. You said so yourself. What we do together is our secret, one that is precious to us both." She touched his close-cropped beard. "I like your face. Your nose is askew and your eyes are a strange color: black with striations of blue, but I like the face. It suits you. I like more than your face."
He kissed her forehead, a little saddened that she had said like and not love, although he knew she spoke the truth, and answered her truthfully. "And I like you," he told her. "All of you."
She wrapped her arms around his neck. "What would the Episcopus think of us now?" There was a pop and a small shower of sparks as resin within the burning branch exploded, the scent of pine vying with the rosemary to sweeten the air; this gave her an excuse to pull him closer and to hold him more tightly. "We must hurry."
"Are you certain?"
"That is unfortunate," he said with undisguised sadness in his voice. "You would enjoy this much more if we had a long time together. If we rush, we will have to give up savoring each sensation."
"Then we'll have to gorge and make the most of it." She pulled his head down to kiss him, her body taut as a bowstring. Only her lips were soft, pliant, and welcoming. As they broke apart, she giggled. "Where did you learn ... so much?"
He did not answer at once. "I doubt you would like my response."
She rubbed his short beard with the tips of her fingers. "If you think I'll be jealous, I won't be. I know you have had lovers before me, and will have more of them when I am married."
It took him a short while to consider his response. "Whatever I say cannot be unsaid," he cautioned her.
"Tell me," she insisted, a hint of petulance coming into her tone. "If you don't tell me, I'll think worse of you than if you do, no matter how much you may believe I won't be pleased. I do want to know-really."
"Then I will tell you: for the most part I have learned about women in the company of women," he answered, not at all certain this was a wise decision.
"Have there been very many?" Her voice was not quite a whisper, but there was mischief in her oblique glance.
"Yes," he said, his thoughts ranging back more than thirty centuries.
"Did you love them?" As she asked, she pressed her body to his.
"There are as many ways to love as there are people in the world," said Rakoczy, kissing her brow and the bridge of her nose.
"That isn't an answer," she challenged him, arching her back so that her small breasts pushed against him.
"Every woman is different: what each seeks and gives is dissimilar to all the rest. Like you, not all seek love, and like you, not all wish to bestow it." He thought of Melidulci and Olivia, of Tishtry and Gynethe Mehaut, of Padmiri and Thetis.
"I know that: did you love them?"
"Most of them," he said, thinking now of Aloysia in Constantinople, of Csimenae in Hispania, and of Jo-Hsu in western China, then of Rozsa of Borsod: none of them had wanted intimacy from him, only stimulation and release, each in her own way, not unlike the women he visited in their sleep; the dreams he provided them, however sweet, did not include the touching he sought.
She looked at him, her eyes serious, her young face showing the ghost of age. "You said you like me-do you love me?"
This time he had no hesitation in answering candidly. "As much as you love me; what emotion I feel, and how deeply I feel it, is determined by you," he said, thinking his explanation was too simplistic. She tweaked his close-cropped beard then; he kissed her slowly, thoroughly, his hands moving across her back, relearning her contours. He began to caress her, stroking her sides, her arms, her back, seeking out new secrets in her flesh, doing nothing in haste, fitting his attentions to her increasing ardor until she pulled away.
"We shouldn't dawdle," she said, taking his arms and pulling his hands around to her breasts. "You know how to make my desire burn bright."
"It burns brighter if it is not hurried," he said, all the while gently kneading her breasts, small and firm as summer apples, pausing now and then to tease her nipples until they stood, rosy and firm, between his fingers.
"But we haven't much time," she persisted. "Keep doing that, and we'll miss the opportunity for more. The clock will strike and I'll have to leave you and return to the nuns." She strove to kiss him again, her mouth firm, demanding on his, her lips parted. She could begin to feel the first twinge of concupiscence, so she redoubled her efforts, sliding against him and placing one of his hands on her buttock. "Work your way around to the front," she said when she ended their kiss. "It will save time."
"If that will give you fulfillment," he said, and let her guide him. He could sense the urgency she felt, and was surprised at how quickly her passion ignited; it was not her youth alone that inspired her, but the awareness that she would soon be a bride; this was her only chance at the kind of rapture that the troubadours said belonged to legendary lovers and the priests said belonged only to God.
"Hurry. You've got to hurry," she whispered to him, breathing quickly. "My spasm will come quickly once you touch my woman's bud."
"Or it may be too abrupt, and it will take longer to waken your passion," he said, thinking of the many times he had experienced this.
She coughed once and waved her hand. "The smoke," she said by way of explanation. "I want you to be quick and-" She coughed again.
"Do you want me to put the lid on the brazier?" he asked, starting to disentangled his arms from hers.
"I want you to rouse me, to show me the extent of my pleasure," she said emphatically but without raising her voice. "Smoke is everywhere in Praha in winter." She took hold of the hand he had freed, and kissed it. "Time is passing. Give me my rapture."
In answer to her order, he slid his hand between her legs and moved from her knees to the warm, pink petals at the top of her legs. He fingered the soft outer folds while he kissed her mouth with nuances inspired by her educing arousal.
Imbolya felt her insouciance released, as if she floated in warm, perfumed water, her body pliant and tingling. "Comes," she whispered before sinking gloriously into yet another kiss. She wriggled against him, urging herself to greater apolaustic fervor. Her skin felt as sensitive as if it had been scrubbed, but without the pain of scrubbing. She stared into his compelling eyes. "You have so much ... so much," she murmured, not knowing what she meant. "Comes, sweet Comes." She sank one hand into his hair, pulling him down into another kiss, her body melding to his through his chainse. A delicious spring began to gather in her, its frisson promising a spasm that would exceed the other two she had achieved from him. "Hurry. Hurry." She coughed once, turning her head away as if abashed by it. "Don't stop."
He felt her pulse as he slid two fingers into her and realized that she was not as near her spasm as she thought she was. "Do not chase it, Imbolya," he whispered. "Let it come to you."
"But we haven't time," she wailed softly.
He slowed his attentions to her, concentrating on her pulse he felt within her, and how she breathed as her body reacted to his evocation with his mouth and hands. He used his thumb to circle and excite her woman's bud. After a short while, her pulse grew stronger and faster, and he knew her culmination would shortly be upon her; he brushed her lips with his, and felt her quiver as her ecstasy grew more intense, and she reached to draw him nearer.
There was a rap on the door.
The two of them were suddenly still, hardly breathing, listening to the sounds from outside the room. Beyond the wail of the wind and the purr of the icy rain there were shouts and the sound of the kitchen bell.
"My master," Hruther called quietly in Imperial Latin.
"No," Imbolya protested, trying to pull the bear-skin over their heads. "Not yet! Not yet!"
Gently Rakoczy disengaged himself from her embrace and slipped out of the bed, getting to his feet. "What is it?"
"There is a fire in the bake-house chimney. If it isn't stopped, it will spread to the manse." He paused. "I can guide your companion to safety. You are needed at the fire."
"A fire, you say-in the chimney?" Rakoczy asked, surprised.
"In the bake-house chimney."
"It was just cleaned," Rakoczy said.
"So it was," Hruther agreed. "Yet it is afire."
Rakoczy nodded, reluctantly shifting his attention away from Imbolya. "I'll be with you in a moment. I will need you to help-"
"-your companion to depart without drawing attention to her," Hruther finished for him. "Yes. I'll see she gets away unnoticed."
On the bed, Imbolya punched the mattress then flung back the bear-skin. "Something's happened, hasn't it?"
"There's a fire," said Rakoczy in Magyar. "I must go. And so must you. It isn't safe here."
She paled, the prospect of a fire gaining her full attention. "Yes. We must. It would not do either of us good if I were discovered here." She got out of the bed, reaching for her clothes. "I don't want to delay you."
He was pulling on his bleihaut. "My personal servant will escort you to Sante-Zore. You may rely on him implicitly, Imbolya: I do." He reached for his belt and secured it around his waist.
"I should thank you for sparing him to me," she said, shivering. "How extensive is the fire?"
"I am going to find out," said Rakoczy, then added quietly, "I apologize for this, Imbolya."
She was tugging her chainse over her head, and as she emerged through the neck of the garment, she shrugged. "I came to you and we knew it would be brief." She took her braccae and began to pull one on. "My solers-"
"Under the bed," he told her, and bent to pick up her bleihaut, holding it for her.
"I see them," she said, pulling on her other bracca.
"As soon as you are ready." He offered her bleihaut to her.
"Just a..." She stood up, settling her chainse around her; she caught the cuffs in her hands and held up her arms to help him fit her bleihaut around her. "Don't worry about the lacing. I can tie them well enough."
"If you like."
She blinked against the smoke in the room. "Best put the lid on the brazier."
Rakoczy was already setting the tarnished copper in place. "Your solers." He pointed to them.
"And your boots," she said, bending over to don her footwear.
"Where is Barnon?" Rakoczy asked as he opened the door to Hruther.
"I left him organizing the men to carry buckets from the horse-trough to the fire. He's badly frightened." Hruther held a heavy soccus folded over his arm. "I think your companion would benefit from this."
Rakoczy glanced at the old-fashioned Byzantine cloak. "Yes; thank you, old friend. The weather alone calls for it."
Turning to Imbolya, Hruther said, "You will want to wear the hood up." He ducked his head respectfully.
Imbolya, who was adjusting her gorget and wimple, stopped to look at the engulfing garment. "Oh, yes," she exclaimed. "This is most welcome." She seized the soccus and swung it around her shoulders, permitting it to fall about her before she raised the hood. "I will see it returned to you. It's safer that way."
Rakoczy laid his hand on her shoulder. "Be careful, Imbolya."
"Your man will see to that," she said, and stood in front of him, her face turned up toward him. "Will we have the chance to meet again, do you think? I won't be at the Konige's Court much longer."
"I hope so," he said, kissing her forehead. "If we can meet safely."
"Safely," she echoed disbelievingly, then pushed his chest. "You'd better go. Your servants will need you to command them." With that, she turned away from Rakoczy and addressed Hruther. "I'm ready to follow you."
"Thank you, Hruther," said Rakoczy as he stood aside to permit Imbolya to pass out of the room to the stairs, then descended behind them. At the foot of the stairs, Rakoczy took the larger door and stepped out into the forecourt, one hand raised to keep the blowing rain from getting into his eyes; he did not look to see Hruther open the small warder's door that led to the narrow alley that ran beside the wall to the craftsmen's gate.
"Comes!" shouted Estephe as Rakoczy came around the eastern flank of the manse. "Where have you been?"
"Hruther found me," Rakoczy answered promptly, looking at the billowing smoke that roiled up from the burning chimney, where flames licked at the sooty darkness, spreading heat along with fear. "When did this start? Does anyone know? Who saw it first?"
"The first flames were seen not long ago, but who knows how long they built up? You know how chimney fires can be." He was rushing toward the horse-trough, a large bucket dangling from his rough-gloved hand. "Barnon has ordered us to throw water on the fire. Six of the household men are doing the task."
One of the scullions rushed by, a bucket of water clasped in his hands and held high in front of his body.
"Illes of Kotan-is he helping?" Rakoczy asked, lengthening his stride as he neared the trough.
"He has taken the horses from the stable to the paddock, away from the flames; they were fretting in their stalls-one of the mules was kicking," said Estephe, and crossed himself. "Should I summon him?"
"It is better for him to care for the horses," said Rakoczy.
They were almost at the horse-trough, where Barnon was handing a full bucket to Kornemon while Ambroz lowered his pail into the water. "Make your buckets full and spill as little as you can."
"Very good," said Rakoczy, and reached for one of two wooden buckets standing next to the horse-trough. "Who is commanding the men at the bake-house?"
"Comes." Barnon stared at him. "What are you doing?"
"Helping to put out the fire," he said, filling the bucket. "Who is in charge at the bake-house?"
"Pacar. He says he knows fire from the kitchen."
Rakoczy nodded and hastened away toward the bake-house, his bucket balanced so that he would not lose much of its contents, calling out to Pacar as he came to the edge of the smoke, "Where shall I pour this?"
Pacar stood in the door to the bake-house, his face smirched with ash, his kitchen-smock pock-marked with burns from flying sparks. His voice was hoarse from shouting and breathing in smoke. "Throw it there," he barked without looking at the new arrival, pointing to the maw of the fireplace.
"The fire is in the flue, not on the hearth," said Rakoczy, and swung his bucket so that the water arched toward the chimney, hissing as it struck the bricks. Hot steam rose in pale clouds from the wet patch, getting lost in the black smoke hiding the ceiling. Rakoczy could see that some of the smoke was moving, and he realized that some of the ceiling had smoldered away.
Pacar turned, aghast. "Comes," he gasped, ducking his head twice. "God and His Angels! Why are you here?"
"My property is on fire," said Rakoczy.
"But you ... you shouldn't be fighting it. That's servants' work." Pacar seemed truly distressed.
"Never mind that," Rakoczy said. "The water must go onto the chimney, not into the hearth. The fire is at least eighteen hands up, inside the chimney." He felt the heat on his hands and face like a desert wind.
"But it may break if the site of the fire is struck with water," Pacar protested.
"It is ruined already, so you might as well get the fire out as quickly as possible; that way, the rebuilding will not require a completely new flue for the ovens and the hearth, the masons can build on the old foundations. Why should cracked bricks trouble you? Pour on all the water you can." Rakoczy backed away from the fire, feeling more than seeing Timoty, the household courier, approaching with a large metal pail held to his chest.
Pacar hesitated as he became aware of Timoty. He sighed heavily and pointed at the chimney. "Throw it there."
Satisfied that the fire would soon be out, Rakoczy went back for another bucketful of water; he could feel the sleet growing thicker as the wind tore at the clouds. He noticed that the men with buckets and pails were moving faster, but whether it was because the storm was worsening or because he was helping to fight the fire, he could not say. He set himself to working steadily, and soon the smoke rising from the bake-house was paler, and the hiss of water on the chimney was fading as the bricks grew cooler and wetter, and the mortar began to crumble. On his ninth return to the bake-house, Rakoczy took time to look up at the ceiling, and noticed the main beams were charred, and in three places the roof had given way, leaving the bake-house open to the sky. "Is the bath-house damaged?" he asked Pacar, for the bake-house and bath-house shared a good portion of the chimney above the three tall ovens.
"No one has looked," Pacar said, his voice barely audible. "The fire doesn't appear to have spread that far."
"Then send someone to examine the bath-house to make sure. I do not want the fire starting up again." Rakoczy met Pacar's gaze directly.
"If that is what you want of us," Pacar said grudgingly. "It is in the Hands of God whether we shall all burn or shall be saved." He crossed himself to make his point.
"Then why did you bother to fight the fire? Why not leave Mansion Belcrady to God?" Rakoczy asked, and spoke before Pacar could frame an answer. "God asks us to use His gifts to help ourselves once we are old enough to fend for ourselves."
Pacar shrugged and bent over to cough. "It will take some days to clear away the damage. No baking can be done until the chimney is made whole again."
"The central hearth cannot be used," Rakoczy said, noticing how close the fireplace was to collapsing; a bundle of sticks lay under the chimney, black where they were not reduced to ash. "The ovens will have to be inspected as well. And the bath can't be heated."
Ambroz came and flung more water on the chimney. "Looks like it's out."
"Probably," said Pacar.
Between the open door and the holes in the roof, the smoke was dissipating quickly; now drops of gelid rain added to the mess on the floor. The household men started to gather up their pails and buckets while Pacar leaned in the door, wheezing. Now that the danger had passed, they all wanted to be away from the bake-house.
"Comes, come away. Leave it to the bricklayers to fix," said Estephe.
Only Rakoczy remained near the chimney, studying it in the half-light. There was a mass of cracks in the mortar a hand above his head, and the bricks bulged a little. Rakoczy shook his head, then looked down at the fireplace and the mass of twigs and strips of cloth, something like a rats' nest. "But the chimneys have just been cleaned," he muttered to himself as he crouched down to have a better look at the thing.
"Comes, it isn't safe," Pacar warned, shoving himself out of the door.
"Still," said Rakoczy, picking up a blackened length of twine. He lifted it, sniffing it carefully, then rolled it along his fingers, studying the residue it left behind. "Wax," he said in his own language. He picked up one of the remaining twigs. "More wax." He slipped the twine and the stick into his sleeve.
"Comes," Ambroz urged him.
"I am coming," he said in Bohemian, and went to the door, thinking as he went that the fire in the chimney had been set, and the wax proved it.
Text of a letter of introduction from Frater Sandor, scribe to Konig Bela of Hungary, to Konig Przemysl Otakar II of Bohemia and the Counselors of Praha, written in Church Latin on parchment, carried by Royal herald, and delivered sixteen days after it was dispatched.
At the behest of Bela, Konig of Hungary, I send this message to Przemysl Otakar II, Konig of Bohemia, Moravia, Styria, Carinthia, Carinola, and Magna Dux of Austria, and the Counselors of Praha to present to you the following of Konig Bela's nobles who will be joining the Court of Konig Bela's granddaughter, Kunigunde of Halicz, Konige of Bohemia; this on the 20th day of February in the Lord's Year 1270.
Kustansze of Lugoj, grandniece to Konig Bela and second cousin to Konige Kunigunde, to be one of Konige Kunigunde's waiting-women, housed within the Konige's Court; she is a widow of high repute and the mother of three children currently in Konig Bela's service and care. Past the age of wiles and foolishness, she will provide a pious example to the Konige's Court. She will be escorted by Padnagy Kalman, Dux of Oradea, and four of his officers.
Iliska of Szousa, second daughter of the Comes of Szousa, will take the place of Erzebet of Arad as one of the Konige's Court; she will be escorted by her brother, Antal of Szousa, who will remain with his sister until harvest-time, when he will return to his father at Szousa. Antal of Szousa will have five men-at-arms with him, and bring ten slaves for Konige Kunigunde's use. He will also be in charge of six mares from Konig Bela's stables, a gift to the Court of his granddaughter. He will house himself and his men, so as not to be a charge upon the Konige, and to help to preserve the good names of the waiting-women.
Rozsa of Borsod will return to the Konige's Court until Mid-Summer, when her pregnancy will require her to return to Kaposvar to await the birth of her child at the seat of his father, for surely God will give Notay Tibor a son. Rozsa of Borsod will be escorted by Milan of Gyula, master of Notay Tibor's personal Guard, with six of his men. Rozsa of Borsod will become part of the Konige's Court again, but her escort and his men will take lodgings in the city of Praha and will be responsible for their maintenance and the maintenance of their horses.
In addition, two Passionist monks, Frater Dubede and Frater Isdros, will travel with the company, to minister the Sacraments as they may be needed, and to hear the Confessions of the travelers.
May God yet send you a son, Konig Otakar, and may your wars spare you so that you live to rejoice in him.
For Konig Bela of Hungary
by the hand of Frater Sandor
Hieronymite and Royal Scribe