Episode 1: Talk to the Wolves
House Tuttle is expecting a visit from the Redwynes to talk business. As usual, a visit from the Redwynes is always more than just business. It’s a verbal joust at a tourney that the Tuttles are reluctant to host. The reward is a report to King Robert about the status of his favorite wine. Everyone in House Tuttle will have a part to play, and they must play it well. With bandits afoot and the Redwynes coming for a visit, the tension and drama is running high.
The Redwynes come to the port, and the crowds are cheering. The Tuttles have struggled to capture the goodwill of the people of Shell Island. It seems that they work for the Tuttles, but their hearts remain with the Redwynes. Lord Paxter Redwyne knows and relishes this fact. Gareth, Simon and Meridora help to defuse a situation with sailors unfriendly to the Redwynes that seemed to be egged on by mysterious men handing out rotten vegetables.
Arriving at Tannenhall, Lord and Ladies Redwyne and Tuttle settle into discussions about their houses and wineries. Lords Redwyne and Tuttle disappear behind closed doors after Gareth inspects the room and settles the Lords in for their talk. Lady Tuttle excuses herself, still weak from her sickness. Lady Redwyne and Maera continue to the solarium to converse. Horas and Hobber prove once again to be petulant brats and demand horses to ride. Simon guides the youths to the stables.
Hobber and Horas Redwyne take to horse. As quickly as the horses are ready, the two Redwyne youths are off to terrorize the island. This time though, Simon follows them to mitigate the damage caused. First they go to the port and towards the vineyards to scatter farmer Jonton’s goats and livestock. Simon is uses all his horsemanship to keep up with the lads.
Lady Redwyne and Maera have a delicate discussion. Seeing that Maera is alone with the wise council of her mother, Lady Redwyne presses her advantage. Maera is of age to marry, and she wants to bring Shell Island back in line with The Arbor. She presses the issue of marriage with Maera, and overwhelms the younger lady with some well placed points. Maera manages to fend off Lady Redwyne, but almost to no avail. Frustration building, the young Tuttle buys some time against Lady Redwyne, along with a “gift” from Elyana is able keep Lady Redwyne at a distance.
The Redwyne’s baby, Desmera is missing! Elyana rushes back to a bedroom to fetch Betsey and Desmera, the Redwyne’s baby daughter. To her surprise, Betsey and the baby are missing. A quick look of the room discovers that a secret panel is ajar and it looks if passage through it had been made. Almost in a controlled panic, Elyana searches every room. Not finding the baby, she quickly and quietly alerts her brother Dylan, who is standing guard outside Lord Tuttle’s study. He replaces his guard and quickly goes to the bedroom where Betsey and the baby were supposed to be. Elyana points out the compromised secret passage, and Dylan, without hesitation, goes down.
Simon, who is still chasing Horas and Hobber, notices smoke close to the vineyards. The two mischievous lads give Simon a grand chase around the island, and this only seemed to be the warm-up. Catching his breath, Simon looks around giving check to his surroundings and he notices that smoke seems to be coming from the direction of the vineyards and more specifically, from the farmstead that the boys finished making sport of. Simon thinking to turn the tables on the boys, loudly points out the smoke to them and spurs his horse toward the area. The boys follow in quick pursuit. Once they arrive at the scene, Simon notices that the farmhouse is on fire, so Simon rounds up help from the vineyards. Meanwhile, the boys spur their horse towards the burning house.
Dylan is in pursuit. Reaching the bottom of the secret passage, Dylan lights a torch and continues on to the end. Estimating he is well beyond the wall of the castle, he stops at the dead end. Light is seeping from what appears to be a trap door above. Taking a moment to listen, he is able to figure out that two men are in on the abduction of the Redwyne’s baby. Preparing himself, Dylan bursts from the trap door, surprising what looks to be House Tuttle garrison guards. With a quick slash, the two men fall dead. The trap door open up into some large bushes, where both men are left for later. Not finding tracks, Dylan goes toward the port.
Gareth goes to the rescue. Seeing the smoke in the distance, Gareth quickly goes to the stables and orders his horse. Swiftly, he is on the road towards the fire, urging the horse to go faster. Just before he comes to the port, something snaps, and his saddle slides off with him on it! Fighting furiously, with his feet dragging the ground, he manages to regain control of his horse and continues on without saddle.
Elyana keeps the baby situation under wraps and then goes out on her own. Seeing that Maera needed a respite from Lady Redwyne and a diversion, Elyana sends the cook out to her lady so dinner for that evening could be approved. While the diversion was going on, Elyana grabs her sword and slips into the secret passageway, making her way to the trap door and the two dead garrison guard imposters. She then sees Dylan’s tracks and follows them into the port.
Simon confronts the bandits. While rounding up smallfolk in the vineyards to put out the fire, Simon notices that Hobber’s black horse is trotting out from behind the house with a rider. Drawing his sword he quickly goes to the back of the burning house, where he is confronted with five guerrillas! They see him and shoot, wounding Simon is a small volley of arrows. Trying to defuse the situation, Simon manages to talk them out of using the boys as hostages. About that time, Gareth arrives at the scene, quietly coming up behind Simon. The bandits push the boys away and take to heel. At that time Gareth spurs his horse towards them. The bandits reply sending a volley of arrows ineffectively at Gareth, before they disappear into the woods and underbrush.
Dylan and Meridora confront Lyndon Tuttle. Coming to the house that Hobart the chicken seller pointed out as the place that Betsey fled to, both Dylan and Meridora go to the front door, knock a couple times and allow themselves in. Facing them is a fellow vaguely reminiscent in looks to Lord Tuttle and Betsey with the baby in her arms. The man announces himself as Lyndon Tuttle, Lord Tuttle’s younger brother. He says he doesn’t intend to hurt the babe, but merely use her for his purposes and returning her safely to the Redwynes. Dylan disagrees, and a fight ensues. Lyndon is easy defeated, and is maimed in the process – his arm cut off with a devastating blow. Betsey is apprehended and Meridora tends to Lyndon, while Dylan has babe in arms, intending on making a glorious entrance and announcing the younger Tuttle’s betrayal. He meets Elyana, who is coming from Tannenhall to find Dylan and the baby. She talks him out of making any ado about the child, and talks him into using the secret passage to return the child.
The end of the story involves the taming of Horas and Hobber and returning Desmera. Elyana finds clean cloths and brings Desmera to Lady Redwyne. The excuse was that the baby was sleeping with Lady Tuttle, whereas Lady Redwyne scolds Maera and Elyana both for doing so. Simon limps back along with Gareth, with Hobber and Horas in tow. At Tannenhall, Gareth extracts a promise of good behavior and silence from the boys, while Simon has the arrow that wounded him extracted from his leg. Later, Simon limps to where Gareth said he fell from the saddle, and finds it. He also discovers that the straps had been cut. Everything is kept silent until Gareth has a good opportunity to tell Lord Tuttle what had happened. All’s well that ends well.
After the Redwynes leave, Lord Tuttle is better able to deal with his brother Lyndon and his accomplice, Betsey. As an offense against a major House, Betsey’s fate is clear – the executioner’s sword. As for Lyndon, he is more useful. It is discovered that he is one of the leaders of the pro-Redwyne bandits that have plagued the Tuttles since the beginning. Lyndon becomes a hostage in own brother’s house to keep the peace on Shell Island. The incident is kept quiet, but Lord Tuttle confides in Maera and Simon about what happened, and why Betsey will meet her fate. Lady Tuttle will be told is that Betsey took up with a sailor and left the island. Both Lyndon and Betsey hold residence in Tannenhall’s prison.
Gareth shakes up the guard, arresting five men who posed as garrison imposters. Meanwhile, Lord Tuttle insists that Dylan be given some authority in reward for his bravery. Simon stays the three days that the Redwynes are on Shell Island, but gives them escort back to The Arbor. He spends pretty much the remainder of the month out conducting patrols around the island.