Toten rummaged through his clothes, throwing items he had just unpacked back into a trunk to be lugged north.
He clutched the letter from the king in his hand and threw another doublet in the trunk roughly.
He turned, seeing his wife propping herself against the doorway.
“Gabby, I…I was just getting things ready for the journey north.”
“It’s never going to be ready if you keep putting them in like that, Toten.”
He sighed. “I just got back, Gabby. I want to be here, in my father’s halls. With what happened with Lena…I feel surrounded by enemies. I’m not sure we should be leaving so soon. Especially with the children.”
Gabby put a hand on her husband’s broad shoulders. “Toten, if there’s two things that I’ve learned since coming here it’s one: that the Stormlands were aptly named. And two: that the rocks borne by those lands can withstand anything. This rock will keep. And so will we.”
Toten kissed her and gazed out the window before resuming his packing.
As the sun began to set in the west, Gabby settled in for bed.
“Are you coming, husband?”
“Not yet,” Toten sighed. “There are a few more things I must needs do.”
Toten left the chamber and walked through the halls, climbing up the great stone stairs to the upper level of the keep. He pulled open the door to his fathers’ chambers, stepping inside and breathing a sigh of relief. Ever since he’d returned here after his wedding, he’d felt at peace when within these walls. By rights he should have moved his own things here along with Gabby, taking the large space for himself, but that felt wrong to Toten. This space would always be his father’s.
He picked up the journal he’d found on the desk months ago, and moved to his favorite spot at the window seat and by the waning evening sun, Toten began to read.