Dane St. Gregory, fifth baron of Kenbrook, raised one gloved hand in a gesture of weary command. At his back, the remains of his private army came to a clattering, snuffling, and decidedly graceless halt. His charger, Peleus, an agile, muscular beast with a hide as black as the deepest fold of Lucifer's heart, planted wide hooves on the stony soil of the ridge and, nickering, tossed his massive head. Dane had bought the animal just a fortnight ago, at a horse fair in Flanders, and he'd spent a great many deniers in the process -- so many that the purchase had all but emptied his purse.
The expense was well justified in...