How he got together with Mia..
"But I need to find her."
Sir Murdoch had lived in the city all sixty years of his life, and he knew it better than any other. "D'you know the name?"
Ulric shook his head. "Only the surname. Caldwell."
Sir Murdoch turned on his heel and pointed at a building at the far end of the street, one of the smaller shops in the Diamond Quarter. "That's the one," He said.
Ulric took his Kingsguard and made his way quick down the road, cutting through the crowd. Ulric hailed no one now, and he shook no hands. He had his destination.
Ulric looked to Sir Murdoch as they walked. "What do you know of the owner?" He asked.
"Not much, Your Grace," Sir Murdoch kept his eyes up and moving, watching the crowd around them. "Name of Joan Caldwell. Husband died years ago, mining accident. Has a son and a daughter, both adults if I'm not mistaken. Quiet family. I'm afraid there's not much else to tell."
Ulric nodded, hanging on the word 'daughter.' "That's enough, thank you."
At the door to the shop now, Ulric spun to face his guard. "Keep everyone out," He ordered them, speaking with a tone of command. "No exceptions. I'd like some peace and quiet." In truth, Ulric cared little for the quiet-it was privacy that he desired.
Sir Murdoch shot Ulric a concerned look. "Shall I join you?" He asked with a single step forward.
"No," Ulric stopped him with an outstretched hand. "I'll be fine, thank you."
Sir Murdoch nodded and bowed away, turning to face the crowded street.
Ulric took one deep, calming breath. He was not a nervy sort, but still he found his heart skipping a fair few beats. He was about to see her again. If nothing else, he could at least lay his eyes on her, he could hear her voice. That might be enough.
A little bell chimed above his head as he came through the door. Well-cut fabrics hung from carved wooden poles across the walls, wool, linen, hemp, and even a fair bit of silk, all smelling of fresh lavender and soap. A few headless mannequins stood by the east wall, sporting luxurious dresses, robes, and tunics, all adorned with lavish embroidery, sewn by a masterful hand.
A flurry of footsteps against the hardwood floor was Ulric's only warning as a woman darted into the room. The woman-Joan, Ulric figured-stood a bit short in stature, and was no older than forty. She had a head of wiry blonde hair, done up hastily in a long-hanging ponytail. The long hours of her work showed in her face, as little wrinkles sat around her blue eyes. Ulric smiled. He could see Vivian in her.
The woman took a sharp gasp when she saw him, and she hurriedly lowered herself into a curtsey. "Y-Your Grace," She stammered, not finding the breath for her words. "Joan Caldwell, yours to command. It's-it's an honor."
Ulric took her hand and kissed it graciously, "The honor's mine," He said softly, still smiling.
Joan's hand quivered a bit as Ulric released her. "What all can I do for you, Your Grace?" She asked him as she patted her dress free of its wrinkles.
Ulric turned and looked to the hanging fabrics, feigning as though he were admiring them. Much as he wished he could see Vivian now, he knew it best to take his time. He had a plan, and subtlety was key. "I'm in need of a seamstress," He mused. "And a little bird told me you're the best there is."
Joan glowed a bit at that. "I'm not sure I'm worthy of such praise." She said, shaking her head.
Ulric waved off her humility. "Nonsense. You wouldn't be in the Diamond Quarter if you weren't skilled," He said. He turned to face her then. "And I've been meaning to meet the mother of Damian Caldwell."
Joan's eyes bulged a bit. "You remember Damian?"
"Of course. I'll always remember that head of hair," Ulric laughed. "Is the young man here now?"
"No, Your Grace. He's traveling now, guarding a caravan," Joan fell quiet for a moment, looking somber. "Good with a sword, that boy."
"I know," Ulric said. Though he didn't come for Damian, Ulric still wished he could see that young man again.
"But I shouldn't waste your time, Your Grace," Joan said