Nyssa ended her song, and in the quiet of the early morning heard hoofbeats on the dirt road behind her. She turned and saw two young men who--judging by their fine clothes and fine horses--were obviously bound for the manor. As they got closer, she recognized one of them as Ralf, and she discounted him as just a dressed-up servant from the house.
"Who's the songbird?" she heard the other ask. He tossed a coin in her direction, which landed in the dirt at her feet.
As though she were a beggar. As though she'd been singing for their entertainment, rather than to annoy the lord and lady.
"Just crazy Nyssa," Ralf said. "She's mostly harmless."
"She still alive?" the other asked mildly.
It wasn't until the men had passed that Nyssa recognized the second: Lord Haraford and Lady Eleanor's youngest son, who had been away for the past six years. The last time Nyssa had seen him, he had been fifteen years old, younger than she was now. She would have thought that he'd filled in nicely in those six years and gone from gawky to handsome, except for the look of disdain on his face.
That, and the fact that he was Elsdon, the man who had murdered her parents.