A/N: First-ever Tortall fanfic, written for Goldenlake's Minor Characters Week.

His Royal Majesty must want something, Duke Turomot of Wellam decided. Whether that 'something' was an early grave for the Chief Magistrate, or for some NEW change to the realms' laws was yet undetermined. (By Mithros, some of the changes were sensible, but too many seemed entirely for their own sake. The strength of the rule of law came from its history.) There was no third explanation for why a knight who had not been in active duty since before the current King was born was currently tramping about the wilderness with one of the Queen's Riders. None.

"Are you sure you don't want an apple, your grace?" the Rider called down from the tree she was surveying the land from. Apparently, it was an apple tree. One of the sour-apple kind, and this Miri seemed to think that fact made it more likely he'd want one as a snack. Ridiculous. He had packed properly for the trip: he did not require forage to maintain his strength. He had already told the girl as much. (She might be an adult with a decade of combat experience, but this climbing trees and pestering him business made the term perfectly appliccable. Besides, for some reason he had begun viewing anyone younger than him as child-like recently-recently meaning in the past thirty years or so.)

"No, thank you," he replied. It was the nose, Turomot decided. You could always tell by the nose, and Miri's signaled trouble. For that matter, so did King Jonathan's. Turomot didn't know why his King had been considered handsome by women before his marriage (and probably after his marriage, too): couldn't they see his nose? Did they not realize what it portended? It would have been like missing the stiffness of young Cavall: even at age ten his nose had been a banner of stubbornness.

Actually, now that he thought of it, Cavall was considered handsome, as well. Perhaps it was time to give up attempting to understand the aesthetic sense of the rest of the population of Tortall. They were using a logical path entirely different than his in these assessments, clearly.

"What about a persimmon then?"

He was going to have to talk to His Royal Majesty Jonathan IV of Tortall when he returned to the Palace, clearly. He did not require these situations in his life.