October 23 - Everyone ready for the Friday Highlight? It's ready for you here.

A Heart Full of Stars {A Medieval Story} Chapter 50 out now! 10/18/20

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  • IrishsongIrishsong Posts: 1,507 Member
    edited July 2019
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    Chapter 3

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    “We’ve been walking for days now, and I don’t see no manor in sight! When are we due to get there!?” complained Sir Rhayde. “If it were up to me, we would have been there already. We wouldn’t have stopped so often.”

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    “If it weren’t for you, we would have been there already. You keep having to stop and rest.” Sir Romeo teased. “If you’re so tired, why don’t you ask for one of the horses? Or are you too weak to walk like the rest of us? It’s a three day journey if we keep a good pace, we’re already on our third day and we have another to go. Stay on your guard.” he said, scanning the trees.

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    Liam kept his head down. He didn’t want to get in the middle of this. Rhayde was a spoiled brat and everyone knew it. Liam didn’t want him to think that they were friends, but he also didn’t want him to know just how much he despised his company.

    “That’s what you say. When can I sleep?” he whined. “At least in my dreams I’m with beautiful women, not among your ugly faces all day.”

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    Liam looked up from where he sat and glanced at Sir Romeo. They were attractive by conventional standards, Sir Rhayde must be blind.

    Liam was annoyed that the church had felt it pertinent to send along a knight of the templar to a simple hunting trip at a manor that is less than a week away by foot. The church had been stretching it’s fingers into things that it previously hadn’t had power over, and the king said nothing about it. He didn’t seem to care. The church now had their own set of taxes on the population, had to approve marriages before they were allowed to happen, and many other things that seemed unethical. There were rumors that they tore through any town that was rumored to not believe, assaulting and murdering people as they went. The idea of having one of their knights here to keep an eye on things made him uneasy to say the least.

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    Not to mention the man was a total wuss.

    ~*~

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    The morning after Anwyn and Lara arrived at the manor, they were woken bight and early by the maid of the household, telling them what to expect.

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    “Good morning, ladies. My name is Melinda and we have a very busy day ahead of us, and indeed a busy two weeks. As I’m sure the three of you saw, I have been unable to keep the lace in good repair on my own, and I am very grateful for your help. First, here are the clothes that I was able to set aside for you. Each set comes with an apron, and a hair wrap if you think you need it. As you can see with my voluminous hair, I need it badly, so don’t feel bad it you do. Helps to keep it clean and keep falling spiders or dust out of it.”

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    The women changed into the worn but comfortable clothes and listened to the young woman again. “Alright. Stay out of the kitchen, the cook is very particular about that. She runs a tight ship from what I’ve seen from her opening and closing the door, so we don’t need to go in there. She doesn’t come out besides serving a meal. We need to clean the rooms that the king and queen will be staying in. They are going to have seperate rooms, and the ladies in waiting will be staying in with us on the third floor. The armed guard that is coming with the king is also going to be across the courtyard from us, so keep an eye out for them. They should be honorable men, but who’s to say?” she informed.

    “So,” she continued. “We should focus on the bottom floor and work your way up. Keep out of the front east room. It is the lord’s private area, and you may only go in if order or invited. It has a curtain, so you shouldn’t wander in by accident. Now then, Let’s get cleaning!”

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    After waiting for so long to just be told to clean, Anwyn and Lara walked down the stairs to the first floor at the front entrance. “These cobwebs have cobwebs on them. That’s how old they are. Are you sure your friend does hard work here?”

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    “She says that she works quite hard. And when I visited I helped too, it’s just so hard to make a dent in a mess the size of this one.” Lara said, admiring one of the cobwebs in the corner.

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    “I don’t know what you’re all standing around for, I’m going to get a stool to stand on to help us reach that.” mentioned the woman who they hadn’t been introduced to.

    Everyone cleaned far past the time when they were dirty and their fingers were pruny.

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    Time flew past, and it felt good to work and set goals. Life in the bakery could sometimes feel the same day after day, but with in the manor there was always something new to clean, some little piece of the grounds she hadn’t seen before. She noticed that Melinda was often the last one getting to the room at night, some time after everyone had already bathed, changed, and gone to bed. It was curious to say the least, but Anwyn had no reason to doubt her, so she kept her nose out of it. It was a bit outside of her character to not be nosey, but she was too busy and tired to care much of the time. She cleaned, ate, and slept.

    One of Anwyn’s favorite things to do was take care of the garden on the property. It was a beautiful place, and she liked to feel the sun on her back. The air was fresh out here, and the birds chirped. The manor was like a void where no sound or light from outside made it inside.

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    Lara was helping her today, harvesting while Anwyn watered.

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    “It will be so nice to see mother and father again. And little Joseph and Sophia. I’m sure they’re drowning in work. And I haven't seen William in so long, It almost feels like I’ll never be married.” Lara gushed.

    “Yeah, only a few more days, and we’re out of here. It will be good to be home. I think I’ll sleep for two days straight…” Anwyn joked.

    Lara looked around the small area and up to the manor. “Let’s sit for a bit and just chat. Come on.” she urged, moving to one of the shaded sets of table and chairs. As they got comfortable, Lara looked at Anwyn with a weary look.

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    “You look worried. Tell me what’s on your mind.” Anwyn observed.

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    “It’s just- I know you don’t particularly like to help around the bakery, and with me leaving to be with Wiliam, I just want to know that I’m not leaving you to be miserable. You’ll help Mother and Father, won’t you? I need to know that you will.” she looked hopeful.

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    “Lara, I will help them as long as I can. You know that I would never hurt them or disappoint them. I love them too much for that.”

    Lara looked relieved and the afternoon carried on as normal.

    ~*~

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    It was late at night when Anwyn was getting back from looking up at the stars and taking a bit of time for herself. She went to the back door but once she was inside she heard crying. A child crying. From the basement. What was a child doing in the basement?

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    Following the sound, she went down the stairs and to a closed door. It was dark in the basement, but there was enough light to see by. She knocked softly on the door, and heard no answer but the crying. She tried the door and found that it was locked. Who would lock a child in the basement? Anwyn looked for a key near the door and sure enough it glinted in the dim light. Sticking it into the lock, she twisted and opened the door as quietly and slowly as she could. The child’s cried sputtered to a stop, and Anwyn was surprised to see what she saw.

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    A comfortable but poorly decorated room with all the things a child could need lay before her, and a crying girl stood in front of a broken dollhouse. She obviously looked like she was highborn, but there had been no mention of the child by anyone.

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    “Hello there, My name’s Anwyn. What’s the matter, my dear?” she asked the child.

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    “You- you aren’t supposed to be in here! I’m not supposed to talk to you!” she looked at Anwyn with fear.

    “I heard that you may need help. What happened to your house?” She asked again.

    The child paused, then started to sniffle again, a fresh batch of tears on their way. “The- the man came in here and broke it. He always breaks it!” she started bawling again.

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    “Well, I think I know just how to fix it, so I’ll do that for you, ok?” Anwyn approached the castle doll house. “Let’s see what we can do, ok?” Anwyn started to work and within half an hour she was done and the house was back to normal.

    “You must be magic. Are- are you my mother?” she asked Anwyn.

    “No, darling, I’m not. Why would you think I’m your mother?” Anwyn asked, confused.

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    “My mother was a mermaid, and my father thinks that I’m going to be one too, but I haven’t shown any signs. His last lady made this room so that she didn’t have to look at me. Says that I’m a dark spot on the family.” the child honestly admitted. Anwyn’s head was spinning. Who keeps a child locked in the basement? And the lord’s wife had been dead for four years, This girl looked to be barley over the age of six.

    Sounds of footsteps were heard outside the room. “You must hide! If they find you they’ll punish you!” the child urged.

    “There’s nowhere to hide-” Anwyn started. The door flew open, and the page stepped into the room, visibly upset.

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    “The crying was bad, I won’t fault you there, but normal. Imagine my surprise when I hear voices coming from the door I know is locked, and now none other than a Cupshire girl is in my view. Do you want to tell me why you are in a room that was locked?” the page inquired, though Anwyn could see that her answer would make little difference.

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    “I heard her crying when I came in for the night. I didn’t know-”

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    “Didn’t know that we had a child in the basement? Didn’t know that curfew was an hour ago? Which rule breaking would you like to be punished for, girl? What should your punishment be? Don’t answer that. Come with me.” he said.

    He grabbed Anwyn’s arm and pulled her out of the room, locking it behind them. “Up the stairs. Go.” the page ordered. Anwyn had begun to shake, not knowing what was going to happen, not wanting a consequence to a thing that she didn’t know was wrong.

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    They went up the stairs and the page opened the door to the kitchen. “Here, dinner’s served” he said into the room, assumably to the cook. She came out from behind the stove, looking… different. “We need her to work tomorrow, don’t kill her.”

    With that, he quickly closed and locked the door behind him as he exited the room.

    “What- what are you doing? What do you mean- what is this?” Awynn asked as the cook drew nearer, a terrible look in her eyes. She looked like a feral animal.

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    “What the- Help! Get me out of here!” Anwyn turned to pound on the door, but she immediately felt hands on her shoulders, pulling her back.

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    “No one will hear your cries, little one. Try not to fight, I don’t want you to get damaged.” she urged.

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    "I'm sorry, child. I wish I didn't have to." she said resigned.

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    "There's only so much you can do when you're starving

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    "Let's get you to bed."
    Post edited by Irishsong on
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  • VanPelt81VanPelt81 Posts: 2,623 Member
    Love how Sir Rhayde of the Knights Templar is annoying his travel companions. Also, was that witch trying to give her a hickey?
  • IrishsongIrishsong Posts: 1,507 Member
    VanPelt81 wrote: »
    Love how Sir Rhayde of the Knights Templar is annoying his travel companions. Also, was that witch trying to give her a hickey?

    What makes you think she's a witch?
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  • VanPelt81VanPelt81 Posts: 2,623 Member
    The hat seems like a good giveaway. Also the abducting of young maidens for reasons.
  • DamaroDamaro Posts: 387 Member
    Please, @VanPelt81 , that's clearly a chef's hat. :D

    Anwyn sure has an habit of snooping around places she shouldn't. Oh, the troubles she will be in...
  • VanPelt81VanPelt81 Posts: 2,623 Member
    Damaro wrote: »
    Please, @VanPelt81 , that's clearly a chef's hat. :D

    Anwyn sure has an habit of snooping around places she shouldn't. Oh, the troubles she will be in...

    You mean even more trouble than the "Chef" giving her a hickey in a creepy manner for all to see?
  • DamaroDamaro Posts: 387 Member
    Aye, that hickey will be very embarrassing, but she can cover it up with a shawl… or mebbe she'll proudly flaunt it? Like, "look at that, the game I got last night!"
  • icmnfrshicmnfrsh Posts: 17,777 Member
    Oh wow, that went from 0 to 11 fast. It was clear that something was up with that cook
    Don't manhandle the urchin. He's not for sale. FIND YOUR OWN! - Xenon the Antiquarian, Dragon Age II
  • IrishsongIrishsong Posts: 1,507 Member
    edited July 2019
    I'm trying to write the next chapter. Hopefully pictures tomorrow and a new chapter on Tuesday? Fingers crossed.

    Yeah, that didn't happen. Sorry. I got caught up in other things with my family.
    Post edited by Irishsong on
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  • VanPelt81VanPelt81 Posts: 2,623 Member
    Hope everything is well.
  • IrishsongIrishsong Posts: 1,507 Member
    It's all fine, it's just hard to get things done when my family is home. They always want me to do stuff.
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  • icmnfrshicmnfrsh Posts: 17,777 Member
    Yeah, I can wait. :D Family comes first
    Don't manhandle the urchin. He's not for sale. FIND YOUR OWN! - Xenon the Antiquarian, Dragon Age II
  • IrishsongIrishsong Posts: 1,507 Member
    Ok, I finished writing the chapter, it's just barely on 7 pages! I'm going to put a trigger warning it because of some sexual harassment that happens. You've been told now, but I'll put the warning on the chapter when it comes out too.
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  • icmnfrshicmnfrsh Posts: 17,777 Member
    I'll be looking forward to it :)
    Don't manhandle the urchin. He's not for sale. FIND YOUR OWN! - Xenon the Antiquarian, Dragon Age II
  • IrishsongIrishsong Posts: 1,507 Member
    I have the day off tomorrow, so fingers crossed.
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  • IrishsongIrishsong Posts: 1,507 Member
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    ***
    Sexual Assualt Trigger Warning
    ***

    Chapter 4
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    “My king, my queen! Greetings from our humble home! We hope that you have a good stay while here. I hope to have the staff get you comfortable in short order.” The lord quaked in a shaky voice.

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    The king looked at the staff lined to greet the king and his party. “This is all of your staff?” he asked dryly. “I brought as many people with me as you have in your house. Why don’t you have more staff, Lord Ludovico?”

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    “I- I have unwilling townsfolk. They won’t work for me.” The lord lied. Anwynn flinched at the blame he was placing on them.

    “We’ll talk about this later. We’ve been traveling for some time and I wish to get clean and eat something.” the king said in a dry tone. He didn’t seem pleased.

    “Yes, my king.” The lord bowed. The king walked first in line, then the queen, who looked equally displeased. Their staff followed, the two ladies of the queen and then three guards assigned to protect the king. Anwyn noticed that one of them wore the armour of a templar, but the others seemed normal. And handsome.

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    I am going home tomorrow, don’t get involved. Anwyn thought. Father said to stay away from the king, just keep your head down, and it’ll be fine.

    ~*~

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    “I need more help in the kitchen!” demanded the cook. “I wasn’t expecting to have to cook for so many people this soon. We normally have five people living here, now we have fifteen! Not even I can cook for that many and keep them all fed.”

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    “I’ve never seen you ask for help before, Mrs. Frogwater. Don’t mind me while I soak this in for a minute.” the page said in a condescending way.

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    “The longer you take to get me an aid, the more you’ll be explaining to the king that his food is late!” snapped the cook.

    “Fine. I’ll send down Melinda-”

    “Oh, not Melinda. She looks at her nails the minute my back is turned.” refused Mrs. Frogwater.

    “Then I’ll fetch the other red haired woman.” the page rolled his eyes, turning away.

    “No! Red hair is too easy to spot in food, should any get in there. Send me the girl from before. She’s at least a good worker and takes direction well enough.”

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    “Are you sure about that, after what happened a few nights ago? The forgetting only goes so far, putting her in that environment with you could remind her of what happened. You don’t want to be exposed, do you?”

    The cook stood in thought for a minute, then came out of it. “Oh, what’s it to you!? Go and get her, and make sure she washes her hands.”

    ~*~

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    “And this is your room. As you can see, it’s nicely decorated and the bed is nearly new.” the lord tried to please the king with the presentation.

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    “Ludovico, relax. You’re making me suspicious by your jitteriness. I won’t look under the rugs just yet, there’s nothing to worry about. Where is my wife staying?” he asked.

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    “She has the room just down the hall, sire. Unfortunately, we hadn’t planned on her having separate rooms from you, so her room is not quite as nice as yours…” trailed the lord.

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    “I’m sure that’s fine. She’s always been one for more spartan accommodations anyway.” he said as he observed the room. The lord wasn’t sure if that was entirely true, based on the lavish outfit the queen had worn when she arrived.

    “Feel free to look around. The floor above us is the servants quarters, though your guards may also stay up there. We have a room prepared. The queen’s ladies as well. I will see you at dinner.”

    And with that, the lord exited the room.

    ~*~

    The women on the maid staff we gorgeous. At least, Xavier thought so. When he saw the maids he thought he had drifted off to one of his dreams. The things he would do with them, ooo, he could hardly contain his imagination. Besides the queen’s ladies to look at just within the last two weeks, he only had one other woman to think about and she was another knight in the Templar, and would have handed him his behind if he tried anything on her.

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    There were four women here, and one of them would surely lie with him, wouldn’t they? He was handsome after all. His mother wouldn’t have lied to him. Yes, it had to be the time to have a lady’s affection.

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    He peaked at two maids doing work in the small garden, already thinking about what a good time he would have.

    ~*~

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    “My king, my queen, I welcome you to my table. It has been a long time since I have had company of such prestige here.” The lord thanked as the king sat down to eat.

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    “Yes, I’m sure it has been.” he said, eyeing his plate. “Tell me, in this quaint little place, what is there to do here? Is the hunting good? How extensive are your lands?”

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    “Our forests are full of healthy deer, and our personal library has many good books.” The lord boasted. “But, between you and me, if you want a good time, come and see me after dinner in the front west room. I have something I enjoy doing very much.” he turned to the queen who was stoic and unsmiling. “Unfortunately, my queen, it is a gentleman’s affair. I can have a maid tour you around the grounds if you like. We use fairy light to illuminate them so they are accessible any time of the day.”

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    “I’m sure that my ladies and I will not get lost. Your guide is not needed.” she assured, still not smiling.

    “Very well. Tell me, Sir Romeo, how are you soldiers doing? I haven’t seen you since you were a mere guard!” laughed the lord, trying to lighten the mood.

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    “Oh, they are doing fine, though it has been a journey getting used to the presence of the Templar. I find them to be very strict with their exercises, something we haven’t stressed before.” he said carefully. The words he wanted to say were better kept to himself, so as to not anger Sir Rhayde.

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    Sir Rhayde took no time jumping in to win back the favor of the conversation. “I’m afraid the Templar are very rigid in their training, and every slight has its own punishment. If a soldier is late getting to roll call, he must be punished or he will do it again. Thus, the punishment should be severe enough that he does not stray again.

    “As for our practices, we are simply following the Church. We have opened the Templar to a select few women, but they must be truly extraordinary to be recruited. The general arm hasn’t let women into its ranks, unless I’m mistaken?” he shot back at Romeo.

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    “Unfortunately we value the lives of women above the hardships that come with the military and battle. There is little for a woman to do in the military besides being a distraction. Women belong-”

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    “You are not cadets!” shouted the king. “Can we eat our meal in peace?! Sir Rhayde, I had hoped you would join us after the meal in whatever activity the lord had planned, but if I hear you squabbling about another topic again, I will excuse you from it. Am I clear? Sir Romeo, if I hear you talking bad about another government matter while on the trip, you will be demoted to guard for the rest of the visit and you will eat with your inferiors upstairs in the servant’s quarters.” The king had fire in his normally tired eyes.

    “Aye, sir.” he complied. Rhayde said nothing.

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    Anwyn was the dinner maid, standing in the corner with her eyes forward, not speaking. She wished she was with the other servants upstairs, eating at the table with friends, where there were no guarded words and aggression badly hidden.

    She noticed the king look at her once or twice, his gaze wasn’t very lingering, and he simply looked at her as if she were a piece of furniture; not very interested, but noted.

    The king looked at his plate, now mostly empty, but he seemed to no longer have an appetite. “I’m done here. Come, let us partake in the activity you spoke of, Ludovico. I feel that I don’t have the correct heart to eat right now.”

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    “Yes- yes my king. I would have you come through here, if you may. I’ll lead the way.” he scrambled out of his seat. “Miss Cupshire, please go and fetch Melinda. Her services are required, but return as well. We have guests, and we don’t want them to be neglected.”

    “Yes, my lord.” Anwyn answered, confused. Melinda often returned to the sleeping quarters later than everyone else, could this be why?

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    As Anwyn came up the stairs to the third floor, she noticed that the two queen’s ladies and a guard had joined the three other women at the table. It was odd to see only one man among so many women, but then it was also odd to see a man up here.

    Catching her breath, Anwyn asked for Melinda. “Ludovico has asked for us to aid him downstairs. Would you come with me please?”

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    Melinda’s face tightened, looking hesitant to go with her. “Of course. I wouldn’t want you to go by yourself and to disappoint the king and lord, well that just couldn’t be.” she tried to smile.

    Anwyn caught the guard’s eye, then looked away, not wanting to draw anymore attention to herself.

    The two girls walked down the stairs, and Anwyn noticed that Melida wasn’t walking to quickly. She normally walked like she had a personal fire in her belly, keeping her going even when she was tired. Now she took the stairs slowly.

    Anwyn followed her to the room they had first been told not to enter without an invitation. They stood outside of the curtain, waiting to be summoned.

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    “Ah, here are the darlings. Please, enter.” Ludovico beckoned. Melinda took the first step into the room, and Anwyn followed her a breath later. The room hadn’t been properly ventilated and it heavily smelled of mildew. There were watermarks on the walls where condensation had done damage. The king and the lord were standing in the middle of the room; the lord looked rather anxious and the king looked bored but interested in what was unfolding before him.

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    “Melinda, would you start the sauna? It’s to be the main attraction.” he said with a shy smile. “One of my towns folk has invented a most curious thing. It steams up like a boiling pot of water, and it feels amazing to relax in. You really must try it. But first, while it gets set up, I thought that we may try a massage first. I’m sure you’re tired from your journey and could use a good rub down.”

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    The king raised his eyebrow. “And am I to assume these girls are going to be the ones massaging us?” he asked.

    “Of course. Only the best for our king.” smiled the lord. “The tables for the massage are over here, if you’ll follow me. We can disrobe in privacy over here.” the pair walked into the tower. Anwyn silently panicked. She didn’t know the first thing about massaging, much less massaging nobility. What was she supposed to do? She decided to just follow Melinda’s movements, and hope that it worked.

    Melinda returned from the basement where the steam was coming from just as the lord called them in. “Girls, please come in now. We don’t want to catch a cold, laying here in our skins.”

    It was unlikely they would catch a cold since it was the middle of summer outside and the heat from the fire downstairs was already starting to warm the room they were in. Anwyn would be sweat through by the time she went to sleep for sure.

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    It was only then that she noticed Sir Rhayde standing in the corner, staring. He unerved her, but there was little she could do about it. His gaze wasn’t hurting her, just making her uncomfortable.

    Melinda lead the way again, walking into the small room, standing beside the king as if she knew Anwyn’s silent prayer of not blowing her cover.

    “No, I want her.” the king said gruffly. He gave no explanation. After a quick shared glance, Anwyn and Melinda switched places. The king and the lord laid down on the table.

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    Anwyn followed Melinda’s hands to the best she could, but she didn’t know how hard to push, she could only hope she was doing a good job. The king groaned once and a while, but Anwyn didn’t know if it was relief or annoyance.

    When Melinda straightened her back and put down her hands, Anwyn followed suit.

    “Done already?” the king asked. “I’m sure I’m good practice for you, you could certainly use some. Perhaps another time.” he said, adjusting his shoulders.

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    “Sire, I believe that the sauna ought to be ready now, let us go there. This is one of my favorite parts.” he said, and Melinda winced.

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    “You see,” he continued, walking out to the main room, “I like a bit of company while I sit and relax. Melinda here-” he pulled her in by the waist- “Is very good company.” he kissed Melinda then, though she acted like a limp fish as he did so. Coming up for air, he finished: “the steam is quite the aphrodisiac. Anwyn here is available, if you’re interested.”

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    Anwyn’s eyes grew large at the lord. He was her lord, he could make any decision he chose, but this was too far. She would not be defiled my a man she didn’t love.

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    Sire Rhayde opened his mouth to speak from where he stood, but the king raised a hand, looking over Anwyn. “I’ll- consider it. Perhaps if I become in the mood for some company. First, I would like to see what sort of massage she can give me for my aching feet. The three of you may enjoy the steam.”

    Sir Rhayde looked disappointed, but then he looked more than hopeful. “What about that lovely lady out in the hall? Is she available?”

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    Anwyn and the rest of the company in the room looked out of the sheer curtain to see who he was talking about, and Anwyn’s heart sank. Lara was walking by, not a care in the world. Probably to get more water from the barrel.

    “No!” interjected Anwyn, feeling like she had been silent for days. “She is betrothed to be married. She is not available.”

    The king, lord, and the knight seemed surprised that she had spoken with such certainty, but it quickly faded. Sire Rhayde didn’t look put out. “Surely that simply means that she is a challenge to catch. As a knight of the Templar, I could order her to do anything I-”

    “Enough, Sir Rhayde! If you are having such a hard time keeping your ambitions in your pants, I will have you resigned to the guard’s quarters for the remainder of the visit. Disobey me and you will not like the consequences!” The king ordered with hushed anger. “I swear, you jump at anything that moves.”

    “Aye sir.” he said, this time finally losing the spark of hope woohoo in his eyes.

    The three other people went into the sauna and the king sat down in the chair with Anwyn at his feet. He sighed, closed his eyes, and leaned his head back, putting out one foot. Anwyn took hold of the foot and this time she knew what to do. She had helped her mother’s feet several times while she was pregnant with her siblings, or when she had a particularly hard day in the bakery.

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    The king smiled and groaned in a pleasant way as she did her work, and she tried to think of other things besides what the lord was probably doing to Melinda. Poor Melinda…

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    As she finished the work, the king looked down on her with a smile on his face. “I knew you were good with your hands. I could just tell. Tell me, you look familiar. What is your family name?” he asked.

    “Cupshire, my king.” she answered.

    “Cupshire… yes, I think I remember now. Ah, but that was a long time ago. Hardly remember it.”

    Anwyn’s mind was whirling. The king of all people remembered her family? Why would he do that?

    “I feel that I’ll be seeing more of you around here. Get some rest, I’ll be seeing you tomorrow.” he finished, as he stood from the chair.
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  • VanPelt81VanPelt81 Posts: 2,623 Member
    The king seems to be a creepy individual. Also, Sir Rhayde looks hilarious in some of those screen shots. I wonder how soon before Sir Rhayde & Sir Romeo try to duel to the death with swords?
  • icmnfrshicmnfrsh Posts: 17,777 Member
    - Wait, her name is Mrs. Frogwater? :joy: I hadn't realized
    - I wonder what role Ludovico is going to play in the grand scheme of things.
    - Forgetting. Sounds eerie :grimace:
    - "He was handsome after all. His mother wouldn’t have lied to him." :joy:
    - I wonder what's the deal with the King and Queen staying in separate rooms
    - Blech. Ludovico and Melinda
    - And I agree. The King seems to be a creep. :grimace:
    Don't manhandle the urchin. He's not for sale. FIND YOUR OWN! - Xenon the Antiquarian, Dragon Age II
  • IrishsongIrishsong Posts: 1,507 Member
    No, I hadn't really named the cook, but when someone said Mrs. Frogwater I liked it enough to keep it ;)
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  • IrishsongIrishsong Posts: 1,507 Member
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    Chapter 5

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    Sir Rhayde returned to the room late, clinking in his armor and making it utterly impossible to sleep.

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    Liam rolled over in his bed, hoping to get comfortable enough to fall asleep again. It didn’t help as Rhayde started to take off his armor and let it clink to the floor. Liam was about to say something, until Sir Romeo piped up.

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    “God, man. Why are you louder than a mountain lion in heat? What’s wrong with you?” he complained.

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    “I-” *hic* “I think I’m in love. She-” *hic* “has the most lovely brown hair, but she’s leaving tomorrow. I want her to bear my children-” he plopped another piece of armor on the floor. Liam quietly prayed that the king’s quarters weren’t underneath this room.

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    “You haven’t even spoken to a woman since we got here. I’ve been near you the whole time, as terrible as that may be.” Romeo said.

    “That’s what you think. I saw her walking past the curtain downstairs. She’s so beautiful… If I could just go to her now, she’s across the courtyard! I could go there now and confess my love!” he said, suddenly shouting.

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    “You fool, You don’t feel love for her, it’s purely lust. Why don’t we go down to the tavern tomorrow night and we can get you a woman down there? Will that shut you up?” Romeo said, rubbing his eyes.

    “No, I want her. I’ve found the one, I must have her. And I want her tonight!” he started to walk towards the door, but he seemed to have forgotten his pants. Unless that was part of his plan…

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    “No, you’ve found one, not the one. Get back in here, you drunk buffoon! You’ll get sent home if you attack a maid, and I for one will not go with you. This posting is a rest away from the city, and I won’t have anyone messing it up!” Romeo shouted, angry that he wasn’t sleeping on his mattress after two weeks of sleeping on the hard ground.

    “But, but I love her…” Rhayde started crying, and Sir Romeo went to set him in his bed.

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    “There’s a better way to woo a woman. This isn’t the way, dear man. Get some sleep, and we’ll try and fix your problem tomorrow.”

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    Liam, in the middle bed, had to deal with listening to the quiet crying coming from Rhayde and then the terrible snoring. He tried to shut his eyes and get back to sleep, but it just wouldn’t work.

    Opening his eyes and knowing that he’d probably be regretting it tomorrow, he quietly put on his boots and walked to the door and down the hall. As far as he could tell, no one else was up a this time of night and a large majority of the candles had been put out. Knowing that the manor was a large ring, he hoped that he wouldn’t get lost on his way out onto the grounds.

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    It was a quiet, cool night, perfect for finding a quiet place to rest his head and sleep on some sort of bench. Anywhere would be better than sleeping between Sir Romeo and the snoring Templar. Liam sometimes wondered how Rhayde even got on the Templar list, but that wasn’t really his concern or his place to wonder about.

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    Somehow he didn’t feel alone as he wondered the extensive grounds, and as he was wandering around the maze hoping to tire out his legs, he heard a rustling. Cursing himself that he didn’t have his sword with him, he listened for the rustling again.

    It could be a rabbit, or a squirrel. I would see the head of anyone out here, unless they were a child or extremely short. He took a breath to calm himself. I’m not even sure that I heard anything anyway. I could have been mistaken.

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    At that moment, he felt arms on his shoulders, and while he was a strong man, he didn’t think that he could have been overpowered so easily. Turning to see who is assailant was, ready to defend himself, Liam saw that young woman from before with the scar on her face.

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    “You shouldn’t be out here at night. Mrs. Frogwater hunts for small animals to feed on, but she would jump at the opportunity to feed on you. We need to get back inside.” the woman whispered.

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    Liam looked at her with wide eyes for a moment. “If something is out here to feed, why are you out here? What business does a maid have being out here at this time of night?”

    The young woman looked at the ground. “I had something on my mind and I had to clear my head. I was taking a quick walk and saw you out here. Mrs. Frogwater has fed on me before, I barely remember it, but I know that it’s no good. If I saw you, there’s a good chance she did too. We need to move.” she got up into a crouching position, checking over the bushes of the maze to see if she could spot something. She started to move along the hedge in quiet steps, expecting him to follow.

    Walking back to the manor in a crouched position was tiring for his already exhausted muscles, but he managed. He didn’t see the rumored Mrs. Frogwater on their way back, but he didn’t doubt the young woman either. She had a flavor of truth that he didn’t see in many of the people he associated with and lived among. He also had no reason not to trust her, so trust her he did.

    They didn’t talk for the quick and exhilarating walk back to the manor, but Liam was a man of few words most of the time so that didn’t bother him.

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    “If you really need to be outside at night, I could recommend the roof. Not only that, but it’s closer to our quarters. Mrs. Frogwater doesn’t go up there, maybe she’s afraid of heights.” the girl smiled. “In any case, I’ll show you the way up.”

    The pair quietly opened the back door and shut the door again. They walked up the stairs and after four flights of stairs Liam felt that he could just about fall asleep on the ground before him.

    Under the stars, in the chilly air, he felt quite at home, though he would have traded the hard gravel roof for the bed that lay one floor down. He felt comfortable, uninhibited, if a bit startled by their height. He walked towards the edge of the roof and looked out. Sure enough, there was a figure wandering the grounds, just barely visible. If it stopped it became invisible in the dark, but Liam was able so see it’s movements.

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    “In a way, I’ve almost started to find her nightly hunts comforting.” the young woman said, breaking the silence. “If there are any intruders, she’ll find them, incapacitate them, then bring them to the attention of the lord. As long as you stay away from her and inside the manor at night, there’s little chance she’ll hurt you. Not that you’ll remember much the next morning.” she finished and looked out at the grounds.

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    They stood there for a minute, just admiring the soft glow of the fairy lights among the plants and stars.

    “It’s really… quiet here.” Liam pointed out. He didn’t know what to say, he was hoping that she would walk away soon and he could lay down and get some sleep.

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    She half heartedly laughed. “You’re from the city, aren’t you? That many people, all jostling to get places.” she paused. “I- if you don’t stick around to a place long enough, you don’t know how the land of a place feels like home. You feel like the turn of the road, the creek of the stairs, the sound of the company you keep, it all feels like family. And it’s quiet at night. Lets us sleep better. That is, when I don’t have four other women in my room, all snoring or getting ready to leave tomorrow.”

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    “You’re the one leaving tomorrow?” Liam asked.

    “Most of us are.” she looked at him with a funny look on her face. “That’s how long the lord said we were to be away from our families, and my family needs me back at home. The king may have other ideas about where I’m going to be spending my time, but that isn’t changing the fact that I’m leaving. He can’t make me stay.” Anwyn said defiantly, as if it were an invitation to a fight.

    “But who will look after the manor without it’s maids?”

    “That is not my concern, though I wish I didn’t have to leave behind Melinda…” she trailed off, a great sadness filling her face.

    “Is she special to you? A good friend?” Liam asked, following the conversation.

    “No, I don’t know her that well, but… she has terrible treatment here. Unspeakable…” The young woman looked as if she were a dam that was about to break.

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    “Miss, are you alright? You seem distressed.” Liam looked at her, a bit alarmed. What if he had to deal with a crying woman all on his own. It would be improper to touch her…

    “I’d say I’m distressed!” huffed the girl. “My sister’s friend is being assaulted whenever the lord feels like it, Sir Rhayde finds my sister attractive, and the king wants to spend more time with me. I’ve heard what he does with his spare time, and I am not pleased. Not to mention that everyone seems to know something about the past that I don’t know because I was too young. It has something to do with my family and no one will tell me!”

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    She didn’t start crying. She looked disgusted and frustrated.

    Liam knew what the king did on his free time and that if the king took a liking to a young woman like this one that there was usually only one outcome. What the king wanted, he would have. There was little use fighting the king. His rule was strong and he had few limitations.

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    “You shouldn’t anger the king. What he chooses is…” Liam looked for the words he needed. “The king fancies young women like you. The less you fight him, the less he’ll pursue you.”

    The young woman turned in horror to him. “The king is married! It is against the Church to have romantic relations with women other than your wife, is it not? How could the king pursue me while a knight of the Templar is here, a constant reminder that we should follow the teachings?”

    Liam felt like he was already getting deeper into a problem that he would have rather stayed out of. He cared too much. It was one of the reasons he became a guard. He wanted to help people, but when he joined he learned that most of the people in the service were out for their own gain, not to help people. Sir Romeo helped people, but Liam suspected that he had his own benefits in mind more than he should.

    “The Templar are much looser than they appear. Sir Rhayde is more symbolic that serious. He is more girl crazy than the king, but they hold each other's leash. The king won’t let Sir Rhayde indulge if he can’t also have his fun. So an agreement is made that Sir Rhayde will allow the king to have affairs if Rhayde’s appetite is satiated once in a while.”

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    “So I must entertain the king, or the consequences will be more than they already are. Good heavens, what am I to do?” pondered the young woman.

    Liam didn’t know how to respond. He thought that she should just bite the bullet and as terrible as it was, she should entertain the king. It always made things easier in the end, and Liam had seen many beginnings and ends. The king was a fickle man, blowing this way and the other, changing his mind like the wind changes direction.

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    “But I am being impolite. You are tired from your long travels, I will let you sleep. Goodnight, Sir.” The young woman bowed her head and turned to leave.

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    “May I ask your name, miss?” Liam asked, knowing that this woman would be in his life longer for at least a short time, he may as well call her something other than ‘young woman’.

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    “My name is Anwyn Cupshire, Sir. Have a pleasant rest.” and with that she walked away, back into the belly of the beast.
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  • VanPelt81VanPelt81 Posts: 2,623 Member
    Sir Rhayde is a funny though very obnoxious drunk. Also, the King is even more deplorable the more we hear about him.
  • IrishsongIrishsong Posts: 1,507 Member
    VanPelt81 wrote: »
    Sir Rhayde is a funny though very obnoxious drunk. Also, the King is even more deplorable the more we hear about him.

    In a way, the direction I'm taking Rhayde is like an open creep, but the king has a more hidden life that we're going to learn about. More about that in the next chapter.
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  • IrishsongIrishsong Posts: 1,507 Member
    I've finished writing the chapter! Now to find time to take pictures...
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  • IrishsongIrishsong Posts: 1,507 Member
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    Chapter 6
    Anwyn was shaken awake, the sun coming through the window indicating it was already past the time she was supposed to be leaving.

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    “Really,” Lara said, gesturing wildly, “I thought you of all people would be excited to be going home, why are you still sleeping? Mother and Father are expecting us home by dinner tonight.”

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    Anwyn pulled herself out of bed. “I’m sorry, not everyone has a wedding to look forward to.”

    “I haven’t seen William for over two weeks now, forgive me for cutting your sleep short. What time did you even come in to bed? It was rather late.”

    “I, I’m not sure. I was talking with a guard. He was nearly Mrs. Frogwater’s dinner.” Anwyn mentioned.

    “Her dinner? What on earth are you talking about?” Lara asked, incredulous. “Are you still sleeping? Mrs. Frogwater doesn't eat people. Come on, I’ll help you dress.”

    Having dressed and assembled all of their things, the pair made their way to the front door. The other maid that had come from town was waiting for her there. They had planned to walk back home together.

    Anwyn felt anxiety mounting as she got closer and closer to the door. Hanging on a shred of hope that the king slept later than she had, and that he wouldn’t have her stopped before she left. She nearly ran to the door and down the road, but she didn’t want to alarm her sister. Her sister didn’t need to know about all of the things that were wrong here, they just needed to get out the door…

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    “Miss Cupshire.” a man’s voice echoed behind them as they stepped into the fresh air. “I’m happy I caught you. The king says that he would like to speak with you. Please remain.” It was Sir. Romeo, entering from the courtyard.

    Both Lara and Anwyn turned, but Anwyn knew for sure who he was addressing. “Just to be clear, which Miss Cupshire are you speaking to?” Anwyn asked.

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    “The one with the scar on her face, according to the king. Please, he will see you in the back garden once he is ready for the day. I will show you where to meet him.”

    “But we’re-” Lara started.

    “I’ve been told that you may stay if you wish, Miss, though it is your choice.” Sir Romeo relayed.

    “Well, of course I’ll-” Lara started.

    “She’ll be leaving!” Anwyn finished for her. “She has to go back to her betrothed, and help my mother and father with the shop. She couldn’t possibly stay any longer.” Anwyn hoped that her sister would get the hint for once and leave, not let herself get strung up in this twisted group.

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    “No, I can stay. Mary, please tell my parents that we will be late. I’m not sure how long, but it shouldn’t be more than a day.”

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    “Fine. I’m leaving. I’m not sticking around. See you later.” Mary, the red haired maid that Anwyn had barely spoken too, said as she walked down the path towards home.

    “If you’ll come with me, Miss Cupshire, I’ll escort you to where the king will meet you.” Sir Romeo repeated. “Miss,” he turned to Lara, “You are free to do as you wish.”

    With that, he turned on his heel and walked back through the courtyard. Anwyn set her things down in the corner of the front room, weary about talking to the king.

    The sun was bright outside, not relenting from its warm and dry weather. If they didn’t get rain soon, Anwyn may have to help the farmers water their crops with water from the stream. It was tiring, but if the town was going to live through the winter it was a necessity.

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    Anwyn no longer noticed how beautiful the gardens were. She had walked them everyday for the two weeks she had been here, and they had become just another thing to her. They were lovely, yes, but too hard to maintain. She hardly noticed when she and Sir Romeo stopped at a bench, and he motioned for her to sit down. She sat obediently, but wasn’t comfortable. Her back wouldn't relax and its straightness was going to tire out her shoulders. Her stomach was in knots, and that wasn't’ just from not eating breakfast.

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    Sir Romeo stood a short ways off, and the two didn’t speak. Time felt as if it went on for far too long, sitting and doing nothing. Anwyn counted the branches on the tree, then how many rocks were around it’s base, all of the little things she could do with just her eyes and her mind, until she felt she was about to go out of her mind with anticipation and boredom.

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    As she was about to stand up and leave, Sir Romeo announced “The king approaches,”

    Fashionably late, I see. Anwyn thought.

    “Ah, Miss Cupshire, I’m glad to see that you waited for me! I’m sorry I took so long, I slept later than I normally do and was absolutely famished. The cook had to make me something special just so I could make the journey out here.” he made a small joke, as if weakness were something that should be made a joke of.

    “You’re lucky. She normally refuses to cook between meals.” Anwyn quipped.

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    “Indeed, I suppose being king does that for a person.” he sat back on the bench, looking at her. Anwyn, normally head strong, found it hard to match his gaze. Instead she looked out in front of her.

    “You avoid me. Why is that?” the king asked.

    “I have been told to.” she answered, guarded.

    “By who? What has warranted this bias?”

    “My father. He says that you fancy young women and I shouldn’t get involved.” Anwyn said, wishing that she could slide further over on the bench.

    “I see.” he paused, “Say, do you know how that scar got on your face? I was there when it happened.”

    Anwyn turned, eyes wide, like prey in a hunter’s claws.

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    “Oh yes, I was barely a king by that time, not married yet. It has a particular shape, very hard to forget. And you look very much like your mother. Your father refused to pay his full share of the taxes. He thought that they were unjust and was spreading propaganda against my rule and the authority of the lord of the land on which he prospers. So, a lesson had to be arranged. His youngest daughter seemed to be suitable payment for his treason.”

    Anwyn wanted to get up and run, but she felt like her legs wouldn’t carry her fast enough. And the guard looked like he was armed…

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    “You came to the manor for a few weeks, and returned home with a souvenir Ever since, we’ve had no problems from your family. And I expect that there will be no more problems, am I correct?” It was a threat, so obvious that Anwyn could see it clearly. If she didn’t play along, the king would come after her family. Her sister was still in the manor, a mere shouting distance away. Anwyn’s hair 🎃🎃🎃🎃 on the back of her neck and she felt cold all over.

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    “What exactly are the rules of the game you’re playing?” Anwyn asked, trying to hold onto her bravery.

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    “They’re not that difficult. You reside with me, I take care of you until I think it is time for you to go home, and your sister is out of reach from Sir Rhayde. You may even come away with a reward in the end.”

    Anwyn bit her lip and thought. She was the middle child, hardly worth anything to her family besides labor and teaching her siblings. They could get by without her for a while, and with Lara free… It had to be done. Better to have one person live with a choice they made, than to sacrifice another to a fate they didn’t agree to.

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    “I agree.” she said, not meeting his eye.

    “Very good. I’ll see you this evening. Sir Romeo will deliver your garments later this afternoon. You may say goodbye to your sister. It’s best if she go home now.” he said, standing. “You made the right choice, little one.”

    “Don’t remind me.” Anwyn said, meeting his gaze, only to look away out of shame.
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  • VanPelt81VanPelt81 Posts: 2,623 Member
    What a terrible choice.
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