Chapter Seven

Chapter Seven

A Chapter by Aianarie (INACTIVE)

Chapter Seven

 

          When I awoke, I was lying on something soft, presumably a blanket.  Three men were around me, talking.  Two of them were quite young, neither yet twenty, and the other looked to be in his thirties or forties.  They all wore armor, tunics, boots and capes.

          “Oh.”  I groaned, pushing myself up into a sitting position.

          One of the younger men turned around. “She’s awake! Good tidings, my lady!”

          “Um…who are you?” I asked, a blush rising to my cheeks.  My mind hadn’t caught up with everything quite yet at that point.

          “No need to be alarmed.”  he continued.  He had thick, dark hair and a boyish face and voice.  “I am Oliver, this is my colleague Dansk, and our mentor, Corr.  We are of the Royal Guard.  We were out on a leisurely stroll when we heard the wolves and your voice, and figured something was up.”

          “Thank you very much.”  I said.  I felt immensely embarrassed.  “I’m terribly sorry to be so much trouble.  I am Felicity Delacourte.”

          “No, no trouble at all, Lady Felicity.”

          “So, if you don’t mind me asking, why were you wandering the forests?” asked Dansk.  He has longer, brown hair and blue eyes.

          I took a deep breath.  “I’m on a mission from the Castle.”

          His eyebrows raised a bit.  “Really? Well, with armor like that, I should’ve guessed…on whose orders?”

          “Lord Jasper.”

          “Wow.”  said Dansk, “Lord Jasper usually doesn’t send women on missions.  He’s a bit of sexist in that regard.”

          “Don’t speak of your superiors that way, Dansk.”  said Corr calmly.  He then turned his attention to me.  “What is your mission, Lady Felicity?”

          “I was ordered to accompany the Prince on his return journey from Marrowÿn.”  I said.  The three men glanced at each other.

          “Oh.”  said Dansk.  “Well then, welcome to the party.  Is the Prince expecting you, then?”

          My heart turned over.  “The Prince--he is here?”

          “Didn’t I say we were of the Royal Guard?” said Oliver, looking confused.

          “You did.”  said Corr.

          “I thought so.”

          “Oh, I’m sorry.  I’m so terribly out of it.”  I said, pressing my forefinger and thumb to the bridge of my nose.

          “You should rest, my lady.”

          I shook my head.  “I’m fine.  And I think I’ve done enough of that already.”  I stood up, dusting myself off.  Much to my relief, my beautiful armor was still without scratch or blemish.  “Where is the Prince now?”

          “He is having a private meeting with the Lord of Marrowÿn.”  said Oliver.  “He will most likely not be finished for a few hours yet.  You are more than welcome to accompany us to the bar, if you wish.”

          “Yes, thank you.  I am in need of refreshment.”

 

Marrowÿn’s ‘finest’ bar was much different than Epsilia’s.  At least Epsilia’s was large, clean, and well-decorated.

          I felt quite cramped, in between Corr and some other man I did not know.  The air was hot and stuffy and smelt like--well, alcohol, and men who were much overdo for a good long shower.

          I ordered a glass of water and a turkey sandwich, which I consumed faster than I had ever eaten in my life.  I was keenly aware that Oliver and Dansk were watching me with amused faces, but somehow, I didn’t care.  I was hungry, and I was not in a very happy mood.

          “I have a question, if I may.”  I said, to no one in particular.

          “Of course, my lady.”  said Oliver.

          “I was attacked in the forest by some masked elf mercenary.”  I said solemnly.  “You wouldn’t happen to know anything about him, would you?”  Oliver exchanged a confused look with Dansk.

          “No, I don’t.”  he said.  “How odd.  Elf mercenaries are quite rare.”

          I laughed humorlessly.  “Hmph.  I’d like to know what he’s up to.”

          “It’d probably be in your best interest to avoid him, Lady Felicity.”  said Corr.  “The elves are a tricky enough as is.  I’ve never encountered an elf mercenary, but I know that I wouldn’t want to mess with one.”

 

~*~

 

Later that evening, the boys took me to their “camp”, which was actually a little plateau outside the city that overlooked the shimmering southern sea.  It was such a beautiful sight.   I stood there, mesmerized as the crisp, salty air slapped my face.  I had never seen the ocean before.

          “Ah, the ocean.”  I remember my brother saying back at the restaurant in Turleín.  “I don’t feel like I belong there, but somehow, it seems to call me home.

          Isaiah was not prone to sentimentality.  He would never say something so heartfelt unless he really meant it.

          I missed him.  I missed mother.  I missed my sisters, even Xenia.  Deep down, I wanted to go home.  But even deeper, I knew that was not to happen.

          “You can set up your sleeping things, now, if you like.”  said Oliver, right near my ear.  Judging by his tone he must have tried to get my attention more than once, on account of my aquatic rapture.  I snapped out of it and looked at him.  He smiled.  I looked around him and saw a large windmill that caught my attention.  It gleamed in the light of the setting sun.

          “I’m sorry.  This is my first time seeing the ocean.  It’s so beautiful!”  I sounded more childish than I would’ve liked, but I quickly lost that train of thought.

          “Oh really!  I should’ve guessed.  My sister was the same.”  said Oliver, laughing at the memory.  “Well, at any rate, I assume you have your own bedding, yes?  There’s a spot for you around the fire.”  And with that he walked off towards Dansk and Corr.  The former was busy charming the campfire, the latter was seated against a log, smoking a pipe.

          I approached and took off my packs, sighing at how good it felt to have those burdens off of my shoulders.  I wasn’t used to carrying so much equipment quite yet.  I sat down wearily on a log.  The heat of the fire was a pleasant contrast to the cool air.

          Dansk leaned back, obviously satisfied with his work.  He looked back and considered me.

          “If you don’t mind me asking, where you ordered to come here, or did you request it?”

          It’s a funny question, one that somehow I’m sure he knows the answer to.

          “I requested it.”

          He was quiet for a moment.  “Considering what you’ve been through, would you still have requested it?”

          I didn’t need to think about the answer.  “Yes.”

          Dansk smiled and nodded once.  “I admire your courage, Lady Felicity.  Not many women have your spirit.”

          “Thanks.”  I said.  I smiled back.  For the first time since meeting them, I felt slightly uncomfortable being around three men, two of which were young--and I’ll be honest, attractive enough.

          I made myself busy taking off my armor.  It felt amazing to be wearing just my blouse, pants, and riding skirt.  I took off my boots and stretched my feet.  One of the lovely pink socks that Ali had knitted for me now had a hole at the toe of my left foot.  I frowned at the hole, ruining my little sister’s handiwork.

          “Your majesty!”  said Oliver suddenly.   All four of us sprung to our feet. I immediately forgot about my sock.  Sebastian stalked by, not even bothering to look at us.

          “Your majesty?  Is everything all right?”  asked Corr.  Sebastian stopped and drew in a heavy sigh.  He turned, but didn’t look at any of us personally. His face is solemn and slightly pained.  A string plucked in my heart, causing an unpleasant pull in my chest.

          “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be so rude.”

          “You need not apologize to us, your majesty.”  said Oliver.  “Do you need anything?”

          “No, no, I am fine.  I will bathe and then go to bed straightaway.  I’m exhausted.  Good night.”

          “Good night, your majesty.”  said Oliver, Dansk, and Corr all at once.

          “Good night.”  I said after.  My young, feminine voice sounded odd and hung in the air.  Sebastian looked at me then, as if noticing for the first time that I was there.  His expression didn’t change, but I saw the recognition in his eyes.  We stared at each other for what felt like minutes but were less than five seconds.

          “Good night.”  he said with a nod.  He went into the windmill.

 

~*~

 

I found it immensely difficult to fall asleep.  Oliver and Dansk were up playing cards, or something.  I assumed they were playing some sort of game, judging by their playfully snide remarks and quiet laughter.

          One cause of my discomfort was the feeling of dirt and sweat and stench that stuck my clothes to my skin.  I hadn’t showered in nearly two days.  Secondly, the ground underneath my sleeping bag was hard and rocky.  Third and probably worst of all, I felt uneasy about Sebastian.  Had he forgotten entirely about our encounter back at the castle?

          I was being foolish.  I was stupid to believe that the Prince would truly love someone like me.  I was just another face.

          I turned over, unintentionally letting out a groan of annoyance.

          “My lady,” said Oliver gently.  I made a sound to acknowledge him.  “You should sleep inside, too. You shouldn’t be out here in the wilderness.”  I sat up and looked up at him, he now stood before me.

          I heard Dansk snicker behind me, and I honestly hadn’t a clue why.  Oliver couldn’t hide a tiny smile as he lowered his eyes to the ground.  He then busied himself by adding a log to the fire.  Corr snored loudly to my left.

          I got up uncomfortably and tried to fix my mussed-up hair.

          “I suppose you’re right.  I’m very uncomfortable out here.”  I said, a blush rising into my cheeks. “I don’t like to be such a spoiled prissy, but I really am not accustomed to such rugged environments, especially for sleeping.”

          “Go ahead, m’lady.”  said Dansk, somewhat smugly.  I gathered up my things.

          “Thank you.” I said.

          “Good night, m’lady.”  said Dansk and Oliver at the same time.

          “Good night.”  I said.  I made my way to the windmill.  The door creaked loudly and got stuck when I tried to open it.  I shoved my body weight into the door and finally got it to open.  I wondered to myself why the Prince of Ancantha was sleeping in such a dump, but when I went in, I noticed that the inside of the windmill was amazingly well kept.  It was almost like a room at a nice inn.  There was a large chaise.  I breathed a sigh of relief.

          After I was finished arranging my things, Sebastian came down the stairs.  I turned to pay him proper respect but realized that he was only wearing a heavy pair of white pants.  Immediately my heart did a back flip that nearly choked me to death.  I took a deep breath and cleared my mind.

          Sebastian looked up from his reading, noticed me, and his expression barely changed.

          “Lady Felicity,” he said with a nod. “What’s wrong? You don’t look very good.”  He didn’t mean it to be rude, but I took it that way.

          “I’m tired.”  I said immediately.  “And I feel really...grimy.  I don’t know.  I just feel very uncomfortable at the moment.”  More than he knew, really.  Apparently walking around shirtless in front of the girl who has a grand crush on you, or any girl, actually, didn’t strike him as just plain rude.

          “There’s a nice little pond out back if you’d like to bathe.  Watch your step, though.  It’s a rocky cliff.”  he said before returning to his book.  I felt annoyed, for some reason.  He was acting like we had never even met.  I was just another person in his little party.  I grabbed my bag and stalked by him.  I sensed that he had looked up, which mollified me to a certain extent.  Almost immediately after I thought of it, though, I scolded myself. 

Since when had I become so irritable?

           I carefully made my way down the cliff into a patch of trees.  There was a small pond.  I quickly bathed--that was also a new experience for me, bathing in a pond--and I did indeed feel much better afterwards.  I put on the silk and lace nightgown that Xenia had given me as a present on the day of my Armoring.  It was quite lovely.  I wondered why I had brought it for this trip, though.  I must have mistaken it for my normal nightgown.  My conservative one.

          I left my hair down, to cover my shoulders.  The back of the nightgown was quite low for my personal taste, and I hadn’t brought a coat.  I hoped that Sebastian had gone to bed and wouldn’t see me when I went in.

          But sure enough, he was sitting on the chaise inside (on top of my bedding, how lovely), arm draped over the back, reading his book.  He didn’t look very content, however, like I usually did while reading a book.  I felt very shy around him, especially with what I was wearing, but I clasped my hands behind my back and walked over to him.

          He looked up at me and then returned his eyes to his book.  “You are very beautiful, Lady Felicity.”  he said, something odd to his voice.  Embarassment? Sadness?  Remorse?  I couldn’t tell.

          “Sebastian.”

          “Yes?”

          “For Heaven’s sake, look at me, please.”

          He did, earnestly.

          “What’s wrong?”

          He didn’t hesitate, but took a breath before he spoke.  “I’ve had a lot on my mind.  That’s all, really.  This Prince thing is quite overwhelming.  I’m very sorry that I’ve been so impersonal with you as of late.  It’s just all so--“

          “--Frustrating.”  I finished the sentence for him.

          “Yes.”  he sat the book down on my pillow.  “I’m exhausted, Felicity.”

          “Then sleep.”  I said, sitting beside him.  He withdrew his arm respectfully, but I helped him lay his head down in my lap.  I stroked his hair from his face and caressed his cheekbone with the side of my finger.  I was probably breaking a million different rules on how a commoner (of sorts) should treat the Prince, but I didn’t care.  The man whom I loved needed comfort, so I would be there to give it to him.

          “Felicity.”  said Sebastian, his voice muffled, “Will you sing for me?”

          “Of course.”  I thought fast.  Then I remembered the lullaby that I sung for Hope, Vivian, Ali, even Xenia, when they were babies.  It was a family song, made up by my great-grandmother.  I vaguely remember in the back of my memory my mother singing it for me when I was very little.

 

The warm western wind, it blows

The secret in my heart, it knows

Whenever it blows through my hair

I know it has always been there

It watches me as I grow and learn

It soothes me when sorrow takes a turn

Like a mother, like a father

The wind helped me to grow

All the secrets in my heart, it knows--

 

          I stopped, and was overcome with sorrow that caused me to sob involuntarily.  Oh, how I missed my family, and I couldn’t contain it any longer.  Sebastian sat up and observed me with a concerned expression.  He smiled a little bit.

          “Shh, don’t cry.”  he said, wiping tears off of my cheeks with his thumb.  I took a deep breath, sobbing like a child, and wiped my face with the edge of my blanket.  Sebastian put a hand behind my head and put his forehead against mine.  Our noses touched lightly.  His warmth seeped into me like sunshine.

          “Shh.”  he soothed.  “I am here.”  His breath against my lips made me feel warm and secure, and I calmed down within a few minutes.

          His lips were so close to mine.  They nearly touched--

          “Felicity.”  he said suddenly.  I opened my eyes and looked at him.  “Come to bed with me.”  I must have had a shocked look to my face, because his expression sank a little.  “No, no, I didn’t mean it like that.  I promise you, I only want you by my side.  You are a my comfort.”

          I closed my eyes and tried to think, but no thoughts would materialize in a way that made any sense.

          “Please?  You trust me, right?”

          “Yes.”  I said.  “Okay.”  He put my arms around his neck and lifted me easily.  I didn’t open my eyes.  He carried me upstairs to a small loft and sat me on the bed.  It was a low, soft bed with simple blankets.

          He stood for a moment.  He dropped his eyes from my face.

          “Saint Felicitas.”  he said.  I was relieved that he was staring at the silver medal that hung from my neck and not my chest.  “One of the human saints.  A very brave woman.  She watched her children suffer martyrdom and afterwards, received the martyr’s crown herself.”

          “Yes.  My mother told me that she named me after her so that I might have her courage.”  I said.

          “Well, I believe that you live up to your baptism name…unlike me.”  he said, remorsefully.

          “You’re brave, and you’re strong, too.”  I said, unable to think of anything else.  “No matter what happens, you will lead your people to whatever end.  And be rewarded for it in Heaven.”

          He looked back at me.  “I hope you’re right.”

 

 



© 2012 Aianarie (INACTIVE)


Author's Note

Aianarie (INACTIVE)
After over a month--here it is! I'm so happy that I finally finished this chapter. Eight will follow quite soon, I believe. I think I have the rest of the book all figured out now. :-) This was just finished this morning. I have edited it a little, but if you see any grammatical mistakes, do let me know. Thanks, and enjoy!

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Featured Review

Okaayyyy Oliver is way cute. he's MINE. I'm over Isaiah Oliver is sweet and adorable heart heart heart. Hahahaha....anyway....I loved this chapter, the whole thing!! it made me very happy. the romance scene was lovely. Good luck with chap 8.....hurry!!!

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

A very good chapter. I like the description of the travel. I like her appreciation of the ocean. The detail made each situation have life and vision. Thank you for sharing the excellent chapter.
Coyote

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Very good chapter once again. And yes...I have to admit that are able to portray the romance in a way that is not tacky or uncomfortable. Keep writing and good luck.

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

love the romance in this chapter Oliver is way cute. he's MINE

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

love the romance in this chapter. very nice write keep it up.

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I love the romantic scene :D Please hurry with chapter 8!!! please :)

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Okaayyyy Oliver is way cute. he's MINE. I'm over Isaiah Oliver is sweet and adorable heart heart heart. Hahahaha....anyway....I loved this chapter, the whole thing!! it made me very happy. the romance scene was lovely. Good luck with chap 8.....hurry!!!

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

To me, this chapter seems like the "calm before the storm" chapter, am I right? I think that the chapters that follow after this will be quite exciting and action-packed. Or maybe that's just what I'm hoping follows after? Hahaha.

Not to say that this chapter is boring, which it most certainly isn't. I like the touches of humor in the scenes with Oliver, Dansk, and Corr. Amusing, but nothing overwhelming to the point where it ruins the scene. I liked the romance scene. Subtle yet effective, that's the way to go. You wrote it well. The song was nice. I can hear that as a soothing song.

Can't wait to read what happens next.

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Aianarie (INACTIVE)
Aianarie (INACTIVE)

Eugene, OR



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