Orlando and I - Stranger in Paradise
"Why would I do that?" I asked looking up.
"Because I know your curiosity. And you have no other choice."
When I awoke from the deep slumber that I had fallen into, a strong arm was draped around my shoulder. Dawn was just appearing over the mountain tops, and as the light fell upon the hand that clutched my waist, I noticed the long claws relinquish to reveal a warm masculine hand. He removed his mask revealing a young handsome face. His cheekbones were high set, his nose long and perfectly curves, his eyes a deep, deep green speckled with dots of blue, his lips were full, supple, and perfect. A crown of dark brown curls covered his noble head and dropped to his chin line. His skin was not fair or ivory like the elves but slightly of a tanner hue. I could hardly think straight when I looked into those two perfect orbs, but I resolved not to let my emotions stray me. He smiled down at me with a flawless smile that could only be made by those lips.
"I trust your sleep was well," his voice was perfect not deep but not young. It was the voice of a young man not fully grown but no boy either. He sounded like a 20 year old.
I nodded absentminedly. Finally I had the courage to speak up, "Where are we going?"
"To my castle," he spoke the term with a measure of pride and confidence.
"What do you want iwth me?" I asked with surprising curioisity.
"I may not disclose this information to you yet. Soon, my curious one, soon."
I noticed he referred to me as if I was his. This frightened me somewhat, but I pushed the childish thoughts from my mind. I noticed it was quite warm as a tepid breeze rustled my hair. We were riding upon grassy plains but not lush green as the forests of Rivendell or Lorien. They were more of a golden hue as if rain did not fall frely here.
We came to the base of a high hill, and as we ascended, I caught the spectacle of a gleaming white tower. As we topped the crest of the hill, I saw the castle he spoke of. It was indeed magnificent and beautiful with four marble white towers shining in the afternoon sun. A moat surrounded the castle with a drawbridge connecting it. We entered the fortress, and I noticed the large courtyard at first. The man slowed the horse to a halt and dismounted, then lifting me off and setting me gently on the ground. He called a servant to take the horse as I looked around me. The courtyard was filled with streaming fountains and blossoming gardens. The ground was paved with marble tiles, and I could not help but love it. Surrounding the courtyards were different room, and I knew he would show me them all.
We passed through two great cherry oak doors, and the first room I beheld was the dining room complete with a parlor leading to the couryard. Golden chandeliers hung above the table shining golden beams upon it. There were a variety of rooms including the Great Hall which was used solely for the purpose of decoration and connecting all rooms. Each room contained a flaming fireplace as well as chandeliers. I thought I was stepping back into Elizabethan times, and he was pleased that I approved. He went on to show me the two kitchens, showers, and stables. I smiled when seeing the many different breeds of horse he possessed. He presented me with a gift allowing me to choose which horse I desired. I approached a striking beauty. Her coat was of the darkest shininy ebony, but her mane and tail were a glimmering silver. Her eyes were a deep sapphire blue, and he thought it an excellent choise. I named her Silmèlò meaning Silver Night, and he thought it a fair name.
The young man then showed me to my room, which rested across from his. I gasped when he opened the door. Instantly, I fell in love with it. The bed was large and draped with long silk sheets and curtains on the bedposts. I always dreamed of living in a room such as this. A small nightstand with a lamp rested on each side of the bed. There was no bathroom inside since he informed me of the baths and showers on the first floor. A leather chair stood inside the room, and a few books were placed upon a small table i nfront of it. Two large windows looked out toward the garden, and I was glad I could see the setting sun every night over the plains. I opened the window letting the fresh night breeze fall in fluttering the silk white drapes.
"Is the room satisfactory?" he asked.
I nodded. "Perfect like everything seemingly is here."
"Good," he ignored the last comment. "Breakfast will be prepared soon if you wish to change from your travel attire. I will escort you to the dining hall in a half hour."
He took my hand and brushed his lips against my knuckled letting his hand linger upon mine for a few moments. He then bowed an exited. I opened the wardrobe door instantly smiling. There were many skirts and gowns, but no pants whatsoever. I also knew that if I took off my travel clothes, I would probably not regain them back. No matter...I could always find breeches elsewhere and skirts and dresses were quite comfortable to me. I slipped into a white morning dress with no sleeves and a blue sash around my waist. I fixed the necklace Orlando and given me around my neck and released my hair from its braid. My dark curls matched well with the dress. I washed the dirt from my face and hands and came outside where he already awaited. He was dressed in a dark green tunic matching his eyes as well as black breeches and a golden belt decorated with jeweled flowers. He offered me his arm, and I took it.
"You look exquisite," he remarked.
"Thank you," I wondered if I was blushing even if I had been told this many times.
Not many words were spoken. I still felt awkward and uncomfortable , but the silence seemed even more gauche. We came to the dining room where a breakfast of fruit and cream cheese creppes awaited us. Had he known my favorite foods too? I bowed my heads to pray before the meal, and I noticed he did the same. This furthed my appeal of him. As we began eating, he was the first to speak.
"You believe in the High God Eru?" he asked me.
"He created this world as well as the world beyond from which you have come from. And who knows what other amazing things He has created or has in store for those who love Him and do His will. I only wish I could act to do His will as much as is needed."
"What do you mean?" I asked.
He raised his hand. "Nothing, Kyla. Do not fret about it. Are you enjoying the meal?" he changed the subject.
I nodded, and he continued, "You are of not many words, are you?"
"Pardon me," I wiped my mouth with the napkin. "But when you have come to a world you did not even know existed, have been separated from your friends, and are eating breakfast with someone you do not even know, I am not of many words, no."
"You are afraid?" his eyes penetrated mne, and I nodded knowing I could not lie. He smiled when I answered, "Many people are wary of those they have only just met, and you are not wrong to be either. With time, though, I believe we may be good friends and perhaps more."
"More? How so?"
"Do you believe in fate, Kyla?"
"I believe that we have a fate planned out for us."
"Do you believe certain fates can affect others?"
"Yes," I replied softly.
"Would you believe that your fate can highly affect my own to the point of even saving me from death?"
"Not at the moment, no," a slight smile spread across my features as I continued eating.
"You will in time I hope."
"How long am I to stay here?" I asked.
He looked down at his plate not answering the question. I repeated it again, and this time he stood and walked to my side extending his arm. I took it hoping I could persuade him to answer. He led me to the courtyard and into the late morning sun which sparkled upon my glossy ebony curls. He softly plucked a white rose from a nearby bush and handed it to me.
"You have only just arrived," he took my hands in his saying with much sincerity. "Do you not wish to stay longer?"
How could I resist those eyes? I shrugged. I did not know if I wanted to or not. It was certainly a beautiful romantic place, and he was certainly by far the most handsome and polite man I had ever met. It simply seemed to good to be true. A stranger in paradise sweeping me off my feet in an instant falling in love with me. I never believed in love at first sight. Then I thought of Orlando and his proposal. Yet, Orlando and I had different believes, and the young man standing before me seemed as thought he knew me from the moment I came into the world. He knew my sorrows, my difficulties, and he knew my faith. How could he know so much about me? Is it possible that other fates affect others? Is it possible that there are no coincedences? Could oyur lives be planned out to interact with others? Was I meant to change this man's life before me? But how so if he seemed perfect to me? It was not Orlando. It was my stranger in paradise.
"What is your name?" I finally asked.
"You may call me Cal. It would be easier for your tongue than to call me by my true name, Calanar. You will stay?"
Slowly, I nodded, and I felt his hand brush against my cheek. "I look forward to the time together."