She was slight in build; her long brown hair was tied back into two braids, giving her the appearance of being younger than she was. She didn’t speak, I think that was what bothered me the most, when I was her age (which wasn’t that long ago) you couldn’t have given me food to keep me quiet. But then again, I was and still am very opinionated compared to most people.
Taking a risk I spoke first keeping my voice calm, friendly.
“How long have you been helping out in the castle?”
The girl kept looking ahead, her eyes cast down, the path obviously etched in her mind.
“Uh, about two years I believe.” Her voice was soft, scared.
“Wow, where I was living someone my age wouldn’t have been able to help our leader, unless he had a reason to want a young girl to help him out.” My voice was bitter, remembering the countless number of friends who had come out of Halede’s home tears rolling down their faces.
The girl stopped and opened a door, I went in. Her face was still set in the same ‘I’m-not-going-to-let-anyone-near-me’ look as she showed me where everything was. But as she walked to exit she turned her head back toward me.
“I’m sorry that your people are being hurt.” And then she was gone. Had I made another friend?
Taking my mind off the girl I went and poured warm water into the big tub, steam curling overhead as it met with the cold of the steel, the tub itself was odd shaped. A sort of dented circle that curved to the right, making it look more like a hollow fruit of some kind. There was a clean outfit laid out on the bed, a plain blue long skirt and a yellowish colored shirt that looked more like something a man would wear, but at least it would be more comfortable than a women’s shirt. Taking a deep breath I tired to inhale the smell of the place, it was freedom, and peace, though I knew more than enough but the cities bloody past to make me envy them for having Kings’ who cared so much about the well being of not only their people but the rest of the worlds too.
Pulling off my stiff clothes I folded them neatly and left them on the floor so that they wouldn’t dirty the bed, or anything else for that matter. Then grabbing the huge towel that was left for me I slipped slowly into the scalding water, my skin pricking with every inch. Had I gone bathing in the cold rivers for so long, that I had forgotten about warm baths? Peace now, I should relax and enjoy this before I have to go and join the rest of the group, no doubt that the King will have his bride with him this time, in hopes that she too would figure out what he should do with Nate and me. I picked up the soap and scrubbed my skin until it became pink, it felt good to be clean again, but as I got out and saw how brown the water was I vowed never to let myself get that dirty again.
Meanwhile, as Kali was cleaning herself Nate was looking around him. How long until the ranger’s figure out that I never went to the jail? How long could Kali walk about in safety before they got one of their men inside and started attacking the people inside until they could blame it on us? Sighing Nate went to the tub and put the slightly steaming water into it. Walking back into the main part of the room he grabbed his short knife, and then went back to the tub. Lathering his face with soap he leaned by the window and began taking the knife across his face, finally ridding himself of his beard.
The boy that led him to the room entered again announcing his arrival by clearing his throat. He was a timid fellow, with blonde curls that swept into his brown eyes making him look like he would rather be stuck doing anything but looking after people.
“If you need anything just come and find me, I will be in the kitchen down below cooking.” He said his voice void of emotion.
Nate turned to him still working on shaving his face, “You like to cook do you?”
The boy’s eyes light up slightly, “Yes, sir. I enjoy it very much; it’s a great craft to learn.”
“Well, I’ll imagine that someone like yourself would rather go cook than look after me right? I can find my way around here, and I will not let anyone know that you were cooking the whole time, deal?” He smiled as the boy nodded eagerly.
“Thank you sir, I appreciate your generosity.” He bowed and left, his eyes still shining brightly.
If only I could make everyone as happy as him, but alas, no one could possibly please every single person in the world. Moving back towards the mirror he finished shaving and then washed his face off with a warm soaked cloth. Stripping down Nate lowered himself into the tub all at once and sat there, letting the water settle before he started scrubbing himself with the bar of soap. After so many days without a true cleaning it was nice to relax and unwind before he had to go and eat.
Once he was done he got out, dried off, and wrapped himself in the big towel before walking into the main area of the room. On the bed was a set of clothes that he hadn’t seen were there before. Dressing slowly his mind turned to the dinner that was going to take place soon. Would the King and Queen believe Kali and her story? Surely the King showed that he at least wasn’t close-minded to the idea that she was part werein? Although he knew it was no use worrying about he still did so.
Meanwhile Kali was thinking off on a completely different thread as she gazed around her.
How could I have never been exposed to this kind of living? Ever the finest homes in Mirkwood couldn’t compare to this room. So much feeling thrives just within the walls. She quickly dried off and pulled on the under dress that had come accustomed to wearing a fancier dress. But the dress itself was sheer brilliance. It was black with white tiny jewels embedded all along the ends of the sleeves and then a small cluster was set on the neck line. This was made for someone with my skin and eyes, whoever crafted such a wonder should be highly praised, I think that I’m not fit to wear it.
I did put it on eventually and as I thought it would it brought out my green eyes and the paleness of my skin. I left my hair down, its length had grown out much more than I thought it had. Leaving my room I wondered the halls, where was I supposed to go?
Nate had left his room also and kept a gasp back as Kali walked passed him, obvious lost. She was stunning, her slim fit figure showing its full worth. He contemplated on whether on not to scare her. Deciding that wouldn’t be best he walked out of his hiding spot making sure his footsteps were heavy and loud.
I turned and smiled, “Hello kind sir. Would you be able to show me where I might dine with the King and his Queen, for I am surely as lost as could be.”
He didn’t look that shabby either, his outfit though was a bit more relaxed than hers. He had soft leather shoes on, and his pants were leather also, but he still looked nice. It took her a minute to realize that his beard was gone, and indeed he looked his age finally.
He bowed, “I would be honored to escort you madam, for I am headed to dine with the royal Highnesses also. By chance have I ever met you before? You do look like someone I know, but she would undoubtedly refuse to wear such a lovely dress as yours.” A smirk spread over his face letting her know that he was teasing.
I held out my arm, “You may escort me kind sir,” and she lowered her head and voice so that he alone would hear her next words, “You look handsome Nate, perhaps you’d think about staying here after everything is done?”
“Would that mean that you would stay with me? If so then I would stay for you, but for you alone.”
I blushed deeply, but Nate showed no notice of it. We reached the dining area sooner than I would have liked us to, but it could not be help. When we got close to the door a man walked up to us and asked for our names, which we gave willingly. These customs were foreign to me, I’d never been to a royal event before.