My NaNoWriMo story.
Alexandria baths and dresses, James had been gone when she awakened but she knows that that is part of being married to him. He and his father are consolidating the kingdoms, or at least writing the paperwork for the consolidating and while it leaves a bitter taste in her mouth to be left out she knows that as a woman it is expected that she allow her husband to do all of the commanding for her. Taking a deep breath she steps into the hall followed by Ella for a leisurely stroll around the keep and its many gardens, some noble women look at her and blush, she smiles like she does not know they know about her and husband on their consummation night then keeps walking. Some join her for a time making idle small talk before going on their way while others are content to watch her pass before going on with their day. She sighs and looks up, finding herself outside of the king’s study, without hesitation she knocks softly then opens the door, letting herself in.
“-The southern kingdoms, father.” James speaks in a hushed tone.
“It will not travel.” His father waves away the report.
“It will, it came from far away on their boats,” James presses “Father stop the trading with them before it spreads here.”
“Even if it spreads here what will it do to us?” Again the issue is waved away.
“It has already killed most of the southern port city of Darton! It will destroy us!” James yells, tossing the papers in his hand at his father, letters from far away kingdoms pleading for help or speaking warnings to the northern trade partners.
“That is them, they are weak. The borders and trade remain open end of- Oh, Alexandria, we didn’t hear you come in.”
“Apologies, Father James, I was just curious as to what was going on behind this door.”
“Can you hear us outside?” James asks quickly, panic in his lyrical voice.
“No, husband, I was just curious. If you’ll excuse me.” She turns to leave.
“Ah, Alexandria,” She stops and looks over her shoulder. “Don’t spread any rumors about what was taking place in here.”
“I won’t husband.” She smiles and exits the room, closing the door behind her. She leans against it a letting out soft sigh.
“Your Grace?” Ella asked, Alexandria looks to her maid and smiles.
“Its nothing, Ella. Come a long.” She pushes off of the door and begins to walk the halls again. The stone is so familiar but it still gives her a rush of excitement and nostalgia thinking back to the months in summer she spent running around the halls playing and laughing as a child which quickly turned into stealing side long glances and sending flirtation smiles across the table to James and never being allowed with him alone in fear of the inevitable occurring without proper documentation. Ella follows her closely, eyes following the ground, so when Alexandria stops abruptly she walks right into her “Watch where you’re going clod.” Alexandria hisses at her maid harshly.
“Forgive me, Your Grace.” Ella offers quickly.
“Ella, I wish to go out. The city is always beautiful this time of year.” Ella nods “Arrange it. Now.”
“Yes, Your Grace.” Ella hurries off, first going to the queen for permission then to the stables for a carriage, when it is all arranged she trots up to Alexandria’s study and knocks on the door, when no response comes she cautiously opens the door, finding the room empty. She opens the bathing chamber door slowly and peeks in but it too is empty, the last room she checks is the living room, but the fire has gone out and no one is within. She closes all the doors and looks at the door to the master bed room, knocking lightly. “Your Grace?”
“Hold on, please.” James calls, Ella nods and steps away from the door, a few minutes go by before James opens the door, his clothing rather messy and face a light shade of red. “Ella, what is it?”
“Princess Alexandria asked me to arrange a sight seeing tour of the city. I came to inform her that the carriage is waiting.” James smiles.
“I’ll tell her.” Before Ella can thank him he ducks back into the room, a few more minutes go by before the door is opened and the princess steps out, hair a little messy and makeup smeared. Ella knows better then to question it.
“Thank you Ella, it will be a few more minutes yet. I must fix my makeup.” Ella nods, smiling at Alexandria knowingly. The brunette ignores her and goes to the bathing chamber. When she returns her makeup is perfect and she motions for Ella to follow, they walk the halls and exit the front doors, entering the open carriage together. The carriage lurches, the gates open and the tour begins.
“You seem to be enjoying James’s company.” Ella smiles at Alexandria, her face turns a slight shade of pink but she smiles back.
“Of course I am. Now that I’m allowed to.” They giggle, Alexandria breaking the conversation to look at the city and wave to people passing by, some wave back while others turn their noses up at her, not that she notices.
“If you keep this up you’ll be with child soon.” Ella offers again when they roll down a quiet side street.
“That is the point isn’t it?” Ella giggles.
“True, it is only sin if you enjoy it.” Alexandria rolls her eyes
“How anyone could not enjoy it with their lover I’ll probably never know.” Ella blushes and looks away making Alexandria giggle. They lapse into silence for a short time before Alexandria clears her throat and pulls Ella closer “There is a plague to the south of us, it has James really worried.”
“What?” Ella pulls away “Surely you must tell the king.”
“The king knows, Ella. He can’t do anything though because it is not in our lands.” Alexandria looks away and sighs. “I don’t know what to do.”
“Tell the queen, perhaps?” The princess shakes her head.
“I can’t interfere with matters of state.” Alexandria mocks Liliana’s way of speaking drawing a giggle from her maid.
“I can’t see why you can’t leave her a letter, unmarked, though.” Alexandria just shakes her head.
“She knows my writing, and she knows yours, and if I tell anyone else it could unleash panic.” Ella nods and looks away, glancing at the small stores lining the road.
“Your Grace, look.” Ella points ahead to a small shop front with a line going out the door and around the corner. “Should we investigate?”
“Yes, let’s. Perhaps its a bakery and I can purchase some sweets. Driver, stop here please.” The man driving stops the carriage and the women climb out, when they reach the store front they find it is indeed a bakery and while Ella suggests waiting with the rest of the people Alexandria pushes her way inside and up to the counter. “Excuse me.”
“Hold on a moment please.” A frantic lady yells over her shoulder as she brings down two loaves of bread and hands them off to another woman. “How may I– Gods above, Your Grace. Yes, sorry, how may I help you?”
“Do you have any sugar cookies?” The woman nods, “Good, I’d like a dozen, please.”
“Yes, Your Grace.” The woman quickly packs away a dozen cookies in a small box before returning to Alexandria and Ella “There you are, that’ll be–” Alexandria takes the box and turns, leaving the shop before the woman can tell her the price, Ella watches unfazed by her actions.
“Forgive me, but what is the total? Her Grace does not carry any money, it is my job to pay for everything and anything she wants.” Ella offers softly, drawing the woman’s attention away from the door.
“Oh uh, ten gold pieces.” Ella nods and pulls out her purse, counting out the coin before handing them over to the woman “Thank you.”
“Have a pleasant day, miss.” Ella walks out and climbs into the carriage only to find Alexandria eating the cookies.
“Did you take care of it?” She asks, mouth full of cookies.
“Yes, Your Grace.” Ella smiles at the woman.
“Good, take us home, sir.” The carriage lurches and starts off taking a winding path back to the Keep where the gates swing open and shut. The women climbs out of the carriage and it lurches, heading back to the stables while the two enter through the throne room. It does not take long for a servant of the queen to find them and request their presence in the queen’s rooms and they start the long trek to the room. They knock and enter when the queen bays them to.
“Alexandria,” She starts, setting her tea aside and standing up, the room is full of other noble women and their servants. “I heard you stopped by a bakery.”
“Yes, Mother Liliana.” Alexandria’s eyebrows come together in confusion.
“And that you forced your servant to pay for the cookies.”
“Yes, Mother Liliana. Ella has always been in charge of carrying my money and paying for what I desire.” Liliana nods and regards Ella.
“Is that true?”
“Yes, Your Grace.” Ella speaks, not daring to look up at the queen.
“Honest, very good. Alexandria you are to carry your own money from today forward. A servant can never be trusted. Who is to say that this poor girl has never stolen from you?”
“Ella would never betray me like that.” Alexandria snaps, Liliana stares, awaiting the appropriate title, the title that never comes.
“You will carry your own money, little girl.”
“I will not, old woman.” Liliana grits her teeth.
“What did you call me?”
“I believe what I called you was old woman.” Alexandria emphasizes ‘old woman’ and Liliana’s jaw tightens.
“I will not.” Liliana does not miss a beat, the second the words leave Alexandria’s mouth Liliana’s hand makes contact with her cheek, a loud slap rings out followed stinging pain shooting through Alexandria’s face. Her delicate hand comes up and covers the forming red mark.
“You will do well to learn your place. Get out of my rooms till you have learned how to act like a woman.” Alexandria’s face turns red and she storms out, slamming the door behind her. “You are dismissed, Ella. Do not carry any of her money from now on.”
“I understand Your Grace.” Ella turns and leaves quietly, gently closing the door behind herself. Alexandria is not out in the hallway so Ella makes her way back to the princess’s chambers, finding the princess laying on the couch before a cold fire crying.
“I hate her, I hate her, I hate her!” She screams pounding her fists against the arm of the couch. “Ella start a fire you stupid cow.” Ella sighs and starts a fire quickly, warming the whole room quickly with the ever growing blaze. “Why does she hate me?”
Because you’re a brat Ella thinks to herself before turning to face Alexandria “I don’t think she hates you, Your Grace. I think she is scared of loosing her son to you.”
“She hates me and you’re a liar.” Alexandria pouts and points to the door “Be gone liar. I will call upon you when I need you.”
“As you wish Your Grace.” Ella nods and leaves the chambers, opting instead for a stroll through the gardens unmarred by Alexandria and her harsh words.