“Miss Maggie, if you would like to sit with me?”
“No thank you, I’d really prefer having just ten minutes without some sort of babysitter.”
“Well,” Throne smiles “I can arrange that for later, yes?”
“Fine, whatever. What’s going on any way?” Alex gently nudges her through the crowd to Throne and the Brothers.
“Oh, we were just about to feast with these upstanding wealthy Brothers. I’m sure they have many questions to ask you, so please talk as you wish.” Maggie gives him a smile and plops down beside him and the brothers, before anything could be asked of Maggie, Madam Margery appears with her many girls and begins serving the crowd, starting with Maggie before going clockwise around the group, ending with the masked Alex who takes the plate and quickly vanishes to eat in the safety of his hut away from the Brothers. Maggie eats with out any regard to the people around her, filling her empty stomach with the well cooked potatoes, and mystery meat that she cannot personally identify. The Brothers watch her, shocked at her disregard for manners and knives.
“Lady Foretold, would you prefer a knife?” Aimes finally speaks up, Maggie pauses.
“Would I like one, yes, is it too late to actually use one, yes. So why are you bothering me about it.” Maggie glares for a moment before returning to her meal.
“How rude.” Aimes huffs and continues eating, far slower and with far more grace then most there including his larger traveling companion. Food and drink make their way around the gathering while they talk happily, as the feasting wares down a large fire is built that saps the moisture from the air turning the muggy night into a bearable dry heat. Around the fire men and women laugh while children run and yell happily; Maggie sits on the far edge away from everyone watching them and wondering about her old life. All around her the people are happy, drinking, dancing, singing, and fighting; it is an odd thing for her. So often she spent the night with friends at bars, but most of the time she would be on her phone texting or posting pictures, rarely did she ever see people this happy to just be with each other in the fire light. With a sigh she stands up and slips away, heading to the hut she is now sharing with Alex, the cloth door opens and she steps in, groaning she flops against the bed the feeling of her shirt, damp with sweat, sticking to her back irks her, driving her insane as she becomes hyper aware of the sweat running down her forehead, sticking her shirt and already tight jeans to her. With an annoyed sigh she sits up and looks around for anything she can change into, seeing nothing that she can easily wear she goes to the door, nearly running into Alex as he reaches to open the flap.
“Miss Magnolia, there you are. Throne was starting to worry.” Her eyebrows come together.
“Alex? Why are you wearing a mask?”
“Those men with Throne are not good men.” She nods hesitantly “What are you doing here?”
“I was hoping to find some clothing to change into, these are too hot.”
“Oh, I suppose I could find something for you.” Alex steps in and goes to a large, dusty chest. It creaks open and he digs through it pulling out an over sized white shirt and some leggings. “I suppose these can work for now, would you like a cool bath as well? I can show you to the pool.”
“Oh, um. Sure, why not, anything to cool off and get out of these sweaty clothes.” Alex nods mutely, hands off the clean, semi-dry clothes and motions for her to follow him. Their departure for the pool does not go unnoticed, Harper catches them in the corner of his vision and motions to Aimes, both smirk watching them leave; and when the masked man returns alone the Brothers manage to excuse themselves and slip off in the same direction.
Maggie carefully steps into the water, clothing forgotten on the grassy bank. With a happy sigh she sinks down into the pool’s cool water feeling relieved though disappointed in the fact that she does not have soap or shampoo or really anything to clean her hair and body. Though that annoyance fades away as the rustling leaves around her set her on edge, looking around she is assured that she is alone but still she cannot shake the unease of bathing in the open at night. Forcing herself to relax she sinks lower into the water, wetting her hair, but the snapping of a twig brings her up out of the water. “Hello?” silence, she carefully makes her way to shore “Oh yeah, Mags, cause any number of weirdos would totally answer you…” She murmurs as she dresses as quickly as she can, the clothing sticking to her body but she does not care, she gathers her old clothing up and rushes back to the village, never shaking the feeling she is being watched. She tosses her clothing into Alex’s hut before going back to the fire, sitting close to the leader.
“Enjoy yourself, Miss Maggie?”
“Hm? Oh yeah, but it was weird… I thought I was being watched.” Throne regards her for a moment before noting the Brothers that had excused themselves are returning to the party from the direction of the pool.
“Forgive me, Miss. I fear I didn’t do enough to protect you.”
“Um… It’s ok?” Throne shoots up and shoves his way over to the Brothers, the men do not react, hoping they have gone unnoticed.
“Gentlemen,” Throne’s voice breaks the joy, his anger evident “Perhaps I am mistaken, but it seems you slipped away just in time for the Foretold to bath, and now you have returned shortly after she has said she felt eyes upon her.”
“What? That is blasphemous.” Harper defends, Aimes nods in agreement.
“We are sworn servants of the Foretold.” Aimes defends.
“Perhaps I have no evidence against you, but regardless you will retire for the night and leave us in the morning.” The Brothers feel relief wash over them, they nod sadly, bid everyone good night and go to the village, sleeping under the watchful eye of Throne and his chosen men. Alex pulls the mask off and sits beside Maggie, the confused girl just watches the fire, biting her bottom lip hard.
“I’m sorry Miss Magnolia.” Alex breaks the silence. “I did not realize that they would forgo their own vows…”
“Its fine… you know… some guys… Its whatever.” She finally settles on, Alex gives her a sideways glance but keeps quiet. Finally she stands and stretches. “Bed time.” Alex rises with her and she sighs. “Alex, really, I can walk back to your hut, its fine.”
“I don’t need you to watch over me all the time, Alex.” She spins and walks off not giving the knight a moment to follow her. Alex watches her go, Throne looks over at his friend before joining him.
“You should probably go, Alex. You need to be in Cypress when those monks get there.” Alex hesitates a moment before looking at him. “You feel alright?”
“Yes, I’m ok. I’ll head out in a moment, keep an eye on her Throne, something isn’t right with her.” The leader arches an eyebrow at his friend but the knight does not elaborate, instead choosing to preparing for departure.