Margery frowns when Alex rides up on his horse, “Don’t you have a job to do, Good Sir Knight?”
“The king ordered me here for the protection of you and your girls.” Alex glances around seeing that no one is really paying them any attention. “I couldn’t argue with the both of them. She knows not how much danger she put herself in.”
“You best tell her as soon as you get back then.” Margery grumbles “Ladies! Children! Its time for us to return home, the Good Sir Knight of Cypress is escorting us back, let us not keep him longer then we must.” The women and children begin marching, the sun is oppressive but they push on, sweat soaking their dresses and tunics and soon the heat exhausts the children. Women carry their kids, while the orphans are carried by a handful of caring solitary women; Alex remains on his horse, sweating and keeping an eye on their surroundings.
“Margery!” The woman looks over her shoulder, Alex points to a gathering of trees just up the road. She nods and urges the women to the thicket where they can rest, much to their delight there is a deep well and the women happily heave up water and share the cool sweet liquid with the children, Alex, and the knight’s horse. After a few hours of resting the group begins walking again, this time some orphans ride on Alex’s horse while the knight walks with the reins in hand. Finally they reach the forest edge and Margery stops Alex.
“Alex, you need to go back now. We can make it from here.”
“Are you arguing with me, Alex?” Her hands go to her hips and she arches an eyebrow.
“Yes! I’m to escort you home!”
“Yes, and I wouldn’t let you if you weren’t one of us. Now go, we’ll be fine.”
“As you wish Margery.” Alex sighs, the orphans jump down and Alex heaves himself up.
“Its not what I wish Alex. You need to go back, that king is slimy and you left that girl alone within his palace. Now go on.” Alex nods and turns his horse before urging the beast into a trot; its long after night fall when he arrives, he leaves his horse with the stable hand and hurries through the empty halls to the chapel, the door is locked and he wants to kick himself. He knocks softly and waits, after a moment the door opens and he is allowed in.
“I need to see the master.” The silent Brother nods and leads him to the large back room where the master is meditating quietly. “Master, I need to speak with you.” The man opens his eyes and gives the knight a tired smile.
“Welcome back, my son. Please sit.” Alex does as the man asks, the silent Brother leaves the two alone. “What is it you need, Alex?”
“I…I’m lost, master. I don’t know who I am anymore.” The master nods.
“Tell me Alex, how long have you felt like this?” There is silence for a moment.
“I’m not the good knight of Cypress. I’m not a knight… I’m not even pious. I feast on everything forbidden when I’m with Throne.” Alex sighs and looks away.
“I know.” Alex looks at him, shocked. “You can’t keep secrets from me Alex. More then once our brothers have come to me to speak of your lies.”
“Oh… I see…” Alex again looks away “Are you disappointed?”
“No,” The master laughs “Of course I’m not, you’ve been doing what you deem right. You’ve been with your friend, keeping him safe, you’ve found the Foretold, just because you are not what your title says does not mean I’d be disappointed in you.”
“Thank you master.” Alex smiles, feeling at ease “How is Miss Magnolia?”
“She spent much time with the king, and locked herself in her room, the tailor brought new clothing for her, I left it before her door.” Alex nods.
“I don’t intend to let her get close to the king. Thank you for looking after her.” He stands and walks to the door “Good night, master. I will be here tomorrow for prayer.”
“Good night Alex, you better be. I have half a mind to have prayer in your room since you can’t be late to it then.” Alex chuckles and leaves the master to meditate, his room feels so far away but he reaches it quickly with the halls so empty, he peels off his clothing and flops into bed, almost instantly falling asleep.