Much to the squire’s surprise Alex bursts into the canvas tent in a panic “My horse! Where is my horse!”
“Its at the stables, shall I-”
“Yes! And hurry! I must speak to the master!” Alex storms out of the canvas tent with the squire behind him, in a matter of minutes Alex is rushing back to the city leaving the boy to gather his belongings and head back himself. Alex pushes his horse hard exhausting the poor beast, he leaves it in the hands of the stable boys knowing they will care for the creature for him. Disregarding the people that greet him Alex makes his way to the chapel and forces the door open with a loud bang startling the monks. “Forgive me Brothers. Where is the master?”
“In the garden, Good Sir-”
“Don’t call me that.” Alex snaps spinning around and marching out the near by doors into the peaceful garden “Master!” He shouts, it echoes in the open space.
“Here Alex.” Comes the reply, Alex follows the voice and plops down before the man that basically raised him. “What is it, my son?”
“Alphonso…” He huffs.
“What about him?” The master asks softly.
“I know.” Alex blinks, stunned “The Brothers talk, Alex. I’ve known since you requested that rogue Brother to go to the Recluse a while ago.”
“Oh…” The realization dawns on him “Well that’s not all, master. He was captured because I couldn’t warn him, and then I outed him at the tournament when Keeper was going to kill him. Master what do I do?”
“Alex, who are you?”
“Master I don’t-”
“Who are you?” the man presses.
“I’m… I’m Alexander Saint… An abandoned son of the army.” Alex answers slowly, picking his words carefully
“That is who you were, who are you?”
“I am the servant to the king.”
“The true king.” Alex answers firmly.
“Then why are you here?”
“Because I was confused but now I see. Thank you master.” Alex rises and the leaves the man in silence. He walks to his room where he carefully packs much of his stuff and begins penning out a letter to the Keeper King.
The confusion on Alex’s face annoyed Throne, but he also understood where his friend stood; without complaint Throne is lead from the arena to a barred wagon that is then hauled back to the castle, some people stare in awe while others glare at him like he really is an impostor. He wants to scream but he is not sure he can after some of the blows he suffered. He is grateful to be taken back to the city that he once called home, the wagon rumbles down the roads and into the gates but it does not stop at the dungeon gates, it rolls passed them to the North Tower. The wooden door creaks open and he is dragged inside and left standing in the small entrance hall with stone stairs spiraling up, the door is locked and left with no choice Throne begins to climb the stairs to the upper set of rooms.
He passes a small kitchen, then dining area, then a bed room, he walks across what he supposes is a study to the glass doors that lead to a small balcony, he attempts to open the doors but they will not budge, with a bitter smile he leaves them alone, looking out the glass at the castle. Servants rush back and forth passed the windows and he lets out a sigh, in his haste to protect his little band he lost what he needed most, his sword and shield is trapped behind the great stone walls unable to help him, unable to joke with him, unable to do anything. He turns away, descending the stairs to the makeshift bedroom with its hard bed. He lays back with a sigh and stares at the ceiling, a frown tugs at the corners of his mouth as he thinks back to how he used to treat Alex, to what he used to say to the man, to the betrayal he felt when Alex could not save the people from the raid. “Forgive me, my friend… I was blind…” He whispers into the dimly lit room, he almost hopes for an answer, but none comes, so he closes his eyes and wishes for sleep to take him.
The tears are slow to stop, everything she ever wanted to cry over bubbles up and spills out. She sobs uncontrollably for what feels like hours, letting out all the pent up emotions that she keeps to herself. Finally she has nothing left to cry over, no anger hiding away, nothing; the tears stop and Maggie turns over on her back looking up at the ceiling silently. “I’m so sorry mom… I’ll be home soon.” She whispers closing her eyes, for several minutes she just listens to the silence, her heart beat and her breathing her only company. The sudden knock startles her.
“Miss Magnolia? May I come in?”
“Alex? Is that you?” She asks back, not wanting to see the Keeper again.
“Yes, may I come in?”
“Yeah, come in Alex.” She slides off the bed and wipes away the tears left on her cheeks with her sleeve. The knight enters with a smile that quickly fades.
“Were you crying, Miss Magnolia?”
“Oh, um… Yeah, just a little.” She looks at her feet.
“Is it because of your wedding?” His tone is slightly spiteful.
“I was crying because Jacob said I didn’t have a choice. I’m tired of being pushed around… Alex I want to leave… I want to go home. I miss my mom.” Alex nods, unsure of what to say. “Why are you here, Alex?”
“I was coming to say good bye. I left a letter for the Keeper King, by tomorrow I will be as far from here as possible.”
“What about Throne?” Alex stops for a moment.
“I… We should save him?”
“I don’t know yet, he’s in the North Tower…Which is guarded by the old guards! Come on!” Alex grabs her hands but Maggie shakes out of his grasp.
“I can’t leave, they won’t let me.” Alex thinks for a moment then goes to the bed and whips the blankets off and pulls the sheets free. With ease he rips them into long strips and begins to braid three together, adding the scraps as he goes till he runs out. “Alex? What are you doing?”
“Rope, do your door open?”
“I didn’t try them.” Alex nods and goes to them, he turns the handle but nothing happens, with a little bit of force he pushes them open, breaking the weak lock holding them shut. He fastens one end to the marble balcony before turning back to Maggie.
“Miss Magnolia, I will leave and go around, when I call for you throw the other end over and climb down. I don’t know if it is long enough but I will catch you if you must drop.” He steps passed her to the door.
“Are you serious?”
“Very, please be ready.” Maggie does not get another word in as the man steps into the hall, closing the door behind him. Maggie does not have anything to pack so instead she gathers up a spare blanket and binds it using the few small pieces of the sheets left and waits for Alex to come for her.