Wintervine Castle Gardens
It was a pleasant day for their walk and Tempest was enjoying her time with Sirus. That was until Klaus intruded upon them with (what he thought was good) news from the castle.
“M’lord…Princess. Phew..I don’t know how you do this walk. I swear I am out of breath.”
Beside her, Sirus chuckled and made light of his squire’s dilemma. “I use my legs actually, how about you, Princess?” He joked, squeezing her hand.
“Walking is good for the heart, so I’ve heard.” she giggled. “What news do you bring us, Squire Klaus that has you in such a state?” she wondered.
“Word..is, that there is to be a ball in your honor….your Highnesses.”
Tempest was surprised at that. The last time a ball was mentioned in her presence…the results had not been good. Sirus seemed as surprised as she was if the look on his face was any indication.
“A what? Why?” he wondered, “You know how I feel about those. Sweaty…bearded women from countries, I can’t even pronounce. One year, this beast of a girl trampled on both my feet. I was limping for days.”
“I’m not too fond of balls myself, My Lord.” Tempest agreed.
“Well, who says you have to dance with the Rampaging Regent Princess from Krackaztan? You have got the Princess. Fill her dance card. Then no one can say boo.” Klaus put out for them. Tempest knew that would never work. As a royal, there were certain traditions and protocols that had to be followed, and one of those was dancing with visiting dignitaries daughters and sons. Tempest wanted to roll her eyes.
She recalled the one ball she was allowed to attend when she was little. It had been a complete and utter disaster…her father had dipped into the mead one too many times and had proceeded to fondle and molest every woman in attendance, married and unmarried, while both his wife and young daughter looked on in surprise. Tempest had been hustled from the room by Nanny and the castle shook in the force of her mother’s rage that night.
And then the debacle with her grandfather…
She shook her head to dispel thoughts of the past. It did no good to dwell on what could have been. But she understood Sirus and his thoughts on balls. He actually looked scandalized over Klaus’s suggestion.
“If you don’t dance with the daughters of allied Kings…its…” He made a slashing motion across his throat. “…off with my head and there goes the alliances.”
So saying, her released Tempest’s hand and turned to her with a bow. She felt the loss immediately and was saddened by it.
“Excuse me….I don’t feel well.” He turned and strode away from her, much to her shock. Klaus looked just as upset.
“Please tell me that I didn’t ruin your walk, Princess?”
“N-No.” Tempest sighed, her eyes on Sirus’s back as he headed back to the castle. “We were finished anyway.”
“But it’s such a lovely day for a walk. I would hate to see you not continue it because of certain individuals.” came a deep voice behind them. Tempest whirled around, a hand to her throat in fright as a man practically materialized from between the trees. “Oh, my apologies, Princess. I didn’t mean to startle you.”
“Quite all right.” Tempest nodded. “Who are you?”
“Forgive my manners. I am Lord Pyres Devaroe, one of the Queen’s advisers. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, My Lady.” He smiled, taking up her hand and kissing her skin. She shuddered. Something about him was making her wary and she slowly withdrew her hand, hoping he wouldn’t notice her reluctance in allowing him to continue holding it. He did notice of course, but it suited his plans not to mention it.
“A pleasure, Lord Devaroe.” she nodded diplomatically, when in reality she wanted to be as far away from his as possible.
“I would be honored to join you on your walk, if you so desire.” Pyres suggested, knowing full well she would most likely say no. But that was okay too.
“I’m afraid I must decline your generous offer, My Lord. Tis nearly mid-day and I promised Klaus I would enjoy the mid-day meal with him. Maybe another time?”
“I will look forward to it.” He bowed toward her before he walked away, a knowing grin upon his face.
Shaking her head, she looked at Klaus.
“Please keep this between us. No sense in worrying Sirus with this, I’m sure. He has enough on his mind.”