Author: risaisis PM
Set in medieval times, this is the story of a girl born into the Kingdom's high class society; her lady-in-waiting; and a man that can break the strongest holds on friendship. COMPLETE! 8DRated: Fiction K+ - English - Friendship/Hurt/Comfort - Chapters: 16 - Words: 23,072 - Reviews: 36 - Favs: 10 - Follows: 4 - Updated: 03-26-09 - Published: 01-30-09 - Status: Complete - id: 2628987
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Here's my newest story! Hope you guys all enjoy this as much as you have This Story, and The Runaway! Again, I will be updating every two or three days; please review! =3
"Come, Bridge! We're almost there!"
I gazed after Alexandra, watching her hair wave down her back like a golden river, gleaming in the afternoon sunlight. She disappeared around a bend in the trail, her and her mare Sunshine hidden by a copse of trees with a fern at their roots. I tightened the reins and squeezed my mount, a sweet bay named Candy, with my shins; she picked up a smooth gallop, and I followed after my lady.
"Alexandra, don't you think we should head back?" I called forward, turning the corner and seeing her palomino mare trotting in circles, Alex guiding her gently. "The storm clouds look threatening," I told her, gesturing towards a pile of angry gray clouds on the horizon.
"They're far off," she replied breezily, smiling at me.
"But they'll near," I told her, noticing towards the boughs of the trees above us, rustling loudly in the strong breeze.
"Oh, Bridge, I just want to show you the meadow I told you about. Fine," she sighed, rolling her eyes but smiling nonetheless. "As soon as the clouds touch that tall tree, we'll head back home. Is that alright?"
I followed her gaze, seeing a large oak towering tall above the other treetops, its brilliant leafy branches scraping against the pale sky, bright blue in the mid afternoon, though quickly growing gray with the approaching storm. I knew Alex's mother would want her home soon, but so did Alex – I wouldn't pester her again.
"Of course," I replied, bowing my head slightly in submission. Anything Alexandra proposed or suggested was alright with me – it had to be alright with me.
I was her lady in waiting, and I was to follow any wishes, no matter how out on a whim they were. I could warn her and guide her onto a less dangerous path, but I could never completely stop it. Alex was a very willful girl.
"You know," she pointed out, continuing along the path that led deeper into the forest, "you don't have to always agree with me."
We came out into a small clearing. I knew this was the meadow Alex had wanted me to show me; a blanket of thick green grass was thrown over the land, with wildflowers casting an array of colour amid the emerald glow. Gentle slopes showed perfect areas for a picnic or star-gazing. The sky above was free of branches, the trees shying away as if they knew this was a sacred place. The air was fresh with the scent of pine and honeysuckle.
It was gorgeous.
I slipped off Candy, and Alex followed, sliding gracefully off Sunshine's back. She brushed her skirt off before leading her horse to a tree on the outskirts of the meadow, tying Sunshine's reins to a low branch and stroking her neck softly.
"I know," I replied in a quiet voice, guiding Candy alongside Sunshine, and tying her reins up as well.
I patted Candy, giving her a kiss before taking a folded blanket and two carrots out of my bag; I gave the horses a carrot each as their treat for the ride. Candy nuzzled me as she lipped up her carrot, dropping her head and beginning to munch away happily, while Sunshine seemed to give me a horsy smile before taking hers.
"I mean," Alex continued, grabbing my wrist and leading me to the center of the meadow, "you are human. You're allowed to have your own opinions and so. Just because you're paid to -"
"One second," I interrupted just as she was about to sit. I unfolded the blanket, beating it twice before settling it on the ground. Alex fell onto it, seated with her legs tucked under her pallid dress. I sat beside her, gesturing for my lady to continue her speech.
"Thank-you, Bridge. But, as I was saying, just because you're paid to attend to me doesn't mean you're not entitled to your opinions. You don't have to agree with me – state your mind, disagree when it's right! Prove me wrong, just once – though you've done it countless times over the years, Bridge," she added with a grin, "– so we can show this world that servant girls can be right sometimes, too. It's disgusting how servants and slaves are not allowed to speak their mind. How some are treated as dogs, and that's wrong; even if some are less fortunate than others, that's no way to treat them."
I nodded in agreement, focusing on a butterfly fluttering from a violet flower to a pale blue blossom. Alexandra continued speaking, though I let myself wander; I had heard Alex's speeches many times, and had long since gotten used to them.
While I loved Alex more than a servant girl should love her lady – I considered her my best friend, and I think she thought of me the same way – I appreciated her passion for human rights. If she were queen, she'd do amazing wonders with our kingdom. I knew some servants were less fortunate than I was; I had a good, kind family, but others were stuck with abusive nobility. It sickened Alex more than it frightened me, and she had always wanted to change the way our kingdom was run.
As Alex took a moment from her monologue to breathe, I snatched the opportunity.
"This is a gorgeous meadow," I smiled, gazing at Alexandra. Her bright blue eyes sparkled at the compliment. "How did you find it?"
She brushed a strand of her golden hair back as it fell before her eye. "Oh, my mother used to take me here when I was younger, six or so. I forgot about it until the other day when I overheard my mother speaking with Maria about this place," she told me, returning my smile, her cheeks rosy in the light.
Maria was Alexandra's mother's lady in waiting, much like I was Alexandra's - except that Maria was eleven years older and like a sister to me. Maria had been serving Lady Claire since she was seven, the same age I had started serving Alex. When I had first started out, Maria had helped me with any trouble I had run into.
"I thought it'd be a nice idea to come here for my seventeenth birthday," Alex mused aloud, gazing around with a gleam in her eyes. I guessed she was remembering the days ten years ago when she had come along with her mother to this beautiful place.
"It's a grand idea," I told her truthfully.
"And we can come here for your seventeenth birthday as well," Alex added with a warm smile. I returned it, hesitantly.
"There's no need, really, Alex -"
"Oh, don't be silly, Bridgette," she scolded, using my full first name. "It will be your special day in three month's time, and we can't celebrate it by sitting around at home talking about the day's bread!"
"But, Alexandra, if your father -"
"My father will not object," Alex told me knowingly, nodding once as if that settled it.
I died down, deciding it best to let her simmer before I slowly changed the direction of her interest.
It was often best that way with Alexandra – if she wanted something, you let her argue her point, or preferably not argue at all, as trying to convince her otherwise would be a nightmare. Alex knew any and every way to fight for her wish, and could easily stop you in your tracks even as you tried to dissuade her - after she had calmed, you attempted to make her see reason. Often times it was hardly worth the effort, except for the slight alteration that saved her from serious injury or embarrassment.
She was a determined girl: That was certain.
"You know best," I replied politely, my smile flickering as I gazed back at the clouds.
I heard myself gasp, felt myself jump to me feet, as I saw the clouds were nearly upon us; the oak's top branches seemed to be swathed in a livid swirl of cloud. The sun had dimmed, with shadows creeping towards us.
"Alex! We should have been home by now, the storm's to start!" I cried, my eyes widening. A lightning bolt, clearly visible from our position, alerted me to the crash of thunder that followed seconds later. "Quick, to the horses," I murmured, pulling Alex to her feet and pushing her towards where Sunshine and Candy were tethered.
I dove for the blanket, folding it hurriedly as I raced to Candy. The poor dear showed the whites of her eyes as she neighed urgently.
"Hush. It's okay, girl," I heard Alex whispering to her mare, already atop and ready to ride. Another flash of lightning illuminated the dark clearing, and I quickly stuffed the blanket into my bag. I fumbled with the ropes as I untied Candy's reins, before swinging myself into the saddle.
"Go!" I urged Alex, and together we sprinted from the clearing, our horses eager to escape the storm. The rain suddenly caught up to us, hitting us hard; it flecked Candy's hide and bounced off. The cold drops soaked through my summer dress and made me shiver, goose bumps rising along my arms.
"Whoa, Candy, whoa!" I pulled on the reins, controlling Candy 'less she go on a rampage and run off the trail. Ahead, I saw Alex slowing Sunshine as well, though her palomino seemed anxious. The wind, stronger than ever, nearly pushed Sunshine over, and Alex centered her balance, readjusting so as to help her mare bare the wind.
I doubled her movements, but just as I was ready to push Candy into a canter again, I saw the lightning flash, followed instantly by a clap of thunder so loud it left my ears ringing. I tightened the reins even more, and Candy skidded to a sudden halt. Unfortunately, Alex had not been ready for the sudden thunder crash; Sunshine spooked, rearing back wildly and letting lose a crazed neigh.
"Sunshine!" I heard Alex cry over the rain, at the same instant I called, "Alex!"
She was thrown off her horse, her damp hair splayed in the air like an angelic being, and I watched with shock and horror quickly filling my bones as she fell to the earth, landing in a nearby thicket.
"Alex!" I screamed again over another clap of lightning, and suddenly the world was falling – a strong gust of wind, a low creaking moan adding to my scream and the storm, brown bark toppling and foliage getting caught, a muffled thump.
Then, suddenly – quiet.