"Mother," I leaned away from the great tree branch. "Mother, I can see it!"
"How far Cole?" She asked me.
"Just a half a mile or so," I called down to her. Descending the tree I quickly grab my sack, tossing it around my shoulder and leading my mother and our cart to the town of Shinington.
Within the next hour we were in a large corridor awaiting the Lord Bridger's grace. A tall man with a large staff lead us into the great hall. I was of decent height but this man seemed to be a giant. I tried to peak over his shoulder as he walked so close to us.
"My Lord, Martha of Triston and her son, Cole." He slightly bowed his head before retreating to the back of the great hall.
"Ah," Lord Bridger says as we come into view. He was a shorter man with a blonde beard that matched his thinning light hair. Lady Esther was short as well with a thinning structure and a long face that was framed with fiery red hair. There were two iron chairs on either side of the Lord and lady. The two to the Lord's side were filled with two strong burly boys, obviously older than I. Only one of the two to the lady's side was filled with a girl who was obviously pure with beauty. She had looks that mirrored her mothers, same hair and face. The boys on the other hand had the hair and face of their father but the bone structure of a soldier.
"Let me get a look at you, boy," the Lord took keen notice of me. I took a slight step forward as he accessed me. My tall body, much like my father's and muscular frame from working in the fields. "You have a structure of a worker, my lad."
"Thank you my grace." I repeat the action of the call man earlier and slightly nod my head before retaking my step backward.
"So, Martha of Triston and her son Cole, why have you come to Shinington?" Lord Bridger takes a sip of his wine.
"If I may, my Lord. My mother is not quite fluent in English as I am. So I shall speak on behalf of her," I enlighten him.
"If I may ask my boy, what is she fluent in?" The lady asked.
"French." I answer him. The lady nods her head approvingly.
"Continue with your story," the Lord encouraged.
"She was born in France but came to England for an education. This is where we have been the last 15 years, scouring the land for work. Lord Bridger, if we may ask for work in your land," I ask so sweetly.
"What do you know to do?" The Lord said after silence.
"I'm very good with horses, livestock. Any physical labor, actually."
"I'm sure," he chuckled. "What about your mother?"
"Cook as well as a drawing teacher." I mention.
"You," the lady stood, "My lady is an angel." She spoke to mother.
"Me?" My mother stuttered.
"We have just lost our drawing teacher and happen to need a new one." The lady smiled.
"Then it's settled," the Lord declared, "We have new people of our court. Gynn, find them a room to stay and bring food to them." He called to the man who brought us in.
As we are being escorted out, I catch the fiery red-haired girl next to lady Esther staring at me in the most peculiar way. However, I continue with our journey out of the great hall and through the stony halls.
"Aria! Aria!" Maria frantically called for me.
"Yes Maria?" I calmly answer from the seat on my balcony.
"Aria, what are you doing?!" Maria practically yelped.
"Well Maria, in fact I am reading a book." I hold up the parchment in my hands.
"Court is going on in the Great hall at this moment and you're here?!" She asked in disbelief.
"Wow, I can't believe it, I'm right here!" I tell her shocked.
"You've been gone half the morning."
"Oh no, what a shame, missing such an extraordinary event," I throw my book on the seat, quickly standing to hustle around. "How will they live without me?" I ask dramatically.
"Now, Aria, stop that silliness and put your head on straight."
"Maria, I've attended the last two weeks of court, give me one day without duties please," I beg of my maid. She contemplates for a moment before.
"I'll hide you as far as the stables, after that you're on your own." She tells me. I giddily grab my riding boots and follow her lead.
The streets are covered with filth and dirt, but our private garden was over flowing with splendor and beauty. I quickly escape to the stall of my favorite steed. I let my hand lightly pet the mane of the beast, fingers lightly tracing the jawbone, enjoying my time alone with my horse. I heard voices in the distance so I quickly hit the ground, hiding behind the stable door.
"You're gonna love it here, my boy." I heard old Gynn's voice.
"I already do, sir." I heard another voice tell him.
"I'll leave you alone to get acquainted with the animals." I hear Gynn's footsteps slowly fade. Steadying my breathing, I slowly adjust myself. Watching the footsteps under the door, he comes closer and closer to my stable, till he is standing directly above me. Looking up, his arms are resting on the top while he slightly leans forward. My hand slips from under me, snapping a stick of straw.
"My lady?" He curiously looks down at me, quickly opening the gate. "Are you hurt?" Bending down to help me to a stance.
"I'm fine." I push away his helping hands.
"Just want to assist." He backs up when my voice becomes demanding.
"No need," I gain my footing. Looking at him, I see he is no boy. He could practically be a man. Tall and muscular with hair dark like the midnight sky and black eyes that resembled coal.
"May I ask you, your name, Madam?" He asked.
"Aria." I reluctantly give him. "And yours?" I snap.
"Cole." He smiles at me. Oh my, his smile was bright and beautiful. I quickly look away so I do not fall for silly tricks of attraction.
"Are you a stable boy?" I ask.
"Yes, Madam." He nods his head. "And what are you, may I ask?"
"Thy lady's daughter."
"One of two may I guess, along with two sons?" He curiously asks.
"Indeed." I reassure him.
"ARIA!" My maid calls.
"That is me." I tell him. "I must go."
"Then go madam, you mustn't keep them waiting." He smiles again, causing my lips to turn upward.
I walk away, begging not to fall for silly tricks of attraction.
Comment! Did you like the story? It's about to get twisted, just warning y'all.