For the next few weeks we’re sharing snippets of a new story, tentatively titled Something Amis in Alerald, a LGBT Fairy Tale.
Princess Reanna is having a confrontation with her parents, King Reynard and Queen Amica, over her not wanting to marry any of the Prince’s that have come looking for her hand. To complicate matters, the Queen is suspicious about the closeness between the Princess and her serving girl, Nahla. To thwart the girls, Nahla’s duties have been switched to helping cook in the kitchen.
This week in Tuesday Tales, we’re writing to the prompt ‘mixed’. Return to TUESDAY TALES here, to read more snippets from several different genres.
Reanna slept fitfully that night. Tossing and turning, every joint in her body ached from the constant movement. As daylight broke across the land, the faint crows of the earliest roosters out yonder foretold of the forthcoming sunshine. She knew this would be the best time to try to steal away and try to catch Nahla attending to the early morning kitchen duties. The courtyard would soon be bustling with preparations to send the criers forth announcing the news of the upcoming ball.
She eased out of bed and tiptoed to the servant’s alcove, hoping that crotchety Margaret was still sound asleep. The snores echoing from the small room told Reanna that she needn’t go further. Elderly Margaret slept the sleep of the dead, with the raspy vibrations reverberating through the tapestry curtain as proof that she still lived.
Poking her head through the thick tapestry hanging in her doorway, Reanna saw that the corridor was clear. She slipped out, staying on the sides of the gray stone walls. Should she chance another occupant in the walkway, it would be easier to duck into the nearest doorway and remain unseen.
She didn’t encounter any other people on her journey to the kitchen. From the sounds within, she knew more than just Nahla was hard at work already. Inching towards the huge archway that opened up into the bustling hive of activity, Reanna peeked her head around, looking until she spied Nahla on the far end, busy washing a mound of dirt encrusted potatoes. Reanna watched patiently and stealthily until Nahla finally raised her head as she brushed an errant lock of tresses from her forehead. Reanna raised a dainty hand in the air, waving to catch the attention of her friend.
A flush rose up Nahla’s cheeks when she noticed the motion from the doorway, with only the barest glimpse of a blond head peering around the granite boulders separating the two rooms. Her head swiveled as she looked around the kitchen, figuring out where Cook was and trying to determine if she dare take a chance to abandon her task to go meet Reanna.
Cook wasn’t anywhere around and the other indentured servants intent on their own tasks, one mixing a massive mound of dough for the daily bread and another dressing a tableful of chickens. Nahla stepped quickly towards the doorway. Reanna gripped her arm and pulled her around into the other room.
“Reanna…you shouldn’t be here…if Cooks finds me gone…”
“Hush, my sweet…I had to see you. I couldn’t bear going another day without seeing you.” She threw her arms around Nahla, clutching her tightly.
Nahla’s knees weakened and she slumped into the Princess’s embrace. “It’s only been one night. But I’ve missed you so,” she whispered.
“As have I. I barely slept at all last night. My arms ached to not have you in them.”
“I can’t stay here long. I must be back at my station before Cook returns. I’ve heard rumors…she whips her girls for the slightest infractions.” A tear formed at the corner of her eye.
“Then you must get back. For now. I’m working on a plan.” Reanna lowered her face into Nahla’s neck and spoke quietly into her ear. “After the ball…in a fornight…we shall be together after the guests disperse.”
“Shhhh, my darling. I daren’t tell you yet. In case anyone finds out, I don’t want you implicated in any of my plottings. Just remember…after the ball. We’ll be together then.” Reanna placed a tender kiss on Nahlia’s lips and pushed her away. “Now, go. Before your presence is missed.”
After Nahlia returned to her chore, Reanna peered into the kitchen again. But this time it wasn’t to locate her beloved. This time she scanned the room, figuring out where the food supplies were stored. She’d been in there before. Only occasionally, when she was younger and in search of a snack. As she got older, she’d learned to summon a servant and have goodies brought to her room. So she’d never paid much attention to the room again. Food simply appeared from it. How it got there, or got prepared was not her problem. Nor did she spend any time with thoughts about it. But now, now she had a desire to know the whole layout. She’d press Nahla for more details later. Nahla would know what foods were stored where. But, she didn’t dare let Nahla know exactly what plans simmered in her mind.