Golden light slowly begins to blanket the countless rooftops reaching the horizon. I snuggle deeper into my woolen cloak wishing for the sun's heat to quicken and warm my chilled bones.
Roosters begin to awaken the kingdom. I watch the dreary faces and slouched backs emerge from their homes. Farmers drag themselves out to the fields beyond the homes and fences encasing them. Children follow them into the barns and fields of animals as they begin to feed and water the animals. Others clean the areas, some wrangle and control the animals as others begin to dispose of the ones that deceased in the night.
Rumbling erupts from below me before soilders appear escorting prisoners to the stocks in the town square for their daily punishment, humiliation or both. No executions will be held today. I already checked.
My hand unconciously moves to the dagger at my hip when I lay my eyes upon the captain of the uniformed knights.
'Sir' Joseph Holmes.
He grins as he shouts commands all around. A few of the waking people walking around the square duck their heads slightly and speed up their paces.
A girl about the age of eight struggles with two buckets of spilling water as she hurrys across the streets. Unfortuanetly for her, Joseph heard her loud steps and splashing water.
"Peasant! You with the buckets! Halt!"
The girl obeyed without hesitation as the knights slowly approached her.
"I see that you are taking water before dawn, young lady. Not only that but you are also wasting it. Wasting our precious resources! What do you have to say for yourself to excuse your actions?" Joseph smirks as others joined in with the pleasure.
Her responce was barely audible. "I'm sorry sir, my brother, he's sick, very sick, and mother said he would need more water... I'm sorry, very sorry. Please let my take this to him, please sir. I will never disobey the rules again, but please sir. Have mercy."
Laughter spread through the sqaure like falling dominos.
"Have mercy she says!"
"Her brother is 'very' sick!"
"What does he have, the extreme thirst illness of the century?"
"Do you always do what mother tells you?"
"Disobey the rules?!"
"Sir this, sir that!"
"At least she has manners!"
The grip on my dagger tightened with each mocking retort. My jaws tightened as I pushed air in and out by my nostrils.
"Well young lady, I'm afraid your little adventure to get 'healing water' is an action all in vain. You're coming with us. We'll give you your pleading mercy and not bring you before the king. You'll just have to accompany us for the day."
Joseph took a grip on the girl's arm as his sly grin streched across his face.
The knights lead the girl with them through the sqaure and didn't refrain from touching or looking at her in any way that could be considered inapproiate.
A knock on the wood below my brought me back into reality. I returned the familiar sequence of knocks as my brother's face then appeared from beneath the wooden door.
"Good morning." He greeted.
I kept my silence.
"Perhaps it's not such a good morning after all."
"No it's not. Not for the little girl being violated and humilated below us." I pointed to the group of knights surronded the girl.
His friendly face fell as he rubbed his hand across his face. "I'll see what I can do."
"Her brother is sick. They need water. I'll get Kaeil to get her father down there."
"Yeah, that's good. I'll see about making sure they don't hurt her."
"In any way."
His eyes roamed over my body before he took my hand and removed my gloves. His hands were expectadly warm.
"You stayed up here all night again?"
I kept my position. I didn't speak or gesture to any kind of answer. I didn't need to.
"The nights are getting longer and colder, you can't keep doing this."
"Yes I can. I'm not confined to one building, let alone a room. I am free to roam where I want, when I want."
"I don't deny that but I want you to stop staying up here all night."
I opened my mouth to object but he stopped me.
"I'm not telling you this to control you or tell you what to do. You do what you want, but I'm telling you I don't want you up here cause I'm worried. You're smart but you'll do stupid things. Like stay up here and catch an illness. Last winter held horrible weather and illnesses. Almost a fourth of the kingdom was wiped out. I don't want that to happen to you."
I sighed to myself. Canann always knew what to say to me to make me do something. I knew exactly what he was trying to do too. Problem was it worked, and he wasn't lying when he told me something. He is the only trustworthy aspect of this life, I might as well listen to him.
A 'thank you' expression crossed his face and I returned a frustrated 'I hate you and your manipulation skills.'
"Come on then, we've got breakfast to attend to in a hour and if someone didn't know any better I'd say they'd think you spent the night on a castle tower."
We both mustered a laugh and smile before desending down the stairs, past the hallways, and back into our royal chambers. I took a look out my window. This was nothing of a view compared to the one on the castle tower. That was only one reason I hated this room.
The other(of many) came from loud snoring across the room, past the seperation panel. I stuffed my cloak, gloves, shoes, and dagger into my drawers, ran a comb through my hair and jumped into bed to await the arrival of my servant, barging in to tell the sun had risen and it was morning.
Like I didn't know that already.