Charming (part 1)
By Lucy Newman
As Lauren sat on her windowsill starring out into her father’s vast kingdom she imagined what life lies beyond her father’s castle walls. A distant thunder clapped as it’s clouds rolled over the mountains and slowly crept towards the castle walls. The clouds looked cold and threatening as she watched her father’s servants collect their children and scurry into their quarters in the lower levels of the North Tower.
“Lady Lauren,” Isabella, her personal servant, called out as she held out a dress for Lauren to wear. “My lady, you’re father will be very upset if you are late for dinner again.”
“I don’t care,” she called out as she pressed her head against the cold window. As the courtyard emptied a dark figure caught her eye as it rushed behind the tree. “Tell them I feel ill and wish to stay in my room for the evening.”
“Yes ma’am,” said Isabella as she bowed her head and quickly left the room.
Lauren watched the figure climb the tree and perched on its thick branch. Waiting. Scenarios began rushing through her overactive imagination as she wondered who this strange being was. “Are you a friend or foe?” she whispered as he sat perched on the branch, never moving. “Have you come to kill my father? Raid his treasure chambers or steal one of his many trophies for yourself?”
Smiling she quickly blew out her candles and turned to see what this stranger was up to. The giddiness inside her sent shivers up and down her spine as a possible adventure was about to happen. She had always dreamt of new adventures she would one day take, it had even plagued her dreams. But it was something she learned to keep a secret from her father and mother. The last thing she wanted to see was them frown upon her because of her childish excitement and lecture her on the principles of being a princess.
A gentle knock on the door and flames of from the hallway torches crept into the room.
“Lady Lauren?” whispered Isabella.
“Your mother sent you these to nibble on if you get hungry later,” she said as she laid a platter of bread, cheese and meats on the bedside table. “She said to tell you she is sorry you are feeling ill and wished you had mentioned something earlier while the doctor was here.”
“Thank you Isabella, you may be excused for the rest of the evening. I will see you in the morning.”
“Thank you ma’am,” whispered Isabella as she gently pulled the door shut. To prevent anymore disturbances she rushed to the door and turned the key and rushed back to the window.
Scanning the darkness for the tree again, she gasped as the figure was no longer in the tree and began searching the courtyard for any signs of the stranger.