I didn’t look at the Kings sitting in front of me, I couldn’t. I didn’t have the courage to look them in the eyes. Why did they wish to know about me? I was a whore, nothing else; there was nothing to know about me.
“What do you wish to know about Hildred, Eldon?” Lord Bancroft asked. I hoped he would answer all the questions the Kings asked because I couldn’t do it.
“How will she rule by your side when she can’t even speak to us?” Lord Eldon enquired. Why was he asking this? I would never rule besides Lord Bancroft. I would run as soon as we reached Sodora.
“As far as I am concerned, she does not need to speak to you. You only need to worry about Lorelle speaking to you,” Lord Bancroft replied, reliving me of my worries. I wished he would let me go so I could go back to his chambers but he held on to my hand, refusing to release me.
Lord Mavon chuckled. “He has a point, Eldon. Do not torment the poor girl, I am fairly certain that Bancroft has done that already, am I right, Hildred?” I looked up to see Lord Mavon smiling at me. He was beautiful when he smiled, just like Lord Bancroft. However, these Kings hardly ever smiled, which resulted in everyone being afraid of them.
“My Lord…” I trailed off, not knowing what to tell him. If Lord Mavon already knew what Lord Bancroft had done to me then why was he asking me?
“Mavon, you already know all that I am doing to Hildred and all that I have yet to do,” Lord Bancroft said. Why did Lord Aboloft had to leave with Lady Sabina and leave me with these Kings? I wished for Lady Sabina’s presence.
“And your patience is staggering, Bancroft. For I would never wait to take my woman back to my Kingdom in order to do what I wish to do to her,” he responded.
“I agree with your statement, Mavon,” King Eldon interjected.
“I have to be patient, for I know for sure that my patience will be rewarded.” Lord Bancroft caressed my wrist with his thumb as he said this. The knife I purchased yesterday was not in my possession right now and I yearned for it with a fierceness that astounded me. I needed my weapon. I needed to feel safe.
“Fair enough, Bancroft. If you wish to prolong your pleasure, so be it. However, make sure to make her pay for all those days in which you refrained from taking what truly belongs to you,” King Eldon stated, causing my heart to thunder against my chest.
King Bancroft chuckled. “Thank you for the advice, Eldon. But you do not need to fret, for Hildred and I will leave for Sodora as soon as this war is over.”
War. There was a war coming and I did not know about it. If the war was about Lord Aboloft fighting for Lady Sabina, then I would support this war. Lady Sabina would be the right choice for Quopia, it was a shame how I would not be here to see it happen.
“Yes. And for your sake I hope this war is over as soon as possible because you need to take her away and teach her everything,” Lord Mavon stated.
By now I had reached the end of my strength and bravery, I needed to get out of the dining hall and go back to Lord Bancroft’s chambers. I knew he would be angry with me for leaving but I could no longer endure being in the presence of three powerful Kings.
“My Lord? Please, if you may, I would like to be excused,” I said to Lord Bancroft, hoping no one else heard me.
“Look what you did, Eldon, you frightened the poor girl,” Lord Mavon chastised.
“Rose?” I jumped at the sound of Lord Bancroft’s voice so close to my ear. “You will not leave until I say so. Is that understood?”
I looked at him, willing him to understand my worries and fears. “But, my Lord, I must le…”
“I said, you are not allowed to leave. You will leave only when I tell you to,” he stated, ending the discussion. I nodded before looking away, feeling dejected. One day I would be powerful enough to argue with him. There would come a day when I would tell Lord Bancroft what to do.
“Say Bancroft, how much pain can Hildred endure?” My heart begun a steady climb up my throat at the mention of those words. Why was Lord Eldon asking this question? Why was he so concerned about my pain threshold?
“Why are you asking?” Yes, I wanted to know the answer to this question as well.
“I wish to know all that you have done to her till now. I am thinking about making Lorelle experience…some…new things,” he answered. Where was Lord Eldon from? I needed to go there and save Lorelle from his cruel clutches. Lord Eldon would make her suffer and I did not wish for her to be in torment.
“We can discuss that in private. I do not think Hildred needs to be present for that,” Lord Bancroft said. Even though I did not like that they would be discussing me in my absence, I was glad I would not be present, as I did not wish to be privy to their discussions about pain and punishments.
“As you wish. Let’s go and discuss this now, as we have to meet Aboloft later.” Lord Eldon stood up. Relief trickled down my mind as I waited for freedom which was so near.
“Bancroft, if you are going with Eldon, would you mind if I spend some time with Hildred?” I bit my lip to stop myself from refusing Lord Mavon’s request. Why did he wish to spend time with me? We had nothing to discuss.
“Yes, of course. You may take Hildred out to the gardens, she likes to be around flowers,” Lord Bancroft said, standing up. He kissed me long and deep, causing my insides to shiver with excitement before walking over to where Lord Eldon stood waiting for him.
“Do not worry about Hildred for I will take good care of her.” I did not like the way he said those words, it felt as if he would make sure I wouldn’t try to escape. What did he wish to talk to me about? Lord Mavon might try to act kind but I could not trust him. He was Lord Bancroft’s ally, which meant he was just like him.
“I know you will. Eldon, let’s go.” With those words, Lord Bancroft and Lord Eldon walked out of the dining hall. Oh God, what would Lord Mavon do now?
“Hildred, are you ready to go?” I swallowed hard and nodded. What would Lord Mavon do if I refused to go with him? I wasn’t sure I wanted to find out. Refusal would not only make one King angry but two.
I gasped when Lord Mavon came over to where I sat and took my hand in his. “You do not need to fear me, Hildred. You will soon come to understand that I am fairly different from Eldon.”
“How different are you, my Lord?” I knew this was not the right question to ask but my thoughts did not wish to cooperate with me.
Lord Mavon smiled before leading me out of the dining hall. “Quite different, however, I do not wish to elaborate on that.”
I did not say anything in response, there was nothing to say. I allowed Lord Mavon to lead me out of the castle walls and into the gardens. Feeling the sun on my face had me smiling and the birds flying and chirping put my terrified heart at ease. God bless Lord Bancroft for telling Lord Mavon to bring me out to the gardens.
“You enjoy being outdoors,” Lord Mavon said as more of a statement rather than a question.
I nodded. “Yes, I do. Seeing the flowers and birds gives me pleasure like no other, my Lord.”
“I am pleased to hear it, Hildred.”
“You are?” His words surprised me. Why would a King be happy for me?
“Yes, of course. A whore’s life is dreadful—being locked away in the confines of four walls; it tends to leave the women lifeless. So it pleases me to know that you still have some spirit left in you,” he explained as we sat down on a bench.
“There are plenty of women who still have their spirit, my Lord. However, I do agree that it is a rather dreadful form of existence,” I replied.
“Yes. But fate smiled at you and Bancroft ended up claiming you,” he stated before fixing his gaze to somewhere far away.
“My Lord, if I may ask you a question…”
“Of course you may, Hildred,” he said.
“Thank you, my Lord.” I paused, trying to find the right words. “My Lord, when King Bancroft claimed me, he said he waited for nine years to claim me. Do you know why he chose me out of all the other women in the harem?”
Lord Mavon was silent for a few seconds. “Did you ask this question from Bancroft himself?”
I nodded. “Yes, my Lord, I did.”
“What was his answer?”
“He said he will tell me once we reach Sodora.”
“Then you must wait for him to tell you,” Lord Mavon responded.
“But, my Lord, I wish to know now. My patience is running thin. I need to know why Lord Bancroft claimed me; why he chose me,” I insisted.
“It is not my place to tell you this, Hildred,” King Mavon said, but I was desperate. I needed to know why he chose me and not anybody else.
“Please, my Lord. I will not tell Lord Bancroft that you told me. Please, I really need to know. The possibilities are eating at me. Please, tell me,” I pleaded, hoping he would have mercy and tell me what I needed to know.
Lord Mavon sight and stood up. “Come with me. Let’s take a stroll.” I did as he said and walked alongside him as he led us towards the flowers.
“Before I tell you what you desire, tell me something first,” he started.
“Yes, my Lord, anything.” By now I was ready to tell him anything he asked, as long as he told me about Lord Bancroft.
“Do you know anything about Bancroft, anything at all? His past? His family?” Lord Mavon enquired.
I shook my head. “No, my Lord. A woman of my status is not privy to such information.”
“That will soon change, Hildred. For now, I will tell you why Bancroft chose you.”
“Yes, please, my Lord.” Finally, after so long, I would know why Lord Bancroft claimed me.
“Bancroft’s mother happened to be a very gifted woman, may God bless her soul and may she rest in peace. She had the gift of foresight. She could…let’s say predict the future,” he informed me.
“Oh, that is a wonderful gift,” I remarked.
“It is indeed, however, she had to keep it hidden otherwise she would have been accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake. So no one knew about her gift except for her husband and her son—Bancroft,” he said.
“I can understand why she chose to keep it hidden. But what does this have to do with why Lord Bancroft chose me?” I queried.
“Patience, dear one, I will tell you.” He took a deep breath. “Bancroft’s mother used to write in her journal. Whenever she got a glimpse of the future, she would write it down in her journal. And after her passing, the only person who was allowed to read her journal was Bancroft. And that’s why he chose you.”
His words left me puzzled. What did that have to do with me? “My Lord, forgive me, I do not understand.”
“Bancroft told me that his mother wrote about a gray eyed woman in her journal who would change him in the most unexpected of ways.” He glanced at me as he said this.
How could I change Lord Bancroft? He was a powerful King while I was nothing. How could I change him when he was the one with all the power? No, there must’ve been a mistake. Maybe Lord Bancroft’s mother did not see properly.
“But, that could be anyone. For I am not the only woman with gray eyes,” I argued.
“You are the only woman in Aboloft’s harem with gray eyes. The previous Queen of Sodora was kind enough to leave a location to find this woman.” He told me.
We came to a stop by an oak tree and Lord Mavon leaned against the thick trunk. I couldn’t understand how the previous Queen could see so much. Did she know it was me? Maybe it was some other woman she wrote about in her journal.
“My Lord, are you absolutely certain that the woman mentioned in the journal is me?” I questioned. Was there any way I could read this journal? But I would have to go to Sodora for that and that was the one place I was planning to escape from.
“Bancroft believes the woman in the journal is you. And he is usually right about the things he believes in,” King Mavon said with a soft smile.
“But, how can I possibly change him? I do not have the power to change anyone. And Lord Bancroft would never do what I tell him to do. So, you see, I cannot be the woman in the journal,” I argued. Who was this other woman? She had to have some sort of power, like Lady Sabina.
“Hildred, just because you think you do not have power does not mean it’s true.” He stepped forward until he was standing close to me. “You have more power than you believe, Hildred. All you have to do is see it.”
I shook my head. “No, my Lord. I am a whore and a whore has no power. We do not have the right to refuse; when we do not have the basic rights how can I change a King who has all the power in the world?” I queried.
“Hildred, I said before and I will say it again. The power is inside you, all you have to do is see it,” Lord Mavon said before he turned and started walking away…
Leaving me mulling over his words.