Tomorrow is the jostling tournament and starting today anyone who wishes to enter the tournament were flocking the castle grounds to give their name.
I wasn’t head guard yet, but Sir Doniel wanted me to watch over the whole thing so nothing goes amiss. There were knights stationed everywhere throughout the castle grounds. Security tightened, so that no one could slip through.
I was stationed in one of the watch tower’s, this way, I couikd keep an eye on everything that’s going on. But the main plus point is - no lady would bother to climb all the way up here just to speak with me. Always a plus in my books.
Of course, when I say no Lady would bother, I obviously had to exclude Princess Zigra. A lady in everyday, but if she really wanted to, nothing would stop her from climbing up all the way to the top to join me - as I was about to find out, soon.
From my post up on the watchtower, I had a great view of the castle grounds and therefore a perfect view of the practice area. Lord Ilarion and a few knights were sword fighting their a few moments after breaking their fast. Throughout his stay here I’ve learned that if you ever need to find the young Lord, you need only to check the training area and you’d find the man.
A few hours later I saw Zigra join her brother in the practise area, but she leaned against the wooden railing and watched her brother practice, until he realised that she was there.
I had a job to do and that didn’t include watching over Zigra, so that was when I lost track of where she is. Not exactly where she is, as she stayed by the practice area for a really long time.
It must b hours later that I saw her heading towards where I was stationed in the watchtower. A smirk broken my lips as I leaned over the window and watched her approach.
“What’s brings you out here this fine morning!?” I called down to her once she was close enough to hear me.
She tilted her head up almost in slowly motion. Her bonnet and hair tipping back as she looked up to meet my gaze. Then slowly, she pointed at me - it took me a moment to realise she was answering my question.
Before I could reply, someone who had been hurrying along, slammed into Zigra - probably not seeing her standing there. The weight of the man knocked her a few feet back and before she could fall down, the man had his hand wrapped around her waist, holding her upright.
Zigra quickly stepped out of the mans reach, saying something. Though her bonnet covered half her face from my view, I didn’t need to see her to imagine the blank tone and closed off expression as she apologised to the man.
I couldn’t hear what was going on and with the mans back turned to me, I could see the mans expression to understand what was going on either. I couldn’t lip-read to even understand Zigra’s bursque replies.
Whatever it was, I didn’t like his the man didn’t hurry away after she apologised. It almost seemed like he had done that on purpose. I watched for a beat longer, noticing that the man didn’t seem to be inclined to leave, before I sent Berlim - who was in the watchtower with me, to go down and sort it out for Zigra - and fill our almost finished water pitcher.
I didn’t go myself because... as the knight who helped ward off then knights of Leselania from taking over Vensilvania, I had a lot of enemies, and I don’t want Zigra to be caught in a tiff between us. By going to save her - something I’d normally not do - I could subject her to unwanted problems with men who are after me.
When I looked back down - after casting a look around the Castle grounds to make sure everythinhg was going as it should - Berlim was heading up to the guards quarters and Zigra was nowhere to be seen.
I looked around again just to make sure I didn’t miss her somewhere - with her dark dress, it was easy to miss her in this crowd. When I didn’t see her anywhere in the grounds - she couldn’t have gone up to the Castle that soon, especially because she would never hurry along - I looked down at the steps leading up the tower, to where I was.
And there, she was climbing up the stairs, holding her gown up with one hand and the wall with the other, graceful as a swan.
She looked up when she was feet feet from the tower room and met my amused eyes.
“You would expect they’d at least pretend to act like they aren’t barbarians... guards and knight.” She said, the lightest hint of a grumble slipping through.
I held out my hand to help her up the last few stairs.
“Why Zigra, are you grumbling?” I asked her teasingly, as she finally reached me and letting go of her hand. Had I not been looking at her I’d have entirely missed it, her eyes widened fleetingly.
“Yes.” She answered brusquely, her tone blank, as she bruashed past me and went to look out the window I had been leaning over to talk with her, not but moment ago. I heard her breath catch slightly in her throat as she looked out. “I can see the whole gardens from up here.” She told me as I joined her by the window.
“You should see it at dawn, with all the few and most hanging in the air.” I murmured to her, a smile on my lips but my eyes on the grounds. I saw her look at me from my peripharal vision, but it was fleetng as she hummed and looked back out.
“Is that a maze?” She asked out-of-the-blue, pointing in the direction of the maze.
“I’m surprised that you haven’t seen it before. I expected you’d have gone exploring already.” I told her smirking.
“I believe I was busy touring outside of the Castle that I didn’t have the time to see the gardens properly.” She replied, looking up at me with her turquoise eyes.
“Hmm...’maybe after my shift is over.” I mused out loud. “I’ll take you down there?”
She nodded her head in consent and fell silent after that, letting me to conserntrate on my job, but it wasn’t long before the contended silence was broken.
Berlim came back with our water not long after, and seeing Zigra standing there with me, almost dropped the pitcher of water in his hand.
“Oh! My lady, what are you doing up here?” He asked in his surprise, catching the pitcher before it spilt all the water it held.
I gave him a stern look. Just because she was friendly with me didn’t meant she was any less a princess. But before he could apologise, Zigra spoke.
“I’m sorry, but it’s so hectic down there. I hope you won’t mind my being here.” She said, her voice toneless and the expression blank. Maybe it was because I knew her better now or maybe it was that she truly wasn’t being as closed off as she had been when I first met her. Whatever it was, her reply didn’t seem as apathic to me.
A look at Berlim was all I needed to know that I was the only one there to feel so. To Berlim she was as apathic as when we had first met.
“No, no, no. Princess, I didn’t mean it like that. It’s just that -” Berlim started, but a look at my face he cut off, bowing to her. Zigra looked at me and sighed, then turned back to looking out of the window.
Berlim gave me a wide-eyed look.
Smirking with an innocent shrug, I turned back to my post.
I could tell Zigra’s presence was freaking out the man. She was, after all, known for her closer-off reputation and cold demeanor. ‘Night Queen’ as people call behind her back.
But Zigra was so silent - suiting me just fine - that it wasn’t long before Berlim forgot her presence altogether.
He hummed along merrily, as he watched out of the Castle walls. It was an old folk song from the village on the outskirts of Vensilvania. The kind of song they want while dancing around the campfire.
“If you don’t mind me asking, what is that song you are humming?” Zigra’s soft voice broken the quite, as her turquoise eyes were locked on Berlim.
He man was taken so much by surprise - forgetting her presence, that he whirled around sharply.
“Oh! Ur- it’s an old folk song the people in my village used to dance around to.” The man replied, lookong abashed. Zigra however was drawn to find out more, drifted closer to Berlim. He gained his confidence the more he spoke to her and soon was chatting away like he hadn’t been nervous a moment ago.
It wasn’t until than moment I realised what really drew people to her.
It wasn’t witchcraft.
It had everything to do with how easy it is to talk to her, be it about anything. She had an open mind that loved information, she open to topics fan from how beautiful she is, clothes and gossip. You could tell her about military strategies and she’d still listen with rampant attention.
And right now she was listening to Berlim go on and on about his village - and the best part, even though her expression showed nothing, she was drinking every word he said with wonder.
Smiling and shaking my head, I turned back to my post.
They talked for hours, I don’t think Zigra even realised it was time for lunch, she was that caught up on their conversation.
I cleared my throat to be there attention. “As much fun as it’s been to listen to you rambling on about your village, Zigra do you not think it would be wise to let the man do his job?” I was teasing her, but she took my words seriously.
And I thought she’d see through.
“Of course, I apologise. Maybe another time sir...?” She let the question hang, looking at Berlim, waiting for an answer.
“Sir Berlim” He replied, smiling proudly.
“Maybe another time Sir Berlim,” she told him with a curt nod. Then turned to me. “I’m holding on to your promise.” She told me, reminding me that I promised to take her to the maze after my shift was over. With that said, she swept away, back downstairs.