I could see the young man sitting by the brook with his back against one of the many trees. He was wearing that damn purple cloak over his royal jacket and pants, which were gilded white. They had a lot of meaningless buttons, but that’s just my opinion. The aristocracy seem to think that the more buttons someone has, the higher up they are.That cloak was given ta’ him by his grandfather. They say he got it from the Northers, while others say it was made by an Outlander. Wherever it came from, everyone agrees it’s special somehow. Just looking at it gives ya’ a funny feeling. Something about it ain’t right.
His sister was there to, danglin’ her bare feet in the water and splashing about every now and then. She had pulled her green dress up to her knees so it wouldn’t get wet. It’d be improper if anyone else saw her, but they were alone, right?
The brother was talking about the Honorscript piece he was working through with one of the clerics. He was learning to read Honorscript, a language reserved for the royal family and clerics. They say it was a language given ta’ us by the Sentinels while they were still around. Bunch of pishposh, personally. It’s just a made-up language to make ‘em feel better about themselves.
He was in awe about the contents. It was about grand adventures and epic tales: good stories for the campfire. The last tale he had translated was about the great war between us and the Farmen. He had read about how a great hero with a sword given ta’ him by the Sentinels had rallied the commoners of our kingdom and pushed back the Farmen.
His sister was politely nodding along and smiling. I don’t know if she actually appreciated the stories or not, but that’s princesses for ya’. They’re taught from birth to be the slyest, sneakiest, fast-talkin’-est ladies in the world. At least, that’s what my old man said about Her Majesty the now-queen-then-princess, long may she reign. My thoughts? That’s just women for ya’.
He paused for long enough that the sister got a chance to talk. Their father, His Majesty, long may he reign, had approved several potential suitors, and she was eager to discuss them with her brother. They were all decently handsome, but she was a smart young lady. Looks weren’t what interested her, nor was she about to talk ta’ her brother about what she found attractive.
Instead, she wanted his opinion on which ones would treat her right, to which he had some strong opinions. I think she just liked hearing him talk. He could talk for hours about what he was passionate about, and there were many things he was passionate about. After asking one question, she just lay back and let him do all the talking.
This would repeat for several hours. Whenever her brother would run out of things to say on one subject, she would ask him about something else. They drifted from suitors to courtiers to their father and mother, His and Her Majesties, long may they reign, to foreign relations to dancing.
On dancing, the sister leapt up and suggested they practice. They began with a traditional waltz, but it soon devolved into random leaps and bounds around the forest. It became two kids running around the castle garden playing tag. The only difference being the age and the pretense.
I left to eat, and when I returned, I didn’t see them at first. I didn’t think it likely that they had left; the sister’s shoes were still by the brook. After some waiting, I saw them coming out from among the trees. The state of their clothes made me glad I wasn’t a cleaner. The only clean thing about them was that damn cloak. It ain’t right.
Dusk was fast approaching, and as the light faded, they lay by the brook and looked into the sky. The clouds looked like horses and crowns today, among other things. They pointed out a few clouds to each other at first, but then fell silent and just watched.
They fell asleep, I think. Maybe they were just resting their eyes. An hour before dinner, I came out to wake them. “Your Royal Highnesses, you may wish to clean yourselves before dinner.”
The princess looked at me and the prince sat up. They looked at each other sheepishly for a moment and then back at me. “Yes, thank you. Who are you?”
“No one of importance, Your Highness. Just someone of a curious and attendant mind.”
They both rose, the princess careful to remain as modest as possible. The princess picked up her shoes and they made their way out of the garden.
I think I will make it a habit of visiting the gardens.