Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I found a hole!!!

So as I post, I read ahead a few chapters, to make sure everythign still flows right... and found a tiny hole in the plot. Now, I could leave it alone... but I really can't, so I will probably not post again until Thursday or Friday.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Katharine and Dane - Chapter 9 - Dinner and a Brew?

“Here we go my dear.” He said, offering Elizabeth his hand. “Let us make ourselves scarce.” She smiled sweetly at him, and his heart flipped about in his chest. She had looked so uncomfortable making small talk and nibbling at the massive amounts of food that were in front of them. He hoped a walk in the garden would help her relax. “I’ll show you the garden. Its lovely.” She took his arm, and he led her out of the dining hall.

She wasn’t sure she wanted to be alone with him, but she certainly was happy to get out of there. All the people staring at her, she felt so out of place. Could they tell that she didn’t belong? She hoped not. She did what she was told. Try a little of everything, and eat more of what she really liked, but there was so much. She wasn’t used to big dinners. She mostly went to parties where there was dancing, and only a little food. Katharine usually took her meals in the garden, or her chambers. When it was cold, they would take meals in the library, where she and Katharine would sit and knit around the fireplace. Sometimes she would bring the little bit of mending in, and work on it there too. She missed Katharine. She sighed.

“Are you alright my sweet?” He said, warmly. He looked down at her. She seemed melancholy. He wondered if she missed her intended…

“I miss…. Elizabeth.” She hoped he caught her meaning, which was two fold. He nodded. “She and I were always together, and… it’s hard to be away from her for so long.” She would miss both Katharine, and herself. She knew she had to do her best to be Katharine for now.

Duke understood. It must be hard to be away from home, away from the person you have served for so long. It must also be hard to have to be someone else… He knew it was hard for him.

“Tell me about your real life. We are alone… and I would like to know.” He wanted to know how much she had said before was really her and how much was Katharine.

“Well, its mostly the same, we go everywhere together, she is the best friend I have. I guess the only real difference is I have freedom. I can walk through town, or get an ale at the local pub if I would like.” He raised his eyebrows.

“You like ale?” She looked up at him. He seemed amused.

“I know its not proper, but I do enjoy a pint.” She giggled. “Actually I could go for one right now.” His eyes lit up. A pint? Now?

“Let’s see if we can get to the pub. I know one just a short walk from here.” He looked around, he saw Michael standing in the entryway to the Main hall. He motioned to him.

Michael walked over, unsure of what the Duke could want. “Yes, Dane?” He looked from Duke to Elizabeth. They were obviously smitten, which was dangerous, and interesting at the same time. He had never seen Duke smitten before.

“Elizabeth would like to go to the pub… and I would like permission to take her.” Duke asked, more timidly than he intended.

“Are you crazy?” Michael whispered, “This delicate woman at a Pub?” Elizabeth looked from Duke to Michael. She wasn’t used to be considered delicate.

“Please Michael?” She batted her eyelashes at him. “I would love to have a nice ale.” Michael couldn’t deny her. She was such a sweet young girl. He looked around.

“If Edward and Christine find out we are all dead. Take 2 guards. Do not be long.” He warned harshly. Michael waved over some guards.

“Thank you!” Elizabeth gushed, tempted to hug the gruff man. Instead she just touched his arm.

Duke led their little party to the Pub. It was just inside the main wall of the keep. Elizabeth knew that during the daytime the whole area would be bustling with vendors, selling animals, dried meats, mead, ale, vegetables, clothes, and household goods.

They walked into the smoky pub, and immediately were greeted with a resounding “Huzzah!” The two guards placed them at a table where everyone was visible. A wench came over and took their order. Elizabeth had an ale, and Duke got his usual. The wench looked at him funny. For a moment she thought that Dane was looking a bit odd, but decided that it was just the light.

“Are you here enough to have a usual?” Elizabeth asked. She wasn’t sure how often a Prince or a Duke should go to a pub, or how many times it took to have a “usual”. She knew that she did not have a “usual” at the pub in the Moscovia Castle keep. Duke laughed.

“Dear, I come here with… the Duke about once a week. And I am the Prince, a little more memorable than the average patron.” He winked at her. She laughed. She supposed that was true, a Duke or Prince would be a bit easier to remember than some regular citizen.

Their drinks arrived, and Elizabeth sipped her ale. It was warm, smooth, and a little tangy. Perfect. Duke had gotten a mead, he had forgotten that it was what Dane usually got. He sipped it, and watched Elizabeth enjoy her ale.

She was so beautiful. He put his hand on hers. She smiled. Maybe this week wouldn’t be so bad.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Katharine and Dane - Chapter 8 - Duke and Elizabeth meet

“You play nice.” Christine hissed at Duke. “I don’t want any of your funny business.” Duke rolled his eyes. Why would he want some fat handmaiden? She was probably some horse faced, bucktoothed….goddess?

“Duke” King Edward bellowed. “I would like to present – Elizabeth.” They stared at each other. Duke just couldn’t bring himself to say anything. She was radiant, curvy, pale, luscious… Not like any servant girl he had ever seen. She had huge brown eyes, and a sweet smile.

Elizabeth didn’t know what to say, or do. Should she curtsy? Or what for him to speak? Perhaps he would kiss her hand? She had seen dukes do that in the Moscovia castle.

“Ahem.” Edward interrupted the awkward silence. “It is of utmost importance that outside of this room, you two are Dane and Katharine. You are in love. You are getting married in one week. Oswald’s spies are out there. I have no doubt that our servants are loyal, however I need everone to be cautious. Everyone understand?” He looked around. “Excellent. Well, it is almost time for supper. Dane m’boy, you need to get ready! Katharine, Sarah will attend to your dress, and hair. Off you go!”

Elizabeth had her doubts about the plan, some about herself, but most were about the Duke. He was attractive, no doubts there, but the way he looked at her, it made her stomach uneasy. She felt flushed, and off kilter. No one had ever looked at her like that before, she wasn’t sure that it was proper… but she liked it.

Up in Dane’s quarters, Duke transformed himself into his best friend. Michael cut Duke’s hair, and trimmed his beard. With Dane’s clothes on there was little difference between the men. Duke was a touch shorter, and more tanned, and slightly more muscular than Dane, but it would be difficult to tell without Dane around.

He hurried to get down to the hall before Elizabeth did. She took his breath away earlier, and he did not want a repeat performance at dinner. If he was there early he could prepare himself for when she was announced.

There was something about the girl that told him she was something special. She made him feel like no other woman had. He had laid eyes on everyone from nobility to bar wench, and none looked like that. None had eyes that seemed to touch his soul. None made him feel like baring his deepest thoughts. He wanted to touch her ivory skin, but was afraid she would break. He ached to run his fingers through her hair…

Christine would kill him if she knew he was thinking this way about Elizabeth. He was afraid of himself, at this point too, because he would have to touch her… court her… woo her as if she were to be his.

But she would never be his, he knew that. He would never have Elizabeth, not the way he had had other women. Christine had made that perfectly clear. He could face horrible repercussions if he cross Christine. He feared he would have to, as he was not sure he could control himself. Perhaps if she were terribly boring… that would certainly make it easier. Well, he comforted himself, how exciting could being a reclusive princess’s handmaiden be?

“Dane, m’boy?” Bellowed King Edward, giving Duke a bit of a start. “Come, sit. As usual the women are taking their time.”

Duke sat in Dane’s chair. He looked at the four head chairs. They were ornate, and padded. All the other tables had benches, the first two rows had padding, but after that were just hard wood.

Duke looked across the table at the chair that Elizabeth would be sitting in, next to the Queens chair. It was a perfect reflection of the chair he sat in now. The Queen chair was a reflection of the Kings. Before Duke could put more thought into why this may be, he heard an annoyed cough from the back of the room. Edward and Duke looked up and saw Christine at the back of the room.

“Ah, yes, propriety m’boy, Christine will be most strict about this tonight. Come, let’s not upset her.” Duke rose and followed the King out of the main dining hall. There was a reception room off to the side, where they would wait until everyone else was seated.

“Then you and Dane will go in, followed by Edward and I”, Christine was explaining to Elizabeth. Duke paused at the doorway, staring at Elizabeth in her deep green dress. Her hair was braided, and a crown sat on her head. She wore it well. There was a ring on her finger, and he knew it was meant for Katharine, as a gift from Dane.

“Dane!” Christine snapped. “Are you listening?” She crossed her arms. He stared at her blankly. “Oh, never mind. Now, when you are announced escort Katharine down the aisle, we will try to keep people away from the crowd. Just be sure to use the correct names.” She practically whispered. Then she took Duke by the arm. “ You stop looking at her like that. She is not intended for you.” The words were barely audible, but he could hear the venom in her voice.

“Then who is she intended for? Does he know where she is? What she is doing?” He shot back.

Christine was puzzled by Duke’s apparent concern, as was Duke. Why did he care who she was intended for? All he had to do was get through this week, and he would be rid of her. Duke decided that it would be a good time to quench his curiosity and talk to Elizabeth, see how boring she was.

“So, Katharine, what do you do all day in the castle. Anything interesting? Or is all quite boring?” King Edward rolled his eyes and Christine looked at them both quizzically.

“Well” She said at last, her voice was like honey. “There really isn’t all that much to do, with all the servants around.” She swallowed. Elizabeth was so nervous, and he was looking at her strangely again. “I enjoy horseback riding when father will allow it. I love to stroll through the gardens as often as I can, the gardener loves to tell me all about the flowers. Occasionally Father lets Elizabeth and I sit in on his meetings. He believes it will make me a better wife, a better helper for him.” Elizabeth found it easier to talk about Katharine’s life, because it was her life too. Katharine had always insisted that Elizabeth go with her everywhere. Elizabeth knew it was not solely for Katharine’s sake, but also for Elizabeth’s. It was not every servant that got to go out in the middle of the day, go horseback riding, or attend parties.

“Really?” Duke finally managed. “You like horses?” her eyes lit up, and Duke was floating on air. They talked about horses up until they were announced.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Katharine and Dane - Chapter 7 - Elizabeth's Arrival

The very next day Elizabeth arrived at Charland Castle. She was greeted like royalty. Even though she knew it was all a ruse, it still felt so real! She has always wondered what it would be like to be Katharine, and now she would get to find out.

She knew she looked enough like Katharine to fool the people of Charland, and Oswald’s spies, but having never met the Duke or the Prince, she could only hope that they were similar enough to fool Oswald’s men.

There was a lot resting on this meeting, and the next few days. If Oswald’s spies suspected that Dane and Katharine were not in Charland, or knew of Edward and Douglas’ plan…there would be trouble, lots of trouble.

Edward could see so much of Katharine in Elizabeth, the way she walked, and held herself. He was impressed. She had the same chestnut hair, pale skin, slim figure. It was only up close that the illusion began to fail. Elizabeth had a slightly curvier figure, was about 3 inches taller. Katharine’s eyes were blue, while Elizabeth’s were a warm brown. The biggest difference Edward could see was that Elizabeth had a loud, kind, happy voice. Katharine had always had a more mellow, gentle quality to her voice, and rarely spoke. Elizabeth hadn’t stopped talking and asking questions of Christine since she had arrived. Edward smiled, and Christine patted the young woman’s shoulder.

“Child, child, please slow down… All will be answered shortly.” Christine soothed. “All your bags are already being taken to your quarters.” She motioned for one of her ladies to come forward. “This is Sarah, she will attend to you while you are here. She will arrange for anything you need.”

Elizabeth was speechless, looking back and forth between Sarah and the Queen. She got a servant? But…how would that work? She didn’t know how to order anyone around…

“Thank you, Your Majesty.” She finally got out. “I would like to go freshen up before I meet…”

“Dane?” Edward interrupted. “Oh yes Katharine, of course you would!” Oh, yes, Dane, she thought to herself.

“Your highness?” Sarah asked meekly, “May I show you to your bath? I had one drawn for you, it should be ready now. Please, follow me.” Elizabeth nodded, and followed. This would certainly be interesting. She rarely got a real bath, though Katharine had insisted that Elizabeth get a nice bath as often as she could get away with it. Elizabeth realized just how much like sisters the two girls had become, and yet how different they still were. Elizabeth remembered sharing a bath with Katharine when they were little, splashing each other, and getting in trouble for making everything in the bathroom wet. She smiled…

“Here are your quarters, m’lady.” Sarah gestured, “Shall I assist you with your dress?” Elizabeth paused. Then nodded. She felt odd being helped. Not having to do so much for herself. She had always had some help, but not like this. The young servant girl undid the stays on the back of the dress, and Elizabeth stepped out of the simple green riding dress. She felt so naked in just her chemise, but she knew that it was normal to see Katharine in hers… and that the girl helping her would not feel at all awkward. “ The bath is this way m’lady.” There was a beautiful screen, and behind it a tub, much like the one in Katharine’s room. “Can I assist you further?” The young woman asked cautiously. Sarah was not sure how to handle the Princess. She had been told that Katharine was cranky, and could fly off the handle at any moment, yell and scream over the smallest misstep. She had seen no indication of this so far, but didn’t want to chance it.

“No, thank you Sarah. I’d like a little privacy.” Elizabeth said, gently. She smiled gratefully at the young servant girl. Sarah excused herself, and left very, very confused.