The journey was long and arduous and as the carriage trundled along the road towards Damby, I let my mind wonder, flicking through the memories I had of Bartholomew – I just couldn’t believe he was gone, he had been so full of life when I saw him last.
He was like an uncle to me not to mention a friend; it was thanks to him I came to meet Alexandria and Aislinn.
I could remember the day very clearly in my mind, we were all very young children and I had accompanied Bartholomew to Alexandria’s palace as her father, the king had requested that some potions were to be delivered.
“You wait in the courtyard, I shall not be too long” I remember him telling me before he turned and walked towards the huge castle, which would later become my home, although I didn’t know that then.
A young girl, with long red hair; walked out of the huge oak doors which Bartholomew had just entered through, followed by two other girls; one looks very similar to the first but she had long blonde hair, and it was clear to see the family resemblance. The third girl also had long blonde hair down to her hips; which had been elegantly braided. I watched the three girls walk across to a fountain, placed in the centre of the courtyard and sit by the stone dolphin which was spouting water into a small pool, which glistened magnificantly in the sunlight.
I don’t know how, but I somehow recognized the red haired girl and her sister from somewhere, and then it struck me; the redhead was princess Alexandria Riordana and the blonde was her sister Princess Shaylee Riordana. My father, Lord Diegan often spoke about the Riordana Family; in very high regard and I had always longed to meet Alexandra and Shaylee, as my father had often visited the castle but I was never allowed to accompany him.
I skipped over the girls who stopped their conversation to look up at me; their eyes boring into me.
“Hello” I said quite unsure of myself, Alexandria looked taken aback when she saw me stood there.
The girl with braided blonde hair stood up, a smile forming on her face; “Hi, I’m Aislinn, what’s your name?” she asked.
“Courtney” I replied feeling more and more confident; I liked this girl already, she seemed nice.
Alexandria stood up, she smiled weakly at me “I’m Alexandria, Princess Alexandria” she said quite pompously I thought. “Yeah I have heard a lot about you, my father Lord Diegan, speaks about your family with such high regard, and you must be Shaylee” I said turning to look at Alexandria younger sister.
She nodded, before scurrying away, back to the castle” I looked confused as she hurried back to the castle.
“She’s shy, that’s all don’t worry” Alexandria said with a little laugh “so what are you doing way out here, don’t you live in Damby?”
I have come with my friend; he is delivering some potions to the king, which the king requested so I thought I’d come for the ride” I said smiling.
Alexandra grinned back at me before running towards the grounds of the castle and shouting “Let’s play!” back at Aislinn and me who were still stood by the fountain.
I forced back a tear as I replayed that day over and over in my mind; that had been a brilliant day and the foundations of a beautiful friendship between Aislinn, Alexandria and I, and it was all thanks to Bartholomew.
The carriage trundled on, the sky was getting darker now and we were no-where near Damby. I closed my eyes and recalled another memory.
This time, I was a little bit older and I had begged my father to let me accompany Bartholomew on his journey to Alexandria’s kingdom, I wanted to see Aislinn and Alexandra again.
When we had arrived, Aislinn and Alexandria greeted me warmly and we had gone to play, running through the woods giggling and laughing. That was when we found the meadow for the first time and had all agreed that It would be our special place; just the three of us.
The carriage came to an abrupt halt, “What’s happening?” I asked my father
“Its late Courtney, the horses need to rest and so do we” he then pulled out a saddle bag from underneath his seat and unzipped it. From inside he pulled a blanket which he gave to me, to sleep under and one for himself.
Through the window of the carriage, I could see the carriage driver tying up the horses up and pitching what looked to be a makeshift stable so the horses to stay dry.
I snuggled down under the blanket, and closed my eyes ready for sleep. Alexandria and the others will have realised by now that I have gone I thought.
“Goodnight Nathaniel, I love you – I’ll be back soon” I murmured before allowing myself to fall asleep.