[Author’s Note: When this two part chapter happens in relation to Phoenix Triumphant I’m not sure. I can only guarantee that Princess Allmarah does confess this to Prince Hermanus at some point in time. It explains a few things, like how she ended up in Whoalwski’s ‘care’ and a bit of the relationship between York and Tralee. The current scene, as it stands, takes place in an abandoned Temple and I have not changed it to flow with the revised story (i.e. all I've done is spell checked and a brief edit since I wrote it).]
Princess Allmarah had taken to standing beneath the Willows when there seemed nothing else for her to do. She helped as much as she could with the cooking, but watching Sarah work reminded her that she knew very little of what the day to day life of a commoner was like. Hidden by the boughs she would watch the smoke rise from the two chimneys. It was Prince Hermanus, who finally discovered her. He stood before her and she nodded to acknowledge him.
“What bothers you Princess?” he asked.
His tone conveyed the kindness and sincerity that Allmarah loved about him. He was always quick to help, even if he had no idea of what he was doing. She reached out and touched his cheek as her eyes began to fill with tears.
“Allmarah,” his concern was clear. Hermanus took her hands in his own. “You will soon be home with you father and all this will be behind you. We can forge a new way between Azure and Vervell, you and I. I will court you proper, no need for kidnappings...”
“Oh, Hermanus,” the tears rolled down Allmarah’s cheeks. “Come sit beside me,” she pulled her hand away and sat before patting the ground next to her.
Hermanus sat hesitantly beside her, uncertain if he should put an arm around her or stay as he was. She leaned forward and looked at her hands, turning them slowly as she gazed at them.
“Hermanus,” her head tilted to look towards him, “I have a, a confession.” She sat up and looked at him taking his hands in her own. “Please I beg for you to listen to my full story and judge me not until the end. Can you promise to listen until my tale is told out?”
“Of course!” Hermanus was so certain in his reply, it made a sob catch in Allmarah’s throat. How could she be so blessed with having someone like him love her, when she was so flawed.
For a while they sat in silence and Hermanus was worried that Allmarah wasn’t going to talk to him at all. Then she began speaking in a soft voice.
“I have always been fascinated by the lower classes and wondered what it might be like to live in their shoes. Though, my brother scoffed at me for fantasizing such I would sneak out with my maids in merchant clothing. There was a house set up for us, where we would go. Tralee knew the family that owned it, so she always knew when we could go and use it. It was fun you know, we would go buy food form the market and then try to cook. Harriet was best at cooking, her mother having insisted that she should learn.”
She paused and Hermanus nodded to show he was listening.
“Well about a year and a half a ago, Tralee started seeing this mysterious man. With the way she talked about him, I wanted to meet him, but I didn’t want him to know I was the Princess, so we arranged to have him visit us for a meal while we were at Tralee’s house. Harriet was skeptical about the whole thing, but Tralee insisted it would be fine and pointed out that there were Scouts nearby should anything happen. Of course at that time I also had no idea that Sergeant Sparrow, Harriet’s aunt, already knew about our forays and was always nearby, if she wasn’t on duty.”
“You knew Sergeant Sparrow was a woman before this?” Prince Hermanus asked.
“Oh yes, my grandmother and her mother were childhood friends. Sparrow came to serve the King under the guise of a man because the Lords wouldn’t have accepted her any other way.” The Princess smiled softly, “I hope they reevaluate their thinking when this is all over. I wouldn’t mind learning how to use a bow at the very least.”
“I would teach you, but I am not very good.” Hermanus offered and Allmarah smiled and patted his knee. “But I don’t see what kind of judgment you are afraid of. I get tired of the complexities of court all the time.”
“Yes, well,” Allmarah sighed and gave him a sad smile. “The man that was courting Tralee, his name was York.”
“York? You mean...”
“Yes,” Allmarah nodded, “Chester’s twin brother.”