The meal seemed to last only moments, I was so enamored by her. I stood as Percy left the banquet, but my attention stayed on the mysterious Ella Vadrini. When I came to my senses, I was still standing at the head table staring at the doorway through which Ella, Percy, and many of the guests had already exited.
Suddenly I was angry. It was unlike me to become captivated by anyone, and I was afraid of what it meant. Was she truly a warlock, casting spells on me to gain my confidence? Remembrance of her smile as she glanced my way during dinner made me think that she had innocent intentions; that she really did come to my brother’s rescue. In fact, her beauty made me think of goodness.
I cursed myself again, spinning to take myself away from these thoughts, nearly colliding with two young servants clearing the banquet table. Within a few minutes, I found my attending boy and bade him fetch my riding coat and meet me in the stables. He was very young and full of energy, glad to have my bidding to accomplish since I typically ignored him and did things myself.
When my horse had been readied and my coat fetched, I rode out to the village to see what I could find out from the commoners about this Ella woman. My first stop was a large tavern that I frequently visited and did not receive too much attention for all my expensive clothing. Most villagers did not recognize royalty or wealth by the person but by their clothing and adornments. So as long as I did not flash too many coins or wear the nicest attire, few of the people had any idea that I was their prince, now next in line for the throne.
In this way, I learned many things that those in our castle did not know. Yet tonight, as much as the drunkards and wenches chatted about the beautiful Ella, only rumors lived here. I did not hear any news worth taking home with me, and my agitation eventually got the better of me. As usual, though, as I got up to leave I became slightly paranoid. Forgetting the purpose of my departure, I instead became shifty as I felt eyes on me while I strode out of the tavern. I had forgotten that I was in formal dinner attire under my jacket, and the brocaded jewels on the cuffs of my trousers must have caught the attention of some of the patrons.
In truth, no one was probably looking at me, and frustration once more took over my attention as I practically charged out the door and mounted my faithful stallion. The door opened behind me but I used all of my strength to ride away from the place instead of looking back to see if I was being followed. That action of all else is one that would haunt me.