The scraping and banging of pots rang in Mikael’s head as he ate his breakfast at the kitchen table. He was worried about his father, because he had not been able to tell him where he was, or that he was safe. He just hoped there would be some opportunity to do so.
The girl who had shown him around came and sat next to him.
“Hello, I’m Mikael.” He offered his hand. She took it timidly and shook.
“Rose.” She began to eat from her plate, and they were both silent for some time.
“Rose? Do you know anything about... about the room that you showed me to? The one I have to deliver food to?” Mikael reasoned that although he had been warned not to speak of the woman inside the room, he had not been threatened if he talked about the room.
“T-The room? No. We’re not supposed to talk about anything.”
“I understand that.” He spoke kindly, not wanting to get her in to trouble.
“You seem nice. Why did you come here to work?”
“I almost had no choice. I cheeked a guard and ended up here. What about you?”
“My mother is the cook.” Mikael glanced up at the rotund woman who was in charge of the food. She seemed nice enough, when she wasn’t barking out orders.
“My father doesn’t even know where I am.”
“Does he live in the city?”
“Yes. He sells pots in the east district of the lower city.”
“If you would like, I could take a message to him. I go in to town every day for supplies.”
“That would be very kind Rose. If you could just tell him where I am, and that I am safe, I would be most grateful. His name is Darrow.”
“I shall visit him today, if I can find him.” Rose began to clear her plate away.
“Thank you.” Mikael muttered before following her example. He then collected the plate of food for the woman in the room and made his way up the stairs and through the castle. This morning the disdainful guard was back. He spat at Mikael’s feet before opening the door.
“You better ‘urry up, or else I’ll come in there and kick you out.” Mikael scurried past him, avoiding physical contact, and as usual heard the door shut.
“I see you in my dreams.” The soft voice rang out. Mikael traced it to the corner near one of the boarded up windows. A small hole in the wood let a weak shaft of light through, and in this stream he could see some form of leather clothing.
“And I you.” He whispered, setting the food down. He was about to approach the corner when the door flew open.
“I thought I told you to ‘urry up!” The man entered the room, his eyes shifting around nervously until they focussed on Mikael. He charged over, grabbed him and began yanking him towards the door, kicking him as they went. Suddenly, Mikael felt the hand on the collar of his shirt release and saw the guard flying through the door. He landed with a thud on the wall opposite the door and slumped to the floor. Mikael swung round and found he was staring in to a pair of dazzling blue eyes.
“Go.” The woman whispered, and he ran, past the guard who was beginning to come round, through the castle and in to the kitchen. The cook looked at him strangely, because he had arrived puffing and panting from his run, but then ignored him and continued to stir a spoon in a huge cooking pan. Mikael collapsed on to a stool and closed his eyes. The bright blue eyes appeared to him once more and he felt as though they were reading his inner most thoughts. Although the eyes, the hand and the voice were all he knew of the woman, he felt as though he were bonded to her now. His dreams certainly echoed this, and she was on his mind in every waking moment also.
A bell tolled and a great upheaval sounded in the hall above. Mikael and several of the other servants rushed to the stairs, fighting to see what was going on. Mikael’s muscles allowed him a front seat, and as the door opened he saw a woman being carried away by four men, two clasping her wrists and the others holding her feet. Blonde hair covered her face, but he felt sure that this was the woman from the room. Her clothes were made of leather, and had a strange fashion about them, as they were men’s clothing but shaped for a woman. It was the first time he had seen a woman in such wear. Any further exploration of her appearance was cut short by the arrival of the most feared man in the country. Two large doors at the end of the hall opened and through them stepped: The King.