As soon as she opened the door Sarah wished she hadn’t. Eight horses stood restlessly outside in the street. Their trappings and the men’s bared weapons shone in the morning sun. The man standing at the door was stately dressed. But it was the man that stood astride the middle horse that worried Sarah the most. Not only did his outfit outshine the rest, a circle of gold rested upon his head. If she had to guess, Sarah would say he was a Prince.
“Sarah?” Martha’s voice called from inside. Sarah tore her eyes from the men to glance pleadingly at Martha. “Oh my!” Martha bobbed a curtsey.
“Goodwoman,” the man at the door addressed Martha, “Do you know if Scout Sergeant Griffon is about?”
“No, he and Scout Sergeant Bear had to report to the barracks. They shouldn’t be much longer if you would care to accept our hospitality.”
The man at the door turned toward the Prince, who nodded slightly. One of the younger and more sensibly dressed, in Sarah’s mind at least, quickly dismounted to hold the reigns of the Prince’s horse. The man at the door moved back to stand at the ready. In one fluid motion the Prince dismounted and strode towards Sarah and Martha.
Martha immediately curtsied, bowing her head. “Your Highness,”
Sarah tried to imitate her, but found herself grabbing onto the door frame again to keep from toppling over. The Prince stopped at the door step, eyeing Sarah.
“Should she be about?”
“I’m fine, I just need more to eat.” Sarah couldn’t help but pull herself up straight.
“No she should not Your Highness.” Martha turned to Sarah and hissed at her. “Sarah, you’re to go back to bed until the Moyther can come see you.”
“Your name is Sarah?” the Prince turned his focus to her.
“Yes” Sarah said.
“Your highness,” Martha viciously prompted.
“Your highness.” Sarah suddenly wished she could disappear into the floor. Oh God Jay, she thought, I could really use your help.
I will return soon my love.
Sarah blinked. No one else seemed to have heard anything. Great she thought, I’m weak and hearing voices. Though it did sound strangely like Jason. Sarah swallowed as the Prince studied her critically. At the same time she couldn’t help but study him.
Compared to Prince Hermanus, this guy was older and looked a bit more experienced. Or at least, Sarah thought, more arrogant. She didn’t particularly care for the fact he was looking at her like she was chattel. Fighting the urge to tell the man off, Sarah reminded herself, that he was probably a prince of this land. At least that’s what she presumed seeing as his presence was not being contested.
Interrupting her thoughts by clearing his throat the Prince turned his gaze to Martha. “May I?” he asked, eyebrows arched. His expression clearly indicated that they should have invited him in ten seconds earlier.
“Of course, Your Highness.” Martha quickly stepped back, moving Sarah with her. “You must go back upstairs and rest,” she told her.
“No.” Both women looked astonished at the Prince. “I will speak with Sarah.”
Sarah swallowed. She had been looking forward to getting out of this man’s presence. She looked at Martha, her eyes pleading for her to stay.
But Martha was still gazing at the Prince. “Shall I bring you some refreshments, Your Highness?”
“Whatever is cooking is fine.” His focus never left Sarah and she felt like she was being sent to the principles office. “Come,” he breezed past them into the parlor.
Sarah followed slowly, wishing she was in the kitchen with Martha. Why oh why is Jay not here, her mind cried out.
I am on my way, the voice from before responded. Sarah blinked again, pausing at the Parlor door.