"Hey, I'' heading to the dining room to have breakfast. You take your time.... uhmmm.... I have to go and see some people, will be back soon, Thea." I heard Edmund's voice close and his touch has almost awakened me. "Shh... Sleep."
I heard the click of the door. He was gone. My eyes didn't want to open after a good night sleep. I stretched my arms and soon were overtaken by the power of the dreams.
When I opened them again, the day was in full awake, as the sun tried to squeeze through the heavy curtains with all her might. My eyes watered from the bright light and I turned to face the other side. Deep in thought, unconsciously I examined the carved frame of the cabinet which hold some clothes. Later my haze traveled over the walls and then it stopped at the colorful painting on the ceiling. Puffy clouds and tiny, fantastically feathered birds gave the sense, that you sleep in the heavens. Angels of tiny babies were playing with the flying creatures, through the golden particles that filled the air. The sunshine of reality made it look magical. I couldn't take my eyes of it.
After like hours spent in observing the single piece of art, I decided to get up and explore more.
My cream colored dress with silvery rain effect stood in the same place, where I left it yesterday. I put it on, but couldn't do the corset on my own. Fiona was always there giving me a helping hand, but here I knew no one.
I opened the golden door and peeked through the hallways to spot any female worker. I saw none, only minutes later I noticed a woman coming out of the room at the far end. I waved and asked her to come closer. Her outfit didn't say, that she is a maid, but at the same time it was not the one of the high born's. Her dress was light grey with darker accents, no extravagant lace decorations or jewelry. Then I got a glimpse of a ring of keys in her arms and I knew - she is a housemaid. My stomach twisted in unpleasant feeling remembering the housemaids I have faced before. Adele, who didn't like me and Martha, who passionately hated me. I waited anxiously for her to arrive at my door.
"How can I help you, my Lady?" Her voice was clear, smooth and sounded very lady like.
"Could you help me with my dress, please?"
"Of course." Was her calm answer.
Meanwhile I took some time to examine her face. She was beautiful woman with soft features, dark brown, arched eyebrows. Her hair was pure brown, with no single gray staining her elegant curls and braids.
"What is your name?" I asked. I noticed her deep green eyes glance at me just for a second.
"My name is Violet. I am in charge of maids and services provided by them."
Violet had perfectly tightened my dress.
"All done. Do you need anything else? I can send a maid to assist you."
"I am fine for the moment. I.... will take my time to explore the castle. If I need anything I will tell... you or somebody else."
"As you wish, my Lady." Violet bowed slightly.
From the first impression I liked her. She seemed somewhat like Fiona, but much calmer. I hoped she holds no grudge against me or isn't hiding her true colors.
With my outfit perfectly taken care of, I could go and proceed with my exploration. I doubted I will have a time to see all in one day. Also my stomach rumbled and I thought to find a kitchen first. I knew it might be somewhere on lower floors, so I slowly walked down the stairs, while admiring the castle.
It was beyond beautiful. White, golden tones accented every corner. I imagined this to be the old type of fortress, with grey walls and cold corridors, fire lit torches. I smiled at my silliness. Those were the castles described in old tale books I read. This was nothing like it. All the way through the ceilings were painted, the pictures seemed to tell the story of some sort. So beautiful and bizarre were the creatures and people pictured in them. My neck would break, if I spent all day gazing at up.
I smelled some faint scent of food and followed it. I knew where it leads - to the royal kitchen. My mind tried to come up with all kind of imaginations of how it might look, but when I entered it, the spacious room looked so much different. There was a large oven, where the bread was being made, large pots stood at the regular one, steaming with delicious looking soups. The walls were covered in dried onions, garlic, herbs and other exotic ingredients. In the middle a wide table was covered in freshly cut vegetables and some greens along with numerous workers cooking, cleaning and moving boxes of freshly delivered goods.
I inhaled the wonderful smell.
Instantly the quiet chatting stopped and everyone stood still in silence, as their work have been brought to a halt.
"Your Majesty!" They all mumbled through each other in submission and they all bowed in my presence.
I blushed and didn't know what to do or what to say, how to dismiss them. I stood awkwardly in the doorway, while they did the same next to their unfinished jobs.
"Uhmmm.... uhm.. could I have something for breakfast?" I said quietly.
One of the younger ones woke up and scurried right up to me.
"What my lady wants? Fresh berries, warm pastries, pancakes or some pheasant eggs?"
"Eggs? Of a pheasant?" I was surprised.
"Yes. All from the finest breeds and free range."
She seemed very talkative and most confident from all.
"I will be fine with pancakes." I smiled.
I sat beside the table near a small window. Somehow I made the workers feel on edge.
"We will deliver your meal to the dining room in a minute." The same girl informed.
"I will eat here." I said, but all of the sudden I felt very unsure. "If .... I am allowed?"
"Uhmmm.... My Lady. I.... Don't think this is a place for you to enjoy your meal...." One man in the back spoke. "This place is dirty and we will be a nuisance around you...." He stuttered.
"What's your name?"
"Adam, my Lady." I saw him nervously tighten his fist around his brown hat in his hand.
"Adam, I am not afraid of dirt." I smiled and hoped he relaxes little bit. "Have you had your own breakfast?"
"Uhmm... I.. I will have later, after I finish my work."
"You can't work without proper breakfast. You will need some strength. Come, sit with me and have some pancakes too."
I watched this middle aged man slowly approach me. His grey, slightly curly hair matched his bushy mustache. He looked very nervous and unsure, as if being afraid of me.
I didn't like, how they viewed me as some type of royalty or a person who can't be opposed at all or spoken to. I might have become a high status person by marrying Edmund, but in my heart I am still that slave girl, which I have been all my life. I understand these people, but I don't want them to think of me the way it is supposed to be by standards or rules set by society.