Creative writing for the afternoon. Working some ideas out for a YA book.
“Would you care to dance?”
Alice turned on the new comer with a sharp retort ready. She was sweating from swirling Jenny around in elegant circles, and was in no mood for a second go.
The words dried up in her mouth when she saw who asked. Sir Walter in his gleaming silver armor and kind smile was back. His blond hair had gone slightly gray since the last time she saw him and his face gaunt.
“Of course!” Alice took his hand with a large smile and they stood across from each other in the middle of the gleaming beige floor. She was ever so grateful that her black hair was gathered in a tight bun at the back of her head, it was so hot inside the hall. Bowing with the other ladies, she and Sir Walter came together in the middle. He took her waist and her hand.
“I see you squire for Sir Gilifred now.” He gestured with his chin at her small chest plate inscribed with the hawk. They moved in a slow circle with the rest and holding hands up started to walk forwards.
“I do! And do you have a new lord?” Alice asked, remembering the doves on the lady’s carriage from her youth and the one the Orsnack soldiers were obediently following just months ago.
“I still serve the Buemonte household. I gave my oath.” Sir Walter parted from her and they walked down the line of dancers to meet at the back. Alice’s heart raced, her palms sweaty, and it had nothing to do with the dance. Sir Walter, the only man to ever treat her as the knight she was meant to be, served her nemesis.
“I’m sorry, you still serve her ladyship?” Alice inquired praying his response was a cousin, a nephew, someone other then Lady Clarissa. It would put them at odds and she could not bear it. She was not in love with Sir Walter. She hardly knew him but she did love him. She saw him for the kind man that he was. He stopped the boys from ganging up on her and infused her with the confidence to be who she was. For him to have ties to a monster like Lady Clarissa was horrifying.
He gave her a rueful smile. “I do. I gave her an oath a long time ago and I shall not leave her side.”
Alice let him whirl her in a circle and she caught sight of the putrid hag chatting to friends on the sideline of the dance. Lady Clarissa saw her dancing with her knight and her plump lips adopted a sneer.
The dance ended but Alice gripped his hand to stop him from leaving. He had to know the viper to which he swore his oath of fealty too. “Sir Walter you must know Lady Clarissa-”
Sir Walter gazed at her.
“-that Lady Clarissa-”
Alice gulped. Could she really break his heart and his allusions to his lady? Was she so cruel?
“Is behind the attacks on the kingdom. I know Alice.” Sir Walter’s bright perfect smile faltered before it vanished from his face. “I’m so sorry.”
Alice’s eyes went wide, the world titled, and she almost toppled backwards.
“Alice are you all right?” Jenny in her blue velvet dress, with white lilies in her hair, was at her side in a flash. Holding her up by her arm and glancing between the two.
“You have to break from her.” Alice gripped his bicep.
Sir Walter shook his head back and forth. “That would make me an oath breaker. I made my vows. I will keep them.”
“You can’t!” Alice’s voice cut over the music and several people whirled around to see who was making such a racket.
“Alice please, people are staring,” Jenny whispered putting a comforting arm around her waist. She shrugged her off.
“Who cares!” Alice cried as Sir Walter sighed before bowing at the waist.
“Thank you for the dance Sir Rose. I hope we never meet again.” He walked off and left her there, tears prickling the corner of her eyes. Distressed she put a hand to her forehead and took several deep breaths. Sir Walter knew, he knew about Lady Clarissa and yet she still had his oath of service. She was on a colliding course with old hag and one day soon she would crash right into Sir Walter. She might have to kill him.
Jenny put a hand on her shoulder. “Alice what-”
“Helena, we need to find Helena. Sir Walter knows. We need her.” Alice stammered unable to form coherent thoughts. Jenny gathered up her dress.
“Of course. I thought I saw Sir Gilifred with Prince Kendrick on the dance floor only moments before. We will find them.” Jenny said, Alice watched as her green eyes slid to the side to glare venom. Alice turned around to see what brought such a look to her kind and gentle friend. Her stomach knotted unpleasantly as Sir Walter kissed Clarissa’s hand and gazed at her with a smile.