Lady In Waiting Rewritten: Chapter 3

Jules Hopkins

A loud thud outside the tent shook Anne awake from her spot on the dirt floor. The other ladies shot up, curling themselves together until you couldn’t tell where one Jane’s leg started and another Jane’s arm ended.

“What are they doing?” Jane, who has no manners, asked.

“Isn’t it obvious?” Anne, who has six brothers, said. “The men are preparing to move out.” 

It made sense. The princess was a highly valuable target, so to stay in one place was just asking for someone to report them to the Guard.

The air filled with the scent of fresh bread, a wild contrast to the burnt meat smell from the night before. Anne wondered if they would be willing to share. She was so hungry she considered going into the woods and asking the wolves to share Catherine. Chances were that they wouldn’t be given any food, but it was a nice thought that convinced her to sit up.

Throughout the night, the ladies had tossed and turned until they formed a semi-circle around the princess. Anne lay on the outer rim of the circle yet the princesses arm was sprawled next to her, as if she had grasped for Anne while she slept. Now, they had all seized together into a tight ball, leaving Anne on the outside.

The flap of their tent was pushed open and they were greeted by Green Eyes. Now that he was closer, Anne could see that what appeared to be muted green was actually a milky white.

“Time to get up, ladies,” he said. His voice was quite similar Henry’s, smooth like flowing water with an accent. He stomped his foot on the ground, trying to get them to move.

The man was interesting, dangerous and formal and if that didn’t make her want to sit and watch him for hours. Make her want to dissect his movements and thought process. Make her want to understand him. In a way, she wanted to be him. Free and strong, despite a clear disadvantage.

Her daydreaming was brought to a halt when he started banging a sword against the wood pole holding up the tent. By now all of the girls were going through various stages of fear. Somehow, he seemed to know that they were moving because he turned on his heel and left the tent.

The morning routine felt far too normal for such an abnormal environment. Sometime in the night, their clothes had been tossed into the tent. The jewelry and fanciest dresses had been removed but a few dresses were haphazardly stuffed into the bags alongside various pieces of makeup. 

As they gathered together the clothes, they quietly gathered together the nicest dress that was left. The girls helped the princess into a gorgeous light blue dress with careful stitching before dressing themselves in white skirts and tan aprons, a stark contrast from the gowns they had worn not 3 days earlier. Pulling out the little makeup they had, the ladies painted her face white and lightly dusted rouge on her cheeks before styling her hair up and pinning a hat to her head. Perfume was added to hide the scent of sweat and dirt. Even in captivity, their duties did not cease. Finally, they added lovely white gloves, also scented with perfume.

The princess looked royal in her simplicity and yet she spent the whole time pouting and loudly complaining to Anne with 6 brothers about the outfit. Although it truly shouldn’t have surprised her, Anne found herself astonished at the egotistical words. The princess had but two jobs in her life: look pretty and raise the next heirs to the throne. An unbearably boring life as far as Anne was concerned, but the princess seemed to enjoy it well enough. As far as the princess was concerned, anything less than perfect was an embarrassment to her honor. Nobility always seemed to put so much value on honor. It must be tiring.

Several men entered the tent and escorted the ladies into their carriage and their journey continued. It was silent and, although some of the girls shook in fear, no one dared to challenge their captors. Not even Anne. They seemed to be in high tensions.

As the sun began its descent, houses formed over the horizon. The carriage stopped and Henry swung the door open.

With a gummy smile that didn’t meet his eyes, he said, “Welcome to Stonecastle, your highness.”