A Falcon's Tale
A Falcon's Tale
In the dining room of Castle Baaldorf, Prince Erik Greystone finally quit pacing, slumped on a chair and sighed. King Edwin Baaldorf had parted ways with him some time ago but he had been waiting for Princess Ariel to say goodbye to him for at least an hour. Cassandra had fluttered in a few times, explaining that her mistress was having a bit of trouble with her wardrobe and wanted to look just right before seeing him off. Try as he might, he was going to lose his patience soon. Ariel might be beautiful and his intended bride but she did have a way of exasperating him. Actually, he thought, she had a number of ways. Erik began to wish again that Marko had agreed to meet him at the castle instead of riding directly to Caserne Pass from Dunfirm – at least he would’ve had someone to talk to. He crossed his arms, tilted his head back and stared at the ceiling. His memory flitted back to the time he had fought the resurrected Vulkar and killed him in this very room. Now that had been exciting. It had been dangerous, of course, but it was just part of keeping evil from taking over the land of Aperans - and that happened to be what he was best at.
The sound of small feet and a petite princess clearing her throat very loudly brought him out of his daydream. He snapped his head level and saw Ariel entering the room with Cassandra following closely behind. Ariel had, as usual, chosen a headdress that defied gravity and any number of fashion principles. She did look beautiful however in her shimmering, pale blue gown. Erik noted the sheer volume of gold edged lace – they must’ve bought out the entire market of the stuff. He quickly stood up.
Ariel approached slowly, holding out her hand for him to kiss. "Oh hello, Erik. I hope I didn't keep you waiting too long." She sighed deeply. "But Daddy hasn't let me go shopping for three whole days and I didn't want you to see me in some old thing." She looked up at him daintily. Erik took the offered hand and raised it to his lips, looking down at her. "You look lovely, Ariel. As usual." His smile was wide and charming.
"Thanks." She withdrew her hand. "So, where are you off to this time? Caserne Pass, I bet. I heard Marko's on his way there." Ariel tapped her foot and looked at him petulantly. "I mean, it wouldn't hurt you to stay around here."
"I have to go, Ariel. We've had word that Geoffrey Blackpool and some of his troops have left the pass – we must strike now."
"Oh – and I just get to stay here and be bored?" The princess was beginning to pout. Rather prettily, she hoped.
"It's a dangerous ride. There've also been reports of Blackpool's thugs over near Rysland, which I mean to check out on the way." Erik looked at her seriously. "But I won't be gone long, princess. We plan on winning back the pass."
"Oh, kingdom business. That figures." Ariel arched her eyebrows and rolled her eyes.
"I'll be back soon, Ariel, really. We’ll have plenty of time to be together before the harvest celebration, I promise." Erik's reassuring look perked the princess up. "We just have to take care of Blackpool's troops first."
"Well, OK. Will you be bringing anything back for me? There's a nice leather shop on the way to Rysland. Pants would be nice." Ariel took a deep breath, preparing to give Erik a number of color and style choices, but he cut her off.
"I'll see what I can find for you, Ariel. But I really do have to go. I appreciate your wanting to see me, but I have to leave… now." Erik grasped her shoulders and looked intently into her eyes. "I'll see you soon, princess." He turned with a swirl of his long, red cloak and walked out the doors.
"Oh, how romantic!" exclaimed the dreamy-eyed lady in waiting from the corner of the room. She clasped her hands together and sighed.
"Oh shut up, Cassandra." Ariel pouted again. She didn't even care if it would give her wrinkles like her mother was always telling her. She sighed and watched the blonde prince's figure disappear down the hallway. He sure was good looking, but he wasn’t at the castle nearly enough for her to appreciate it, she thought. Oh well. Maybe she could go shopping later. There was always more lace to buy. Unless she could find some nice leather thingies – those would be first on the list. She flounced out of the room with Cassandra trailing behind her. They only had to stop once to disengage Ariel's headdress from the doorway.
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