Inevitable War (Jalapeno x Shelby)

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Jalapenohitchhiker, Nov 21, 2014.

  1. A moth landed on the window sill, observing the conversation taking place in the council chambers. It was a warm night, and the smell of rain still lingered, though the drops had discontinued falling a little while earlier. It left the chambers humid and uncomfortable, even with the shutters closed. The night itself looked as bleak and dark as usual, and the moon was only a thin crescent. It would be even darker tomorrow when the moon disappeared for a night, possibly longer if the heavy clouds continued to find their way to Sarvayl.

    This was the third council meeting of the day. One was normally enough to set Avram in a less than pleasant mood, but three? Luckily this was probably the last one, as there was no way most of the members were not heading straight off to their beds as soon as this was done. Of course they would have been able to leave much sooner had they not insisted on continuing to discuss this wedding. The prince was getting married to Lyanna Eburhart, daughter of Corlan "The Mighty". He knew it was an important agreement, but the more time they spent discussing this event the more frustrated Avram grew.

    "Are we done with this part yet? There are more pressing matters to be discussed," General Byron grunted from his seat. Avram could not have said it any better himself. They were in danger of losing the crown if they did not stabilize the kingdom soon. Yaryk, however, seemed adamant about discussing the wedding ceremonies in full detail. The old man had been the royal scribe for nearly twenty-two years now, so he certainly knew what he was doing. He peered up from his numerous scrolls and gave the general a scornful look. "It is important that the crown displays its power in ways that do not involve bloodshed. That is why this wedding must be a success. Lords from all over the kingdom will be present and need to see that the house of Barkwer is as glorious as ever." Avram huffed at the response, knowing fully well that his father would look less than glorious to anyone who saw him now. The king was absent for the meeting yet again. It had been that way for years now, and the prince had taken to seating himself in his father's spot during council meetings.

    They discussed the wedding arrangements for what seemed like a lifetime. It was well into the night by the time they had finished the meeting, and as usual nothing was decided or finalized. Avram was still confused as to why the council had to spend so much time discussing the wedding. More than half the castle was already busy working on the arrangements. Surely his mother already had everything under control. The prince was more than relieved to be away from that room, even if he would be back in there the very next morning. His squire Belin fell in beside him as he meandered back to his bed chamber. "Have my armor ready extra early tomorrow," he ordered the lad. "I want to get in a few rounds before I am forced to sit in a chair all day."
  2. ((Hope this is a well enough starter!))

    Little bouts of chatter from the other maids could be heard drifting from the walls where Myla stood, her eyes a bit narrowed, a breath escaping from her lips as she proceeded to set the rest of the things away. Never before had she imagined that she would be back here in Sarvayl, much less to be a maid in this castle. All too clearly could she remember every so often coming through these walls with her father, though in completely different circumstances. Always so cheerful about things, also stuck in a sense of wonderment for the things she had been privileged enough to see! But that had only been the mind of a child, before things turned into ruin with her family.

    When their title was stripped and they were sent to live their lives as measly peasants back in their homeland things had gone terribly wrong. Ravaged and pillaged with nothing, it had only taken a few years for the family to be picked away; her mother and brother being killed off by bandits and her father completely loosing the will to live after such an event. She had watched her families lives slip right from their faces, had seen the despair in them, yet it always made her wonder how she was able to make it out alive. Why was she the one allowed to live? It wasn't like she had much of a life to live however. Traveling from little village to little village, never staying in one place for fear that, maybe, someone was after her... She had grown a bit paranoid over the years, but she had ultimately learned to fend for herself. She had learned how to get by with little, how to weasel and talk her way out of situations, yet she still hated it. There was a part of her that wished to have her old life back; to be that girl with the prestige that her father had.

    Perhaps that was why she found herself back in the capitol? As a sense of security, perhaps?

    Myla couldn't be exactly sure, however it had come as a very big surprise to her when she was given the job of a maid in the castle only a couple of days ago. Whether or not anyone had recognized who she was, which in her mind was highly doubtful, she had an inkling of a thought as to why they seemed to need the help around the castle; the wedding that was to be taking place. It seemed as if the wedding was on the minds of many; the maids speaking of the plans and how it should or shouldn't go, other already speaking of how they would decorate the place to accommodate everyone. To impress the guest that would step foot to watch the 'grand event'.

    The thought made her snort. A grand event, one that they believed would solve so many problems. Marriage wasn't that strong, or at least she did not believe so. If people wanted war, whether or not a prince or king was married wouldn't stop it. Sure, with the marriage, so she had heard anyway, Sarvayl would gain more allies, however she wondered how much that would actually help. Myla shook her head though. Who was she to say? She was but a mere maid after all, just trying to get by. How long would she stay here for before disappearing again to find another place to live for a few months?

    When a cloth was dropped on the wooden table in front of her, Myla picked her head and eyes up to take a look at one of the maids who had come over to her, the woman's plump frame bigger than Myla's. This was the woman who had been teaching her, in a sense, of how to be a proper maid to the castle. 'This duty is like no other' she had commented the first day. 'We maids are the ones who keep this place up and make sure that everyone and everything is taken care of'. Oh, Myla didn't doubt that.

    "One more task for you to finish up, and then you can head off for the night," the woman spoke, to which Myla nodded her head though she tried her best not to grimace at the thought. Being a maid was much harder than she had previously thought.

    "Yes, of course." She sighed then, picking up the cloth that was dropped by her and then turning away.
  3. As soon as Belin trotted off towards the armory, Avram decided to set off in the direction of the kitchen. Most of the servants were likely off duty by now, but I quiet stroll through the castle sounded rather pleasant after such a stressful day. Some wine would be nice as well. And he wanted to avoid looking at the ungodly stack of scrolls and papers still piled up on his table for as long as possible. The night was not going to end any time soon with all of them sitting there, almost as if they were watching him, unfriendly reminders of how large the burden he carried was. But no parchment, large or small, could contain enough words to describe the ten tons of pressure that were sitting on his shoulders. That wine was starting to sound more and more wonderful the closer he got to the kitchen.

    Before he could reach the kitchen, however, Avram nearly bumped head first into Ser Gerold Godfrey, the Captain of the Guards. He was a tall, elegant man with a most phenomenal resume in battle, chivalry, and nobility. He virtually embodied the form of the ideal knight. Despite the fact that Avram was his superior, it was almost impossible for the prince to not greet the man with the utmost respect every time they crossed paths. Certainly having one's name recognized as a living legend all over the world had its perks when dealing with the higher ups.

    "Good evening, my lord," Ser Gerold greeted him dutifully with a deep bow. "I wanted to hand deliver these letters to you personally. Normally they would be sent to your chambers without much of a second thought but there was some information in here that you might find interesting." He eyed the prince with inteigue, obviously hoping to peek his interest with that lead-in. Avram raised an eyebrow and pursed his lips. He desperately wished to let the night end, but if Ser Gerold was delivering these letters himself then there was definitely something important to be discussed. "Go on then," he insisted, extending his hand to take the letters. The captain handed him the letters but did not let go initially. He pulled the prince in close, dropping his voice to a barely audible whisper. "Most of them are wedding related. But the one on the bottom is the one you want. I recommend you keep the information inside of it to yourself for the time being." With that he let go of the small stack and meandered off to patrol the corridors and ensure that all of his guards on duty were in line and alert.

    He would worry about whatever important information was in that letter at a later time. The wedding stuff would be set in the enormous pile of letters he would avoid reading until the day before his marriage. There were far more important things to do now than worry about his betrothal to a woman he barely knew. The prince continued to his destination and finally came upon the kitchen. As expected, just about all of the servants were gone, though one still remained. She was cleaning the counters from what Avram could tell. "Wine?" he asked her as he strolled in. He almost felt guilty immediately after saying it, as she jumped slightly, probably not expecting anyone to come in this late, especially a member of the royal family.
  4. As Myla mended away with the tedious task of, once again, cleaning the counters of the kitchen, the rest of the maids went about their own way, more than likely turning in for the night, she couldn't help but breath out a sigh, shaking her head to try and keep herself awake. Why they left her to do such a task and make her stay up longer then she was have liked? She couldn't be too sure about the matter, however she had an inkling of a thought that it was because of the fact that she was so green around here. Oh well; while this job was soon turning into something that involved a lot of work, she had to admit that it was one of the more better jobs and task that she had taken over the years. Anything to get by, anything to just keep herself moving and doing something...

    Right when she was almost finished with the counters, herself being the last and only one in the kitchen, a voice rang out in her direction, causing her to flinch heavily, as well as jump in her spot. Quickly she tensed but turned to look at the owner of the voice, a slight frown taking the appearance of her expression, but when she saw that it was the one and only Prince Avram her frown pinched itself back into a straight line. Oh, how long had it been since she had seen him? When they were younger more than likely, childhood friends most would have called them. He had grown, that much was obvious to be seen. But what were the chances that they would run into each other in the kitchen of all places, much less her see him at all. She figured that he was much too busy to stray from his personal chambers or the chambers with which the council usually met in. So why was he wandering around the kitchen this late in the night?

    It was only then that she realized that she had been staring, which caused her to bow her head and give a little curtsy, trying to remember everything that the head maid, whose name she could not remember or care to, had told her to do should she ever be in the face of royalty, or anyone who stepped foot in this castle. Just show respect and bend to their will and give them what they asked, she had been told. No back talking, no staring, no doing anything unusual. Wine, he asked for wine. It took a second for the thought to process through her mind, but she nodded her head then, muttering a small, "Yes, your highness" before she turned and headed towards the cabinets where the wines were kept.

    Having not remember, or maybe not had been told -she couldn't be too such of which-, which wine she was supposed to grab if there was any such, she just grabbed one and headed over to one of the counters. After grabbing a class and uncorking the cork to the bottle, she poured the liquid into the class half way before setting the wine bottle down and heading back over to the prince. "Wine, your highness?" She held the glass out towards him, keeping her eyes looking in another direction, her frame stiff, almost... Afraid, it seemed. She tried to push the feeling down.
  5. The servant girl seemed to stand in shock for a good while. Avram could not blame her, for no one ever really expected him here, especially this late at night. But there was something different in her expression that most women did not look at him with. He was used to the looks of admiration and even adoration sometimes, but this was different. She had to be new as well. Avram was very good at recognizing faces around the castle, even if he was not always able to place names to them. This girl looked very unfamiliar to him and he did not recall ever seeing her face before, yet somehow he could not shake the feeling that she also seemed extremely familiar.

    Finally she came to her own and curtsied with all the elegance she could muster. She seemed to fiddle through the cabinets for a while, probably looking for the most eccentric looking bottle she could find in an attempt to please him. At least she understood her place in the presence of royalty. And this one didn't faun over him like some of the others. As flattering as it might be sometimes, it could often become unnecessarily annoying, especially in recent years. It was nice to find one that simply did as she was told without making a show of things. True respect was often difficult to come across these days, even for a prince.

    When she returned with the wine, her hands shook a little as she poured the liquid into a glass, and they trembled even more noticeably when she handed him the drink. Was she truly this afraid to be in the presence of royalty? Surely a lot of servants were scared to make mistakes around him, but he would not punish them for something as simple as spilling wine. He did not have a reputation for being hot headed, at least as far as he knew. Then again he had been growing increasingly frustrated with the approach of his wedding.

    Avram stared curiously at the girl for a moment before taking the glass from and downing about half of it in a single gulp, wincing noticeably at its strength. His eyes landed on the bottle and he noticed that she had chosen Oaken Brandy, one of the most famous brews from the north. Very few people living this far south drank it regularly because of it strong burn. As far as Avram knew they rarely brought shipments of it to Sarvayl except during special occasions. This bottle must have been stored in those cabinets for quite some time, probably being saved for something extravagant, like a wedding. "Interesting selection," he mused, examining the contents of his glass. "I take it you are from the north. They are the only people I know of who enjoy this brew for ordinary nights."
  6. Myla mentally grimaced to herself after noticing her hands were beginning to tremble in the wake of the Prince. Of course she would find herself just the slightest bit nervous, however to feel this... Odd feeling in the pit of her stomach? She couldn't really explain it, though she wasn't exactly sure she wanted to. Perhaps it was because she knew him, knew that in previous times she would only grow slightly cautious and shy in those rare moments when she saw the King, for obvious reasons, but not around the prince. She liked to fancy the idea that she used to even be comfortable in his presence. But nevertheless, those times were no more and never would be again. She was no more her noble class given by her fathers power, but Avram was still a prince. A prince with power; the power to completely strip anyone of their name and turn their lives into a living hell.

    Truly she was never told the reasons why the King had taken her fathers title, wealth and power, but she had come to the conclusion that it was more than likely at the fault of her father. The man did have a tendency to be rash, possibly a bit greedy with the things that he wanted as well. However, she could not help but respect her own father.

    Quickly pushing the thought aside however, in the corner of her eye she caught the wince that emitted across the Prince's face, her brows rising in his sudden change in expression. Did he not like that brew? Had she done something wrong? But then he spoke up. No anger, just statements, but she couldn't deny how her back straightened at the slightest bit when he mentioned something about the north. Her eyes traveled over to the wine bottle she had chosen, propping up one of her hands to turn the bottle around so that she could read what it was that she actually had brought out. Hm, Oaken Brandy. Must have picked it for the familiarity of it. Her eyes flickered to actually look at him then, her hands dropping back to settle at her sides.

    "Well we Northerners do tend to have a stronger tolerance for strong wines then you all," she spoke up, her brows quirking at the slightest bit at her words. A hint of sharpness to them, slight teasing perhaps. Oh, that head maid would not have stood for that. But it was just in her natural nature to do so, or rather speak like that. It was what she was used to. "After all, why have something weak with no feeling when you can have something strong with feeling?" She furrowed her brows at the thought, pausing in her words before she spoke any longer or any more nonsense. "I can bring you something else, however, if that is what you desire." Back again with the strict, 'formal' tone she was told to take with anyone.
  7. Something was off about the way she spoke, and it wasn't just her words. Her demeanor was much less submissive than any other servant's would have been in a similar situation. She showed legitimate facial expressions when speaking to him, something a lowborn girl would rarely do. And even more fascinating was that she met his eyes while speaking. Avram had never come across a maid that was confident enough to look a prince in the eye when speaking to him. Either she was terrible at knowing her place in this castle or there was more to this girl than he previously thought.

    Swirling the wine around in his glass, Avram took another sip, much smaller than the previous one. The strong flavor still hit his mouth hard, but it was still quite delectable. "No, this is just fine." He decided not to mention that this wine was probably meant to be shared by him and his soon-to-be wife on their wedding night. In all honesty he did not care which wine he drank before consummating his marriage. But he was still quite interested in this girl's willingness to converse in the manner she did. "You speak most eloquently for a lowborn servant, I must say. Was your father an educated man or have you picked up habits from spending so much time among the nobility in Sarvayl?"

    The prince did not let her answer as he continued to wonder about this odd girl. She was actually more woman then girl, which was odd for a kitchen maid. Normally when maids grew into their figures after coming of age they would spend more time assisting the ladies of the court rather than cleaning up kitchens in the late hours of the night. "I have not seen many northerners in the capital for many years. There actually used to be a good many of them until my father and Lord Jensen were at each other's throats one day." In truth he missed the old Lord Jensen. He was a generous man from what Avram could remember. The prince even recalled being good friends with his daughter for some time. But of course that was during his youthful days of innocence, all of which felt like a lifetime ago. What had caused the feud between the king and Lord Jensen still remained a mystery to Avram. Somehow he could not help but believe that his father's descent into madness had something to do with that incident.

    A sudden thought occurred to him then. This maid claimed to be from the north. Perhaps she knew of the whereabouts of the Jensen family, assuming any of its members were still alive. It was highly unlikely that a lowly maid knew anything of such matters but it would never hurt to inquire. "I do miss him sometimes. Lord Jensen was a good man, and his family was just as pleasant. You are from the north. Did you ever know the house of Jensen?" It felt odd to be making conversation with a kitchen maid, but any whispers of a Jensen still out there would be welcome news during a year of nothing but bad news.
    #7 Jalapenohitchhiker, Nov 24, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2014
  8. A lowborn servant. The title almost made her flinch, if mostly for the fact that she felt so low when in the face of Avram, but it was mostly because that was what he saw her as. Not that she expected anything different, but the last time she had been in Sarvayl she was regarded with a decent bit of respect because of who her father was. Her family, after all, only was second to the royal family, something that she used to take with pride. It had taken her a long while, years even, to get accustomed to the fact that she never would have that same respect again after their title was taken from them, and she had even accepted the fact. But now... Why did she find being called a lowborn servant to bother her so much?

    Myla took a breath and shook her head, turning her eyes to look in another direction before they directed their attention back to Avram, her mouth opening to speak to answer his question, but, it seemed, that he had other ideas. Yes, her father was an educated man, and yes she even had picked up habits from the nobility of the capitol, but that hadn't been from recent events. Just her past catching back up with her again. But she listened him continue on with his little talk, finding herself surprised once again when he mentioned something of the North, however what he mentioned was more surprising. Her father. Her remember her father, and even missed him, and perhaps even his family.

    She swallowed and turned to look away from him again, biting the inside of her cheek as her brows furrowed just a bit. Hearing him speak of her father in such a regard was surprising no doubt, but to admit that he even missed him in the slightest bit? She herself missed her family, but she supposed that was mostly because they were her family and it was more so of an obligation to miss them and feel even the slightest bit of remorse over their deaths. And she was, but she always found it best to put them in the back of her mind so that she wouldn't find her thoughts depressed and drug down with their presence. It would mean nothing and would do her no good seeing as that they were never going to come back.

    "I cannot say that I ever knew or met them personally, however they were often talked about among many Northerners." She spoke her words carefully, pausing for a second to get her word together. "They seemed to be respected to an extent, however they were mocked by many after a while for reasons that I do not know of. And though I never really delved into their matters, word had gotten out, before I left, that they are all no longer living." It was obvious that he did not know who she was, and despite herself Myla thought it would be best to keep it as so. When asked her name before being given this position she had gone under a different name so that no questions would arise from her. She had, essentially, given herself a new identity. But instead of just either never mentioning her last name or changing it like she normally did, she changed her entire name. It was just best to make it seem as if she had not made it along with the rest of her family. "The reasons for their passings I cannot actually say."
  9. It was disappointing to hear that this woman did not know any members of the direct Jensen line. Surely she had come across some offshoot lines of the Jensens, though most of them were probably still up north in the chaos attempting to gain power. It was even more disappointing to hear that they were all likely dead. He had genuinely hoped for at least one of them to still be living. Avram remembered the joyous days of the past and had hoped that the return of someone from said past might spark some hope in him that the days of old might come once again. He was not superstitious per say, but any sign of that sort would at least make him feel better about his position.

    "That's a shame," he sighed doubtfully before finishing off his wine. He then grabbed the bottle and began to refill the glass. All this talk of the north had made him crave the northern brew ever more. But the prince was still not entirely convinced that this lowborn maid was as lowborn as she would have everyone believe. Her grammar and clear speech had not changed at all since he mentioned the way she conversed earlier. And she was obviously taking time to think about her words before saying anything. Perhaps it was just the prince being suspicious for no apparent reason, but then again....

    "You are a woman grown. I don't see why you should be working in the kitchen any longer. My sister, Princess Trinity, could always use another handmaiden. And you would only be a few years her senior. I am sure she would love to have someone around closer to her own age." Avram could not tell if she was about to open her mouth in protest or gratitude, but he continued to speak regardless of what she was about to say. "I'll be sure she is notified first thing in the morning. What was your name again?"

    After refilling his glass so that it was full once more, Avram gave her a half smile and turned for the door. "Thank you for the wine... and the chat. I've never conversed with a kitchen maid before." With that he strolled out of the kitchen, leaving her to her duties. The oddness of her behavior slowly faded from his mind as the wine took its effect, leaving him unaware of the fact that the letters given to him by Ser Gerold were still sitting in the kitchen.
  10. And a shame it was, however Myla decided to not voice her opinion on the matter least she reveal anything she didn't want to slip from her mouth. After all, in this castle she was no longer known as Myla Auvray, daughter of the formal nobleman Jensen Auvray, and to be honest she would rather stick with that note. She did wonder, however, of what would happen if she was found out. How would the royals and nobles act upon hearing that she was back, without her father or family. Would they banish her from the capitol and send her back to her retched home in the North, or would they just dismiss her and let her be on her way. Certainly they would not keep her as a maid to the castle, but she did not want to find any of that out.

    She watched as Avram downed the rest of the wine, raising her brows from obvious surprise given how he had acted before about the brew, but, she figured, he must have needed it. Not that she could necessarily blame him, given the fact that there was no doubt of the stress that was placed upon his shoulder for very many things. But, when he again started speaking she couldn't help but find herself lost.

    He wasn't giving her time to speak up against him, not that it was necessarily an off or odd thing, but him insisting that she become a handmaiden to the princess was, a little bit, of a nice gesture, however she wasn't sure if she necessarily wanted it. It seemed as if that would be more work than this, but to be honest she was completely fine with being a kitchen maid. No having to interact with too many people other than the other maids that would work along side her. It was enough for her, but again the Prince would not let her speak, and only was she able to mutter out the fake name she had given herself before he gave her his departure after filling his glass again and then walking off.

    When he was finally out of range and away from her, Myla couldn't help but let out a heavy breath out, shaking her head as she went to the bottle and stuffed the cork back into the opening. Almost was she tempted to take a drink of the liquid herself, but she refrained herself from doing so, no matter how tempting the act was. She put it back into its proper place and finished up with her task of wiping off the counters after finding herself able to be back at her work, but he hadn't taken her much longer to finish, and once she had finally put the dirtied cloth into its proper place to be cleaned with the rest of the things, it was finally time for her to take her leave for bed. Finally.

    Yet it seemed as if fate had other ideas, seeing as right when she went to leave the area of the kitchen, something caught her eye. Turning back towards the counter, when she noticed the letters at the corner of it she pursed her lips before heading over to them, picking them up an examining them. It wasn't her place to really read these, though she could only assume that these had come from the Prince, seeing as he was the last one in here and none of the maids would leave things like this around. He must have forgotten them on his way out, but what was she to do with them?

    She couldn't leave them here, that was or sure, least these be important and someone stumble upon them that wasn't supposed to, such as someone like herself. But what would it look like if she was spotted with these letters when she had no reason of having them? And what were the chances that she would actually see him tomorrow, or anyone of better importance, and what if he needed these papers?

    Despite herself, Myla actually groaned. Maybe she could try and find his chamber, or find a guard that would know what to do with these. Just to tell them that the Prince had left those letters in the kitchen while he was in there and that they needed to be taken back to him. Yes, that sounded like a good enough plan. Now all that needed to be found was a guard. She sighed again; apparently her night wasn't over with yet. Her grip tightened on the parchment a little tighter as she finally willed herself to head down the hall to where she thought, and hoped, at least someone would be. Maybe if she was somehow able to figure her way towards Avram's chambers guards would be posted along his door, that was if she was able to find the place that was. While she may be a maid, she was not given a tour of the castle, and she couldn't remember the general layout of the place from before. The halls were empty though, little light to give her way and believe it or not it unnerved her a bit. Why did she feel like she was getting into something that she didn't want to?
  11. The night was as dark and boring as it always was. Larcin yearned to see battle again. He wanted to feel the steel in his hands clash with the blade of his enemy. He wanted to lead the charge into an open field with nothing standing between him and a blood bath of enormous proportions. To be clear, he did not want the kingdom to go to war if the crown could help it. But odds indicated that there was almost certainly going to be another war. The last war ended within less than a year when the crown crushed an uprising in the East. But that was nearly five years ago, and both Larcin and Avram were still green boys at the time. The young guard desperately wanted to show what he was now capable of, to win honor and glory by putting his life on the line to protect the kingdom. He had large shoes to fill after all, being the son of the legendary Ser Gerold Godfrey.

    It was one thing to have to spend his entire life in the shadow of his father, but Larcin was equally shadowed by his closest friend, the prince himself. He could not complain, however, as he would rather cover himself in honey and awaken a sleeping bear than be told that he must rule an entire kingdom. Avram had clearly been under a lot of stress the past few years attempting to run the most difficult job in the world well before he was ready, and it was certainly taking a toll on him. Only three days ago he barely put up a fight against Larcin in the sparring ring. For so long Avram had always been the better swordsman between the two of them by far while Larcin always liked to claim himself as the more intelligent one, regardless of whether or not it was true.

    Larcin left his thoughts momentarily when he spotted a maid wondering the corridors looking lost beyond reason. It was odd for anyone to be awake this late other than the guards on night duty. He tightened the grip on his spear and marched in her direction. "Miss! What are you doing here? The castle is asleep, as should you be." Upon reaching her, however, he peered down at the items in her hand and raised his eyebrows, looking back up to meet her eyes. "I hope you were given those. If you got them in any other way that would be theft."

    Whatever she said next did not register with Larcin. This maid's face intrigued him greatly for more than a few reasons. For one he had not seen her around the castle before, and yet it looked rather familiar to him. He knew the faces of just about every female servant in the castle, having smuggles quite a few of them into his bed at night. But he would have remembered this one had he managed to lure her in, and not just because of the pretty face, but because of the odd familiarity. "Have you worked here long? You seem familiar but I don't think I have seen you around. What is your name?"
  12. The silence was unsettling, as if there were people lurking among the shadows, watching her every move, ready for her to make a mistake so that they could strike her down. Myla knew that that was only her paranoia speaking for her mind, but she still couldn't help but let the thought plague her mind. It was one of the many reasons why she tried to frequent places that generally always had some type of noise going on, whether it be soft or loud. Though it did have a tendency to become quite obnoxious, she had learned to be able to drown it out, or most of it anyway. But only the sound of her shoes hitting against the ground lightly as she walked was what she heard, and it didn't help much.

    However, when she finally did hear another voice she couldn't help but jump at the sudden recognition, especially since she had heard the voice before she had seen the man begin to approach her.

    It was almost like when the Prince had first showed himself into the kitchen; her posture become straighter, her muscles all the more tense. Her eyes caught the glint of light bouncing off of the staff that the guard was holding, but her eyes met his in a quick moment before they looked down to the letters she held in her hand. She held them up to him, looking back at the guard. "His Highness Prince Avram had forgotten to take these with him after leaving the kitchen but a short while ago. I only figured that it would be my duty to try and find him, or a guard perhaps, to return these back to so that they do not end up in the wrong hands." She held the papers out to the man, however he seemed to either not process through his mind, or he just decided to ignore what she had said.

    The fact that he found her familiar caused a jolt within Myla. Surely he didn't know who she was. She took in the appearance of his face, her eyes narrowing just the slightest bit as she tried to think of any kind of memory that would spark with him. Nothing. He didn't seem very familiar to her, however she always had been bad when it came to remembering the faces of any of the guards that roamed the castles in her earlier years when she would come to this place. Not because they all looked similar, but because there were many guards that resided within the castle to protect. "I've only been here for three days," she started, giving him an almost wary glance, "so not long. But my name is Ingrede Darlle, but that is of no importance. I am only here to bring back these letters that his Highness had left behind so that I can finally turn in for the night." Again she lifted the papers higher to grab his attention back to them and off of her.
    #12 Shelby, Nov 25, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2014
  13. The name did not sound familiar to him, but Larcin definitely noticed something familiar about this woman who called herself Ingrede. Only three weeks? That could not be. It was as if he had known her from a distant memory, like a dream or something. It was not her face as much as it was her presence. She stood straight and proud, something unusual for a simple maid. Most of them were always bustling about, not necessarily slouched but certainly not standing as tall as she was. But he still could not place where the familiar feeling was coming from so he let it go for now, knowing it would continue to bother him.

    "Begging your pardon, miss. I could have sworn there was something familiar about you, but it must have been my head playing tricks on me again. Larcin Godfrey, at your service," he said with pride, taking the letters that she was now basically waving in his face. "And yes, I am the son of Ser Gerold before you ask. I'll be sure his majesty receives these letters." He then examined her a little more closely, fascinated by the fact that he had not yet seen such an attractive maid wandering about the castle. "I'm sure some of the other maids may have mentioned me already. I have somewhat of a reputation for being quite the charmer in bed. Perhaps I can interest you tomorrow. I will be off guard duty fairly early."
  14. When he finally decided to take the papers from her, Myla let her hands rest back against her sides, her eyes blinking when he made the mention of who he was and who his father was. Ah, the son of Ser Gerold. Now that was a man she had heard of before, not that there were many who hadn't given how important that man was to the Kingdom and royal family, however his son... Disappointed her at best. When she caught the gaze he sent her way she couldn't help but furrow her brows and take a little step back, resisting the act of rolling her eyes in the face of a guard. After all, she had been told to respect everyone that she should run into in this castle, including any of the guards.

    However, there was still a part of her past nobility that despised having to act as such. She knew that she hadn't been doing very well in blending in with the rest of the maids, had even been commented on it by a few of the maids that she had been working with lately, because of the way she spoke and the way she kept herself. But, she figured, with all the years of her father pounding into her head that she was supposed to be a confident woman because of her rank, even despite the fact that she was of the fairer sex, she couldn't help but act anything as such. Nevertheless, Myla knew that being in the castle was much different than the other places she had frequented while on the run. . Here in the castle only the people who were actual royalty or noble were supposed to act as such.

    She shook her head to clear her mind of her thoughts, only to come back into reality when the guard spoke of how some of the other maids had to have mentioned about his reputation, especially in bed. To be honest, she hadn't heard any of that, though that probably had to do with the fact that she tended to drown out the useless chatter of them all. "Why yes, I have heard from some of the maids of how you are." It was an obvious lie, however she hid it well. Bringing a smile upon her lips then, she moved her hands from her side and clasped them together in front of herself. "My, they surely were not mistaken when describing your appearance, now were they? But how could they; after all, you are the son of Ser Gerold. That must count for something, no?" She tried her best to hold back the sarcastic tone that permitted through her statement. Only was she even entertaining this little conversation because she couldn't be completely disrespectful to the man who essentially asked to bed her. Oh the words she wanted to speak, because why would she lay with him? True, only once had Myla laid with another man, however it had more so been out of desperation for some sort of human contact than anything. Nothing more, but she had regretted the act in the end.

    And there was no way she was going to heed to his request, no matter if she did find him attractive enough.

    "Yet all of what I have heard from those maids are quite... Disappointing, in the aspects of you bedding them anyway. More so words of how quick you were and how unsatisfied they were left with after the end of the night." Despite herself, Myla couldn't help but let out the breath of a laugh. "Apparently your charm only seems to pertain to your looks, and nothing else, though I guess I am not too surprised with that. After all, a man who cannot keep one women in his bed must be doing something wrong, or is either incredibly lonely. You decide which you are." Myla knew that she had more than likely spoken out of turn, but it was another one of those things that she just couldn't help. "Unfortunately I have no interest in bedding with you, but I'm sure that someone else would gladly take you up on that offer. Now, if that is all you wish speak of, I'll leave you back to your duties. No need in me keeping you from your post, least something bad happen."

    With the nod of her head, she gave a little bow to the man before turning herself around and walking away. No need in her standing there longer than necessary to talk with him. She did go over the conversation in her head though, reprimanding herself for the way she had acted and for what she had said. It would bring nothing but attention to her if she didn't learn to hold her tongue. She had to stop. She had to actually act as if she was a maid.
  15. At first Larcin took Ingrede's words as flattery. He was no doubt one of the more handsome guards present at the castle, and having a famous father did little to hurt his chances anywhere. But the longer she continued to speak, the more that Larcin got the feeling that she was not completely sold on his libido. He even detected a slight hint of sarcasm in her tone and that made his blood boil. Who did this silly little kitchen maid think she was? He was a guard for the royal palace a Sarvayl, son of one of the greatest knights to ever live, and best friend to the crown prince himself. And she had the audacity to work such a tone with him?

    It was clear that Ingrede was not going to accept his offer, but the method by which she was rejecting the proposal was something new to him. He had been refused a few times before, but never quite like this. She was talking to him as if he were a young child, almost pitying him. Had the whispers she mentioned really been true? No, that could not be. Many of the women he had lain with came back a second time. She was playing with him now, attempting to get under his skin. And the strange part was that it was working. He was enraged by her words but could deliver no responses. Threatening a maid with violence was below him, so he would not stoop to such a level. His father had always taught him to never harm the innocent. The only question was whether or not this Ingrede woman was actually innocent.

    Upon finishing her sentiment, the mouthy maid turned from him and left him alone. Larcin was still speechless. What just happened? He had never come across a lowborn woman with so much confidence in her speech. Most of them usually spoke with their heads down and in barely audible voices. For a moment he thought Ingrede might even shout at him. He would have to keep an eye on this one. Only three weeks spent here and she was already making him question a lot of things about himself.

    The night was mostly sleepless for Avram yet again. He had initially tried to sort through the numerous papers on his desk but gave up reading anything when he realized his mind was far too jumbled. The wine was doing little to settle him, and his thoughts were still on the odd kitchen maid that had, for a brief moment, made him wonder about his past. Despite that, he attempted to find sleep, though it did not come easily. Now all he could think about was all of the death that would inevitably plague the kingdom and the terrible name that would be given to him in the history scripts. The Prince Who Failed. He could picture it as clear as day. Somehow, Avram finally found sleep, though not a pleasant one.

    There was a fire in the great hall and people were running everywhere. Avram had no idea how it happened but he was ordering men every which way to put it out. It was growing stronger by the second. Had they been infiltrated? Was it meant to be used as a scare tactic or a warning for what may be in store? The flames danced before the prince's eyes like exotic entertainers, and in the middle he saw a figure. It was a woman. She was approaching him through the fire and her face was becoming clearer. She ceased walking the moment he recognized that it was Ingrede, though she was not dressed in her kitchen garb. She was in a silk gown furnished with some of the most resplendent designs and an insignia on the front that he had not seen in more than a decade. The mirculous thing was that she was completely unharmed by the fire. In fact it seemed to be giving her life. And then she spoke. "You left us. You betrayed us. It will never happen again." When Avram opened his mouth to respond he found blood pouring out rather than words. A spear was protruding through his chest, the owner of it invisible to him. He spiraled into darkness, seeing only images of the great cities in his kingdom being torn apart by war and blood...

    Avram awoke sweating and panting. The faint hues of dawn were just peaking over the horizon, but the world still felt black. He realized after a moment that he was trembling. Whatever this nightmare meant was something he hoped to never see. But at least he discovered one answer from it. He would have to proceed with caution when approaching this dilemma, but he had no doubt that he could resolve this issue. And his sister Mina was arriving today, along with her husband Lord Carsil and their new son of just three months, Elwin. After today the matter of this kitchen maid was going to be much harder to keep hidden from everyone.
  16. Finding herself not being able to sleep well enough, throughout most of the night Myla just stared up at the ceiling, just wondering, thinking about just many things in general. Though she had experienced nights likes this fairly often, especially after the death of her family, it had been a while since it had happened, and she could only result her lack of sleep with her having seen the Prince once again. Yes, she knew that there had always been the slightest chance of running into him, or at least of seeing his face with just a mere glance, however she figured that with her just being a low kitchen maid those chances had diminished even more.

    Apparently, though, she hadn't been lucky enough.

    And it wasn't even that she was upset to see the man; oh on the contrary. It just... Unnerved her greatly. The fact that she had had a little conversation with him, the fact that he had even admitted to missing her father and his family... It was just a lot to her. It made her think about her past. Think about all of the things she had done with and in her life since it had changed drastically. Made her wonder what would have happened should her father have never been stripped of his title and power. Would they all still be the same? Would any of what was happening now be happening? Those were questions she didn't like to think about because they were questions that she knew would never be able to be answered. They were only what ifs, and life didn't go that way.

    Eventually Myla had found herself some sleep, however it only seemed that she had little because as soon as she seemed to have settled her mind enough to fall into a relatively deep sleep, she was awoken and told to ready herself for the day so that she could go about her duties. But she did just that with no complaining while being relatively silent. Perhaps she should just be like that for the rest of the day; silent, if only to calm her own mind and to keep herself hidden. After all, apparently she didn't talk like a mere kitchen maid, and she knew she couldn't change that about herself nor would she. But her mouth had done enough last night, so why not give it a rest.

    Sighing, it didn't seem like it was long until Myla found herself back in the kitchen and back to work. Little chatter went on among the maids, something about Princess Mina and her husband and son arriving today. That would explain the shift in energy around the place, she figured.


    The morning had come and gone, slowly turning into the early afternoon as the sun began to rise in the sky, little clouds covering its light. The hooves of horses plodding along the ground could be heard, the people outside peeking out of their homes, stopping their work to take a look at the skeptical. After all, it was a wonder and a sight to see the Princess arriving back home, along with her family.

    As suspected, when they had arrived guards had been posted at the front of the castle, their spears held high, their swords sheathed against their sides. It was a reassuring sight, just to know that the place was well protected, but even Mina knew that things could look deceiving. With the decline of her father's health she always wondered, day by day, when she would get notice that he had finally passed on and that Avram would now be announced as king. But also with the decline of her fathers health the kingdom was beginning to shake under the pressure, and she only knew that her brother wasn't fairing too well with things either. But, she supposed, she could cut him a little slack; after all, he had been thrown into to high position rather quickly and without any notice or preparation.

    However she just wasn't sure if she could forgive her father for the way he had changed. It made no sense to her! Nevertheless, she still did love her father dearly, and that would never change.

    Stepping out and walking along side her husband as they approached their way towards the doors of the castle, she shone her smile and looked to her husband, proudly for who he was, yet her eyes turned to her most trusted maiden hand who walked just a few paces behind them, her carrying Elwin in her arms. It was a blessing to have that woman along with her, if only because she would care for Elwin when Mina found herself caught up with something, though she did try her best to be apart of her son's life, as well as tried to make it a point for Carsil as well to do the same. Looking back ahead of her, as soon as they had stepped through the doors of the castle a sense of remembrance started to surround her. She stopped for a second, breathing out a breath before the guards inside bowed in the sight of royalty. Mina gave them short nods. Now, to just meet with her brother, and possibly her mother and father, to see how things really were fairing behind these castle walls.
  17. Three servants assisted the prince as he laced himself up nicely in order to keep his royal image gleaming like always. In truth he felt less and less royal every day. He was not entirely convinced that a ruler was not a slave in this world, at least in the way he was being shown. But Avram always made an effort to at least give off the appearance that he was confident in his own abilities. As he often learned from his mother, appearances matter far more than they should, but they certainly matter. It would be foolish to ignore them out of spite.

    As he examined the rich black doublet encasing his torso, Avram turned on a heel when Belin entered the room, looking bright and ready for the day's events. At least someone was chipper today. "Belin, this might sound odd, but I want you to go to the kitchen and retrieve a young maid by the name of Ingrede. She is to be one of Trinity's new handmaidens. I expect her to be accompanying my sister later today when Mina and Lord Carsil arrive." The squire looked a little puzzled by the order, as the prince was never involved in servant matters. But he was never one to question and order and responded with a short, "As you wish, my lord," before exiting the chambers.

    Pacing down the corridors, Avram met Larcin along his path and greeted his old friend with hearty slap on the back but said nothing when he noticed the stack of letters the guard held out for him. "I would have given this to you last night, but you were fast asleep and I didn't have the heart to wake you. A girl from the kitchens said you left them down there. To be honest I'm surprised you were down there in the first place." Idiot. Avram could not believe how thoughtless he was for leaving important documents out in the open. No doubt it was Ingrede who had found them and given them to Larcin. The question was had she dared a peek at any of them? Had she caught sight of the words on the parchment that Ser Gerold claimed was extremely important?

    Avram would have to question the girl privately, but about more than just the letters. "It was late and I really wanted some wine. I'm sure you of all people can understand that," the prince replied with a grin. Larcin tilted his head to the side in acknowledgement. He often found wine to be a nice thing for relaxing after such a long day. "Aye, that's true. But that girl was pretty sharp with the tongue. If she doesn't learn to bite her words down she'll be in for a hard lesson from someone around here. Not everyone takes insults as well as I do." Avram raised his eyebrows at that, but not in surprise. It only confirmed his previous thoughts even more. "Larcin, everyone takes insults better than you." With a deep laugh, the prince then strolled onward to his destination.

    As expected, the king was not a part of the welcome ceremony. Avram took his father's throne, and his mother sat in her usual spot in the queen's chair. Queen Meredina was dressed as resplendently as she always was, letting the hall glow in fascination of her elegance. It was no secret that she was the mastermind behind the marriage arrangement between Avram and his soon to be bride. Trinity stood next to her mother's throne like the dutiful daughter she was. Avram did not glance over to see if Ingrede was with the rest of her handmaids, as his eyes were now fixed on the entering party. Lord Carsil strode into the hall proudly, arm in arm with Mina. Avram stood up and spread his arms in welcoming. "It is always a welcome sight to see family return to the capital."
  18. When she had been told that she was requested by the Prince to be a new handmaiden for Princess Trinity, Myla hadn't been all too surprised. Apparently Avram had been true to his word when he said that he would mention that she be moved to a different position, however she hadn't expected for it to happen so quickly, or happen without being questioned about whether or not she was right for the job. Then again, according to the squire it had come straight from Avram, and apparently you didn't question his judgement despite how he had been ruling the kingdom.

    She had been singled out in the kitchen, and as soon as the request for her to follow the squire had been made as well as announced that she would be moved to being a handmaid for Princess Trinity, Myla heard the mindless chatter of the kitchen maids. She had half a mind to bite out a snide comment towards them, or to even give them a smug look because apparently this was an honor of some sort, but she kept the notion at bay. No need in her being questioned about it. Besides, she didn't need to make enemies here, especially towards the maids. Though their word hardly meant a thing in the castle, if she was complained about enough things could go to ruin for her, and something like that could not happen.

    She had been brought in the throne room, her eyes searching this way and that, an almost sense of wary dread working through her. The Queen was already seated in her chair, looking dashing as usual, and her youngest daughter stood right next to her mother. Myla had been given skeptical looks from the Queen, and even the Princess as well, but she kept her eyes down as best as she could, only looking up for a quick second when it was announced to the Princess that she was her new handmaid. Curtsying to the Princess, as well as turning to do the same to the Queen, Myla quietly made her way over to where the other handmaids were in the background.

    It wasn't long after that Prince Avram arrived, Myla's eyes searching out the man before she pointed them to look ahead again after noticing that he took the spot of the Kings's throne. Apparently the King himself would not be attending, and it reminded her of the news she had heard of him falling sick and that being the reason why Avram was in the position that he was in now. Apparently the ruler of the kingdom was still fairing no better. Her thoughts were soon redirected, however, when the doors to the throne room opened back up and three, or four rather, people walked in, two of them arm in arm, two others in the back, one of them most definitely being the son of Princess Mina and Lord Carsil and the other probably being their handmaiden. Despite herself, Myla stiffened a bit as the number of royalty increased in the room, Princess Mina and her husband approaching the rest of her family, a smile upon her lips. It almost felt as if she shouldn't be here.

    "Ah, and it is always welcome to be back home," Princess Mina spoke up as they finally stopped, her head turning to motion for her handmaid to step besides them, if only to show her family Elwin a little more. Her eyes scanned each and every one of them then, her smile slowly slipping from her lips at the lack of presence of her father. "Father must have been unable to attend. I assume that he still isn't doing very well?" She looked to Avram with that.
  19. It had been almost six months since Mina and Lord Carsil had last visited. To most that was probably not a very long time, but to Avram it still felt odd seeing his older sister so little throughout the year after having grown up with her for so long. He was dressed as elegantly as a prince should be, but he was sure that Mina still saw the little boy in him who had for so many years done everything he could to be a nuisance in her everyday life. Those were happier times as far as the world was concerned. And once again Avram found himself longing for the old days gone by. Mina would undoubtedly agree with him even if it meant being harassed by his shenanigans again.

    Her question did little to ease his mood, but Avram kept his smile on to impress the court and all of its attendants. "I'm afraid not. His illness only seems to be growing worse," he replied in a hushed tone. "But we will discuss that another time. I am sure everyone wishes to know everything about the future Lord of Barrenton in all his might," he said, nodding towards the maiden cradling the young babe ever so gently. "I am told he is the most fearsome warrior in all the land."

    The queen stepped forward to great her eldest child, planting a kiss on each cheek and beaming from ear to ear. "It's wonderful to see you, my lovely. Come, let us not linger here. The men must do their talking again and clearly have much to do. I have set up tea for us in the gardens." Trinity joined in the welcome and embraced her sister lovingly, though she was noticeably more excited to see Elwin and was clearly waiting for her opportunity to play the loving aunt she had had been waiting to be so eagerly.

    Avram grasped forearms with Lord Hedric Carsil and greeted him with a respectful nod, which he returned promptly and politely. He was not by any means the most powerful lord in the kingdom, but Barrenton was one of the most crucial harbors to the crown's economy, so it was always beneficial to maintain good relations with the Carsils. Hedric himself was a sturdy man about eleven years Avram's senior, though his scruffy beard added another ten. He was also rather stoic and not the most adept at displaying emotion. Some would even call him a difficult man. But his father had always been a trusted ally and there was no reason to believe Hedric was any different.

    "It is good to see you, Lord Carsil. I have prepared the council chambers for us, but we will not meet just yet. I have some business to take care of that requires immediate attention. It should not be long. In the mean time I will have someone escort you to discuss things with Yaryk." Hedric nodded in understanding. "As you wish, your grace. I am sure you have many things to take care of. The news on the port can wait. There is nothing much of interest to tell anyway." With that the lord parted as well and Avram went off towards his chambers again. After his brief greeting with Mina he had managed to spot 'Ingrede' among Trinity's handmaidens. "Belin," the prince said, turning his head to face the squire who had been behind him the entire time, "My sisters handmaiden, Ingrede, will be at tea right about now. I need for you to request her presence in the kitchen. Tell her extra help will be needed to set up for the dinner that has been prepared for my fiancee's arrival." The ford 'fiancee' made him wince slightly. "But you will not take her to the kitchen. You will bring her to my chambers."
  20. Mina willed the frown that wanted to crease her lips to stop, so as not to show her utter disappointment with her father's health condition, but Avram was right. Now was not a time to worry about such things, and such things were better left spoken about in private where no wandering ears could hear of what really could be going on. She even thought about asking how his own health was fairing, both mental and physical, but, again, she figured that that was something else better left in private. It was true, though her brother used to be a pain in her arse, she missed him terribly, along with the rest of her family, yet they all knew that she had always held a soft spot for her little bother. There was still a sense of pity she felt for him and the position that was left to him so suddenly, but she figured it wasn't worth worrying about. Nothing would change, and nothing could change.

    The lightest breath of a laugh escape from her lips before she turned her gaze to look down at little Elwin, smiling fondly at her little bundle before she turned back to Avram. "Ah yes, he will certainly be a fierce one when he grows, especially if he takes after his father." She gave a quick glance to Carsils and then back. "But he already as quite the mighty cry when he seeks attention. I am sure that that will amount to something later on in life."

    She greeted with her mother then, having missed having her mother's presence around, especially after the birth of her son. There had been moments when she wanted to speak with her mother about her son and all that went with him, and even before he was born she wanted to ask things but found herself unable to, which, in a sense, left her a bit homesick. However, she knew where she resided in now, and nothing of that would change, nor did she want it do. She had her new home, her own family, and she wanted to stand by her husband's side. "It's wonderful to see you too, Mother, Trinity." After their words were spoken, embraces taken, the three women headed back down the corridor, Mina's maidenhand following right alongside them, Trinity cooing at her little nephew quietly. Mina figured that since Elwin had taken a nap along the way here, why not let him socialize with his grandmother and aunt, seeing as he still had yet to meet them.

    Myla followed right along with them, the other handmaidens walking a few paces ahead of her, but she continued to watch the commotion that went on with everyone as their Princess Mina walked past them, along with their Queen and youngest Princess. It was all a skeptical, and Myla knew of the reasons why people were so excited to see her back in her home, or rather they acted as such. After all, one could never be too sure of someone's emotions were true or not. But she digressed. Had this been another time, she might have been a little happy, but now? All she could think about was staying low, and just thinking about the new position that she was given.

    As they stood out in the garden area, a little table laid out with plates and tea cups, the three royal women sitting among one another, talking about various things such as how Mina's life in general had been, how Elwin's life was going, and just... Everything. Myla eventually ended up drowning the woman out, only finally snapping out of it when the squire, that same one that had come to her earlier that day, had approached the women, looking her way and then saying that Prince Avram has requested her presence back in the kitchens. They needed more hands, apparently, to help prepare for Avram's fiance's arrival.

    And here she thought she was actually going to be out of the kitchen. No matter how odd the notion seemed, especially since Avram had already requested for her to be moved from the kitchen, she didn't question it and instead just followed along the squire. Except, he wasn't leading her in the direction of the kitchen. As they traveled along another corridor, their steps echoing noises around them, Myla steeled a breath before she looked at the squire ahead of her. "If I may say something, I don't think that-" But the man held his hand up in her direction, silencing her as she flinched back slightly.

    He merely replied back with a 'continue to follow without speaking' and despite herself, Myla did just that. Maybe they were taking a different route. However, when they finally stopped in front of a door one with a guard standing in front of, she finally grew nervous. "His Highness has requested your presence in his chambers, not the kitchen." He turned to look at Myla, who only stood there with her eyes widened. The door was opened then, and after she was given an expectant look, she was ushered into the room, keeping her eyes down still. Why would he want her here? Had she done something wrong. Surely he hadn't figured out who she was, right? No, there was no way. He had been none the wiser the night before, and she doubted if that knight would have come to any conclusion. Yet, why would he call her to his chambers?