Nicolas stood up. He felt around his face for blood, but there wasn’t any. Not a single drop on his body. He felt around his back for the lashes, but instead felt a soft silky fabric. Nicolas was fully clothed, and was surrounded by darkness. Am I dead now?
Nicolas walked around the darkness. “What is this place?” he wondered. Where are the heavens? Is this the end?
Nicolas looked up to the darkness above him. “Helloooooooooooooo!” His voice echoed. Gusts of wind started to blow and it howled. He ran in the darkness. “Hellooooooooooooooooo!” He kept running and running until he couldn’t run any more. Gasping for air, he sat down, wondering where he was and where he was going.
Suddenly, a pillar of light shined directly on Nicolas. It came from some place high in the air. He could not see where the source of light was coming from. It was beyond what Nicolas could see. The pillar of light intensified, and he began to hear a chorus of chants. But as he heard this more and more, he realized that this wasn’t chanting.
It was a series of whispers, in a mysterious language Nicolas could not understand. The collective, perpetuating sound of several whispers combined into a beautiful symphony. The whispers became more and more, reaching a crescendo. Each voice was different. Each varied in pitch and tone. All the voices shared the same common request. One whisper, however, stood out from all the rest. This one was crying.
Amongst the melodious whispers, the pillar of light lifted Nicolas upward. “What is going on?”
The pillar of light lifted Nicolas higher and higher. Finally, it shot Nicolas down into the darkness. “Where am I g…ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!”
Nicolas opened his eyes. To his surprise, there was no blood on him at all. He was lying in a fairly spacious bed, with pink covers. It was a girl’s bed, Nicolas guessed, but he didn’t care. The only thing that mattered to him right now was where in Copia he was and what happened to him. He then noticed a young woman wearing a maid outfit. It was the kind of clothes a servant girl would wear. Who is this girl, and where am I? This left Nicolas shocked and confused.
“Darlene!” the young woman shouted. “He’s alive!”
“He is?” a young woman’s voice shouted from another room.
Nicolas pulled back the pink covers. There was not a scratch to be found anywhere. He felt around his back for the wounds that would have been left by all the lashes he received. There were none. This did not make sense at all. How was this so? He felt brand new and was now in the room of a complete stranger. Was it all a bad dream? The capture? The dungeon? Being stabbed to death? Nicolas shook his head in confusion. What is going on here?
Another young woman ran into the room to see Nicolas sitting on the bed. She waved her hands and jumped for joy. “He is, Donna! Thank you, Master! Thank you!”
Nicolas’s sight adjusted, and he began to take stock of the various surroundings. He saw a lavishly decorated room, filled with all kinds of luxuries a person would have if they could buy whatever they wanted. There was a chestnut oak table in the corner and a wardrobe lined with bronze in the other corner. Atop the table sat the Copian Scriptures, all aged and worn. It, however, looked different from Nicolas’s copy. His copy looked brand new, which clearly indicated how little he studied it. Next to the Copian Scriptures was a diary, with a quill pen sitting in a jar of ink. A candelabrum with three lit candles sat in the center of the table. With all the colors and decorations, this, Nicolas knew, was a girl’s room. A rich girl’s room. Then it hit him. How could a peasant like him even compare to her?
The girl stared at Nicolas and smiled. She figured he was still shocked from what happened to him, which would be revealed soon enough. “It’s okay.” She then turned to Donna. “Donna, can you please get him some wildflower tea? He still looks shaken.”
The girl was right. Nicolas was shaken. Normally, Nicolas would have been able to gather his wits by now. But this situation was over his head, and left him dumbfounded, not being as sharp and full of wit as he was. He stared at this girl with confusion, and began pondering various things concerning him. Who was this girl? Where was he, and how did he end up in this house? Was I really dead, or was I dreaming?
Nicolas looked at the girl again. She was, he guessed, about his age and looked beautiful. He glanced at her clothes head to toe. She wore an azure dress, with a white petticoat and white stockings. Her black hair was like silk, and flowed halfway down her back. Her eyes were blue. Her complexion, smooth and fair. Two small golden earrings adorned her lobes. It was at this moment that Nicolas fell under her spell. At least it felt that way to Nicolas, considering that the girl has never practiced magic before in her life. The love spell had worked its full effect on Nicolas, and he was now deeply in love with her. Looking at her face again, he noticed that it was moist with tears. Who did she say she was again? Nicolas was determined to find out.
Nicolas then redirected the attention to himself and noticed that he was wearing strange new clothes. It was an old red shirt with tan pants to match. This he knew, was not the same clothes he wore before his capture. His undergarments were the only clothes he remembered wearing. Touching the shirt and pants, which he didn’t like, puzzled him. Who dressed me?
The girl saw Nicolas staring at his clothes. He must still be in shock, she figured. Maybe the tea will help. She then pointed at the clothes that Nicolas was wearing. “Oh, those?” She said. “I dressed you in father’s old clothes. You were only in your undergarments when I found you.”
Nicolas took another stare at the girl. Finally regaining his wits, he was trying to think of what to say. It had to impress her. Nothing stupid, he figured, or she would laugh, and this would embarrass him. I can’t say anything dumb or I’ll blow it. Finally, after mustering all the courage he had in himself, he said, “I’m Nicolas.”
The girl kneeled down near the bed Nicolas was sitting on. “Nicolas? That’s a nice name. I’m Darlene. Actually, my full name is Darlene Heartsworth. I’m so happy that you’re alive!”
Nicolas frowned, and shook his head in disbelief. “Alive? The last thing that I can remember is being stabbed to death….” That was all it took for Nicolas to burst into tears. Brushing the tears off his eyes, his face reddened with embarrassment. He blew it. “Sorry,” he replied sheepishly.
On the bed, Darlene kneeled down near Nicolas and placed her hand on his shoulder. “It’s okay,” she said. “Let it out.”
Another woman entered the room, holding a cup filled with tea. Nicolas still didn’t get the name of this woman in servant’s clothes. Another feature that he noticed was that her hair was pulled back in a ponytail. He also noticed the robes she wore and the sandals that covered her feet. “Here’s your tea, sir. It’s wildflower tea. I hope you enjoy it.”
Nicolas wiped off the remaining tears and grabbed the cup from the woman. “I surely will. And, who are you?”
Darlene’s face blushed, and she turned back to Nicolas. “I’m sorry! I haven’t introduced her to you! This is Donna, my maid and best friend.”
Donna curtsied, and gave a smile of approval. “It’s a pleasure to meet you….”
“Nicolas.” he replied tersely. “And Darlene, can you tell me what is going on? Where am I, and how did I end up here?”
As Darlene was beginning to speak, Donna sat to the left of her, and listened in to the discussion.
Darlene began to speak, but no words came out. And it was quite hard for her to get them out. Tears began to run down Darlene’s cheeks, as the memory flashed back into her mind. “You….” she finally said, gulping. “You….were dead!”
©2011 K. L. Walker
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