Prompt: In the woods.
Response: Azure: Part Two
Selim clenched her fists, looking around her to make sure that no one had seen her standing idle. She shuddered as she considered what an observer might have thought of her - the daughter of a grounds keeper watching a knight with stars in her eyes. It was one thing for Katty, the miller's lovely girl, to bat her eyes at the Keep's men. So long as she kept any actual interaction to dark corners, no one would infringe on the flirting of a beautiful, high-class servant girl - particularly not Khein, the Captain of the Guard. And if Khein did not see any impropriety, none existed.
Selim thought of how her family would have reacted. Her mother would have looked at her sadly, her creased brown face dark with an emotion Selim could not read. She would not have even been able to hazard a guess at her mother's thoughts. And mother would have said nothing, as she always did. Her father or eldest brother would have struck her across the face, purposefully leaving a welt that she would be forced to be ashamed of for days. They probably would have muttered something about the uselessness of daydreams and women.
Pushing away her quiet speculations, Selim stole one last glance at William's disappearing figure. He was headed down to the practice fields, she knew. He was convinced that he was not yet a skilled enough marksman with the crossbow - though Selim, as much as she watched, had never seen him miss - and he went there often. He was beautiful - all sun and spotless white. Selim bit her cheek until it bled inside her mouth.
A gentle touch on her shoulder made Selim jump. She whirled to find her brother Namen looking at her. He had, doubt, seen the object of her focus, but he did not comment. "Father is waiting. He wants to finish at least one more today."
He removed the rope coil from her grasp, his every movement caring and slow - as if he was dealing with an injured lamb. Selim knew that he pitied her, as he pitied the lost, broken lambs. She swallowed the blood in her mouth and ran her tongue over the roughly healed spot. It stung.
They walked in silence that was neither companionable nor uncomfortable. Namen was the only person Selim knew whose pity did not anger her. He was a mere ten months older than her and had been her protector and companion since infancy. And though he had never been her confidant, he seemed to know or guess everything she thought. The trees of Davenwood Keep were tall and silent. The King's endless logging that had begun several years before had halted the wood's beautiful singing and, beneath the green canopy, it was eerily still. The memory of the sound of the trees' voices momentarily distracted Selim from her thoughts of William and brought tears to her eyes. She felt that she had lost a friend the day that the trees became still - a much closer friend than even Namen.
Notes: Sorry this isn't longer - I have a bunch more written that was meant for today, but my computer usage is extremely curtailed and it was originally handwritten so . . . I will try and make up for it tomorrow. So Part Two . . . to be continued!