~I've always wanted to fulfil a dream.
But when work, labour and hunger knock at the window, i have no choice but to leave and
go back to reality ...~
Katilda set down her quill, took another spoonful from the bland cabbage soup, and sliced another loaf of bread for herself. Although nobody was around, she always sat and ate in a reserved manner, just in case somebody were to appear. -But then again, nobody had been around for years.
She took another hunk of bread into her dainty fingers and downed it with tepid rainwater from the collector basin she had placed outside her cottage. It tasted sordid, gritty and metallic, but it was all she could make do with.
The wind whistled harshly into her ear. Thunder chorused outside, and the curtain-flap of her home had become undone again. She was but a poor peasant girl, in a poor peasant house - or not even. More like a sorry little flat attached to the back of a bakery, with gaping holes for windows. The curtain flap billowed open, allowing the rain and wind into her home. Unfortunately, the wind had also blown out her candle, so she had to fumble for the draw of the curtain in the darkness.
She stretched out the curtain and attached it to it's hook. Shortly after, the wind blew and the curtain was back to its frantic state. Exasperated, Katilda tore the curtain from the window and ventured out to the front of the house for any wooden board to cover the window with.
Wrapping the dirty mauve curtain around her shoulders, she cautiously stepped outside, drenching her feet in a muddy puddle. Ignoring the sick squelch of the ground beneath her and continued searching.
She found what she was looking for - A weathered old board of plywood. It had rotten over some corners but it would have to do.
She picked up the board and turned around to head back into her flat when a sudden sliver of light flashed by. She squinted her eyes as she looked in the direction of the light, only to see the silhouette of a figure resting beneath her verandah. The moonlight shone upon the figure's clothing, illuminating the area although it was night
The figure, sensing another presence turned around. It rose to face her, and the groan of rusted metal cut through the rain. Was it wearing armour?
Hastily, Katilda beckoned for it to come inside her home. The small figure approached and soon they were both under the cold, dry shelter of the flat.
one. two. three.
The match lit. Katilda lit the lamp between them two, her hands still quivering from the cold.
Finally, she could see through the darkness, and was taken aback by what she saw.
The figure, a man, stood before her. From afar in the night, he had seemed of short stature, but beside Katilda, he was a full head taller than her. His brown hair dripped with water. Katilda watched the droplets mingle with the beads of sweat on his forehead, then trickle down towards his jaw speckled with stubble of hair. He had not shaved in days, it seemed.
What caught more of her attention was the armour he was wearing. He was a knight! Her eyes trailed across his chest plate of tarnished metal and the peculiar insignia on his breast that followed.
"Hello, brave one." Katilda said, addressing him with the title one was supposed to call a knight.
the man seemed to be distracted.
"Would you... care for some?"
Katilda gestured towards the bowl of cabbage soup
silence. Katilda then began to fill a spare bowl with the brothy liquid, until the man raised his palm and shook his head. "No thanks, ma'am."
Katilda paused, almost forgetting where she was, and returned the soup to the pot. It had been so long since she had last served to a visitor. "Oh. It is alright then." She awkwardly mumbled and dutifully packed away the dishes.
She glanced at the man, and saw that he was still young. Perhaps about 18-20 years of age. He stood tensely by the door and hadn't moved a step since he had entered.
"What brings thee here?" Katilda offered, attempting to make conversation. "At such a late hour, too..."
"I seek shelter from the pouring rain." He replied. Katilda looked up and met his eyes. brown orbs met green and locked together for a few pulses until the knight broke contact. His gaze fell to the floor. "For I am an outcast." He murmured shamefully.
"Oh, I see. I take pity upon thee."
Another tense moment of silence followed. Katilda gestured towards the hay loft. "Make yourself at home, brave one."
The knight followed. Katilda nodded as he walked past her. He nodded courteously back.
" Pray, tell me. How did you come to be, knight?"
"Sir Rinako." He corrected.
"..Sir Rinako." She said.
She awaited a reply. Instead, he sat there rubbing his thumb across his chin and thoughtfully looking into the distance.
after yet another pause, she shrank. "I apologise. A maiden like me shouldn't delve into the life of somebody none other than myself. "
He snapped out of his reverie and spoke. "No, it is okay. I was framed, twas my best fellow who did it. For i was such a fool to have trusted an outsider. He told the other knights that I had been giving him our stock supply of food. I was then outcasted and my fellow joined the knights. Now I am here." He sighed and leaned back. "Thankyou, young maiden, for granting me a place to stay."
"Such a tragic fate for one so kind. . . -And it is my pleasure, Sir Rinako. Thankfully, i am not one to deceive!" Katilda replied, softly laughing at her own joke. The knight smiled and pondered. Seeing as they were beginning to open up to one another, Katilda pulled out a chair and gestured for Rinako to sit. "Why thank you." He smiled, and eased into the cold furnishing.
Changing topic, katilda asked "Are you familiar with our town of Ethmondyre?"
The knight shook his head. "I just wondered in, resting on a traveller's carriage."
"Well! I shall make it my duty to introduce you to our kind folk tomorrow morning."
Katilda smiled warmly. Her eyes trailed to his armour. She studied his insignia. Her smile then faded.
"Who's army do you... Well, did you, serve sir? The emblem on your chest is unfamiliar to me."
"Ah.. of course, of course. I served the King Cross Knights."
The king cross knights. Katilda had faintly heard of them, but she knew they were rumoured to be quite notorious.
"Ah. King Cross, King Cross... Very well known in this kingdom, i might say. Well known for their ...Strict regime. Explains your cast away."
Rin stroked the back of his head uneasily. "that's right."
Breaking the tension, Katilda walked back towards the kitchen behind her and began to knead out some dough she had made an hour prior. "I'll be in the kitchen making pastries if you need me! Make yourself at home, for we have a long day ahead of us tomorrow." She called. Suddenly, she realised she had not intended to make it seem like Sir Rinako was compelled to stay for the day tomorrow. However, since he had made no comment about it, she decided to persist with the plan.
"I humbly serve for your comfort, fair knight." Katilda added. She looked up at Rin, smiled briefly, and returned to her kneading and rolling.
"Goodnight, ma'am." Rin said, to which she replied. She watched as he jumped right into the hay and drifted off to sleep.
She channelled her focus back into her pastry-making. Aloud, katilda pondered "Sweet or savoury?"
She heard a voice whisper silently. Katilda smirked and continued to create the dish. Finally, the weights of sleep tugged on her eyelids and she retired to the hayloft as well, drifting off into a calm sleep amidst the raging storm.