10 December 2012 @ 10:07 pm
*NaNo Project* Part the Second - Section the Sixth - The Student 950 AD  
The large square of the city was packed with people when Mother, Father and I arrived as the sun was setting. It seemed that everyone in the entire capital had come, including the King, Queen and Prince.

It was my first sight of Prince Caerleon in years, he was now a fully fledged knight, sixteen years of age and imposing even from a distance. He had a look of smugness upon his face as he stood up on the dais that had been erected for the royal family. As if he owned us all, which I supposed technically, he did or would.

Still, I was safe enough where I was, I hoped. I supposed it was possible the royals might go into the crowd as they were wont to do at such events.

Mother and Father stood close together and I asked if I could be excused because shortly the second evening bell would ring and I should at that time be in front of the building with the intricate stonework to meet with Dylis.

“Well, be careful,” Mother remarked and patted my shoulder.

“I will,” I nodded and then began winding my way through the crowd towards the building we had agreed to meet at. I arrived there first and for some minutes I could see no sign of Dylis and wondered if she was coming after all.

The King had stepped forward and raised his hands for silence from the extremely loud crowd so that he could speak.

“My people, I welcome you to our Midsummer’s Eve Festival, a long and celebrated tradition of this great land. And since we are holding our decennial Market I can see we have an even greater number of people than usual with us today. My special welcome in particular to you.”

At that moment I felt a hand suddenly upon my shoulder, which made m jump.

“It’s just me, Geoff,” Dylis’s voice sounded in my ear. “Honestly, you’re so jumpy. Do raiders invade the town of Monmouth often perhaps?”

I shook my head. “No, I just thought, perhaps…never mind.”

Dylis looked at me curiously and for a moment it seemed she would ask me to explain, but then she shrugged her shoulders and looped her arm through mine. “Come on, let’s see if we can get to the front of crowd, we’ll have a much better view there.”

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do that, because it certainly made it more likely that I would be spotted by the Prince and if I was what would I do?

Still…I suppose even if he did he wouldn’t do anything in front of so many people, that would be ridiculous, wouldn’t it?

I held on tightly to Dylis’s hand as we wound through the crowd at one point we passed Meurig who joined us and considering the width of him allowed us to make even better progress.

“So, you’ve been spending a lot of time with my sister, should I be concerned?” He asked me with a raised eyebrow.

I blushed bright red, but thankfully it was quite dark, so I don’t think he noticed. Still I didn’t actually answer him and he gave me a punch on the upper arm. “Don’t panic, I trust you, seeing how you gamble.”

“Leave Geoff alone, Meruig,” Dylis gave him a look. “He’s a complete gentleman.”

Well, that was a nice compliment.

We finally did get to the front of the crowd, near the partitions that separated us from the bonfire. The royal family was still mingling with their subjects, so I breathed a sigh of relief.

It wasn’t all that long lived however, because after only a few moments, there was more jostling, the crowd moving to allow the King, Queen and Prince back to the front. The Prince passed within mere feet of me, and I had the absorbed urge to duck down behind Meruig so he wouldn’t see me. He didn’t look in my direction however, so I decided I was safe and so was able to relax.

The King spoke to us once again. “I wish I could spend longer with you all, my people, but the night won’t wait. So! It is my honour and pleasure to instruct my son, the Prince Caerleon –“ There was a pause as the crowd gave a great roar, evidentally they didn’t know him as well as I did – “to light the fire for this celebration of Midsummer.”

There were the sounds of drum rolls and a large man, who I assume was the King’s Champion moved across the square with a large brazier in hand. The Prince, somehow managing to look even more smug then he had before, stepped forward with a torch in this own hand. He and the King’s Champion met and the Prince lit his torch from the brazier then turned and headed over to the pile of wood.

There was a great cheer as the Prince tossed the torch upon it and it erupted into flames with a whoosh. It was the most incredible thing I had ever seen! Never in my life had I heard fire make a sound like that and the feeling of heat was immediately evident. Which when one thought about it, wasn’t exactly what one needed in the middle of summer, but the Druids would have their reasons I suppose. I decided then and there I would need to get a book about the Old Religion.

Dylis leaned in close and spoke over the now crackling flames. “It’s beautiful isn’t it, Geoff?”

“Yes, but hot,” I shook my head.

Dylis giggled. “It is, do you know what they used to do, when the Old Religion was still here?”

“Um, no,” I couldn’t imagine.

“People used to undress…completely and dance around the bonfire.”

“They what?”

“Dance around the bonfire naked,” Dylis repeated, laughing some more. “It was warm enough to after all.”

I shook my head, I couldn’t even…the very idea! I prayed nothing like that would happen tonight, I mean really…

“It’s a bit of a shame,” Dylis gave a sigh, then patted my cheek. “But we can imagine can’t we?”

I coughed and spluttered in complete and total embarrassment.

Really, Dylis was a strange girl.

Or perhaps more to the point I was a strange boy as she said.
 
 
Current Mood: silly