It was long past sunset in the sea-side kingdom if Beruemore. The castle at the heart of the famous kingdom had fallen into a midnight peace, and the massive feasting hall it held was no different. The only thing that could be heard this evening was the light and even breathing of its sole occupant. The man servant was staying up, washing the floor for the celebration that would be held in two days' time.
But Marques did not mind the silent night, in fact he was enjoying every moment of it. It was rare to have a bit of solitude in the castle; there was an always party or a war meeting or some sort of court being held. The man-servant did not care for such events, and he knew that the monarch silently held the same feelings. So the dark haired man continued to wash the wooden floor.
A door creaked open, echoing throughout the hall. The man servant turned to the front doors, and saw a hooded figure slip their way into the hall, closing the massive door behind them as quietly as they could.
"Who goes there?" He demanded. The intruder asked,
"What are you still doing up?" Marques instantly recognized the voice.
"I could ask you the same, Tasmine." The monarch pulled down her hood, allowing her curly blonde hair to fall past her shoulders. As she lightly crossed her way towards Marques, he noticed her abnormal entire. She wore an ordinary and faded green peasant dress with a brown cloak on her shoulders. But the man servant raised a questioning eyebrow at her crown-less head. "Sneaking out for another ride my lady?"
"Well, not technically." Tasmine answered once she reached him. The monarch knelt alongside Marques. "But why are you still working Marques? You should've retired to bed a while ago." The man servant merely shrugged.
"I couldn't sleep, too much must be done." He eventually replied. Tasmine sighed.
"I know too well how that feels," She commented. The Monarch took hold of an extra rag from Marques' water pale and started to scrub the floor alongside him. Ordinarily people would shrink at such a sight, after all a monarch as famous and powerful as Tasmine was better than a slave's work. But the monarch and man servant had a special and rare type of relationship for their situation…friendship. The two worked in a comforting silence for a while. Then Marques broke the silence.
"Do not blame yourself for the execution." Lady Tasmine paused from her work.
"What?" The olive-tone servant looked at the fair monarch.
"I know you're blaming yourself for the execution of spy Rosalinda…but don't. She brought it upon herself, and you had to do the best for your country." Tasmine sighed.
"I've never wanted to hurt Zucuo." She whispered.
"I've always loved him."
"But the kingdom needed the alliance with the Building Guild, we would've fallen weeks after we begun…I had to marry Garwin." She finished with a broken whisper. Marques moved his hand to hers as a comforting motion.
"I know Tasmine, and Zucuo knows it too." He tried to comfort. Tasmine offered up a sad smile.
"Yeah," She sadly breathed. "But how are Fiona and Alex doing?" She asked, scrubbing the floor once again.
"They're brilliantly wise for their age. You should be proud; both of them would make a wonderful king or queen one day." Tasmine wistfully smiled to herself.
"That's good. So does Garwin visit them often?" Marques shook his head slowly. "Oh." Tasmine sighed.
"They understand, Tasmine. They know how much you care, for both them and the kingdom. They know that you and your husband have much to do." He paused, and then added. "It's ok." Tasmine shrugged.
"Sometimes it seems like that's not good enough."
A silence fell between the two once more, however this time it was not so comfortable. Marques scrubbed the floor slightly harder while Tasmine seem to be lost in a thought.
"Marquis," She started. He turned towards her. "You're only my servant by choice. I know you don't like the busyness and the constant crowds, you're free to leave whenever you want."
"Yes I am, and?"
"Why haven't you?" Marquis didn't answer right away. He scrubbed in silence as he pondered over how to reply. Tasmine began to worry she may have crossed some sort of secret line, and was about to apologize when he finally spoke.
"I have a strong sense of duty Tasmine, just like you. You do what is needed for your kingdom, and in a way so am I."
"I don't quite understand." Tasmine replied. Marques somewhat shrugged.
"Yeah I may not always like the constant commotion that goes about, but at least I have a greater purpose here than probably any other job I'd get out there." He motioned towards the window.
"Oh…I see." Tasmine commented, tone dropping ever so slightly.
"And, if I maybe so bold my lady…but I've come to see you as a close friend; and close friends stick together and help one another." He added. Tasmine stared at the man servant for a few moments. Unexpectedly she pulled him into a tight embrace.
"Thank you." Tasmine whispered in his ear. Marques gently squeezed her back.
"No problem." Tasmine pulled away and smiled. "But if you will excuse me, I have some official business to attend to." She added getting to her feet. Her cloak swayed from the sudden movement, revealing a silver sword with a slightly bluish glow at her waist. Marques felt a shiver run down his spine as he instantly recognized the infamous blade; the Wrymslayer.
"At this hour?" Marques called out the monarch as she retreated into the shadows. Without stopping Tasmine smiled and replied,
"Yes, seems a tad but unusual to locate a retired spy during the day." And with that she completely disappeared into the shadows, leaving Marques alone in the vast feasting hall once more.