Disclaimer: I do not own the characters or anything else god. They all belong to the amazing Dawn Cook.

A/N: T his is the firs fic, or story at all I have decided to let others read. So please be nice, but feel free to give advice for improvements. English is not my first language so there is bound to be both some spelling and grammar issues. I like to apologise for those already. Enjoy!

Chapter 1

Tess looked out of the window in her room. Trying to massage the ace from her temples and wondering how this new game had come to be so complicated.

The whole mess had started some months ago, over a lunch with my sister. Contessa had asked how it was going whit Jeck, and I had started on a polite and correct answer when Contessa suddenly slapped her small hand in the sturdy wood table. An old gesture from her country upbringing no doubt, and with a very un-queen like curse she said that she did not care about any diplomacy answer.

"Any human with two eyes in their head can se that you and Jeck love each other, and if you Tess is the only one unaware, you is dumber than a newborn chicken!"

She continued to proclaim;

"As your sister I want your happiness, and did definitely not plan to let the rumours go wild when in the meantime you are both to well behaved to do more than look at each other and moan. Let it be that Jeck is no royalty but that is not to stop anything!"

I had thought something of how the word well-behaved must be one of the last words in the dictionary to describe Jeck, but didn't say anything about it.

I had mostly sat in silence and felt amazed at how sincere my sister was. Of Contessas words I imagined this was a matter she had brooded on a lot. That in itself was interesting because I had believed I by now had learned to read my sister like an open book. I also sent a silent thank-you prayer to whoever listened, that our queen only speeches like this when we are in relatively privacy. All these thoughts went thru my head before I started to worry about the matter in itself. There was no meaning in trying to change the subject yet, so I had just listened for the moment.

Contessa had no knowledge about my apprenticeship that led me to spend a lot of my free time with Jeck. To train, play or just discuss the kingdom and the ongoing game with all that came with that. That I really like the darn drot to captain is not something I am planning to admit to a living soul. I decided the best way to play this unexpected event out was to try and stop it before it grew anymore. (All the rumours about me and Jeck that flew around in the castle and city were more than enough already. It was some amazing things I had to admit if they would have had the tiniest seed of truth in them.)

So when the right moment arrived I jumped into the flow of words and stopped Contessa midsentence.

"I understand your worry, but it is not a matter a queen can solve. And as your sister I am glad that you worry about me, but I want to live life my own way."

After a start on a complaint from Contessas side and feints from me, I managed to change the subject to the king that at that moment was out of the palace on a trip in the country. That Jeck had followed alone to play his game annoyed me, but it also gave me a well needed break to take care of the things around me here without worrying when he might turn up and distract me. Not that he probably is even aware of it or can do much about it; I have to admit but still…

My head starts to feel better and I enjoy the silence and fresh air in my rooms. To think that such a trivial meal could send the sparks to all the mess I am in right now, just terrific! A knock on the door did the job of sending me back to reality. That sturdy sound was impossible to mistake so I just said tiredly.

"Yes captain Jeck, you can enter."

I went in the direction of the door and in the same time tried to flatten my dress that had got in disorder when I'd been sitting.

"Princess Thess so lovely to meet you today, and here of all places!" Jeck says with a voice full of sarcasm at the formal and polite words.

It is no wonder I thought, after all I have done my best to avoid him the last week.

Jeck continue, determination in his voice:

"We have to talk, in private."

I know that means a horse ride out of the city. He feels the most at ease when he can get free of all ears and eyes on him. I look directly up at him and ask firmly;

"Is that an order or a suggestion?"

"Take it as whatever you feel like! Just make sure you are ready to leave the palace in half an hour. See you in the stable." He says with his sturdy voice

"Is it really wise? Considering everything that is going on?" I have to ask.

I already know by his look that this time it is no meaning to try and get away from him. But I can at least try! He gives me a long look I can't read, and say a little lower, almost friendly.

"Especially with what's going on, and how you have reacted to it I think this is exactly what is needed at this point in time."

I let my eyes linger on my hands a moment; remembering our teachings session in healing. It always was a really relaxing atmosphere on those lessons. Taking comfort in the memory, I look up at him with new energy and say:

"If you want me there in time you need to get out so I can change clothes, so be gone now!"

I shoo him out of my rooms. Muttering about the half-smile he has on his face.

"Think that you see something funny ha?" I say to the room in general.

He just let out a small laugh and closes the door with the words:

"See you soon darling."

The shoe I throw after him make a loud noise as it bump of the wooden door and go down on my thick carpet.