A/N: I had to get this up! Throughout this next week, I have no school, so there will most likely be a few more updates. Just as an fyi, Cold-Skinned has about 5 more chapters until it's done *sigh* I thank you for all your wonderful reviews! You guys keep me writing more! This story came to me while I was reading a book on Hamlet, and so I kind of loved the idea; thus, a new story was made!
My place in society: the slaves of 1601.
The small village I lived in was not much to look at; that is, of course, unless you were here to see King Carlisle's castle. The outskirts of the castle, was filled mostly with slave chambers. Every night I lived, ate, and bathed in my shared chamber.
My skin was burning, with fresh, new wounds that appeared every day from the harsh work. Blood caked my bare feet and arms, even my neck, which was only slightly exposed from the filthy fabric of my supposed dress. However, I was not fooled by the stitches of various white, old, used rags. I was sixteen, and not at all naïve from the knowledge my best friend had taught me. His name was Jacob, son of William Black. He ran away from his slave family on the old plantation, and was again captured. I knew why he was captured; he wanted to be. He wanted to teach other slaves, in which I had been his student. He came here when he was twelve; I had been ten at the time. Jacob was quite smart with the outside world, for he had been running since he could walk; or so he said.
We shared our two-bed chamber, secretly learning to read and write in the almost dark, with nothing but a dim candle. He had taught me a lot throughout the last six years. I had just turned sixteen, and Jacob was now eighteen. He claimed that when he turned nineteen, he would take me and we'd run. We would cross the river on a moonless night, quietly slipping out of the village, past the King's castle and head south, where we would start a new life in freedom. I figured, from what he'd told me that he would get me out, and go back to slavery to teach others. It would only be a matter of time. And as much as I'd wanted to be free, I would stay. My father, Charles, would most likely not care. He didn't; he blamed me the day my mother died from giving birth to me. How I was still alive now was beyond me.
I different from the others; the other slaves liked to talk. They would gossip and share crude comments about the royals. I myself had a few words, but I was never vulgar with my language, unlike others. I would occasionally listen in to the girls my age swoon over the Prince; how typical. I thought bitterly. None of us had a chance with him anyways, why were they wasting their time?
"He's magnificently gorgeous! And the King is generous enough to invite the entire village, even the slaves, to attend his royal dinner!" Elizabeth, a girl just about my age, squealed. Her friends did the same, screaming quite too loud. I put my head down and continued to work, digging into the dirt for the crops. My fingernails were filled with dirt, and my knuckles hurt from flexing and leaning. I didn't look forward to the royal dinner, my father was making me go; supposedly, the king was going to choose ten slaves to live in the castle under royal treatment; however, we still had to work.
My father wanted me to go; so I could be out of his hair, and tell him all the secrets that Cullen Castle hid. If I were chosen, I could never tell those secrets. They were not mine to give, and I would most likely be punished for it.
After countless hours of work, the village was called in by the yeller; and everyone was dressed in their best to catch the King's, or Princes' eyes. Jacob walked next to me as we entered the castle's main hall. I was mesmerized by the elegant and regal appearance the castle held. The main hall was large, and set up with rows of tables for everyone. We took our seats at a table in the middle of the room, and as I looked around again, my eyes landed on a man about my age. He was seated next to the king; his mahogany, almost bronze, hair caught my attention at first. However, as I looked over him more, and his eyes landed on me, I noticed his eyes were the most impressive. Bright, green eyes, locked with secrets I couldn't ignore. This must have been the prince the other ladies swooned over. Now, I understood why.
He looked just as stunned as I was, and that was enough to make me look away. I knew it was rude to stare, but someone so god-like didn't exist; he couldn't be real! I gave him one last look to make sure I had seen right…and I had; but his eyes remained on me. I looked down at my hands as I felt the blood beneath my skin boil, and rise to the surface as a bright, red blush.
For most of the night, the guests were entertained by dancing, and plays. More food was sent out; not that we could really eat anymore. This was much more food than I had ever had, and it was a magnificent, but uncomfortable feeling being so full. I preoccupied myself most of the time, by talking to Jacob. He tried to get me to dance with him; but in the presence of royalty, I didn't want to make myself known as clumsy or foolish. Especially not in Prince Edward's watchful eyes.
Every now and then he looked over at me, but he was busy exchanging conversations with his brothers, and their wives. They seemed to have no care for becoming Prince, or King. I wondered why Prince Edward had.
The night ended much quicker than I thought, and I found myself back in my bed chamber with the moon glowing through the window. Tomorrow, the king would decide the ten slaves, and by the next couple of days, those ten would move to the castle.