In the days since her and Martin first socialized with one another, the two had become nearly inseparable. Each day from morning until night, the two young royals spend the day exploring, chatting, and connecting on a personal level. As Cordelia began more enamored with the young prince, he responded by becoming more and more open with her as well as all of the castle’s inhabitants.
Prince Martin was often fond of showing Cordelia all of the rooms and chambers of the massive sprawling castle of Lindford. Despite all the time the duo spent wandering, Cordelia was never certain she saw any of the hidden chambers more than once or twice. If given a map, Cordelia was unsure if she could even find her way out. Prince Martin’s certainty and sense of direction was remarkable, a trait that Cordelia was fond of.
On this particularly morning, just after the sun had risen, the couple ascended one of the many towers of the keep to reach a relatively hidden balcony. A balcony, Martin had promised, that beheld a beautiful expanse of the city of Lindford and beyond. By going so soon after the sun had risen, the two ensured that they would have a clear view of all the bustling beginnings of a day in Lindford.
When they had reached the doorway that lead beyond, Martin lowered his torch and fiddled with the lock somewhat before the door finally gave way, opening onto the vast landscape beyond.
The balcony was a stone parapet that looked and felt as if it had not been touched in years. The floor was twisted and cobbled, and the crenellation atop the wall had begun to crumble. Despite these misgivings, Prince Martin practically jumped onto the balcony, eager to stare out into the lands beyond.
Cordelia, however, was hesitant. The balcony looked as if it would lurch forward, tumbling down onto the eaves of dozens of houses and shorter towers. Noticing this, Martin outstretched his hand for Cordelia to grasp it.
“Cordelia, you can’t stay afraid of this! The view is much too breathtaking!” Martin stated eagerly, gesturing with a smile for his beloved to come closer. She did so, albeit reluctantly.
When she had stepped out onto the balcony, a rush of airiness filled Cordelia. She could see for miles and miles, the little homes just waking up, with tiny people filing out into the streets. For all she could see, there were no banners. It was the same as it had been in the castle itself; there was not a single banner in sight. In Gotharc, or even in any city in the middle kingdoms, banners flapped proudly in the wind, declaring allegiance atop dozens of forts and defensive structures.
“Martin, why is it that no banners fly in the wind? I saw none in the castle, but I attributed it to the general lack of decoration altogether in the castle. But here, across this city of thousands, I see no banners flying on the walls, nor in any of the watchtowers.” Cordelia posed the question with a genuine interest before looking down at Martin for an answer.
“Is it not that way everywhere? Here in the north, we do not fly banners unless we are marching to war or in a time of war. Banners are a symbol of bloodshed, and it would be rude to fly them at any other time.” Martin said, assuredly. It did not matter that Martin had never been on a war march or even trained with a sword, Cordelia believed him because he was well read enough to know that much and more about his own kingdom.
“In Gotharc, at least, banners are flown from every tower and above the doors of the keep. In the keep as well, small banners and flags are strewn about decoratively. And of course, in battle, the standards and banners are flown atop lances and poles carried on the backs of many.” Cordelia thought back to seeing her brother carry the red banner of the Lion Kingdom almost a year ago, to join the host marching north into the Bat Kingdom. That was before he betrayed the other armies of the host, and sparked a war in the Crown Kingdom. What a vile being.
The two stood watching the world unfold before their eyes, oblivious to any sort of time passage, kept in a blissful sense of subtle joy. The wind swept softly over the land, a cool breeze that Cordelia felt caress her face.
All was undisturbed until the two of them heard the doorknob behind them turn, amidst muffled voices. Just like that, the gleeful slice of the world they held with one another was temporarily shattered.
Brickshelf. The eleventh chapter of my story, A Lion In The Wyvern's Nest, the rest of which can be read here. C&C welcome.