At this point, nobody seemed to remember that I was not a part of the original group of men that had been assigned to Captain. He didn’t seem to notice either. I wasn’t old enough to officially be part of the king’s guard, but I was big for my age, so nobody questioned it. Bren certainly wasn’t going to say anything. We’d become good friends at that point. I just sort of tagged along as the guys headed back to Pent.
I had not been to the city in some time, but it was just as I remembered it: smelly and crowded, and all noisy all the time. I guess it was no different then than it is now! The castle was pretty much the same too, though I’ve been there ever since, so how would I notice the little changes?
Ramoth was pleased with the news that we had settled things in Gesh and invited us all to a feast that night. I was thrilled. Bren gave me some of his extra clothes. They were a bit snug, but it was close enough. Captain warned us all to keep our mouth shut in front of Ramoth. We were to say “yes” and “thank you”, but that was it! That was fine with me!
So, we get to the dining hall in Pent, and it is huge! I had never seen such a place. You could have fit my whole house in there. At the head of the table is Ramoth. Next to him is this guy who is laughing and telling stories about some pretty influential people. At least I gathered they were by the looks of horror on some of the guest’s faces at the mention of their names.
It turns out that it was Cailar. He was a bit plumper back then and had color in his cheeks from smiling so much! Did you ever see him smile? Well, never mind. Back then, he smiled plenty.
On Ramoth’s other side was a woman so lovely, I am not sure how to describe her. Imagine the most beautiful woman you have ever met. Think of her soft hair, the curve of her bottom lip, the way she ignores you; Take all of that and then take one big step back from that- that is how magnificent Princess Kayla was. She was definitely in the top ten of women I had seen up to that point. Maybe just the top twenty, let’s say, but no less than that!
I think my jaw hit the table, and I notice that she is looking right at me! I am way too young for her, but maybe she doesn’t know that. I ran my fingers through my hair… What? Well, of course, I had hair back then! It was thick as mud and the same color too. It might be because I seldom washed it.
Anyway, I run my fingers through my hair and give her the best ‘Jax smile’ I can. She doesn’t even flinch! It was like she was looking right through me with those eyes of hers. I turn to Captain, who is sitting right beside me to see if he is seeing what I am seeing, but to my amazement, he is looking at her too… giving the best “Jax smile” he can! Hey, buddy, that is my schtick!
Now I am starting to understand why Ramoth sent Captain off on this certain death mission. The princess is giving him a look… you know the one, but she is engaged to Cailar. Not that she wasn’t giving Cailar and just about everyone else in the room the same look from time to time, but you could tell she was intrigued by Captain. And why wouldn’t she be? He was a fine specimen of a man! I could see that after a while, Captain began to ignore her, and this drove her crazy. She walked by a few times trying to get his attention, but it was no use. Cailar did not even seem to notice. He and Ramoth were pretty close, and the more they drank, the happier the two of them seemed.
The next morning, I woke up with such a headache! Bren was jostling me, telling me to get packed up. We were all headed to Pacia immediately. So much for the cushy life!