The funeral takes place and someone shows up unexpectedly at the door...
Today was the day. This was it. I walk, feet dragging on the floor, out of the beautify furnished room that Frank had been letting me sleep in for the past two days. I was dressed completely in black; head bent downwards, eyes puffy and red, not wanting to see anyone. Today we were burying our mother`s body in the local churchyard. It would soon be over and we would then be left alone to mourn. I doubted that I would ever fully come to terms with her death, she had been an exceptional woman, no one could have wished for a kinder, gentler mother, and now she was gone. She had been taken away from us far before her time.
“G-Gerard?” Michel almost runs into me, not looking where he was going, head bowed like mine was, salty tars streaming from his eyes, blinding him.
“Ehem,” Neither of us had hear the king approach, he too was dressed in black, his usual fine jewellery removed, he too appeared to be mourning, mourning for a woman he had not known and know would never know. I no longer believed all of those mean lies that people spread about this man, he was fairly impatient it was true, coming from years of having everything he desired and being waited on hand and foot by his many servants, but despite his great riches, he was a kind man, under all of his airs and graces, he had a good heart.
“Frank?!”He smiles sadly at the two of us, beckoning us forward. “It is time.” We nod once and follow him along the grand hallway; hurrying us past the staircase here our deer mother had lost her life. I turn my head away, not wanting to see it, not wishing to gaze anon the evil place where she had fallen and snapped her neck.
It was a small, quiet funeral. Mother had had many close friends, but some of whom had died of illness or old age, others had not yet heard of her death, although there had been rumours spreading around. King Frank had been exceptionally good to us, he had sorted everything for the funeral, right down the last detail and paid for it himself, something we would be forever grateful to him for. Because of him, mother could have the burial and send off she deserved, with a proper coffin and even a gravestone of her own. Only the very wealthy were able to afford an actual gravestone, but Frank had insisted on it.
The priest begins the ceremony, speaking in a voice a little more than a tired mumble. We were not really paying much attention to the words he uttered anyway; we were far too caught up in our own grief to. Icy rain begins to fall from the dismal grey sky, it had been threatening for days. Stood beside me is my brother, who is shivering violently from the cold. The damp drizzle is begging to soak through my clothes, my ebony hair sticking to my face, the water mixing with my tears, blending until it is impossible to tell the difference. I was freezing; it was so typical that it was raining. The murky, bitterly bleak sky matched our moods perfectly; perhaps we were not the only ones dreadfully unhappy. Mother had always told us that the rain was just God crying.
Perched right on the edge of a nearby willow branch a Raven sits, watching over the grey churchyard. They had always been mother`s favourite birds, and as a young child she had describe my hair as being “blacker than a raven`s wing.” The creature looks down at me, it`s beady eyes locking with mine for the briefest of moments. Deep sorrow filled it`s eyes, as though it felt the same pain we did.
“Gerard, what are looking at?” Frank whispers in my ear, his cool breath tickling the pale skin, sending shivers down m spine that ad noting to do with the icy rain which had now ceased, just in time for the priest to finish speaking and for the coffin to be covered with earth.
“That Raven over there, where did it come from?”
“What Raven? There is nothing there.” he tells me and I look back over my shoulder to the willow tree but there was no bird there, just like Frank said.
“It must have flown off then; do you think it may have come from the Tower?”
“Yes, it is possible it came from the Tower,” He was speaking of the Tower Of London, of course, Ravens had been kept there for as long as anyone could remember. Legend told that if the birds left, the tower would fall, along with the entire Kingdom.
“Raymond where are you?” Robert yells, and I follow the sound of his voice into the kitchen. The new girl, Rachael smiles up at me, her brown eyes lighting up.
“Yes?” I ask him in a bored tone, wanting to get back to work so that it would be completed before his Majesty returned back from the funeral.
“Rachael needs some help fetching water from the well,” She blushes slightly and ducks behind her ginger curls.
“It is just that the last time I spilt half of the water whilst carrying it back,” she looks away, guiltily. “It was a little too heavy for me and I lost my balance,” she admits.
“Do not worry about it; I shall help you fetch it.” I tell her and follow her out of the kitchen and into the garden where the well was. It was her job to fetch the water, but we were all friends here as well as workmates so I had to help her.
I turned back to what I was doing, biting the bottom of my lip nervously. My head was spinning with thoughts I could not rid myself of. They were mostly about Alexis, the well off girl whom I had served at the gathering the other evening, i just could not forget her. If I closed my eyes right now I would be able to see her beautiful face or her smile. I was beginning to frighten myself.
Hurry up Raymond and Rachael… I think to myself, not wanting to be alone with my thoughts a moment longer.
“Robert, I think I just heard the door, go and check will you?” a petite young scullery maid asks me, her face dirty and worn out, not looking up from the pot she was scrubbing.
“All right,” I mutter, wondering who it could possibly be, His highness surely could not be back already, could he? I knew who I would have liked it to have been, but the chances of Alexis showing up were very slim.