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E - Everyone

Fool Without A Master (Chapter 6 Part 2)

by MissGangamash


I had to wait outside for a while after realising I had actually gone into the tent to grab my clothes before being delightfully side-tracked. I sat on one of the benches by the tournament area. The king and lady were gone now, along with the crowd. All that was left were the guards stationed at Kaspar’s tent, trodden bits of food, flags and churned up mud. Everyone had gone back to their ordinary lives. I hoped their merriment would linger around a little longer. Dropping my head into my hands, I let myself get lost in thought.

“Excuse me.”

I whipped my head up so fast I nearly hit myself in the eye with my bells. My heart did one big thud. Standing before me, addressing me with her eyebrows pinched in embarrassment, was Lady Delphine. I would have turned to check if she was speaking to someone else if I hadn’t been absolutely sure I was in the stand alone.

“Yes?” My eyes widened. “I mean, your Highness?” Addressing royalty used to be second nature to me, but it was clear I was out of practice. Where were my manners?

She smiled, clearly finding my fumbling entertaining. But not in a mocking way. She actually seemed comforted by my clumsiness.

“If you’re looking for the prince, I think he’s still in the tent,” I said, feeling like every word was tainted. I’d never spoken to the lady before. Had never been this close to her. In fact, it surprised me that I’d never really considered her to be a real person until right then. Even while I was performing for her, I only saw her as someone I needed approval from. It hit me at this moment why exactly I was had been trying so hard.

“Actually, I am here to talk to you. May I speak with you in private?”

This time, I did take a quick scan around. She wanted to talk to me? What? What was happening?!

She laughed softly. “Wallace. May I call you, Wallace?”

I gulped and nodded, my bells jiggling erratically. “Of course.” I gestured her to take a seat in the row before me like this stand was my home and then I felt utterly ridiculous. But she smiled politely, collected her beautiful skirts and lowered herself onto the wooden bench.

“Or we could go somewhere else if you prefer?” I blurted out. I had no idea what I was doing.

“Here is fine,” she replied, still smiling at me. There was a softness in her deep brown eyes that made me think she found me quite endearing. Like a fawn in the woods separated from its mother.

There was a delicateness to her beauty. Her dark hair and eyes against her ivory skin made her look almost doll-like. But, where my paleness had me looking like a sick patient, the hue of her skin was almost iridescent.

I nodded. A silence followed. Her easy smile pinched in the corners as if pained.

“It appears that Kaspar is quite fond of you.”

I think my lunch nearly came back up. A nervous laugh escaped me.

“What?” I cleared my throat. “I mean, what do you mean? I wouldn’t say fond of me. He likes my work, I guess.”

The arch of her eyebrow and the withered look she sent me said it all. I shut up.

She knew. Oh Lord, she knew everything. This was it. This was the end. She was going to tell King Cedric. I was going to be executed. Why was she here? To mock me? To get me to plead and beg for her forgiveness?

Her smile faded and her eyes clouded with sadness. She was a young woman, a similar age to me, but as I gazed at her, her skin shining in the sunlight, she looked like a lost child.

“Prince Kaspar does not love me.” The statement was so blunt that the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end. “It is obvious he loves another.” The pointed look she then struck me with made my body flush hot then shivering cold. This woman could say so much with just her eyes, it was incredible.

I opened my mouth to speak but she held up her palm. I was honestly glad for the interruption- to this day I know if I had been left to my own devices; I would have dug my own grave.

“But I want to be a good wife to him. For the sake of the kingdom.” She looked down at her lap. “We have been met with difficult times.” At this, my jaw clenched. As if sensing my hostility, her eyes met mine once more. Hard and steely. “Do you know why?”

“I know people are struggling,” was all I could say. I wanted to ask what was happening. I wanted to ask what the palace was hiding. But just like with Kaspar in the tent I didn’t want to play with an already delicate situation.

She nodded stiffly. “Kalmador is my home just as much as it is yours.” She studied me a moment, her gaze never leaving my face, like she was trying to solve a puzzle. The puzzle of mine and Kaspar’s relationship? “That is why I come to you now. As your princess, I require your assistance.”

I gulped. Was she toying with me?

“I have tried to be what Kaspar wants in a partner but the truth is… I do not know the man. I do not expect him to fall in love with me, but we must be a united front for our people.”

My shoulders relaxed. I hadn’t realised I had been sitting so stiffly.

“You know him better than I. Possibly better than anyone.” She shuffled uncomfortably, gathering her skirts and smoothing them over her lap. “Would you please tell me about the man I married?”

I blinked. “I’m not sure I understand, your Highness.”

“His likes. His dislikes.” She laughed, shaking her head. “I sound like a child.”

My heart swelled as I watched her, looking about us, anywhere but at me. There was a shimmer in her eyes now. A collection of tears she refused to shed.

“You sound like someone Kaspar will be proud to have by his side.”

Her gaze struck me. Colour rose to her cheeks, “Really?”

I smiled. “You share Kaspar’s values. And the fact that you are here, asking for advice from a fool tells me that you are not prideful.” She blushed harder. “Kaspar likes that his title means that he can help the kingdom, but I’m sure if he had not been born royal, he’d be just as content being a stable boy.”

She laughed. “A stable boy?”

“He loves his horses. If you want a way to get to his heart, it’s though his stallion, Bucky.”

She nodded so deep that if she had lifted her skirt it would have been a courtesy. She seemed to catch herself and quickly straightened. “Thank you, Wallace.”

“You’re welcome, your Highness.”

She picked herself up and left. I watched as she walked across the arena, the soft sway of her hips making her skirts swish about her ankles. She paused before Kaspar’s dressing tent but then seemed to change her mind and continued toward the palace, seemingly very aware of the two guards slipping into a step behind her.

I was alone again, gazing over at the tent where I had just kissed her husband. The backs of my eyes burned. Once again, my lunch made itself known. I gulped hard, swallowing it back down. My motley suddenly felt stuffy in the heat. I took off my hat and threw it to the ground before dropping my head in my hands and grabbing two fistfuls of hair.

“What are you doing?” I whispered to myself, letting the tears finally fall. 


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Thu Nov 25, 2021 10:14 am
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RandomTalks wrote a review...



Hey!

RandomTalks here with a short review!

This was a very interesting chapter. I had not honestly thought that the Lady Delphine might suspect something. I do wonder how exactly she came to know about their relationship, especially when they had taken such care to keep it a secret. This was an extremely thought-provoking chapter. It has made me consider so many different sides and now that Wallace knows the truth, I am curios to see how it is going to affect their relationship.

I really like the way you have characterized Lady Delphine. This is the first time, we have actually seen here and already she feels like a fleshed out character whose development and growth we have been witnessing for years. You did a really great job in bringing her character to life. She seems like a very gentle, calm, understanding and emotionally intelligent person. The way you have described her features and movements were very expressive as they spoke a lot when she held back her words out of politeness. I cannot even imagine what she must feel like knowing that her husband belongs to someone else and there is nothing she can do about it. How desperate she must have been to come to Wallace for help and understanding. At this moment, all I feel for her is sympathy. She is as much a victim of the situation as the two men are, and of the three of them, she is the only one who is getting nothing out of it except for a farce of a marriage that is bound to make anyone feel lonely.

I also enjoyed the conversation between the two of them. It was realistic and it spoke a lot of their personalities. I liked the way Wallace opened up to her about Kaspar, when she allowed herself to be vulnerable in front of him. The fact that there is no jealousy between any of the parties is a refreshing change in itself. It makes us more sympathetic of the characters, and allows us to feel for them. In this situation, I do not know whose side to take. I want all of them to be happy, and will stand for anything that makes that happen. That is how you invest your readers in your story.

I did feel that the conversation ended rather abruptly. I feel like there could have been more to it, like there was a transition between their conversation and goodbye that I missed somehow. From how I see it, these two people were being vulnerable to each other regarding their insecurities and I felt that the moment Wallace told her how to win Kaspar's heart, the conversation hit a pause and it was goodbye. Of course, my feelings can also be related to the fact that I really liked how insightful their conversation was, but still, I feel like you could have extended it a little.

The ending was really great. In fact, I think you handled Wallace's thoughts and feelings extremely well in this chapter. I could feel his anxiousness, his nerves and his guilt throughout the part. It all came to be highlighted in the end with his break down. The entire situation is so heartbreaking and complicated and frustrating, that I do not know who I sympathize more with. The line "I was alone again, gazing over at the tent where I had just kissed her husband," hit especially hard with me, and I could feel Wallace's disgust with himself as he instantly throws up after that. His whispered question to himself also strikes a chord with the readers, and it voices the helplessness he feels in the situation.

Even while I was performing for her, I only saw her as someone I needed approval from. It hit me at this moment why exactly I was had been trying so hard.


While I absolutely enjoy reading Wallace's thought and reflections, I do feel that this was an insecurity that you could have shown us instead of directly telling us. From the very beginning of the story, it had been obvious how insecure and inferior Wallace feels to Lady Delphine. And you have been addressing it very brilliantly and subtly throughout the chapters. Here, I felt that his admission was not really necessary. You could have shown us his insecurity instead of stating it directly like that. Because, not everyone is as attuned to their thoughts and actions like Wallace is.

That's all!

Keep writing and have a great day!

Until next time!






I didn't want Delphine to be painted as a villain because like you said, she's just as much a victim. And as much as Wallace may be a little envious of her beauty, he doesn't feel anything negatively towards her. The fact she is so lovely may actually be even worse for him because it only heightens his guilt for doing things behind her back.

I'll have a look at the conversation and see if I can wrap it up in a less rushed way.

Thanks for the read and review! :D



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Sat Nov 20, 2021 2:47 pm
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MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...



Hi MissGangamash,

Mailice here with a short review! :D

This is an unexpected and very exciting ending to the chapter. It triggered a wave of emotions in me and for the moment also led the story down a path where I am now sitting there wondering what will happen next. Just as I am excited to see what happens next, Wallace is now clear about what he started in this chapter.

It is very interesting to meet Lady Delphine in person for once, she has been more of a side character in the story so far. That moment when the silence around her was broken and you got to know her gave me the impression that she is a very reserved woman who is not yet fully convinced of her strengths. Her attitude is noble on the one hand but also still inexperienced. This part made me very curious to know what her background is and where she is still going. It seems at the moment that her next goal is to get closer to Kaspar.

Wallace seemed to me to have done a bit too much of a good thing. His initial surprise was good and convincing and I really like the way he described it and always added something when he spoke.

I'm not sure yet if I can call Lady Delphine perceptive, though, as she has noticed that Kaspar is often with Wallace, or is just thinking of something else. I have the impression that you are opening up new strands here, which I like. Wallace is falling more and more, whether he likes it or not, into a hole of nobility and doesn't know how to get out.

I think it's a very great ending to the chapter (should that be the case) and also very surprising. We are moving away from familiar paths and yet the well-written style is still there. I like seeing Wallace's insight and thoughts, and also how he focuses more on the earthly things around him. I am curious to see what happens next and whether Kaspar or Wallace will bring up Lady Delphine in the next chapters.

Other points I noticed while reading:

There was a softness in her deep brown eyes that made me think she found me quite endearing. Like a fawn in the woods separated from its mother.
There was a delicateness to her beauty. Her dark hair and eyes against her ivory skin made her look almost doll-like. But, where my paleness had me looking like a sick patient, the hue of her skin was almost iridescent.

That is a really wonderful and very detailed description. I like the use of different adjectives that don't just stay with the colour but also go into detail. Very beautiful! I particularly like the comparison between himself and Lady Delphine, which shows that in this case he is very dazzled by the outward, physical beauty and does not see himself as beautiful there.

“It appears that Kaspar is quite fond of you.”

I stopped at this sentence for a while because I thought - and this was my biggest worry - that the story was now slowly coming to its end. But it seems we are moving in a different direction.

Have fun writing!

Mailice






When I was writing this I didn't actually realise how much Lady Delphine was mentioned and yet the readers still hadn't met her haha. I wanted to give the impression she isn't quite comfortable with her status - very much like Kaspar. In a way, they are a good match, but they are just not in love.

Don't worry, I've just finished the first draft and it is 19 chapters - there's still a lot of story to go! We're nowhere near the end!

Thanks for the read and review :)



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Sat Nov 20, 2021 10:19 am
Liminality wrote a review...



Hi MissGangamash!

The end of this chapter left me curious to see what will happen next. It was super interesting to have Wallace’s jealousy get questioned. I like stories that challenge the main character’s perspective and stance on things, so that was cool to read.

So far, I find Lady Delphine to be a sympathetic character. I like her selflessness and her humility in asking Wallace for help. The fact that she ends up being sympathetic also makes it so Wallace’s guilt at the end makes sense. I did feel that the conversation they had was a bit short. I got the sense that she was looking for more information than that (though Wallace did reassure her along with providing the tip on Kaspar’s horse).

All that was left were the guards stationed at Kaspar’s tent, trodden bits of food, flags and churned up mud.

I happened to like this line in the first read. The descriptions of “trodden bits of food” and “churned up mud” are unique and specific.

Style

I had to wait outside for a while after realising I had actually gone into the tent to grab my clothes before being delightfully side-tracked.

This sentence was a little hard for me to read. It has two clauses indicating time right after one another, “after . . . “ and “before . . . “. There also aren’t any commas to separate them, which left me feeling a bit confused as to which event happened first.

I think the setting is much more well-established here:
I sat on one of the benches by the tournament area.

This bit helped me locate Wallace in the space that he was in and also give a clue as to what was happening in the previous chapter, the tournament, since I’m just jumping in here.

The descriptions of Wallace’s emotions were really well-done. I like how his costume is also described in order to express how he’s feeling, for instance in:
I whipped my head up so fast I nearly hit myself in the eye with my bells

and
I gulped and nodded, my bells jiggling erratically. “Of course.”

I like how this second one shows his nervousness, and also maybe his emotional expressiveness. His nervousness is obvious, as he doesn’t seem to be good at hiding what he’s feeling. (At least in this scene)

She actually seemed comforted by my clumsiness.

I wasn’t sure how Wallace could tell that Lady Delphine was feeling comforted here? I think a couple of lines to describe how exactly “she smiled” here would help show that. Maybe besides a smile, she could also lower her shoulders, or her smile might appear more relaxed than it was before?
her skin shining in the sunlight, she looked like a lost child.

Somehow I don’t quite associate “shining” skin with looking like a lost child. That could just be me, though.

Overall, I liked the dialogue in this chapter. It all felt very natural. For example:

“Or we could go somewhere else if you prefer?” I blurted out.

Starting with “Or” makes it feel more like spoken dialogue. I can imagine someone saying this line in real life before an uncomfortable conversation.

Characters

The characters seem to be written pretty consistently. I think Wallace is right to say that Kaspar – could – love someone like Lady Delphine, and I think Wallace’s thoughts and reactions here are consistent with what I remember reading about him from the other chapter I reviewed.

“But I want to be a good wife to him. For the sake of the kingdom.” She looked down at her lap. “We have been met with difficult times.” At this, my jaw clenched. As if sensing my hostility, her eyes met mine once more. Hard and steely. “Do you know why?”

I like how this conflict is shown here. I get the sense there’s an aspect of the situation that Wallace hasn’t fully grasped but that Lady Delphine knows more about, and like I said, it’s interesting to see a main character challenged in this way. It would have also been interesting to see what other information he would have revealed about Kaspar besides the horse, as Lady Delphine seems to have quite a bit to catch up on regarding her husband by her admission. I’d imagine Wallace wouldn’t be comfortable revealing too much and might choose the more ‘surface-level’ things.

I predict Wallace’s character dynamic will shift quite a bit now that he’s actually met her and seems to sympathise with her situation. I think it might also stir some trouble with Kaspar, though I’m unsure in what direction.

Overall

This chapter presented an interesting development in the story that makes it more nuanced. I liked the characterisation of both Wallace and Lady Delphine, and how they interacted here.

Hope some of this helps, and keep writing!
-Lim




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Sun Nov 14, 2021 7:33 am
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Anamel wrote a review...



I like that you showed the Lady Delephine's relatability and comfort in someone else's clumsiness, despite her status. You show her both as being regal, yet also as a person like anyone else. I did notice a trend of run-on sentences that were worded a bit out of place, but those can be fixed. The ending actually really surprised me, considering I haven't read any of the chapters before. You did well on hiding that shocking detail to the end, as it also explains why the main character was so nervous when speaking to her. I thought it'd was because of her status, or even he being charmed by her beauty, but it was actually way more intricate than that. Plus, it explains why her husband hasn't taken to her and that there's no true way she can connect with him on a more intimate level.

"I had to wait outside for a while after realising I had actually gone into the tent to grab my clothes before being delightfully side-tracked."
This sounds like a jumble of words if you speak it aloud, but only because of the amount of words in the sentence. You could begin the sentence with mentioning the weather being very cold/the wind whipping in his face and the annoyance or disappointment of him forgetting what he'd originally intended to do. "The freezing wind struck me in the face, leaving a red blush on my cheeks. It was well deserved, after all. I'd been delightfully side-tracked, completely forgetting I'd gone into the tent to grab my clothes."

"There was a delicateness to her beauty. Her dark hair and eyes against her ivory skin made her look almost doll-like. But, where my paleness had me looking like a sick patient, the hue of her skin was almost iridescent."
I think this is a great description because it shows that he's comparing himself to her, perceiving himself as lower than her not only in rank but also appearance.

"“It appears that Kaspar is quite fond of you.”

I think my lunch nearly came back up. A nervous laugh escaped me.

“What?” I cleared my throat. “I mean, what do you mean? I wouldn’t say fond of me. He likes my work, I guess.”
This is also a really funny scene, looking back at it now after reading the ending. It makes sense he would think he's done for when she said that.

"She paused before Kaspar’s dressing tent but then seemed to change her mind and continued toward the palace, seemingly very aware of the two guards slipping into a step behind her."
The 'a' before step is unnecessary. Not wrong either, though.

Overall this chapter was pretty intriguing and it would be interesting to see how this complicated situation evolves. I could imagine that in that time period, if it got out, that even the king himself could get executed.






Hello! Thank you for taking the time to jump into this chapter even though you haven't read the others! I'll check out those run-on sentences. It's funny thinking you had no idea about Wallace and Kaspar throughout reading this XD Yes, even thought Wallace is obviously gutted Kaspar is with Delphine and not him, but he holds no animosity towards her. He understands that it's a difficult situation.

Thanks again for reading and review! Glad you enjoyed the read!




"In my contact with people I find that, as a rule, it is only the little, narrow people who live for themselves, who never read good books, who do not travel, who never open up their souls in a way to permit them to come into contact with other souls -- with the great outside world."
— Booker T. Washington, Up From Slavery