Previously: Evrial accepted the princess's invitation to a ride but didn't know the Royal Prince Bain would be accompanying them.
She smiled sweetly and moved away from him, bowed and gave her greeting. His father's green eyes which he had the good luck to inherit, gazed at her a moment too long. Somehow, she wished she was back in her old brown dress. If she had been, he wouldn't have given her a second thought. She turned away from him, barely able to keep the scowl from her face and took her own horse's reigns into her hands. She liked the little sorrel mare she had been given to ride. The mare may have been small but by the looks of her long legs, she was going to be fast. Evrial couldn't wait until she was away from the prince's gaze and out in the field, where she would be free. Well, as free as she could get.
Dalex smiled at her shyly as he handed her the reigns, "Her name is Isla.” Evrial smiled back and thanked him for his help. She couldn't help but instantly like the young man, with his shy approach. She definitely liked him more than the future King at her side.
She followed them out of the tack room and onto the dirt road outside. The three of them mounted their horses before kicking their sides gently. The horses, being well trained, obeyed the command and started walking slowly. Painfully slow. Evrial was fidgeting to urge Isla into a gallop but restrained herself to the Royals’ pace. She could tell that the mare underneath her was just as excited to get out as she was. She liked that.
"Evrial, don't feel compelled to stay with us. If you feel comfortable with going faster than we are going in the fields, have a gallop.” Evrial was relieved at that, considering they were going as slow as a scared child.
"Thank-you, Princess Viera. I appreciate your bringing me out." She was surprised that they were allowing the two to go for a ride unguarded. She didn't mind having no more young men surrounding her but she found it odd. They rode for a minute or two in silence before they came to the gates that would allow them into the village around the castle. The guards at the top of the wall pushed a steel mechanism that pulled the gates open and she was instantly grateful that she didn't have to open the large, oak gates.
Evrial glimpsed through the small crack between the gates and could barely contain her excitement. There outside, stood four men with horses standing patiently at their sides. She recognized them as guards but that was not what caught her eye. It was that among them stood her lieutenant. Good.
Oh gods. Cowan was told that a female servant would be accompanying the Royals but he never imagined that it would have been her. Never hoped for a moment that it would her. He expected someone like Havana to be there, someone with "position.” His heart beat sped off at her smile; the smile that he knew was for him even though she directed it at the group in general. Viera's knowing grin made him feel the flush that singed his cheeks even more.
Cowan bowed, "Your Majesties," he gave Evrial a small nod of acknowledgment which he noted, made her smile widen, "where do you wish to ride today?"
It was not Viera but the Prince that answered, "Lieutenant, have a sense of adventure! Let our horses take us wherever they want.” Cowan tried to suppress the laughter that threatened to escape him, the Prince has a pathetic opinion of adventure, as usual. Though he thought it, he bowed and mounted his grey stallion. The four guards split into two groups, two guards beside each Royal, leaving Evrial unattended. Had it been any other servant, he would have been disappointed but it wasn't, so he gladly fell in step with Evrial's mare. He exchanged glances with her but remained silent as they rode. As much as he hated the silence and secrecy, giving his guards any indication that something was going on wasn't the wisest idea.
The small party rode through the streets of the village and were soon out in the fields behind the castle. He knew that Evrial loved horses but he didn't realize how much until he witnessed the wild joy dancing on her face as they trotted through the field. Watching her made him forget to keep an eye on the Royals and instinct alone kept him aware of their location. They were a little behind them and his mind screamed at him to wait for them as protocol required but she was ahead of him. His future was ahead of him and he didn't want to look back. He pushed his stallion harder and quickly caught up with Evrial as she picked the speed up to a gallop. Her eyes were half-closed and the wind was trying to force them completely shut. Her hair had let go of the braid which left it flying behind her like a thick, black blanket. Such wild, untamed spirit lingered in her manner of riding. A smile was planted on her face and he knew that she was enjoying every second of this ride. He almost wanted to warn her about the holes that the rodents created but let it go with a shrug, thinking she wouldn't appreciate his interruption.
Even with the Prince gaining on them, he never slowed to allow him to catch up. Cowan did not like the way he gazed upon her. She was his and his alone. Whether or not he had to give up his position to be with her, she would be his wife.
He was jerked out of his thoughts when the horse ahead of him stumbled and started bucking without mercy. His terror increased as he witnessed Evrial being thrown from her saddle and onto the ground in front of the horse! He was already dismounted and on the ground by the time the horse's hoof gave its mark on her twisted arm. Her scream of agony sent him leaping by her side as she held her arm in her other and hissed a string of creative curses when she sat up. Her mare had come back and was now sniffing her shoulder, as if apologizing and asking if she was alright. He wanted to push the mare away for bucking her off like that but he knew that she didn't mean to hurt her. She just wanted to get some of her excess energy out and Evrial was a little unprepared and if he dare say it, inexperienced.
"Are you alright!?" He couldn't mask the concern in his voice as the rest of the guards stopped around them. Every thought of secrecy left his mind as he softly helped her stand up. His anger rose when only Viera dismounted with him to see if she was alright. How could they be so uncaring about her well-being? He was sure that if she was another servant, he still would have been concerned. He couldn't imagine himself being so pathetic.
Evrial winced as she let her arm hang by her side and nodded, "I’m alright, though I think that I will die of embarrassment.” She chuckled and stood up with his help. Her cheeks were so colored that he couldn't help but chuckle. All of her seemed to be unharmed except her arm, which she again held gingerly. She was in more pain then she was letting on, that he knew.
"Will you be able to ride alone?"
She smiled shyly, "I don't think that would be a good idea. Isla doesn't need weight on her leg right now. She twisted it in that hole and I don't want to make it worse for her.”
He smiled at her and nodded in agreement. An idea ran through his mind and before the Prince could snatch it away from him, he said, "You will ride with me, " her concealed grin that only reached her beautiful grey-blue eyes told him everything he needed to know and he hoisted her up onto his stallion. He concealed his grunt of effort; she was heavier than she looked and that would hardly be considered a compliment, "Kristof, the horse.” The guard nodded and obeyed immediately.
Once he was settled behind her, he heard her voice, quiet enough that only he could hear the words she spoke, "Thank-you, Cowan.” She rested her head on his chest and he silently hoped she couldn't feel his heart thundering beneath her touch.