Sneaking out. And in.

I look out my window. The same window which I am about to sneak out. The same window I’d been using for my regular escapes into the woods since I arrived to this house. It won’t ever feel the same again. My little runaways were no longer a secret.

Caroline is the only one who knows it, at least that’s what she told me. Jumping through the window to the tree, and climbing all the way down, is not an acceptable behaviour for a young woman. At least not in the perfect and stunning Kingdom of Ridaura. But that is not the reason why she has kept it. She has found how to take good advantage of my escaping skills.

“You have a talent that should be used to help”, she said. “You should be using your ability to serve the community”. She tried to convince me in that sense, explaining to me how conveniently I could “gather underlying information vital to the matchmaking process”. I still doubt whether spying on my neighbours could count as “serving the community”. But here I am, getting ready to embrace the night.

The Tellium brothers, the five most coveted young men in the Kingdom, are camping out tonight. Caroline thinks that they might use this time to catch up with each other, and that I should try to find hints about their inclinations, if nothing more relevant. Their potential reaction if I get discovered makes me uncomfortable with this task.

I think I am ready. Better not to think too much. I look out my window. The same window which I am about to sneak out.




The Starting Point.

One day, during my recovery, Caroline would come to me and ask: – When?- I stared at her quite surprised. She knew I wouldn’t speak but gently continued. -I was wondering when will you start speaking. I know you can and I have thousands of questions for you. I understand how you feel, but there is nothing to be scared. You’re safe.-

After a long pause she started to talk again. – I need your help- she said. I couldn’t think of any aspect I could be of use to her but I nodded, inviting her to continue: -Most of people might underestimate you, but not me. I know what you are capable of.- At this part of the conversation I was totally lost.- I would like you to work with me. If you want- Wow. That took me by surprise. I considerably doubted that I could be of any help to her as the matchmaker. I didn’t know anything about love at any level. Perhaps, she read the contrariety in my expression as she continued: – You are not the only great observer here. I wouldn’t ask if I thought you weren’t good enough.-

She started to walk away and I followed her. I would say that she was hiding a smile. Then she began talking again: -I know how you sneak into the forest without being noticed when the community sleeps. I have seen how fast you learn just for observing. No one would perceive it but I can see how you read in other people and act accordingly to get what you want. I know how intuitive you are. I knew it since the very first moment I saw you, you have a great potential.- I didn’t know how to react, but luckily she continued talking -I don’t blame you, it is in your nature. You have done no wrong.-

Despite her words, I felt guilty and a strange feeling hit me, but her pitching wasn’t over: -Matchmaking is not witchcraft, not a science, not exact. Like love, it is not defined, there are no rules, no boundaries. It is more than love notes and gifts. It is based on a deep understanding of people, and their needs. And chemistry, but there is not much we can do about it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But you have to keep going trying to find out. Ridaura is full of knights and princesses, peasants and damsels, all of them waiting to meet someone. Their best half. We all deserve a love story.-

She explained me the importance of her mission, and how the time has make it more and more difficult to achieve. -Times are changing and I am getting older. People does not feel the same way and it is harder for me to read their impressions. That is why I need you. To help me bringing back the fun, mystery and romance.-

She continued with the explanation but with each word I felt even more confused. What was she asking me to do? To take part in strange intrigues? To spy people?Suddenly, as she could read my mind she laughed: – Among other stuff you might have to carry out some nasty tasks, but it will be on other people’s benefit, trust me.- And I did.

After all, I owed that to her. I owed everything to her. This time, it was me who took her by surprise when my my voice firmly asserted: -I’ll do it.

The Foreigner.

I still don’t remember how I ended up here, or who I was before. They all call me Louise, even though none of us know my real name. Apparently, ‘Louise’ was everything I was capable of mouthing when they found me in the forest. I couldn’t tell if this is true, I have no memories of that night either. There is nothing I can associate with that name, there is nothing I can think of. But it is fine, I think I like it. Louise.

My arrival to the community caused a big flutter. Such an event is highly unusual in the small but beautiful Kingdom of Ridaura. I brought a big controversy, as they didn’t know what to do with me. From princes to peasants, from maidens to knights, everyone was aware of my arrival. Some, the most superstitious, considered my appearance as bad omen sign, and wanted to get rid of me. Others would say that I could be escaping from other kingdom’s justice, and therefore that I should be imprisoned. However, I should have been found in such a state that moved the sheriff, who alleged me to be absolutely inoffensive and decided that I shall be taken to the sanatorium.

It took me a few weeks to recover, to realize and assume what was going on. Most of the people considered me to be irretrievable, giving me up for a loss. Apparently, one of the most popular jesters made a great show out of my strange situation. I guess people were quite hopeless since I was not able to talk. Maybe I just didn’t want to. But I was awake. Absorbing every single piece of information, observing and paying attention to those things which determined my new community. I was playing the fool, but there was someone I couldn’t trick.

Since the very first moment I liked her. She came to visit me everyday and her company always felt right. For some reason which I could never figure out, she would never give up on me. She knew I was fighting to survive. Caroline did everything that was on her hand to adopt me. Her and her husband Rodig treated me as their own child since the first day I walked into their house, and even gave me their name. Of course, not everyone would agree with a foreigner becoming part of the court, but the position of my new parents was favourable enough to make it happen. Rodig belonged directly to the aristocracy, and Caroline was one of the most important members of the Council of Sages, the matchmaker. Thanks to them, I escaped my destiny as a ragged foreigner to become Louise. Lady Louise vel Fiennesy to be precise.