CHAPTER 44: THE BALL
A week has passed.
The letters has been sent, words has been spread.
Many sent their reply sending theirs sons and daughter to the castle, mostly because it would be seen as disrespectful to ignore invitation from a high lord. The letters by the King still has no reply
Alderam still did not reply. Is he planning something? The King however has reply. He has sent West to here.
Estimated arrival is tomorrow. Surely, this proves he has chosen to trust our family. With this I can proceed to strengthen the Kingdom.
If Alderam chooses to do anything stupid then I guess we have no choice but to respond appropriately.
I have try to negotiate with him but it seems he make my proposition seems a joke. Peace for the Dukedom and its strengthening.
That is what I want.
But enough of that. Today is the ball.
Today, I am very happy.
The surprise it seem is Helia. She has been spending a week in the castle and I couldn’t t be happier.
I am also getting dressed up for the ball. Today I choose a very expensive and beautiful cloth to impress Helia.
An ornate garment
It is a dress that spells regal all over it. It is a three quarter length coat in rich tapestry fabric; it displays velvet collars, cuffs, pocket flaps and lapels.
Thirty three dragon design button fasten the lapels and decorate the cuffs. The collars too. And sleek silk lines the entire coat and my dress.
The pockets on the outside and a breast pocket on each side of the interior make the cloths not only beautiful but also make it a useful as also it is fashionable.
Suited for ballroom and any occasion of nobility diner.It is black and red color.
Surely, Helia would be impressed.
I take a few lessons in dancing from one of the etiquette teacher. Thankfully because of my agility, learning to dance doesn’t seem like a very hard deal.
In my previous lives, dancing doesn’t take much of what you do. There is not that many occasion to dance.
The door opened and I could see hundreds of people dancing and clapping, all in joy smiling and laughing.
The noble’s daughter speaks with other girls and the boy’s eyes them and smile sending secret signals. In the second floor someone is playing the 2 string melody
There are many nobles daughter who wears dance costumes, all luxurious. Made of finer silks and materials and the colors were colourful and bold.
The manner in which gowns were assembled and created was very dramatic and complicated. Some gowns were strapless and others had long dramatic sleeves.
Various laces were entwined and sewn carefully over gowns. Underneath the richer woman’s attire would be a thick corset and sometimes there would also be a heavily structured petticoat.
This formed a perfectly round, almost cupcake like, shape towards the bottom of the gowns.
Headdresses also played a major part in the formal/dance attire
Numerous headdresses were worn to dances and social occasions; the most common of these for woman would probably be the cone shaped hats which were decorated with lace, ribbons and silks.
Another popular one which was worn by many of the lords daughter is the headdresses which connected to the back of crowns; small round hats, braids or the laced nets which supported the hair which was styled in a bun.
Neat, beautifully handmade shoes wore also worn beneath these gowns.
The makeup and grooming of the upper-class woman wore to dance celebrations was very important and also very peculiar.
To prepare for dances, many women would shave their hair in order to attain the elegant expanse that was so admired.
Limitless examples of this are obvious in paintings. They would also shape and stain their lips into a rose bud shape and colour them with various substances.
For upper-class men, changing fashion in dance to follow a social trend was just as important and it became a way of displaying one’s wealth, and for men, one’s masculinity.
Men’s clothing was more fitted and tighter on the body. Just like mine that is quite tight but not too tight.
The popular look was long, elegant and youthful.
The upper-class male attire would consist of boldly coloured tunics with knee high hemlines, which continued to rise to mid-thigh length over time.
Some tunics would be decorated with various symbols and emblems while others were quite plain.
I could see Kyle wearing of a doublet with a chemise worn underneath. Many of nobles sons do this.
A sword would also be situated and fitted on the right hand side of his belt.
For this reason, the woman would almost always dance on the male’s left side. Prestigious leather shoes and fine silk and fur hats would also be worn depending on the dance occasion.
But I did not bring any swords neither this ball admit any weapon or permit any weapons to come into the castle. We wouldn’t want the Bloody Fast to happen again.
Then they realize me. The music stops.
‘Presenting Count of Acro, Lord Arial of House Vermont.’ The announcer announce.
I looked around. Helia is nowhere to be found. The crowd on the other hand stares at me and bow their head. I still looked left and right
Where is she?
‘My son’ my father yelled.
Their glance turns to my father. And quickly seeing my father so joyously welcome me, the tension dissipates and the music is played again. The minstrel and the bards believe it is their cue.
They start playing again. Harmonious melody fills the room.
‘Father.Where is Helia?’ He smiles.
‘Well, I couldn’t make it too easy for you son.’
‘Come with me’ and my father bought me to the balcony
‘Thank you my son for doing the hard job for me.’
‘You have thanked me enough father’
My father then went silence and look at the moon. Then we talked for a bit about the region affairs and then suddenly my father said
‘You know son I believe you have divine blood in you for surely someone as me could not have produced such a son like you.’ He said suddenly
I hold my father hand and rubbed it.
‘I’m your son father. Mortal like you are.’
‘Yet your feat is incredible. To lead an army at your age, what harrowing scene you have seen? But yet your father does nothing to help you.’
‘Father, having you alive and well, happy and enjoying life is what I hoped for you. So do not trouble your sleep with it. I’m happy to do something to fulfill my filial piety toward you.’
I still looked around the ballroom. I was so anxious that I couldn’t even appreciate the beautiful preparation of the ballroom.
I know the workers work hard on this ballroom but now, only one thing is on my mind.
‘So father, my question? Where is Helia?’
My father looks at me and smile.
‘She is in the balcony on the upper floor waiting for you. She is in love with you, you should know that’
‘I do know father’
I leave the balcony and running wanting to see my Helia
And then I reached the balcony and I see her. And by God she looked godly illuminated by the moonlight.
She wears a red dress, high quality fabric from Renasia with lace trim.
Her gowns were made of the most luxurious silk and materials, the colors are bold like the other noblewoman in the ballroom.
She has laces all sewn carefully and beautifully but most of all, her beauty complements the dress.
‘What are you doing here Helia?’
‘Waiting for you Arial’ she said looking at me and gestured at her dress.
‘Well what?’ I said
‘It is a custom in balls and especially at a lavish balls like these and to your betrothed to praise your betrothed especially when the said lady have spent many time choosing her dress’
‘You look…just beautiful’
‘Just beautiful huh? I guess I should have expected it from you’ she smiles a bitter smile
‘Helia I didn’t mean…’
‘I know. It is you after all. Come closer to me Arial. Come closer and hug me. Let me feel your embrace.’
Slowly I approached her and hug her from behind.
‘Perfect’ she said and I could see a smile is formed in her lips.
‘How is your journey coming here? Is it bad?’
‘It’s not that bad.’
Then a brief silence between us.
‘Hmm. Why do you never let me in the secret?’
‘The secret you have been keeping close to your heart.’
‘I have no secrets’
‘Then why do you always brood. I have never seen you entirely happy. It was like you were waiting for something.’
‘I’m happy with you. ‘
Another silence between us.
‘Sing me a song Arial.’
‘Yes, sing a song for me. I heard my friends told me their lovers sings them song. I want you to sing a love song for me.’
‘Is this your heart desire?’
‘Sing a song and I forgive you for calling me just beautiful’
I grinned and smile and then I sang
In days that has passed,
There lived a beautiful girl,
An unmarried virtuous princess,
She was brave, strong and bold with no equal,
One morning while riding around her Isle,
With no guard around,
Armed with her bow and arrows,
She heard the most terrible sound,
Or is it a scream?
The sky darkened and she felt heat on her back,
Her horse frightened and went mad,
And a dragon,
Red as blood swooped and grabbed the virtuous princess,
The princess is now out of sight.
Her father yelled and cried, beats her heart until a great hero came,
He asked A knight?
I am he said
Kill the dragons with your swords,
Return me daughter for a reward,
That you may marry her,
For she is beautiful without equal,
The young hero,
Brave and strong and virtuous too,
Declared the maid will be his,
And the dragon will kneel under his feet.
So with a horse white as snow,
He rode off to rescue her,
He climbed rugged heights,
And he reached a cavern,
Or a cave some say and heard no sounds,
The great Knight called and yelled for the dragon to face him
But only a lady voice came back
“I killed the dragon!” the lady shouts
And she stepped into the sun
The princess dressed in scraps of cloths,
Her hair is burned off and had a muddy face,
But the Knight is in awe,
For she never met such a brave woman.
Can you find me a dragon my lady?
What for young knight?
So, I may kill it and win your hand
The lady chuckled and tells him of the story of Galahad,
The red dragon,
The Knight then promised he will return to the lady after he killed the dragon.
The Knight rode lone into the setting sun
And the princess gets out of the cave and waits for her beloved,
The great Levitia to come and carry her away.
And the song is finished. Helia just looked at me in awe
‘My perfect man’ she said and she turned around and kisses me in the cheek. ‘Who would have thought your voice is very pleasant?’
‘Now it’s my turn.’ Helia said
‘Oh, please do’
In days of a Kingdom old there lived a fearsome dragon,
Not the red dragon Galahad,
Nor the black Dragon Garazel,
But a massive creature,
Father and Kings of Dragon,
The King is in great distress,
His people in terrible fear, and the countries spirit are weakened
Until one day came a Knight,
Charming and honourable,
As he seem at first
And he slew the dragon with his sword and a smile that was so disarming and with his friend by his side
Said the King I wish to know your name great hero
But the hero said not to bother to know his name
Tonight in my daughter bed you shall take your leisure
Choose he said of my three Princesses
One daughter had a raven hair, a maiden young and chaste, and naked to the waist waiting for him
The other daughter was fair, fairest in the town
And she too, was naked from her waist down
The other daughter is voluptuous and can tempt any man to want her,
And she too was naked from her waist down.
The Knight spend many hour behind the castle wall
But the ending to my story dear, isn’t what it seems at all.
He slept with all three
For this is the story of the cunning Duvan and her conquest
For he deceived the King,
Winning against the dragon using his sworn brother’s strength and his trickery.
‘Sing no more, my fair Helia’ I said trying to hold back my laughter
‘What?’ she said incredulous.
I looked at her
‘Helia, you are beautiful, kind and fair but singing is not your forte’
She realized I’m trying to hold my laughter so she hit me in my chest
‘Can I not jest?’ I said
‘Yes, you can but not of my singing. Why tease me so, my dear lord?
‘Dear lord?’ I was flustered
‘Yes, dear lord’ she said and her cheeks blushed
‘Why the endearments?’ I asked also blushing
‘We will be married some day in two years ‘
‘Yes in two years’
‘Yet we did not have any terms of endearment. I think I should call you dear do you not like it?’
‘On the contrary, dear Helia’ and she smiles.
‘I very much like to hear it.’
The music on the lower floor can be heard even at here.
‘Shouldn’t we get down and join the ball?’ Helia ask
‘Yes, we should but somehow I felt like we have found the perfect spot and I can’t seem to leave.’ I kept hugging her and she lean on me and we watched the stars.
‘Tell me how much you love me, Arial’
‘What would be the perfect words for my love towards you, sweet Helia’
This is common in courtship. I’m not one that follows noble custom but manners are important.
‘Honest words that came from your sincere and kind heart’
I was in silence for a while then I speak
‘Love me and be in merry. You want a song of love, I will sing it for you, I will live in your heart, die in your lap and be drowned in your eyes for I have never but felt what I felt then when I’m with you. You and I will marry, we will have children and grandchildren and we will live loving each other. And since you have posed me a question I will pose one for you my dear. Tell me how much you love me’
She smiled at me and grinned.
‘I suffer love for you for I love you against my will.’ She chuckled.
‘Will you die without me?’ I ask
‘I will die of thirst for your love my dear’
‘Then I shall have you, my beautiful but ever so teasing lady who spoke wise words and possesses one of the kindest hearts I have ever experience. Fair, virtuous and wise. Fair and this is true, virtuous and I have seen no prove of otherwise. And wise for choosing me.’ I said joking and she noticed it too and she laughed, the sound of her laughter makes me want to dance.
‘And I shall have you, for no other man shall compare to my young and handsome prince. Who accept my tender love, for I fear that day you will scorn my feeling and who have given me so much joy since the day you accept my desperate love for you. And such passionate love you spoke, why it must be requited!’
‘Yes, of course, it must’ I said.
In the ballroom they are dancing but here we are dancing too. Courtship is very important and considering Helia is a noble daughter she surely has been courted before.
I will play along with her.
‘Who would have been so blind to reject you, sweet Helia?’
‘That is true’ and she smile a mischievous smile
‘Enough words’ I said. And I kissed her and she received it and come to me. Slowly we hugged tighter and our kissing becomes furious.
‘Ehem,’ I heard a voice from my behind. Quickly I turned around
‘L..isa yes….alright this is awkward’
‘Well, it surely is’ Lisa said
‘Your mother said to bring you to the ball but I guess you are preoccupied’
I look at Helia and Lisa alternating glances.
‘Well, tell my mother I am quite busy handling a very feisty young lady.’
And Helia chuckled. Lisa just smiles though I noticed a tint of bitterness.
‘Will do Arial’ and she quickly disappeared from the balcony
‘Will you resume your handling of the feisty lady?’ Helia said challenging
‘Why yes. I will’
That night will be one of the nights that I will forever remember in my life. Such happiness, such inebriation of joy I never thought possible.
It was a great night though but next week I am faced with horrible news.