Rodrig remembered very little of the trip to the Black Fist. He remembered stumbling along in line, eating meals of crumbs the soldiers had left over,
and crying. His cousin had once tried to quiet him, but it did no good. Rodrig was inconsolable.
At the Black Fist, Rodrig was assigned to be a whipping boy for the youngest lord, a spoiled and nasty child. He spent his days performing chores and
running errands in the castle, and most days was ordered to the young lord's chambers to receive a whipping. During each whipping, the lordling would
taunt Rodrig, pointing and laughing and mocking his tears. Rodrig learned never to cry and to take the whippings stoically and silently, never even
changing his facial expression from the moment he stepped into the room to the moment he left.
Over the years, the spoiled lordling grew into a spoiled and entitled young man. Rodrig was no longer needed as a whipping boy, so was sent to act as
a page to the Elder Lords. This job was interesting to Rodrig, for he learned much of the realm’s secrets while waiting for the Lords to give him
assignments. They usually did not even remember he was standing in the chambers until they needed him for something.
One day, while carrying an order to the local magistrate which would raise taxes for the realm’s villages, Rodrig happened to glance into the
castle’s vegetable gardens. There, he saw the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. She was kneeling next to a large basket, picking vegetables for
that night’s Feast. He watched her for a few minutes, curious, until she realized someone was watching her. She turned suddenly and caught his eye.
She smiled at him and waved. She had dirt on her face and in her hair. She was ruddy and wind-chapped, wearing wrinkled and ill-fitting clothes.
Rodrig’s knees turned to jelly and his heart skipped a beat.
He went to speak to her, to find her name. She was a friendly girl by the name of Rosaaya, and cheerfully told him about how she’d just come up from
Hyde to work as a cook. She complained, smiling, that they wouldn’t let her cook, but had assigned her to the gardens. She asked him what he was
doing, and he then remembered his business and took his leave.
From then on, Rodrig would find any excuse to go past the gardens where Rosaaya worked. Soon, they were good friends and began to make arrangements to
meet outside of the gardens. Eventually, their relationship took a romantic turn, and they began to make plans to wed. They would meet up in dark
passageways during the day to take a secret embrace, and meet in one or the others’ chambers each evening after the other servants had gone to
sleep. The would lie awake, late into the night, whispering and planning their future life together.
One morning, they had arranged to meet in an infrequently used section of the castle. Rodrig waited impatiently for Rosaaya. When she finally came,
she was in an excited mood, talking about how she had finally been allowed into the kitchens to clean and chop the vegetables for meals. Rodrig was
pleased that she was so happy, and they embraced in a passionate and giddy kiss.
Rodrig, too involved with Rosaaya, did not hear the footsteps. He did, however, hear the cruel laughter.
He and Rosaaya broke their embrace and turned quickly to find the young lord of Rodrig’s past leering at them in malice. The young lord demanded
that Rosaaya come to him. She stepped forward quietly and stood, looking at the lord. He circled her, inspecting her body and degrading her at each
step. He moved in close to her. She stood unmoving, looking steadily back at him. The lord sneered and slapped Rosaaya across the face.
Rodrig leapt forward and put himself between Rosaaya and the young lord. The lordling made a move to push Rodrig, but Rodrig was faster and stronger.
He quickly overpowered the young lord and pitched him to the ground. The young lord looked at Rodrig with hate and disgust, vowing to see him removed
from the castle and see her thrown into the harem to be used by the lords, lordlings, and soldiers alike.
Rosaaya was afraid and pleaded with Rodrig to make penance to the young lord. Rodrig refused. He took her hand and they ran. They could see guards
entering at the end of the hall, and Rodrig realized they would not escape easily. The young lord rose up, screaming in rage, and threw a knife toward
Rosaaya. It hit her squarely between the shoulders. She went down with a small cry of shock. Rodrig saw her fall and immediately knelt by her side to
check on her. She was lying on the ground, bleeding, weeping and gasping in pain.
Seeing red, Rodrig turned on the young lord and began to pummel him, thinking only of saving Rosaaya. By the time the guards arrived, the young lord
lay motionless and bloody. The guards grabbed Rodrig and dragged him away to the dungeons. He fought wildly to get back to Rosaaya, but the guards
surrounded him and beat him soundly. His last view of Rosaaya before everything went black was of her eyes, looking at him in love and sorrow, weeping
edit on 1/6/2012 by ottobot because: (no reason given)