Mortally wounded, princess Adelaide is at the mercy of princess Eleanor and her court physician.
Will the physician betray them both? Will the guards alert the king?
What happens if the king discovers Eleanor’s betrayal?
Will Adelaide live through the night or will she succumb to her wounds?
A Princess, A Knight And A Tyrant King.
When war is brewing she must fight or die…
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Eleanor carefully mopped the brow of the feverish knight; she was lying out on Eleanor’s bed. Her armour had been removed, and, after tracking down her attendants, they had brought some of her clothing and belongings up.
Eleanor had never seen another woman as beautiful as Princess Adelaide, from a distance her looks were striking, but up close, with the soft light of the fire on her skin, and the curls of golden hair that fell about her face, Eleanor could understand why songs were written about her.
She had done her best to bandage the wound, but was still waiting for the physician to arrive. Adelaide seemed to sleep and Eleanor couldn’t resist stroking the soft skin of her cheek with the back of her hand.
“You have a healer’s touch,” said Adelaide softly, her eyes still closed. Eleanor snapped her hand back. “I am already feeling better”
“I think that has more to do with the bed,” Eleanor replied, sure that she had made little difference to the wound.
Adelaide laughed lightly, then winced. “Don’t make me laugh,” she whispered.
Eleanor wasn’t sure she had intended to
“Keep talking though… please,” Adelaide said, looking up at her.
“I’ve sent for the physician, he will be here soon,” Eleanor said, stroking her head once more “I’ve had the fire lit, I hope it’s warm enough for you… the banquet was very poor… really very poor… you missed nothing.”
Adelaide laughed softly and winced again. “I told you not to make me laugh.”
“I’m sorry,” replied Eleanor, honestly.
There was a long silence. While Eleanor thought about what to say, she was so intrigued and desperate to find out so much about this unlikely warrior.
“I…” she started “I wondered…why I mean to say how… how did you learn to fight like that?”
“I learned with the men at arms.”
“Oh…” Eleanor wanted to push further, but the door burst open.
“Eleanor, Your Majesty! What has happened?”
She turned to see the court physician. He looked as if he had been roused from sleep, and he was wide-eyed with worry. His nervous attendant stood behind him, carrying his enormous bag of potions.
“It isn’t me,” she replied. She eased off the bed gently so as not to disturb the Princess and stood so that she revealed the young woman to the doctor.
The physician’s face fell. “Is the King aware of this?” he asked, clearly worried.
She shook her head. “Adelaide, the princess. She’s wounded badly. You must look at her,” Eleanor pleaded. “If she were to die, it could mean war for both our countries.”
He looked at her with his brow furrowed. “If she lives,” he whispered, “it could mean war for both our countries.”
“Will you do it for me?”
He fixed her with an uncertain gaze, and then slowly nodded. “I will,” he said with a sigh and moved toward Adelaide. He muttered to her, as Eleanor paced in front of the fire.
He gave her something to drink and then investigated her wound. After some moments, he turned to his attendant.
“You will have to hold her down,” he said.
“No,” interrupted Eleanor, “I will.”
“I really don’t think that this will be suitable for a woman to witness.” The physician said grimly.
“Adelaide will have to witness it; I rather think she will be glad of the support.” With time pressing on, the physician waved Eleanor into place. She held Adelaide close and stroked her soft hair.
The physician cleaned the blood from the wound; it had congealed, but only slightly. Adelaide winced each time he touched it. After preparing a needle, he gave Adelaide a piece of wood to bite down on. He then took a deep breath and sewed.
At the first puncture, Adelaide let out a muffled scream. Her nails dug into Eleanor’s arm, her muscles tensed, and although she tried not to move with each new puncture, her body convulsed.
But the physician was swift; in just a few seconds, he tied off and cut the thread. Adelaide’s breathing was heavy, she was sobbing, and Eleanor realised she hadn’t taken in a breath since the needle first broke the skin.
The physician placed the poultice over the wound and bandaged her waist. Eleanor continued to stroke her hair, and slowly, her breathing slowed.
“Another drink and then sleep, I think.” The Physician said as he reached forward and pulled the wood from between Adelaide’s teeth.
“Thank you,” she breathed.
The Physician nodded to her. “I think we can leave an attendant to care for the princess through the night, don’t you?”
Eleanor didn’t acknowledge his question; she was still holding Adelaide in her arms and softly mopping her brow.
“I think it best I stay,” she said, without looking up.
“As you wish.” He placed the flagon on the bedside table and nodded once more to the princesses before he left them alone for the night.