OK, here is part one of the edited version of SING, hope you like it. It's a whole new chapter I have added. Anyway editing would be muchly appreciated. After this chapter, it is mainly all the old stuff, only expanded and edited. Please enjoy!
The young girl squeezed herself up against the wall, inching her head very slowly around the corner to check that no one was there. The hall was clear, and she continued on silently, her feet shod in slippers to assist. She did not know where her destination was; only that she must escape from the hot, stuffy room which was her dorm. Shared with 9 other girls, it was constantly filled with banter and gossip, something this particular girl could not stand. And so, most nights, she snuck out. The other girls never noticed, but then again, they hardly noticed anything that wasn’t about someone’s looks or who they loved or their intelligence. Keira was uninterested in these topics, unless they were about her. Not that she cared what they thought about her anyway. She was popular, if you could call it that, and had only once been talked about in the so feared ‘it’ group. The girl who had brought up her parentage had soon learned how Keira felt about being talked about, and she had soon dropped off everyone’s radar. Intelligent, she had soon learned how to get in with the right crowd, without actually having to do anything. Now 15 years old, she had grown into a proper looking young lady, slightly above average in height, skinny but not too skinny, and with a pretty face and brown curls most of the girls would kill for. If any of the squires sought the seamstress apprentices out, they went for Keira first. They never stayed long though. Unnerved by her intelligence and her relative silence, they would go for one of the brighter, happier, talkative girls, and leave Keira to her own devices. This suited her, for distracted people didn’t see things as easily as others, and she was able to slip away more often. This was what she was currently doing. She had gotten the girls talking about a new apprentice scribe who was staying in the palace for the last few winter weeks as his master restocked. Tall, with dark hair flicked in a wind blown way, the girls would swoon over him for hours, and would never even know the creator of their swooning had disappeared. Keira smirked at their silliness now, thinking how many of them would be swooning over him when they found out he was blind. Not that she would tell them. They did not deserve to be told what they should be perceptive enough to notice! But that did not matter to Keira now, right now she was focusing on where her feet were taking her. Turn left here, hide in a cupboard here as the guards did their nightly rounds, Right here, through the second door on her right, and out into the secluded gardens. Here she stopped, and removed the heavy, dark cloak from her shoulders. Too late she saw the boy sitting on the rose bench. She stopped mid stride, about to dump her cloak on the ground. The boy turned to face her, and smiled.
“If you don’t reveal me, I shall not reveal you”
She stared at him, wondering if what he said was true. Keira had only been caught once before, and it was because a new squire had claimed he had snuck out too. Though of course, he thought she was some spy in the palace, and got quite a shock when he found out she was just a junior seamstress.
“How do I know I can trust you?”
“You don’t” The boy replied, a sheepish grin sneaking onto his face. “But I am blind, as I am sure you have noticed. If you run, I will not be able to find you in this place which I am unfamiliar with”
She looked him up and down. Though Keira believed she could trust the boy not to reveal her, she did not believe his second statement, and was going to make him know so.
“If you do not know the palace, how does a blind boy find his way to a secluded rose garden?”
The sheepish grin returned to his face, and he shook his head.
“You are perceptive aren’t you? How does an apprentice seamstress find out about a secluded Rose garden?”
“By escaping from her gossiping peers every night since coming to the palace. How does a blind boy who’s new to the palace even know his way around?”
“Who said I am new? What if I am simply returning after being away?”
It was Keira’s turn to smile a sheepish grin. He was right of course, and she did not know for certain that he had been to the palace before.
“Now that we have both tested each other, might I offer you a seat and an introduction? My name is Alec. Alec Von Nector. Might I have yours?”
Keira walked over and took the seat. She smiled at him now, as he draped her heavy cloak back over her shaking body, something she did not realize she was doing, and proceed to give him her name.
“My name is Keira. No last name, no middle name, and not abbreviated. It’s just Keira”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you”
“It’s nice to have someone more intelligent to talk to”
Alec laughed at Keira’s comment, before proceeding to ask her questions about her peers, and about her exploration of the palace.
“Wait, so you sneak out almost every night, and have never once been caught?”
“I didn’t say I had never been caught, I simply said it didn’t happen often”
“So you have been caught? Please, these are simple questions, I am merely intrigued if you haven’t. I thought the palace guards were meant to be the best”
“And they are, but people do not see what they do not expect to be there”
He smiled that sheepish grin at her again, and nodded his head. Though he would not tell her, he already knew this, and did actually feel sheepish that he did not realize that would be a technique she would put to use.
“Why do you sneak out?”
Keira stared at him. She did not expect the question, as she thought she had already answered it.
“To get away from the girls in my dorm”
“And why would you want to get away? Are they not your friends?”
Keira stared open mouthed at him, before snapping it shut.
“For a blind boy, you sure are perceptive”
Alec laughed. “Yes, I suppose I am”
“Well, they are, put I do not like, nor do I care, about what they think about other girls, or how much money their parents have sent them, or how well they are sewing, or some new dress design, or some new boy that has arrived at the palace. I do not care that one girl is being courted by a squire, or that another girl wants to become a squire. I do not care about the politics of our group. The girls bore me. I would much rather escape out here, with a good book, and simply read the hours before they sleep away”
Alec remained quiet for a long moment, before asking a very simple question “Can you not read in your dorm room?”
Keira shook her head at the boy’s question, before remembering he would not be able to see it. “I tried that once” she replied instead. “All they did the whole time was talk, which distracted me, and tried to get me to join in with the conversation”
“Why would their talk distract you? If you are so uninterested in it, aren’t you able to just block it out as you read?”
Keira Blushed. She had hoped he would not a question about that. Usually, Keira was a very silent, very concentrated reader. You could talk at her for ten minutes while she was reading, before she realized you were speaking to her. The only problem was, Keira was also an eavesdropper. She couldn’t help herself. If someone was talking, she would listen to their conversation. She was very good at doing so without anyone noticing what she was actually doing. That was how she had found out about the new scribes apprentice. She had eavesdropped on a couple of guards as she was looking for one of the nobles who was late. It was the same with the girls in her dorm. Though she didn’t really care what they were saying, she had found on previous occasions that some things they said were quite important bits of information. She looked back up to Alec’s patient waiting face, and knew that although she had only just met him, she would not be able to lie to him. With a sigh, she started explaining.
“I cant help it”
“Help what?” Keira could see the confusion on Alec’s face. She sighed and shook her head again. She couldn’t believe she was about to tell a complete stranger this!
“I cant help but eavesdrop. It’s how I find out interesting things”
“You eavesdrop on people? You do realize that is rude?”
“Yes I know” Keira said guiltly, “But I still cant help it. If I hadn’t eavesdropped on two nobles, I wouldn’t have found out about this place, and if I hadn’t eavesdropped on guards, I would never have found out about the new Scribe apprentice which has come to the palace with his master. I also wouldn’t have learnt of Lord Mulcome’s inability to put down the rebellion forces of the white knight. . .” Keira trailed off, realizing what she had revealed to this boy. Though she did not like Lord Mulcome anymore then anybody else, she still knew about the consequences for talking about his failures, or calling him a failure, both of which she had just done. She looked at the boy, and noticed the thoughtful look he now wore. Moving slightly, Keira perched now on the edge of the bench, ready to take off if need be. Alec noticed this movement, and smiled in her direction.
“You do not have to worry Keira; I will not sell you out over something you heard. In any case, it would not get you in trouble, but the people who were talking about it” He smiled brighter now, trying to reassure her. She smiled back, knowing that he was telling the truth. She waited, seeing that he had some more questions he now wished to ask her.
“Just out of curiosity, who did you hear that piece of information off?”
Keira blushed again, not knowing if she could tell him who said that, whether he was nice to her or no.
“I don’t believe I can tell you”
“And why is that? I highly doubt you heard it off one of the eleven lords”
He turned to look at her, and Keira found this almost funny, as a blind man could not see. He knew though, she could tell. He knew if she didn’t answer that what he thought was true, and that she had in fact heard it from one of the inner fraction, one of the eleven governing lords of Algeria.
“And how, pray tell, did you manage that?”
“By telling the guards on the common door that I was here to measure them up for their official suits” Keira wasn’t lying this time either. She had actually been there to measure the men of the inner fraction. Her mistress and herself had missed some the day before when they had come to perform the task, and instead of them both wasting time to finish the measuring, Keira’s mistress had started the cutting and shaping, while sending Keira to finish the measurements.
“So, you lied to the guards of the inner fraction?”
Keira blushed again. She hadn’t actually, but she now realized what she had just said would make him think she had.
“No” She replied, almost too quickly. “I was actually there to measure the lords, it’s just. . .”
“Just?” He asked skeptically
“Well, I’m inquisitive, and I can’t help but listen when people speak near me, but when I overheard them, I wondered. . .”
“Wondered?” Alec asked again. He now knew that his speculation was correct, she was like everyone else in the realm, but she was smarter, and possibly, one of the best he had ever seen. Well, heard anyway.
“If the White Knight’s renegades really do exist. I like the lords rule no more then the next person, but like everyone else, there is nothing I can do about it. If there was only something I could do, that would be good. Currently, I am like their other lap dogs, doing what they say, making what they need, not repeating things I over hear. I want to be something more then a seamstress, and I want to do something to help the country” Keira took a deep breath, and then blushed once again, realizing the long speech she had just given. She turned to face Alec, and to her surprise she saw a look of thoughtfulness of his face, instead of one of shock of the treason she had just spoken. As she watched Alec, his mouth slowly spread into a knowing grin. Knowing he had something to tell her, Keira remained silent, waiting for him to speak. Alec in his turn was waiting for Keira to ask him what he was grinning about. Unable to hide his thought behind his grinning face any longer, Alec finally spoke.
“Quite a speech there. But do you mean it?”
“Mean what?” Keira asked in confusion. She thought back over her speech and realized what she had said. “Ah, Um, That’s just what I over heard. I don’t mean it at all”
Alec smiled at her. “There’s nothing to worry about Keira. I’m not going to sell you out to the authorities or anything. I am simply curious as to whether you mean everything you said. Do you really want to do more to help make this country a better place to live in? Because I believe I know a way you can do exactly what you just mentioned”
Keira regarded Alec for a moment, trying to work out whether what he was saying was true or not. Still unsure, she asked him tentatively “What do you mean?”
“What if there was a group Keira. What if such a group existed? Would you be prepared to become a part of it? Would you be prepared to do whatever it takes to help this group succeed in their goals? Did you mean everything you just said?” He looked down upon Keira, trying to sense her facial expression, as he could not see it. Keira in turn stared up at him, wide eyed with shock, unable to believe what she was hearing. The Renegades, actually exist! The apprentice must have been lying. But then, looking into his cold, blind eyes, she sure a sort of truth behind his words, and she knew that he wasn’t lying. She stared at him for a second longer, before shaking her head. Now was the time to test him, to see whether he really was telling the truth.
“Well, if there was a group like that, I would join it in a second. As I said, I don’t want to be a seamstress, I want to be able to do more in this world”
Alec nodded his head at her words, “Maybe there is some way I can help you with that”
Keira stared open mouthed at him for a second, before closing it quickly and then remembering he couldn’t see it anyway. Shaking her head at her own folly, she asked him another question “Really? How?”
“I know of the White Knights organization, and they are always looking for new recruits. I shall talk to the headmaster, see what he thinks, but if you wish to join us, and you pass all the tests and are not a palace spy, which I believe you aren’t, then you will be able to do more to help rid our world of the eleven lords”
Keira stared blankly at him, waiting as his piece of information sank in. Then, slowly, she processed her first question, and the ones following it. “Could I really do that? Be a part of it? Help get rid of those lords?”
Alec smiled at her. It seemed he was right in his assumption of her. She defiantly was not an ordinary girl. There was something about her that bugged him though, something about the way she talked, the way she processed her thoughts, the way she thought about everything carefully before she said it. It reminded him of someone, but for now, he couldn’t think of who.
“Yes, there is defiantly something you can do. And I am sure they will accept you without a second thought” He stood up. “I shall talk to them tomorrow. In the mean time, wait till you hear from me again”
“Wait, your going?”
“Alas yes. As much as I would love to stay here and talk with such an intelligent female, I must get to bed. My master and I are meeting Lord Mulcome and his wife tomorrow. You must be prepared when meeting the leader of the country”
Keira stood up as well. “I shall walk a little way back with you”
“It would be a pleasure” Alec smiled at her.
Keira smiled back, and they set off through the garden, and then back through the palace. When it came time for them to depart, Keira stopped Alec by grabbing his arm, and asked him her last question for the night.
“When shall I hear from you about the renegades?”
Alec smiled at her. She had just confirmed that she was interested, and that she would do very well as part of the renegades. “Soon my dear, very soon. But for now, we depart. I shall be seeing you all in due time” He turned, and with a wave over his head, set of down the corridor, hands in pockets, walking as if he had every right to be there in the middle of the night. Keira shook her head at the mysterious Alec, and with a sheepish grin adorning her face, set of a little more stealthily towards her dorm. Reaching it, she climbed into bed, disturbing none of the other girls, and laid awake for the rest of the night, wondering about what was waiting for her with the renegades.