Writing Prompt: “You are a young prince. For years you’ve been guarded (and sometimes restricted for your safety) by a knight protector in heavy armor who has a hollow voice. One day at a royal banquet a beautiful woman waits for you by the stairwell. “Be cautious my prince, I am limited without my armaments.”
“You better hurry, Master Benjamin, it is almost time for the royal banquet to start,” Ro said.
“I’m hurrying,” I shouted from behind a wooden screen which had clothes hanging off of it.
“You are quite slow,” Ro said with a heavy sigh.
For as long as I could remember I always had a royal protector that would always go with me. Their name was Ro and they were always adorned with heavy armor and a large sword. Always by my side looking over me and keeping me safe. I didn’t really know a lot about them but they seemed personable enough. Plus they seem to be pretty good at their job. It’s not like I leave the royal palace much, but when I’ve been in any sort of danger.
“Are you going to be at the ball, tonight, Ro?” I asked as I squeezed myself into the fancy outfit that had been picked out for me.
“I will be there,” Ro said.
“Do you have a fancy version of your armor that you are going to wear?” I asked.
“Something like that, Master Benjamin,” Ro said with a dry laugh.
“It would be a pretty boring party if you weren’t there,” I said as I finished putting on the outfit.
“You think so?” Ro asked.
“Of course,” I said as I stepped out from behind the screen.
I gave a little spin showing off the outfit.
“So what do you think?” I asked.
“Very nice, Master Benjamin,” Ro said.
“Eh, what do you know about fashion anyway? You just wear that all the time,” I said.
Ro became silent as they looked at me.
“Do you sleep in that?” I asked.
“Are you going to stand there asking me questions or are you going to go join your father and mother for the banquet?” Ro asked.
“Yeah alright, let’s go,” I said.
“You will go. I will catch up,” Ro said.
“Wait, what? Where are you going? Aren’t you supposed to be by my side by all times?” I asked.
“Master Benjamin, you will be fine without me for just a few minutes. I’ll be there in a minute,” Ro said. “Others will watch you while I’m temporarily away.”
Ro gestured to a group of four royal guards which were stationed outside my door.
I let out a sigh.
“Fine. But don’t be long. This royal stuff is always super boring,” I said. “I need someone to talk to.”
“I’m sure you will find someone to converse with,” Ro said. “Now stop stalling. Your parents will worry if you are too late.”
I gave Ro a nod and walked out from my room and into the hallway. I walked down the hall and made my way downstairs to the ballroom where the banquet was being held. The whole time the royal guards walked with me in silence.
The other guards were always silent whenever they led me anywhere. Ro always seemed annoyed when they were with me, but at least they could hold a conversation with me. These other guards seemed scared and on edge all the time. Not much fun at all.
“Excited for the banquet?” I asked one.
“Yes sir,” They replied and then fell silent again.
“Yeah, great. Well thanks for the escort,” I said before walking into the banquet room.
I stepped into the room and I could tell I wasn’t going to have a good time. The whole place was crowded with people all chatting and holding tall glasses filled with a dark reddish-purple liquid. A large table was set up in the middle which was covered with several large plates and bowls covered in a variety of food. A large feast like this one was not very uncommon to me. Royals loved their feasts and parties.
I walked through the room trying to not draw attention to myself. Many royals were too busy with their drinks and their conversations to notice me. However before I was able to get to the head of the table where my father and mother were standing and talking, one royal spotted me and approached.
An older gentleman with pure white hair and a long, bushy beard stepped in front of me and blocked my path to my parents. He was some sort of foreign tradesman or something. I could never keep track of all the royals. Too many were exactly the same and extremely boring.
“Master Benjamin, happy to see you here. How have you been?” They asked.
“Oh, Sir Patterson. I’m good. Thanks,” I said trying to dismiss him.
“Good. Good. How are your studies going?” He asked me.
“School is fine,” I said with a shrug.
Sir Patterson let out a laugh.
“I remember when I was a child. Had the best tutors money could buy. I remember this one time when I was doing my piano lessons and…” Sir Patterson started rattling off a story which I had no interest in.
I looked past him and saw my Mother and Father talking to one another. My mother caught my eye and gave me a gentle wave and a smile before turning back to my father.
“…and it took the cleaning staff two whole days to get the smell out of the curtains,” Sir Patterson let out another laugh.
“Oh. Ha. Yeah that’s…uh… cool,” I said with a shrug. “Anyway, I have to…”
“And then there was this other time when I was out in the garden,” Sir Patterson started into another story but was interrupted by another voice.
“Excuse me,” A young woman came up to us and placed a hand on Sir Patterson’s arm. “Sir Patterson, Master Benjamin.”
This was a woman I had never seen before. She looked to be about ten years older than me with long, blonde hair and beautiful blue eyes. She wore a fancy blue dress with a pair of sapphire earrings.
“Oh, ah. Hello Miss,” Sir Patterson said.
“I didn’t mean to irrupt your fascinating story, but I was hoping to steal away Master Benjamin for a moment,” The woman said.
“Ah, yes. No problem,” Sir Patterson said, a bit flustered.
“Thank you, Sir Patterson. Also I saw that the wait staff just put out a fresh tray of mince pies. I know you wouldn’t want to miss those,” The woman said.
“Of course! Thanks Miss,” Sir Patterson said as he stepped away and left us behind for the pies.
“Thank you so much, lady,” I said with a sigh. “I could feel my ears falling asleep as he spoke.”
The woman let out a small laugh.
“I could tell that you needed rescuing,” The woman said. “My job is never done with you, Master Benjamin.”
I stared at her for a moment and she returned my gaze. She seemed so familiar but I didn’t recognize her.
“Just be careful, Master Benjamin. I am limited without my armaments,” She said.
“Ro?” I asked, my eyes widening.
She laughed again.
“Yes, Master Benjamin. I know I look a little…”
“Beautiful,” I blurted out.
“…I was going to say different,” She said. “But thank you Master Benjamin.”
“Oh, right. Sorry. I just didn’t…I’m used to you being in your armor. You sound really different.”
“The armor I wear offers protection as well as disguises my voice. Your father believed that hearing my voice behind the armor would not be very intimidating. I would argue, but your father gives me a lot of gold to watch over you and keep my complaints to myself.”
“So when you told me you had something to do it was…this?”
“I had to get changed for the party,” Ro said. “I am actually trying to blend in.”
“Blend in? For what?” I asked.
Ro leaned in and began speaking in whispers.
“Your father believes that there is a small sect of people among the kingdom’s nobles that wish his harm. I am to talk to the people and figure out if his fears hold any water,” Ro said.
“Is my father in danger? Am I in danger?” I asked.
“I don’t believe so,” Ro said. “But I’m here to protect you anyway. You do not need to worry.”
Then Ro let out a fake laugh and placed a hand on my arm.
“You are quite a storyteller, Master Benjamin,” Ro said. “You’ll have to tell me more about that later.”
Then she gave me a wink and turned away from me grabbing a glass of wine off a passing waiter’s tray.
“Yeah, right,” I said with a fake chuckle.
“Well I don’t want to take up any more of your time,” Ro said. “You better find your parents.”
“Yeah, see you later.” I said before heading to the head of the table.
My father was in mid conversation with Sir Patterson about autumn foliage and fishing in the hillsides not too far from the kingdom. My mother approached me and placed a hand on my cheek.
“You clean up quite nicely, Ben,” She said.
“Thanks, Mom,” I said with a smile.
“Did you get yourself something to eat?” She asked me.
“No, not yet,” I said.
“Well don’t worry, we are about to start the main feast as soon as your father is done talking,” My Mom said with a smile.
“That is quite fascinating,” My father said. “I’ll have to check out this river.”
“Yes, yes. Autumn is really the time to spend time outside…” Sir Patterson began again.
“Well I think it’s time to eat,” My mother interrupted by placing a hand on my father’s arm.
“Yes,” My father nodded. “Time for the feast. Sir Patterson, we’ll have to catch up later.”
“Of course, Sire,” Sir Patterson said with a small bow.
My father tapped his glass with a silver spoon and the room got quiet.
“Well I don’t know about all of you, but I believe it is time for the feast,” My father said. “Please, everyone take your seats.”
The crowd of nobles began taking their seats around the table. I sat between my father, who sat at the head of the table, and my mother. I noticed that Ro had taken a seat in between two different nobles about a dozen chairs down from me, on the opposite side of the table. She caught my glance and gave me a wink before turning to the royal on the her right and began a new conversation.
Header Photo Credit to Smithsonian Magazine
Writing Prompt submitted by r/WritingPrompt by u/lordhelmos