A/N: I had intended a different order, but I figured that some of these can be interchangeable. For now, enjoy!
Your first real Friend
He wasn't dozing, he had just closed his eyes for a few long moments, dreaming about… A family.
And food. Mostly food.
Alistair had not eaten anything for a whole day, not even breakfast. Everyone had seemed so busy, dashing about from place to place, hurriedly getting things in order for Arl Eamon's bride. Alistair felt embarrassed to even approach the cook, who had a soft spot for the boy— his own hunger would only distract kind old Farrah from her preparation for the hundred strong nobles who would swoop down upon Redcliffe.
Like big ugly eagles with claws for feet, huge wingspan, bulging eyes, balding heads— oh wait—those weren't eagles, were they? Some nasty bird anyway.
He didn't like nobles, with the exception of Eamon. Alistair had heard stories about how spoilt rotten they were, and this was only proven by the horrid children who came along with their parents every month or so, priggish boys and spiteful girls who had nothing nice to say to him. Yes, Alistair was content remaining where he was, in the loft, with the horses and hay. He was not hungry anymore. No. At least, that was what he hoped his body would believe. But it wasn't working, much. Sigh.
He tried to whistle, hoping that the pangs would stop, but couldn't. His lips were too dry. Great, now he needed something to drink too. He had had almost made up his mind to leave the stables, when a small sound of the door creaking open froze his feet to the wooden loft. He knew that it couldn't be any of the servants, but remained hidden. He didn't want to be seen by the noble guests.
Some soft cooing was heard, and the loud huffs from the horses told him that whoever it was, they had bought food for them. Alistair peeked over the railing, and almost fell when he saw a pint-sized girl, feeding the huge grey stallion half of a gleaming red apple. The girl had the darkest hair he had ever seen, curled into large ringlets, loose over her shoulders, bubbly chuckles erupting as she chastised the greedy horse which had tried to reach for the rest of her apples. Her blue dress was not plain, nor was it ostentatious. She looked nice.
Seeing the small hill of fruit next to the girl being shared out among the animals, Alistair could not help but sigh again. To his alarm, this barely audible noise startled the girl, and she spun around with a muffled shriek. He tried to call out, tried to wave his hand in greeting, but only fell, having lost his balance, off the loft and onto a soft pile of hay below.
He felt like such a klutz, and remained lying there, prone, for a while— horribly embarrassed by his ridiculous antics and clumsiness. The noble child was probably going to laugh, derisively, at him—the stable boy with very bad balance. Alistair always resented that. He wasn't all that clumsy. Eamon had called him awkward—which he would soon grow out of. At least, Alistair had hoped that it wasn't permanent.
The 'whump' next to him was not expected, but when Alistair turned to stare at the girl, he found himself gazing into a pair of the greenest eyes he had ever seen. Whoever she was, she had joined him in the hay, motioning for him to remain still and be quiet with a finger on her lips. He assented with a nod, and the two of them huddled together behind the haystacks while she clutched at Alistair's sleeve, fingers trembling, just the little bit.
The two children sat in silence, ears straining, wondering what it was that had scared the little girl so. It was then the fanfare of trumpets was heard, and still more people entered the stable, bringing with them several more horses.
A great deal of jingling was heard, and then, mutters before the men left the stables. The girl immediately sprung up from next to him, squealing just a little bit when she saw the new horses. She didn't seem to be afraid around the towering animals. These were huge chargers, Alistair saw—bred for war—very expensive breeds. He knew who these belonged to. Suddenly, he wasn't hungry anymore. And yet, his stomach protested. Loudly.
The girl turned, cocking her head to the side, curious.
"Have you not eaten?" She seemed genuinely concerned. Alistair shook his head, wishing that she would go away. He felt miserable.
She didn't leave. In fact, she came closer, even. "There's plenty of food indoors." Again, there was that faint note of worry.
"I can't go indoors. Not allowed to." Alistair found himself blurting aloud. He tried not to feel sorry for himself, but it was the truth. Isolde did not want to see him indoors, especially on this day.
"Oh… Okay, wait here." She had sounded so matter-of-fact that he found himself growing alarmed. He didn't really want her to leave. She had seemed nice.
"Wait—" he called after her, clutching at her hand. Too late—the door had swung shut, and the light tapping of her feet fled, away from the stables. He was alone again.
P.S.: Hopefully, I'll have Cailan next. Thanks for reading! Please leave a review, yes? :D