A warm breeze blew into the bedroom, fluttering the curtains in the moonlight. A maid’s eyes turned once again to the open window. “Are you sure you don’t want it closed? It will let in all manner of creatures in the night if it isn’t.”
A young noblewoman turned her gaze away from the window as she answered, “No. It’s fine. This room has been awfully stuffy lately. It makes it hard to sleep. I just feel more comfortable with it open.”
The maid shrugged as she picked up a basket of clothing and made her way to the hallway. “It is your choice madam, so I will respect it. Sleep well.”
The noblewoman wore a friendly smile as the door closed. She kept it on until she heard the footsteps fade into the hallways of the castle. Then turning, and as lightly as she could, she crept her way to the open window and searched the darkness of the garden below. It was hard to tell at first with the swaying of the plants in the wind. But after a moment or two it was clear that whatever she was looking for wasn’t there.
Disappointment slowly weighed down her spirit as she turned back to her bed. With legs crossed she sat on the soft sheets. Her eyes always drifting back to the window, the curtains still fluttering back and forth with the wind. It soothed her, like the room was taking deep calming breaths after a long day.
Suddenly the sound of a whistle almost like a bird call caused her heart to leap. Once again, she quickly and quietly made her way to the window. She was a bit too eager and nearly tripped out the window sill leaning precariously for a moment before regaining her balance. She scanned the garden, hoping that she had not been so desperate to hear that sound that she’d imagined it. Her loose hair obscured her view and she was about to brush it away when a sound came from below her.
She looked down.
Below her was a young man still wearing the grimy clothes of a blacksmith. His short blonde hair was ruffled and although his face was clean, there were dark smudges on his neck as if missed during a quick wash. None of this mattered to the girl as she locked eyes with him. He had a smile that melted the rest of the world away. With eyes that shined bright in the moonlight.
There was no one else who made her feel like this. No one else she dreamed about while still awake.
“Hey you,” She said with a smile.
The boy shuffled a bit, “Can I come in?”
The girl’s smile vanished. She pulled herself back into the window as quiet and quick as she could, remembering the need for stealth. “Right, I’ll be back!”
With that, she disappeared into the room before returning with an exquisite rope, which had disappeared from a curtain in the great hall the day before. It flew silently out the window and landed in the garden below.
Testing it with a hard tug, the boy began his climb. He only needed to make it to the second floor. The hardest part was getting in the window. But with help he managed.
“Wow, it’s just as impressive inside!” He said as his eyes floated across the exquisite bedroom.
“Doesn’t matter how good it looks if you can’t leave,” sighed the girl as she sat down on the bed. “But it’s a lot better with you here. Come sit with me.”
The boy’s face flushed. “On the bed?”
Embarrassed, her face flushed too. “Well, yes. On the bed. To sit.”
“Right. Nowhere else to sit.”
The boy sat beside her. They just sat in silence for a moment. The wind fluttered the curtains in the moonlight as if to calm the two.
The boy shifted in his spot, not knowing where to put his hands. “I’m sorry. I think I’m getting dirt on your sheets.”
The girl responded in quick reassurance. “I don’t mind! It doesn’t matter to me!” She thought for a second and then added, “what was it you wanted to talk about?”
His eyes widened. “Oh, right! I forgot,” he said with a nervous laugh.
She laughed too with her nose wrinkling up in a shy smile.
He took a deep breath, placing his hands on the edge of the bed for balance. “My father has applied to the empire for me to become Novaborn.”
“Oh.” The response hung in the air for a moment.
“Does it help with being a blacksmith?” She asked inquisitively, adjusting herself to look at him.
“Yes, it does. You can control the heat of the furnace yourself. And with it you can make special types of armor.”
“But isn’t it dangerous?”
He nodded in answer, his eyes studying the swirls in the stone floor. “There’s a chance I could die in the process.”
She reached out and gently placed her hand on his. “Then don’t do it.”
He smiled at her response. His thumb gently stroked her soft hand. “It’s not that simple.”
She moved in closer. “Yes it is! I don’t know what I would do without you!” He squeezed her hand but didn’t meet her eyes. “Don’t risk it! For me.”
He sighed, looking up at the intricate carvings in the ceiling. “You really want to leave a beautiful place like this to be with me?”
Without hesitation she had the answer. “I would give it all up. I would live anywhere in any circumstance, so long as I was with you.”
He turned to her and finally met her gaze. “Then I have to become Novaborn. Then I can make weapons and armor that no one else can to support us. I could give you the life you deserve.”
“Not if you are dead! And if you do survive, you’ll outlive me!”
He turned away from her again as she held his hand tighter. She spoke resolutely to him, but he didn’t turn to her. “Novaborn live twice as long as normal. How can you be doing this for me if you’ll outlive me?”
His mouth parted twice before finally speaking, “What if we both became Novaborn?”
She shook her head “And what if one of us doesn’t live? We would be left to live a longer life all alone.”
He grabbed her hand with his other hand. “You’re strong! You would survive!”
“We don’t know what will happen.” She closed her eyes shut. The frustration of it all made it hard to keep it together. Her voice trembling, she spoke “I don’t know what to do.”
He reached out and pulled her in beside her. She nestled her head on his shoulder. His fingers gently brushed over her hand. “I love you.”
She squeezed his hand. “I love you too.”
They sat there watching the curtains flutter back and forth. They wished that this moment could last forever and it seemed to for a while. But tomorrow would come with questions in need of answers that they didn’t have. And no matter what, it would come.