Chapter 25 – Rescued
Chapter 25 – Rescued
Noah’s time spent aboard the ship, Takara, had been unpleasant to say the least. Gunther and Tiecus informed the captain that he was a criminal from Jodan and was being taken home for trial. The Takara was a fishing ship, which meant that it didn’t have a holding area for criminals.
This meant that Noah spent the entire ten days aboard the ship, tied up in the cargo hold. Thankfully Gunther and Tiecus didn’t tie another potato bag over his head.
The cargo hold would have been completely dark without pinpoints of light that peaked in from gaps in the floorboards above his head. After a few initial hours of panic, he was able to calm down enough for his eyes to adjust. The cargo hold was rather large, and just like everything else aboard the ship, it smelled like fish.
Being accused of being a criminal meant that the crewmembers were not allowed to converse with him. Noah received a meal once a day from either Gunther or Tiecus, and neither of them felt the need to speak with him. Even with the lack of communication, Noah was able to deduce that Gunther had been the gruff voiced person inside of the carriage with him, while Tiecus had tried to drive it.
Over all his time spent on the Takara was rather dull.
When the ship finally docked at the Banli Port in Jodan, Noah sent his thanks to the Sky.
His good thoughts were short lived.
Moments after his feet touch the dock, he was escorted forcefully to a large white building and locked in a small room, where he had been for last several days.
His room at the Rramnon embassy was completely bare. There was one window for him to look out of but it was barred shut. Other than the window, there was a slit in the door for his food tray, and a bucket in the corner, if he needed to relieve himself.
If there had been bars on the door, Noah would have thought that he’d been locked in a cell.
He had tried to talk to Gunther and Tiecus once during his stay with Momma Zoe in Ohrim, but once the two guards realized that he was looking for information, they kept their distance. Momma Zoe had promised to send off his letter when the mail carrier came, but whether it had reached the right people or not, he didn’t know.
He wasn’t sure exactly what day it was, or how long it had been since he had seen Annabell’s face, other than in his dreams.
She was the reason that he stayed sane during those days. His memories of the way she felt in his arms, of how her laughter sounded in his ears, of how she fiddled with her skirts when she was nervous, and countless other moments with her helped him keep his sanity. He remembered the jolt of heat that bolted through him when she kissed him.
Noah desperately wanted to see her again, but he needed to come up with a plan.
He thought back to the bits and pieces of the conversation he had overheard from his kidnappers.
“Are all nobles this stubborn or is it just the one’s with a sense of entitlement?”
“...if you die...is ruined.”
“Why is he dressed like a servant?”
“Freddrick...clever...sent him in secret...court the Alminian Princess...”
“...panicked at your new surroundings did you, Mr. Nobleman?”
And then Noah remembered the name that they had called out when the carriage pulled up in front of the bakery...
He almost laughed out loud and wondered how he hadn’t figured it out sooner.
They thought that they were holding Prince Philip of Terrafeuw hostage. He didn’t know how the kidnappers had come to that conclusion, but he had to find a way to convince them otherwise, and still keep his head attached to his neck.
He was sitting in the corner of the room still contemplating his predicament and watching the sunset, when he heard a key turning in the lock at the door.
Noah stood expecting to see Gunther or Tiecus come in and usher him somewhere else.
Instead another guard bolted in and quickly shut the door behind him.
He was breathing quickly, as if he was nervous. The guard removed his helmet and Noah was slightly surprised to see that he was blonde. The guard raked his hands through is hair and looked up.
Noah hadn’t expected the face that looked back at him.
~~~ Change Character Focus
“Who are you?” The man asked him.
He couldn’t bring himself to answer the question. The more he looked at the man in front of him the more he had to convince himself that he wasn’t looking into a mirror. So, he decided to ask a question of his own.
“What’s your name?” He asked the captive.
“Answer my question first.” The man’s response took him by surprise.
He smiled at captive’s nerve. “I’m the person that you’ve been mistaken for.” He said wondering how much the man knew.
“Phillip?” He questioned. The captive ran his hands through his hair nervously and Phillip’s eyes widened at the gesture.
“And you are?” Phillip asked as he held out his hand.
The man returned his handshake and answered. “Noah.”
Phillip still worried that the whole thing was a trap but it was starting to seem too elaborate to be one. He couldn’t believe how easy it had been to bride the key master.
The Crowned Prince had volunteered to free the kidnapped victim. His father had initially been against it, but Phillip’s curiosity managed to convince him. But there was time to wonder about the particulars later. They only had a few more minutes until the guards started their rotation again.
“Nice to meet you Noah.” Phillip stated looking out the door to check if the coast was clear.
“Why are you doing this?”
Phillip understood Noah’s confusion, but there wasn’t time to explain. “We’ll tell you later.” He answered, grabbing the captive by the arm and pulling him out the door. “But first,” he continued, “we must leave before they catch me trying to free myself.”
~~~ Change Character Focus, Later
Noah sat nervously on the chair in the Terrafein Embassy. He clenched and unclenched his hands, trying to calm himself down, but nothing seemed to help. King Freddrick had ordered all of his servants out of the room so that the three of them could talk in private.
He was confused by the fact that the very person that he had been mistaken for had rescued him. It perplexed him but he knew that it wasn’t his place to ask questions.
“Who are you Noah?” King Freddrick asked him.
“Before I was taken, I was the care taker of Lady Cathliene Manchester Montego’s sons,” he answered honestly, “of Durseman Peak, Alminia.”
Noah’s answer seemed to baffle the two people in front of him.
“Are you trying to convince us that my grandfather abducted a servant?” The Prince asked, unable to hold in his disbelief.
The King smiled at his son’s words, but Noah didn’t.
“You weren’t joking were you?” The King asked asked noticing his reaction. “You’re just a servant.”
“I was, Sire.” He corrected.
The Prince looked at him perplexed. “What do you mean you were?”
“I was removed from service for disobeying a direct order.” He answered flatly. It had been weeks but the soreness in his back reminded him of his shame.
Again Noah clenched and unclenched his fists. He didn’t want to answer, but Prince Phillip had saved his life. “My master, Lord Johnathon Montego was chosen as a possible suitor to the Princess.” He answered, forcing his voice to appear unaffected when he mention Annabell. “I was acting as the chaperone when my Master ordered me to leave them alone as they viewed the Palace Gallery. I disobeyed that order.”
Both King Freddrick and Prince Phillip seemed to accept his answer.
“Do you have any idea why King Heralf of Rramnon would mistake you for a Prince?” Phillip asked him.
Noah shook his head, but then the conversation that he had in the hallway with Annabell came back to him.
“The day I met you, do you remember it?”
“You mean when I lied to you about being a Lord? Yes, I remember it.”
“Before we were introduced, can you guess what I was thinking?”
“What were you thinking, Princess?”
“I was thinking, that even though you were only dressed up as a Lord, you looked like a Prince.”
He remembered how he had felt like someone had been watching him. “He must have been there.” Noah realized.
“What do you mean?” Prince Phillip wondered.
Noah raked his hands through his hair unable to believe his own stupidity. “Her name was Lady Annabell Tompson.” He explained, choosing his words carefully. “I met her one market day in Town Central City. My masters had ordered me to pretend to be their cousin. Lady Annabell mistook me for a Lord, and I did nothing to convince her otherwise.”
“What does she have to do with King Heralf mistaking you for my son?” King Freddrick asked.
Again Noah thought carefully about his words before he answered. He didn’t want to lie to them, but he wasn’t sure if he should tell them the whole truth. “I snuck into Princess Alexandria’s Ball to see Lady Annabell Tompson again.” He admitted. “I didn’t realize that the Princess was choosing suitors from the noblemen in attendance.”
“You were chosen as a suitor.” King Freddrick guessed.
“I was.” Noah confessed.
Prince Phillip looked up at his father, “King Heralf must have seen him with the Princess, and believed that it was me.”
King Freddrick nodded in agreement, “He must have found out about the engagement.” He added.
Noah stilled at the King’s words.
“Prince Phillip,” he asked knowing that he was over stepping his position, “why would King Heralf want to kidnap you?”
The Prince shot him a strange look and answered, “It’s a family matter.”
Noah nodded knowing that he should remain quiet, but he couldn’t stop himself from asking, “Why did you rescue me?”
King Freddrick surprised him by throwing something towards him.
Noah easily caught it.
Although he never truly looked at it before he knew what it was by the way it felt in his hands. Apparently the Rramnon guards took it from around his neck while he was unconscious. They must have sent it to King Freddrick as proof of Prince Phillip’s kidnapping.
But it didn’t explain why they had rescued him.
“Thank you for returning it.” He said, placing it once more around his neck.
“Where did you get it?” King Freddrick asked his tone deadly serious.
“It was my mother’s.” He answered easily.
“She passed away when I was thirteen.”
Prince Phillip easily accepted his answer, but King Freddrick eyes darkened.
“Was your mother Terrafein?” He probed.
Noah couldn’t keep the surprise off of his face. “She lived there.” He admitted, confused by the man’s reaction. “She fled to Alminia when the war started.”
“How did she get that?” The King demanded pointing at the necklace that Noah was now wearing. “Did she steal it?”
Noah flinched slightly at the King’s accusation, “No,” he claimed, “My father gave it to her as a gift.”
“Did he steal it?”
He wasn’t sure what was going on in the King’s head but Noah couldn’t defend his father. “It’s possible.” He confessed. “You’d have to ask him.”
“And where is he?” King Freddrick asked, his eyes darkening.
Noah wasn’t sure why but for some reason, the man’s question filled him with spite, “I don’t know,” he answered harshly, not caring about the repercussions of his words, “My mother insisted that after the war he would come for us, but it ended and still we waited. Maybe he was a thief; maybe that’s why he never came, I don’t know. I can’t answer that. Perhaps you know him though, since you seem to be familiar with this,” Noah accused taking the bobble from around his neck and throwing it back at the King, “All I actually know about him was that he was a guard named Jenkins.”
The King easily caught the necklace, but his face had visibly paled.
Noah was fuming. He ran his hands through his hair trying to calm down, knowing that he would be reprimanded for his actions.
When the King finally spoke his voice had softened greatly. “I was born with two names.” He said surprising both Noah and his son. “It is no secret that I was the bastard son of King Griggory, and Princess Rebekka. I was born before their marriage could be blessed. Because of this I was denied my birthright for nineteen years.” The King paused and rubbed the back of his neck in frustration.
His actions confused Noah, why was he telling him this.
“You were born into servitude?” Prince Phillip asked his father once he remembered what it meant to be born with two names, “Why didn’t you tell me before?”
“It’s hard to accept the shame of being denied your very name.” He answered honestly.
“Why are you telling me this?” Noah asked perplexed.
“How many names were you born with Noah?” The King asked, ignoring his question.
“What is your middle name?”
Noah cringed he hated his middle name, but still he answered the man’s question. “Flint.”
“So you weren’t born a servant?” Prince Phillip deduced.
“My mother insisted that I wasn’t, but every memory I have of my childhood is of myself in servitude.” He informed.
Prince Phillip looked at Noah with curiosity. “How old are you, Noah?”
“My birthday is the last day of September,” Noah said, “I’ll be twenty.”
“That’s the day after tomorrow.” Prince Phillip informed his father. “That makes him two years and seven months younger than me.”
“Your mother?” The King asked, “What was her name?”
“Nanna Jenkins.” He answered hastily.
“Was that her whole name?”
Noah couldn’t understand why it mattered to the King, but apparently it did.
“Um, no it wasn’t.” Noah looked back at his feet before looking up at the two in front of him. “Her first name was Anannet,” he answered, “but she hated it. She went by her middle name until Lady Cathliene started calling her Nanna. Then it just-”
“What was her middle name?” King Freddrick interrupted, his voice serious again.
Noah couldn’t figure out why it mattered. “Gwen.” He shot back.
King Freddrick instantly paled, and Noah realized why.
“You knew her, didn’t you?” It wasn’t actually a question. “And you knew my father.”
Silence engulfed them. Prince Phillip looked between Noah and his father with worry. Noah watched as King Freddrick glanced at the bobble with a strange look on his face.
“He was a member of the Royal Guard’s First Regiment.” The King informed sadly.
He placed the necklace on the table that sat between them.
“He gave that to your mother the night he realized that he loved her.”
Noah picked up the necklace, and for the first time in his life he truly looked at it. He had always assumed that it was a cat, but it wasn’t. It was a small fox. It’s tail wrapped protectively around it, as it slept.
He flipped it over in his hands and noticed the letters F.J. carved on the bottom.
“What was his name?” Noah asked, bewildered by the knowledge that King Freddrick knew his father.
“Flint Jenkins.” He answered; his words were filled with remembrance.
“Did he die during the war?” Noah asked realizing that it would explain why his father never came for them.
King Freddrick released a laugh that only deepened Noah’s confusion. “Flint Jenkins died the same night that King Greggory’s heart gave out.”
“Father that can’t be true.” Prince Phillip interjected. “King Greggory died nearly twenty-four years ago. How could he have been Noah’s father?”
“Because the next morning the Terrafein Councilmen granted him a new name?” He said plainly.
Prince Phillip scoffed at his father’s answer, “Why would they do that?”
“Because they wouldn’t allow their future King to only have two names.” He answered easily.