Orion’s Embrace Part 10
I must have dozed off because when I awoke next, there were things in the room with me. Lying at the foot of the bed was a set of towels and wash rags — all in a beautiful ice blue. On top were soap, shampoo, and various other items, I would need to clean up to make myself feel like a human again. Sitting on my desk was a small tray that was covered. One that I knew must contain some type of food. Probably the kind that did not spoil.
My stomach was already demanding that I fill it. Always, hungry but never able to eat enough to stay healthy. That was the problem right now. I was too busy running to worry about staying in shape. Every day I looked into a mirror, when I could find one. I saw changes in me. My hair was stringy and looking like it hadn’t been washed in a good long while. My eyes did not have the same sense of life in them as they had before. My body was thinner, but not so much that I looked like I was dying of starvation. I looked like someone who was running from something and slowly losing myself. Could I regain back who I used to be?
Shifting so that I was sitting up in bed, I yawned. Sitting on top of the food was a small note. Matilda had come in while I was asleep and had left me the items. She had not wanted to wake me, afraid I needed a lot of sleep. I did, but I also had things to do here.
Everyone kept saying I would be fine once I reached Tir Andrel. Why did they all seem to know something that I did not? It was maddening. The rest of the note told me to shower, eat, and rest if I needed. When I was ready to talk, just come to her room. She instructed that the room I was given was directly next to hers and that it should not be too hard to find. Honestly, I was worn out, and the idea of food and sleep seemed like the best option.
This room was mine while I was on the ship. I knew that. So, why did it feel like a prison to me? So far, these people had been very kind to me, but I was not home. I doubted I could ever go back again.
Sitting down at the metal desk, I took a moment to study the food. It was a simple meal. I had not expected much at the moment. A sandwich and a drink. Simple. Enough to take the edge off of my hunger, and I was hungry. I was eating food slowly. I was trying not to make myself sick. That was the last thing that I needed here.
After I had polished off the small meal that they brought me. I glanced at the time and realized I had time for a shower before I did anything else. There was still time left before the night would be upon us, and the idea of sleep was not something I was into. I had been asleep long enough. Stress would do that to a person. Make them exhausted beyond belief, and you were left with no choice but to pass out.
Grabbing the items that were left for me, I headed to the bathroom. The room was larger than I thought it was from the outside in. Showering was an experience here. The water was hot and I had soap and shampoo. I knew that I would have to wash my hair at least twice to get the greasy look to go away. Once I was sure that I was washed and presentable, I ended my shower and dried off.
I knew that I needed to meet Matilda. She was someone important on the ship, and I would not insult her by ignoring her. That much I had already decided upon.
Dressing slowly in the clothing that was sitting in the room, I took a moment to study myself in the mirror. I was among Vikings, and they had given me clothing that would allow me to blend in. It was a mix of animal leather and furs. Warm and soft. I would fit in here fine, I hoped. I had no other choice.
Leaving my room, I headed to the room Matilda designated as hers. When I got there, I ran my hand over the buzzer. I could hear it chime inside the room and waited for them to grant me access. This ship appeared to be far more advanced than Matthias,’ and I already liked that. More advanced meant that the lives of the inhabitants were better off. While I knew that I might have to work, I would not be at such a disadvantage.
The door before me slid open, and I was staring into the eyes of a woman who looked no older than myself. Her sunkissed blonde hair was twisted around her face in intricate braids, and she had on a summer dress, a beautiful sunshine yellow in color with small pink flowers on it, and leather boots. This must be Matilda. If this was her, why did she seem so special?
“Hello, Princess. I am Matilda. Please come in we have much to discuss before the night is upon us.” Her voice was soft and gentle, and I wanted to do as she asked. My aunt had been the second friendly face since I started this unintentional quest, and Matilda was the third. A part of me was worried that something bad would happen to each of those that were aiding me. I could not live with myself if any harm came to them. Deirdre especially since she had helped me out first.
Entering the room, I paused just past the door. I was not wanting to offend her by stepping too far in. They kept addressing me like a princess. Why? It was not that I was wearing a tiara or a crown that would indicate my royal status. With Nathaniel on the throne of my planet and myself being exiled, I had lost the title. Still, they were addressing me as such. I was not sure how I felt about it.
“Please just call me Adele. There is no need for the Princess. I lost that title.” Every word was the truth. By the tradition of the monarchies, I no longer had the right to be called any of the royal titles. They insisted on doing so. I was honored, but I wanted them to understand that I was a person, as well. I did not want or need any special treatment.
“The actions of your brother does not negate your title. To us, you are the Princess of Caesar Seven and the rightful queen if Nathaniel hadn’t done what he did. To us, this will never change. You are also the niece of the best friend of our First Mate. That is not something that we take lightly around here. Especially when the First Mate is the brother to our leader and captain of this ship. My father will not have anyone who is friends of the crew treated as anything but what they deserve.”
For a moment, I was shocked. I never expected to learn what I had. Matilda was the daughter of their Captain. She was important. That would explain her power within the ranks. The fact that the First Mate was also her uncle was curious.
Too many things were happening around me, and I continued to feel like the world was spinning. Maybe one day, I will have my feet back on solid ground and able to understand exactly what is going on. Since I had my confrontation with my brother, I have been running nonstop and rarely had any chance to truly contemplate what was going on around me. That was part of the problem. Everyone around me was making all these decisions and choices, and I was left with the final result.
What was I supposed to say to what she had told me? Arguing would only cause a problem. Did I mind so much that for the first time since I had been branded and sold to Mathias that I minded being addressed as Princess? Honestly, no. It was refreshing to me. Respect is given without me having to demand it. Not that I would ever do such a thing.
“Now that we have that worked out, we need to discuss what your task will be here on the ship as we travel. We are heading to Tir Andrel. Once there we will be staying for two weeks and then leaving again. Our trades tend to take that long. The plan does not always go the way we want it too. At least, it hasn’t in the past year. Now there will be some smaller planets that we land on to pick up additional supplies. If you want off there, we can leave you, but the agreement was to get you to your aunt’s contact in Tir Andrel. You’ll be helping me. Mostly, I just make sure that everyone has what they need. I check supplies, and I help out where needed. You can help us. The only ones that are truly expected to maintain the ship are the warriors.”
I stood there in Matilda’s room and thought about the options given to me. Here I was being treated as a person. Yes, I would have to help out. Everyone pulled their weight. I had not expected a free ride across the galaxy. That was a stupid notion. I had always been the type of person that worked my way through and earned my way. Still, I knew that I needed to say something. Acknowledge her in some way.
“I understand. I expected that I would have to work for my room and board. I am decent with biology and herbology. I have several talents I think will aide you all until we get to wherever I feel I need to go. What I don’t understand is the reason why everyone is trying to tell me to go to the one planet that has tried to kill my people for several generations.”
“All things will become clear. Now. Get some sleep, tomorrow we’ll find you something to help with.”
It was quite clear that the conversation was over now. I did not mind. I needed time alone to think about everything that was happening. With a nod to Matilda, I exited her room and headed back into mine.
Stepping into my room , I was shocked to see that it had been cleaned. There were furs on the bed to keep me warm in the cold of the ship. The temperature in space was not something that I wanted to deal with without a way to stay warm. My old linen clothing was not warm enough to handle the nights, and I was grateful for having the blankets so that my teeth would not chatter in the night.
My food remains had been removed, and there was a clean towel in the room. It was an odd thing. Someone was taking care of me, and I was not used to it since the passing of my mother. I was capable of taking care of myself; I knew that. They would think me rude for saying something. I will not let my hosts. I will not insult my hosts. I was not my brother.