Fiction – Inspired by my recent visit to the Alcazar

Something momentous is about to happen for why else would everyone be scuttling about, murmuring in urgent low whispers. Is it fear or excitement?

When I was younger, I loved to run, to play hide and seek in the garden maze, dash between the orange trees as my nanny chased me, but as I’ve grown into womanhood, I am told to behave with decorum. I’m expected to spend my days doing needlework or strolling through the exquisite gardens taking the air, my head held high and proud, accompanied by my handmaidens. No more carefree running about for me, at least not in public where someone might see.

I feel restless and trapped within these confines of the palace, which they say is one of the finest in the kingdom. I yearn to escape, to feast my eyes on the outside world and ponder the wonders that I have only managed to snatch momentary glimpses of from a carriage. The whispers of the courtiers as they bustle about their business only make me more impatient.

I put aside my tedious needlework, and slip quietly from the room whist my handmaidens are busy gossips amongst themselves. I don’t wish to attract attention so I slow my pace crossing the inner courtyard, the place where the royal women whittle away the hot days besides the water features and pools designed to create a serene and peaceful sanctuary. It makes me want to scream rather than feel serene or tranquil.
As I reach the other side of the courtyard, I slip into the corridor that leads out of the confines of this beautiful prison which is the women’s quarters. Gathering my long skirts about me, and wishing that I was allowed to wear breeches, I hasten with a very unladylike dash up narrow stone stairs that takes me to the walls above the garden.

I am forbidden to be on the walls. It is considered dangerous and worst still most inappropriate. If I’m caught I know I face severe reprimand, but so far I haven’t been and life on the other side of the walls looks so enticing that I am prepared to risk any punishment. Squeezing into the small nook, that affords me coverage so I cannot be spotted from the gardens below, I feast like a famished person on the scenes of the city below.

From my hidden position I see the town is abuzz with energy as townspeople go about their business in what seems a heightened state of excited anticipation. The atmosphere is palpable and all my senses are on full alert when I notice the royal guards supervising the erection of a dais in the city square.

PS – the cover photo of my blog was taken at the Alcazar in Seville

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