Today is King Marcadius' 44th Birthday. The Queen and her ladies-in-waiting have arranged entertainment for The Big Day.
The King would rather be doing other things, but resists throwing a tantrum at having to endure such monotonous drivel.
Velsa is becoming increasingly closer with The Queen; Elsbeth doesn't much trust her own ladies as they were all chosen for her by her husband, therefore Velsa has unofficially become Her Grace's most trusted and loyal serf!
And Martin has become The Queen's Serf's most infatuated admirer! In other words - he's now got it bad for Velsa.
The young girl has consumed his waking world and all he ever finds himself doing is craving her affections.
Martin watches her, captivated. Her youthful beauty, combined with her 'joie de vivre' attitude and lack of noble manners is something he finds thrilling; it's such a refreshing change from all the usual moralistic, prissy attitudes prevalent at Court. He decides he HAS to find out more about Velsa. Later that day he decides that he must speak with her. "Excuse me Mi'Lady,"
No Martin, she's far from one of those, try again.
Martin coughs away his nerves.
"Apologies, sorry, I mean, Girl... Erm, Velsa!"
Well done Martin, you've now broken all Court Protocol and addressed a female servant not only formally, but by her first name. Velsa is astonished as Martin takes her hand.
Devoured emotionally by the moment he starts to blurt out suppressed sentences that Velsa has no understanding of, but had taken what seemed to Martin an age to think of. Things like: "Forbidden fruit is by far the sweetest, though they say 'Variety is the spice of life!'"
The words might have flown far above Velsa's head but the gaze from Martin's eyes and the delicate caress of his Gentleman's fingers provokes her instincts into sudden realisation
"Please excuse me Sir, I am on an errand for The Queen." Velsa has no idea how to react in such a situation so is thankful for the valid excuse to get away from it.
"BUT WAIT!" Martin calls after her, "I HAVE A POEM!"
Several corridors later...
Velsa has finally escaped the crazy Lord Boatman. She takes a breath to consider what just happened and quickly convinces herself that 'Old Boaty' has finally followed The Prince down the cerebral rivers of desolation.
"Yes," she thinks, "He's gone stark-raving bonkers! Either that or he's on some crazy dare game with Prince Seth."
Lord Simpson doesn't look amused with Velsa's message from The Queen but Velsa isn't paying attention; she is remembering the look in Martin's eyes and the touch of his hand, he seemed so genuine. What a gifted actor he must be!
"Were you seen?" Elsbeth asks anxiously.
Velsa responds by spending the next few minutes recounting who she might or might not have seen on the way to their secret meeting place; The Queen can be quite neurotic when it comes to confidential issues.
Elsbeth relaxes and Velsa is free to think about the rest of her chores for the day. But her mind is not on the job.
She is hoping beyond hope that the impossible has happened.
Could it be that a Noble Knight from The Royal Court of New Praaven has fallen in love with this insignificant 'Street-Rat'?
The next morning Velsa has her question answered.
"Shouldn't be long Your Grace." Velsa is preparing Princess Matilda's Pony for her riding lesson. Elsbeth is a very hands-on mother and likes to involve herself in her daughter's upbringing; letting the nannies do it all, produced Seth.
The Queen is certain that she won't make the same mistake again.
Martin is determined to meet with his new-found love and ambushes Velsa the minute he sees The Queen absent herself from the stables.
Velsa hears the door close behind her so spins around.
To her delight, disbelief and yes, distrust - it's him!
Her heart forces passions through conduits of joy and it's hard to breathe now Velsa can feel the attraction oozing from him. She knows as he walks towards her slowly - Martin Boatman is for real!
"Please, fair, sweet maiden whom they call Velsa, may I take but a moment of your time?"
No grievance presented itself throughout Velsa's nodding reply so Martin takes the opportunity.
He fulfills the powerful desire to touch her again, to feel her skin and the beauty of her complexion. Velsa is a little freaked out by his forward nature but Martin soothes her with his words:
"Could it be that I have discovered the most alluring of jewels buried beneath such a mire of grime and vermin?"
Again, Velsa isn't sure exactly what that means but she persuades herself that she is being compared to a fancy necklace.
"My heart needs to know how I can rescue such a prize from so dark and ghastly a taint?" Continues Martin.
Now Velsa is completely lost.
"I don't know what you mean!. .but. .Oh!...THE QUEEN!"
Velsa throws the saddle on the pony just as Elsbeth returns for Matilda's lesson.
"Sir Boatman! What are you doing down here?" Elsbeth asks.
Martin tells his first lie to The Queen: "I'm on a private mission for The Prince."
Big mistake Martin; your ill-chosen lie just confirmed what Velsa was fearing the most!!