Sir Andreu de Raulet stood near a crackling, bright, hot fire, overseeing a stout middle age woman stirring a large black pot inside the equally large, stone fire place. Flames shot up every now and then, causing the woman to jump backwards. But Sir Andreu never faltered, he even ventured to taste the woman’s cooking stew.
“ Sir Andreu really, you know me better than that, to poison the King’s food. What a shameful act.” The woman said, finally growing annoyed at Sir Andreu’s constant overseeing.
“Tis not you I am worried about Yzabela.” Sir Andreu, a rather, big and burly, muscular man said in his scruffy voice. He winked at his young daughter who sat in a very unlady like position, on a stool nearby at a rough and scratchy table, taking notes in her leather bound parchment notebook, and eating an apple.
“Papa says that people are always trying to kill his Majesty. That is why we must protect him.” Catarina said, a small kitten rubbing up against her leg.
“Catarina, I wish you would not bring that creature into my kitchen. Ysabela scolded.
“It isn’t my fault that she follows me, now is it?” Catarina asked picking up the unfortunate creature.
“All the same, terrible creatures.” Ysabela shuddered. “It is not natural for a black cat to follow a child of God.”
“Oh pooh, you do not believe those silly superstitions do you Yzabela?” Sir Andreu asked, taking the black kitten out of Catarina’s hands, and bringing it towards the woman. Yzabela, who was just about as superstitious as one could get, screeched and backed away, nearly tumbling over a stool she had forgotten that she left behind her so she could sit in while stirring her pot.
“I guess that answers that question.” Catarina said laughing and scooping up her poor kitten who was just as terrified of Yzabela as Yzabela was of the kitten. “There, there, poor thing. The mean ol’ cook won’t hurt you. Here.” Catarina gently pulled out a small sausage and held it in her hand for the creature to eat.
“And where did you get that? You haven’t been stealing out of my storage have you?” Yzabela asked.
“Umph, who would want to steal out of your storage? I got it in the market thank you very much. And I paid my own money for it.” Catarina snapped. “Papa, really must I stay in the kitchen? Can’t I go out and ride, or find, Blazi?” She asked glaring at Yzabela whom was glaring right back at Catarina.
“Oh, you and that Blazi. He’s trouble, mark my words.” Yzabela said shaking her spoon.
“Let me be the judge of that.” Catarina snapped her cheeks slowly turning red with anger.
“Sir Andreu, if you do not get that brat out of my---“ Yzabella said raising her spoon in a menacing manner towards Catarina.
“Woman, if you dare to touch my child, I will give you far more than what you deserve.” Sir Andreu said catching the woman’s arm. He let go of her, and Yzabella simply glared at the King’s Poison Taster.
“Umph!” She hissed her hands on her hips and went back to stirring her pot.
“Boom! I hope the Lord throws a thousand curses on you woman!” Catarina hissed towards the cook in a quiet, angry voice as she pointed her two fingers towards Yzabella. Yzabella pretended that she did not hear the threatening curse.
“Catarina that is enough.” Her father said firmly. “Now, I didn’t raise a little heathen. Do not let me hear you cursing people.” There was a sarcastic irony behind Sir Andreu’s voice of course. For a little heathen he certainly did raise and was well aware of the fact.
“Catarina…”Catarina hung her head, and clutched her kitten.
“Yes Father.” She said. “I wish I were a boy.” She muttered. “Boys have it so much easier than girls.
“Now then, stop wishing things that cannot be. I have a mission for you.” Sir Andreu said, cupping his child’s chin in his big, strong hands.
“Really?” Catarina asked, her bright eyes dancing.
“Yes, I think it is high time, that you had something important to do. I hear that there is a rather big scandal underfoot. I need you to be my eyes and ears, and find out what is going on. I cannot be everywhere at once anymore, for I am getting old and feeble.” Sir Andreu whispered very softly so only his daughter could hear. Knowing full well that Yzabella stood very near the two. “Can you do that for me?” He asked gently.
Catarina blinked and grinned, she too noticed Yzabella trying to listen to their conversation, but pretended as if the woman did not exists. Catarina was very good at this. The fact was, she had been dying for something important to do, and her father knew this. She was a very good listener and knew all the gossip of the castle. She knew what was going on, and who was doing what, simply from being the little servant girl in the corner that no one paid much attention too. The ones who were quiet were always the most dangerous. She practically danced with excitement over her new quest.
“Oh yes, Papa, I would dearly love too!” Catarina said clapping her hands like a small child.
“Then off with ya, and don’t let me see you again, until you have something interesting to tell me.” Sir Andreu said, booting his daughter out of the kitchen. Then, turning around and glaring at Yzabella. “Not a word out of you woman! Get back to the fire place!” Catarina heard her father bellow out just before she exited the kitchen with her kitten trailing behind her.