Itami nodded. “Yes mother,” she said sarcastically. “I swear, you are just like her.” This kind of hurt Rin a bit. She was barely nineteen. She thought about her schooling and while she was intelligent she missed out on a lot of what it was like to be a kid. She was crushed but hid it well.
“Not everyone will have your best interest at heart, dear. We are just being careful.” Rin smiled and cupped a hand over a beaming Sofia’s.
Sir Hanar did not like it one bit. Rin wasn’t sure if it was because the knight disliked the Davic boy or not. Captain Vaughn absolutely hated the idea. “You want to send the Princess into a den of ravids… on such short notice?” He did not like the demonstrators, hated them in fact. He liked them to a pack of wolf-like ravids that have come to live on the edges of society. But, there was little he could do to stop the Princess to see the world as it is. It was on the great advantages of North Realm’s fosterage program. Rin being a handmaiden to the Princess was, by her very nature a Knight of the Order of the Rose. She had additional duties however, as prescribed by Akane, the Queen of the North Realm herself. Rin was charged by Her Majesty to act as her guardian. It was something that Itami railed against, but when she could not sneak out without Rin knowing about it, she gave in.
[Change: Akane also knows she is of the Order of the Thorn, so three people officially knows.]
There was another reason for Rin to agree to the dangerous, unknown meeting. She could gage the participants with greater means than the grainy photos and unknown witnesses giving verification. She had given the order for Vaughn to double the guard and have three of them undercover in the crowds. Rin had an eidetic memory, so she memorized the faces of all of the uncover operatives and all known key players of the pro-democracy movement. It was risky, but Rin was sure she could protect Her Highness.
It was coming late into the day when the sun threatened to sink below the horizon. Crowds of people already were forming amid the guardsmen that stayed on the periphery of the square. The air was cold and thick that night while the prospect of rain loomed. All ready fog was forming off the Morning Sea and was inching its way to shore to creep up the escarpment.
“There a lot more people than I thought were going to be here,” Itami whispered to Rin as they walked up to the plaza. They wore cloaks of sea gray, the same as many other people wore on this night growing dark. They were the same, save for Itami’s had a simple brocade of knotwork on its edge. Their hoods where up and at Rin’s insistence they did not were skirts, but long pants and good boots, just in case they had to flee.
Rin held onto Itami’s hand tighter. “It is never too late to change your mind.” Rin smiled from under her hood.
Itami just shook her head. “No. I said that I will attend and I will not start any sort of political career by showing that I am weak. Anyway, they may have something that can benefit the nation,” she said softly. “I am interested in what they have to say so, like what you say, I should always try what is put before me.”
Rin’s smile grew bigger as she became more and more attuned to the crowds that were coming. She pulled her attention away from Itami and scanned the crowd that they were swimming though. It was mainly filled with young students talking in small groups or standing before preaching demagogues. Her eyes scanning in every demagogue and rabble-rouser she could see to keep in her memory. She glanced over her shoulder and could see one of the undercover men following them a discreet business away. They came upon a makeshift stage that looked to Rin like a gallows. Strung above the stage where signs saying “Democracy Now!” and “Equality, Opportunity, Freedom.” It did not make sense to Rin. What were the people really rebelling against? The people have freedom. The opportunity and equality goes to those who deserve it. Nothing is handed to these people as they had to work for it. The nobility had to work for it in their actions and deeds. The common people had to work for it in doing the best job that they can do.
“Ready,” Rin whispered to the girl. She nodded as she walked up to step of the stage. “Are you ready Sir Hanar?” she whispered into her mike at her collar. She head the two clicks he gave in acknowledgement. Rin followed Itami and could see the crowds of people. There were at least a thousand people there.
“Hello Lady Rin,” she heard a musical voice say from under a hood of a cloak. A length of blonde hair tumbled out of the hood and she knew that it was Sofia Hess. When Rin got to the top, Sofia held her by the shoulders and kissed both cheeks under her own hood. “I am so glad that you have come,” she smiled and turned to face the others on the stage. “Or I should say WE are happy that Her Highness has come to talk to us.” She could see the three others beside the Princess, Sofia and Rin.
“It does not look like a simple talk,” Rin said as she passed by Sofia to stand by Itami. Her hand though trailed behind her and down the tall woman’s arm to her hand. Sofia smiled causing Rin to blush as she shook off her embarrassment. “It looks like an ambush to me.”
“Nonsense,” she could see Rikkard Davic say. “This is a peaceful demonstration, isn’t it?” he yelled over the crowd. The crowd laughed and a few cheered. “After all, Her Highness wanted to see a peaceful demonstration for a while. We have just obliged her.”
Itami looked around and swallowed hard. She stepped forward and removed her hood. Everyone could see her copper colored hair and firm demeanor. Rin could not help but to smile. It took guts to stand before a crowd of people and she did not flinch. “Greetings all,” she began. “I am Itami danAndahar, the Royal Scion of House danAndahar and heir apparent to the Throne of North Realm.” The crowd was awed and some of them removed their hoods and others bowed their heads. Others, Rin noticed, talked amongst themselves and she concentrated fully on them, quietly whispering to the guardsman her fears and concerns. Some cheered but most of the people grumbled. “I have come in good faith to observe your demonstration and talk to you, the people to learn of your concerns and troubles. It is my hope that in better understanding the problems, we can come up with a solution to what is ailing you all.” The leaders of this demonstration where taken aback as Rin followed Itami off the stage to go among the people.