King’s Palace, City of Cleston, 1,393
Kentel stumbled into the kitchens late in the evening, no one should have been up but a young kitchen-boy was washing the last of the dishes used for super. The boy was doing so in the dark without as single candle lit. “What are you doing in the dark boy?” He asked. The boy turned his ear toward the sound he made but did not turn to look at him. “Is it dark? I didn’t notice are you needing something Sir Guard?” Kentel stared at the boy for a moment longer. He then moved closer to him, then the boy turned around. He understood now, the boy was blind. Not only was he blind, but he had a piece of cloth tied around his head to cover his eyes.
“Yes, boy it is dark. Is there anything left to eat?” He asked the boy. “Yes, sir. I will light a candle for you then.” The boy walked with ease to the other side of the kitchen and cut him some meat and bread, placed it on a plate and walked back to him stopping just barely out of his reach and holding the plate out to him. “I’m sorry but it seems we’re out of cheese. But if you will take your plate I will get the candle lit. Would you like mead or water? I’m afraid it is all we have at the moment.” Kentel took the offered plate and asked for mead. The boy lit a candle and set it on the table before collecting a glass and filling it full of mead. “There you go if you need anything else just let me know, my name is Mato by the way.”
Then Mato went back to his task of washing the supper dishes. The boy quietly worked without seeing his task, but simply knowing that it was there. His hands gliding carefully along the surfaces he needed to clean and never making a noise. “How long have you worked here, Mato?” Mato tilted his head to the side a little, “Oh well I was born here, so always. My mother was the kitchen head when I was small, unfortunately she died a few decades ago.” Kentel nodded his head then realized the boy couldn’t see the motion. “My condolences, what about your father?” He asked slightly confused, was his father a guard or a grounds keeper? “Oh, he died when my mother was pregnant with us, so I have no clue. She didn’t like to speak about it. I guess that she just missed him a lot.” The boy or Mato answered softly like it was upsetting to him as well.
“What about you? I don’t really like to be stared at, even if I can’t see you, I can feel it.” Mato said giving a small smile. “Well you could say I have worked here for about half my life.” Kentel answered not really telling the boy anything personal. “Well that wasn’t very insightful, almost secretive. How are your parents then? Do they work here or at another of the Royal Houses?” The boy was smarter than he would have thought a kitchen-boy to be. “Well my parents are dead as well, and I have two younger siblings.” That should at least satisfy the boy’s curiosity. “Ah, in that case, how are your siblings? I have a brother that works in the gardens, but that’s all I have.” Damn, this boy was good, what kind of name was Mato anyway? “Well they are good, what does your name mean? I have never heard it before.” Mato walked back to the table letting the dishes was themselves. “You expect me to give the meaning of my name away when you have not even attempted to give me yours?” He asked tilting his head to the side. “No, of course not. My name is Ridder, what does it mean?” The boy laughed, Kentel thought the name was a good one. “You lie, but that is not my business. My name means bear.” The boy continued to smile as he answered. “Why do you say I lie?” Kentel asked very confused as to how this boy could tell he was lying.
The boy, Mato, walked to the mop bucket and started shaving soap into it. “The way you smell of course. Has a hint of yellow mixed with green.” He then started to pour water into the bucket. “So you can smell colors?” Kentel was even more confused now. Was this boy serious? “Of course, your tunic is red, it smells angry. My tunic is brown, which smells hard and soft.” Kentel looked down, he was in fact wearing a red tunic. “So what color is my hair then?” The boy laughed again, well it was more of a giggle. “Orange, well it’s softer than normal orange, but definitely orange.” Kentel’s eyes grew wide, how could this boy know the color of his hair. Even if he wasn’t blind he had cloth wrapped around his eyes. “Don’t worry, your hair is a good color. You wear anger, but you are not anger. Orange is joyful and warm, but your’s is soft meaning you are a soft light like the candle, not a blazing sun.” Kentel just stared at the boy for a little bit before saying, “You can’t tell all of that by my smell can you?” Mato laughed again this time it was a true laugh not just a giggle. “You can tell anything about another person if your nose is good enough. I can tell more about you with my nose than you could ever find out with your weak nose and eyes. But that’s because I don’t have eyes to use.” This boy just kept getting wierder and weirder. “Do you mean you are blind or truly have no eyes?” Might as well ask straight out, Mato seemed like the type of person that would just tell you what you wanted to know.
Mato walked away again with his head hanging. He didn’t smell sad but his posture said he was unhappy. His face said it was more of a lingering sadness that would never go away, so there was no reason to worry with it. Mato looked back at him and smiled just as happily as before, “I have eyes, they're just ugly and don’t work.” It was Kentel’s turn to tilt his head, how could a blind boy tell if his eyes were ugly or not? It must have been something he was told, weather with words or actions was the real question, however. “Why do you say that?” Mato smiled a little more and shook his head. “Shouldn’t you be getting back to work? I believe the King would like his guards to be on time.” He then turned his back and began to mop.
Kentel took his plate and glass to the counter so Mato could wash it later. “Have a good day then,” and with that he left the boy to his thoughts. Kentel needed to know who was trying to poison him. It obviously wasn’t that kitchen-boy. He probably only worked nights anyway. If Leafe hadn’t walked in when he was about to eat earlier he would be dead right now. Granted the person who had attempted that probably wouldn’t try again. Better safe than sorry, he would wait for a few hours after dark to get food from Mato, who still didn’t know who he was. Well at least he could talk to the boy without having to deal with him being annoying. This could work he could have a real friend that wasn’t family.