A fire burned silently across the room. The window looked out across the darkening water. In the fading light I discovered a pretty little candelabra and I quickly lit the candles at the fireplace.
The room was the same size as the others I had encountered. On one side stood a four-poster bed on a carved stand, a short bureau, a tall wardrobe with silver handles, and a writing desk with a myriad of ink bottles and paper to choose from. On the other next to the fire was a Japanese style dressing screen, an overstuffed reading chair and a long sofa with a table, and a tall bookshelf full of books.
I stepped to the window and looked down, regretting it immediately as the height made my stomach turn. I could see nothing on the ground in the deepening darkness, so I pulled the drapes across the window. I would feel much safer knowing nothing could peer in at me while I slept.
I examined the room more closely by candlelight. The furniture was very fine quality and clearly hand-carved. Everything seemed as if it were made for very long-legged people. I didn’t mind too much since I was already five foot nine, but there were a few things that were a stretch even for me.
I searched through the drawers of the desk and found nothing out of the ordinary or suspicious. When I opened the wardrobe I discovered several beautiful dresses made of the finest silks, satins and linens and in the bureau next to the bed I found several frilly, satiny nightgowns.
Behind the dressing screen I discovered a sunken marble tub with silver faucets and a pretty little cupboard full of bath salts and oils. I turned the faucets and let the warm water flow over my cold fingers. I was sorely tempted to bathe, but I held back wanting to finish searching my room for the night.
I left the tub and went to the bookshelf. The volumes on the shelf were similar to the ones I had seen in the tower, old, worn covers with gold or silver writing. It was then I realized the whole room was missing the layer of dust I had grown accustomed to seeing.
I moved around feeling the desk and tables, dust free. This development made me nervous for some reason. If everything on the outside of the castle was dusty and untouched for so long and things here were clean that meant someone had to come and clean them. I knew there might be other reasons, but my practical brain didn’t want to deal with which fairy tale I had stumbled into yet.
With a sigh I returned to the bath and turned the hot water on. It would feel good to soak away two days of walking and uncertainty. I searched through the wardrobe and found a thick, soft robe. Next I went looking for something to wear that wasn’t made of silk or satin and that didn’t have ribbons or lace attached to it.
Finally I discovered a plain blue dress stuffed in a back corner. It was still constructed from the finest linen I had ever seen, but it had no other decorations other than a simple trim of silver on the neck and sleeves.
As I sank into the hot water I felt at ease and relaxed for the first time in two days.