This week's entry came in at 595 words and falls under the prompt "One of the characters is revealed to be not who he or she is."
Week One can be found here.
“What now?” asked Khrusostom as he slung the strap of his lute case over his shoulder.
Bulsara shrugged. “I guess we’ll have to find the Lady.”
Khrusostom eyed him skeptically. “Tell me she’s actually an acquaintance of yours and not just someone you’ve spotted with a heaving bosom.”
“Neither. But I’m beginning to wonder why she set me up to this.”
Khrusostom bowed his head. “Lead the way.”
Bulsara cocked his hat and approached the nearest doorway. When a young woman answered he leaned into the doorway close to her and started speaking in intimate tones. When he returned to Khrusostom he pointed across the town to the north.
Dawn was peaking over the skyline when they managed to huff and puff their way up to the imposing facade of a great grey house on the edge of the Assart forest. Bulsara raised a fist and banged on the door, to tired to put on his charm. A serving man in a coat with its buttons askew answered.
“I’m here,” Bulsara panted, “to see the lady of the house. We met yesterday and she requested some music.” He brandished Khrusostom’s lute case. “Bloody woman, why does she live so far from the town?”
The serving man showed them a small chamber kept for visiting bards. His tone made it clear he didn’t approve of anyone coming to the Lady’s home at such an ungodly hour.
“Well, it’s her fault I haven’t got a bed in the Inn so stuff it, Stuffy,” Bulsara muttered.
Khrusostom smiled. “My partner is irrational from fatigue. Tell the Lady that we are grateful for the room and that we await her pleasure on the morrow.”
By the time the summons of the house’s mistress arrived it was evening and Bulsara was pacing like a caged animal. Bulsara growled and glared as they were guided to a large hall full of well dressed men and women. On an elegant couch a woman in the frilliest and (Bulsara rhymed in his head) silliest dress he had ever seen. She smiled at him through garishly painted lips and uneven teeth and asked for a song.
Bulsara stood immobile and wide eyed before suddenly slipping into his “court minstrel” persona with only slightly less ease than usual. “My Lady!” he cried. “A song I wrote this very moment in praise of your beauty.”
Khrusostom fitted his lute comfortably into his hands and began playing a traditional song from Bulsara’s homeland, which he always sang in these situations. Being sung in a foreign language, his subjects never knew that it was really a husband’s lament at being stuck with an ugly wife. They went through their usual court catalogue for the better part of an hour, but something felt wrong to Khrusostom. Bulsara’s performance was not as smooth as usual and his eyes constantly scanned the crowd. Then it was over.
The Lady praised them and petted them and then sent them away promising another night’s stay and payment in the morning. They slunk back to the little room in the servant’s wing. As the door closed Khrusostom rounded on Bulsara.
“All right, friend,” he said. “Tell me what’s going on here.”
Bulsara gave him a dark look. “That was not the Lady I met. Yet... it must have been.”
There was a light knock on the door. Khrusostom opened it to a slight girl in a simple, blue shift. Her long, golden hair dingy from dust. Bulsara leapt up.
She put a finger to her lips. “Be quiet and follow me.”