"Yes, your highness. I'm to be the new court minstrel." Kris eyed the young man sitting bolt upright on the lesser throne. Crown Prince Adam looked like all the many portraits that Kris had seen in the towns and villages of their land of Feerce - tall and broad shouldered with a military bearing , his reddish hair cut short to fit under his helm. His blue eyes looked dull and bored. His clothing was of fine wool and fine tailoring, but plain and serviceable. Everyone knew Prince Adam was his father's general, who had no use for arts or magic.
Something tickled at Kris's senses, like a glitter around the edges of his sight.
"I suppose that Father must have his little interests." That was part of it - Prince Adam's speaking voice was a complete surprise. It rose up high and melodic, with a cadence Kris had rarely heard from such a man. It also filled the empty court with almost no effort. The prince never made public speeches, and now perhaps Kris knew why. The voice did not fit the image at all. "Since I do have the time…Kris, is it?" Kris nodded. "Please play something for me."
Kris had his lute slung over his shoulder. He moved it into place. "What would you like to hear, your highness? I have traveled widely, and have amassed a fair repertoire in many styles. I'm sure I can find something to please you."
"Music and I are not strangers, minstrel, but it's not something I seek out,." Prince Adam bit his lip. Kris, to his surprise, found that charming. "I think I would enjoy something unusual - not the normal sort of ballads of heroics or lost love, or the courtly formal dances I hear so much. I'd like something that can get a man's heart beating, perhaps. Or cause him to raise his voice in song."
"I know just what you want, your highness." Kris smiled. He decided on a peasant dance song, one he'd played at many a harvest fest, when the dancing would lead to more peasants for future harvests. He was sure the tapestry-covered stone walls around him had never heard such a tune. It had a catchy chorus, too.
As usual, he fell into the song, letting it weave itself around him. Music wasn't magic, or so he'd been told by his teachers, but it did clear away anything false in the air around him. His senses stopped itching as he sang through the first verse, but his eyes were closed so he could just be the song he sang.
He opened them at the second chorus, when one of the most powerful voices he'd ever heard joined him. It was amazing - it dipped and flowed around his with more control than he'd ever managed, mostly staying in a range few men ever attempted. It spoke of gifts and years of meticulous training. And yet, it was also Prince Adam's. So, Kris forced himself to open his eyes.
There was a man on the throne, but his clothes gleamed with gems, and his black hair framed his face. His hands and body moved gracefully with the music, and his eyes sparkled with delight and, yes, desire. And the smile on his face dimmed everything else in Kris's eyes.
He finished the song, and slung his lute back. The prince, still dark-haired and glittering, looked back at him. "What happened, your highness?"
"What do you mean?"
"You…were you under a glamour? Which one is you?"
"What do you see?" He tilted his head, his eyes wide. Kris felt like those eyes were looking right through him.
Kris described Prince Adam as he currently appeared, and as he had before. "Why were you hiding?"
"I didn't know music could do that. Dangerous stuff." He brushed the long bangs off his face. They fell down again. "I'm…it's complicated. But a king's heir can't be like this. Not for this country, always at war. And he certainly can't sing, nor want to bed pretty minstrels who play music like it's their life." Adam came down off his throne and touched Kris's face. "This is how I want to look, so the real Adam can walk to the town and go to the secret taverns where the music and the boys I love wait for me and at least pretend to not know who I am. And then I can put on the glamour and the rest and be the man my father needs me to be. Two lives, one man."
Kris's heart beat faster at Adam's touch. "He knows?"
"He knows. He understands. It's why my brother wed before me, and why he's been fending off marriage offers. And sometimes I can sing for him. I'd like to sing for you, Minstrel Kris." And he kissed Kris's mouth, swallowing Kris's heartfelt, "Yes."