I was in a reminiscent mood when I entered my bedchambers, immediately going towards the bottom shelf of my dresser where I kept all that reminded me of my mother. A rose that I had snuck from her casket, dried and brown, sat on top. I removed it carefully and studied the small painting I had been given when her chambers had been cleaned out. Her hair was dark wound in a loose bun at the back of her head, a crown of jewels and pearls adorned her head, and the dress she wore was high collared. I stroked her pink-colored cheek and sighed in remembrance.
It had been seven years since her death. Though I was only ten when Mother died, I had been preparing to be a Queen all my life, and by that point I was fairly educated in all things political and social about the castle. At her death, I took to my lessons all more fervently.
Instead of three times a week, I had lessons with Elea every day. They varied among social etiquette, laws of the land, horseback riding, dancing, court procedures, and my favorite lesson, sewing. Mother had sewn, but she was so busy with Queenly duties that she didn’t have the time to simply sit and sew. I had the time.
I sewed almost all of the dresses I wore. The only ones that weren’t sewn by me were ball gowns, partly because they were difficult to sew correctly, but also because it wasn’t proper for a princess to sew her own clothes.
Taking on the role as Queen one day did not only have to do with looking pretty and knowing how to settle an argument between two farmers. Naturally shy since the day I was born, I practiced getting out of my comfort zone and meeting the people of the kingdom. When I turned fourteen, my father allowed me to ride into town once with him and Daelan. Daelan had been in the public eye since birth, being that he was the oldest and next in line for the thrown. He had to be ready at a moment’s notice to resume the role as King in case anything happened to my father.
Nobody really liked to think about that happening, especially so soon after my mother’s death, but nobody could pretend it wasn’t ever going to happen.
I shook the dark image of my father in his grave next to my mother out of my mind and looked towards the other mementos in the drawer. Not only did I have things of my mother’s but I also collected the things that I had made. There were pillow cases embroidered with flowers, the many dresses I had made and grown out of, and my journals. Journal writing was also a skill that I had been required to learn, and they had become one of my most cherished possessions.
I shut the drawer at the sound, pinching my thumb in the process. I stuck it in my mouth and turned.
“Oh, hello Elea.”
My nursemaid, governess, and best friend smiled and held me at arm’s length.
“Sad, tonight, are we?” I didn’t bother to deny it. She had always been able to read my face like a book.
She sat me down in front of the mirror and began pulling at the pins that held my dark hair back. My curls fell in my face and down my back. Brushing through my hair in long, slow strokes, she smiled at me in my mirror.
“Did you speak with His Highness at dinner, Sweetheart?” she asked in her slow, silky manner. Everything that Elea did was slow. Whether it was talking, walking, or tying my boots, she did everything deliberately. ‘There’s no need to hurry life, my pet,’ she’d say when I’d tap my feet in impatience. ‘It comes at the same rate whether you hurry or not.’
I sighed. “I did afterwards.”
“And?” she prompted. “What did he say?”
I bit my cheek.
“Oh, Hun,” she said. “I’m sorry. I know how much you want it.”
I smiled weakly, and continued to allow her to brush my hair.
“It’ll happen one day, Sydnee,” she promised, grasping my shoulders between her withered hands, gray hair tickling my face. “Don’t you worry a thing. You’ll get there. And when you do, you’ll be great.”
Elea’s footsteps hurrying on the cold stone floor woke me on that morning.
“Princess!” she whispered urgently. “Wake up! We’re leaving!”
“What?” I mumbled into my pillow, turning my face to look her in her frantic eyes.
“I don’t know! The King has called for you to pack all your belongings. He says you’re leaving the castle!”
“Leaving?” I asked groggily. I sat up and stretched my arms above my head. It was too early; my mind couldn’t process what she was saying.
|Caitlin Stasey||as Sydnee|
|Matthew Ziff||as Logan|
|John Stamos||as King Rowan|
|Charlize Theron||as Queen Isabeth|
|Minka Kelly||as Queen Adeliene|
|Luke Bilyk||as Wardley|
|James Wolk||as Daelan|
|Travis Milne||as Jarred|
|Dean Geyer||as Bastian|
|Casey Jon Deidrick||as Nathair|
|Asher Book||as Flint|