Chapter 1 - Princess Lua

"Princess, it is time to wake up. The gala is today." I am shaken awake by one of my attendants. Still drowsy, I wake up slowly. Gala? What Gala? Wait... Oh yeah, today I'm supposed to choose a husband from the princes of the Kingdom of Ult. I groan at the thought, as the attendent speaks again, "Princess, please hurry. You will want to eat before we must depart. The trip will take most of the day."

I stand from my bed, and am dressed by my attendants. So begins what could be the worst day of my life. Truth be told, I don't want to get married, not now and not to a noble I won't meet until today. The thought of spending the rest of my life bearing the children of a prince sickens me. There's nothing for it, though. The treaty my father signed with the King of Ult promises me to one of the princes, and the Princess of Ult to one of my brothers. I suppose the one saving grace is that I get to choose which one, though I can't see myself desiring any choice. Not that I've seen any of the three princes of Ult. My mother would probably say not to judge them too harshly before I've seen their faces.

It's not like I don't want to be married in general, but I'm barely going to get the chance to meet the Princes before I have to choose one to live with forever. Such is the life of noble women, though. Married off for a political gain or to form international relations. Not like we have any other purpose - we rarely inherit any kind of title directly, all of our brothers ahead of us. Before I became Queen of Solaris, all three of my brothers would need to be removed from succession, not that that would ever happen. Perhaps it is a blessing that I'll be married to a foreign prince. I can't say I've ever thought about a prince like that, though, but such is life. After all, what noble marries for love, especially noble women.

After being dressed, I am taken to the dining hall for breakfast. My father is already at the head of the table, along with my mother, and my 3 brothers. I don't pay much attention to what is served, I'm too lost in thought. My father speaks up, "Well today is a momentus occasion. On this day, my daughter and one of my three sons will be betrothed to royals of our neighbouring Kingdom, to make our diplomatic ties unbreakable for generations." My brothers cheer at the thought and I join in half-heartedly and unenthusiastically. After finishing breakfast, we head out to the carriages. My brothers have one, and my Father and Mother ride together, so I get a carriage to myself. Not having anyone to talk to, I continue to think about the upcoming gala. Perhaps I will feel better when I meet the Princes, and the Princess as well.

Throughout the rest of the 6 hour carriage ride, I try to imagine how my potential fiances look. Even pressing my brain for hours, though, I was only able to conjure up an image of my counterpart, Princess Selene, I believe her name is. Even just the image in my mind is fair enough to make me think of love. Not, I mean, my own love but that of any man. Yes indeed, if she is as beautiful as I am imagining her, she should have no issues courting any of my brothers. I mean, it's not normal for women to think of loving other women, but surely it's normal for them to envy their surety to capture the hearts of men. "Gah. Why am I thinking about the Princess. I want to be thinking about the Princes," I say out loud to no one in particular. I wonder what Princess Selene is thinking about.

When we finally arive, my attendant helps me out of the carriage, and we walk into a palace, beside my brothers and behind my parents. The palace less formal than the royal palace, I believe it belonged to a Viscount before it was repurposed to sign the peace treaty between the Kingdoms. This is the place the gala will be held. The place I choose my husband for the rest of my life. Just thinking about it somehow makes me even more sad. "Princess, it is time for me to escort you to the dining hall," My attendant says, shaking me from my daze. Right, the first item on the agenda is a dinner between the two royal families. This will be the first opportunity to meet the Princes of Ult --- there are two of them, I believe. I will also get my first glance at Princess Selene, though in both cases, it will not be a good look. The introduction will come later, at the formal ball.

My attendant leads me to the dining hall, where we are sat down. First is my Father and the King of Ult, then the Queens to the right, and the Princes to the left. I then take my seat beside my mother and the other Princess beside her mother. As expected, I can't get a good look at her. I don't even pause to wonder why I try to picture her specifically. My mind simply cannot escape my image of her looks, now refined by what detail I can pick out. Yet again, however, my train of thought is interrupted, this time by the King of Ult speaking, "Today is a momentous occasion. One year ago, this palace was the home to a treaty between our Kingdoms that ended a decades long war. On that day, we set forth a peace that ensured no more needless bloodshed. On this day, one year later, we enact an everlasting peace and alliance that will ensure that such bloodshed between our peoples will never happen again."

My father makes a similar speech, but my mind simply wanders. After the speeches are concluded, the feast begins. It is a mix of traditional dishes from noble houses of Solaris and Ult. I sample much of the food from Ult, finding it to my liking. During the dinner, one of the Ult Princes, Gabriel, spoke to me. It was a brief conversation, though I paid it little mind. He simply wished to get a head start over his brother, I guess. Finally the meal came to an end, and we were escourted to the great hall where the dance would take place. Where I would meet the two princes. Truly the last free day of my life, for at the end I must make my choice which of them will have me as their bride.

Upon entering the great hall, the two kings again make a speach, to announce their children, the princess to be married, and the princes to marry them. This time, my father goes first, "Now that we have all eaten, it is time to begin the great ball. To the Kingdom of Ult, I present my sons, in order by age, the Princes Afonso, Bendito, and Guilherme. And, I present my daughter, the fair Princess Lua, now of age to wed." After the speach, we stand beside our Father, and the King of Ult takes the stage.

"And to the Kingdom of Solaris, I present my sons, the Princes Adélard and Gabriel, and my daughter, the Princess Selene." As the princess steps out to stand beside her father, I finally get a clear view of her and my breath is immediately taken away. Her jet black hair, blue eyes, and perfect skin. The image in my mind from before could not be compared to the image of her now in my eyes. In this instant, all thoughts of marriage, of the princes, of my father, the King of Ult, all of them fell away. The only thing on my mind was now her, and one simple thought.

Princess Selene. I want you.

Copyright (C) 2024 Connor Horman This novel is licensed under the terms of the CC-BY-SA 4.0 License, or, at your option, the CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 License. See Copyright Info for details.