Emulan Trispeckan hated wearing dresses. She couldn’t do anything in them. No riding horses or climbing trees. And they were so tight she could barely walk properly. Standing up stiffly from the tightly laced ribbons tied by her maid, she walked around her room trying to loosen up her dress.
She stopped in front of her mirror and studied herself. She had deep emerald green eyes and long silky hazelnut brown hair that was brushed into a long braid. She had graceful long ears and a small nose, both common traits of the Trispeckan elves. She was tall for her age, but not too tall to stand out in a crowd.
“Emulan, time to go!” A low clear voice rang through the house.
“Coming Papa!” Emulan tried to race down the stairs as fast as she could in her still stiff dress.
She saw short stout man all dressed-up standing at the doorway.
“You look wonderful today darling!”
“You always say that!” Emulan protested as her father ruffled her hair.
“Today is your big day you know. The board has decided, for the 25th anniversary of the Xeonx Challenge, to have you and Prince Florian as the prizes!”
“What?” Emulan completely blanked. This news hit her by surprise. “What do you mean by I’m the prize?”
“It means whoever is the first male winner will get you as his bride. Isn’t that exciting!”
Emulan managed a weak smile as her father looked at her with expecting eyes. She knew what her father must have gone through trying to get her as the prize. But the winners usually were just mindless savages and she didn’t want to be married to a mindless savage! The few winners who weren’t savages eventually grew in power and created the five royal families of Altora. Having five was hard enough and Emulan knew it would be close to impossible to create a sixth royal family. She sighed as she climbed into her carriage.