‘There’s someone coming!’ Rowena pressed her nose against the window, her eyes squinting to see the far off figure. ‘Damia, come and look!’ Damia walked quickly across the room, leaning over Rowena’s shoulder to see outside.
‘Where my lady?’ She strained her eyes to see but there was nothing but endless space.
‘Over there on the horizon.’ Rowena pointed into the distance where Damia could see nothing.
‘I think you’ve been looking out of the window for far too long Crown Princess.’ Damia gently took the Princess’s arm and led her away from the window. ‘I think you need to rest for a while. Stop worrying about what might be out there. You’re not going to make your prince come any faster by looking for him.’
‘I don’t know what I’d do without you Damia,’ Rowena clasped her maid’s hand tightly against her chest. ‘You’re so good to me.’ Damia forced a smile before retreating to her corner of the room. She picked up some sewing she had been working on, watching the Princess out of the corner of her eye, as Rowena picked up her big, soft leather bound diary, lay on her front on her bed and began to write.
Still no one has come to rescue me. I thought I could see a figure riding towards me on the horizon, but it turns out it was just my imagination playing tricks on me. I really am going mad up here. My problem is that escaping is all I can think about. It swallows up every other thought in my head, fighting for room, needing to be heard.
I’m starting to get headaches. I haven’t told Damia because she’d only worry, but they’re starting to get worse. Most days I have to force myself out of bed in the morning, dragging myself through the rituals of eating, getting dressed and looking beautiful for my prince. Usually by the time I’ve made it into my clothes I feel ready to go back to bed again. I don’t know what is sapping the energy out of me. It must be all this waiting.
On a more positive note, my father has sent me another message. He says the Queen’s nephew, Prince Felipe Henrik of Madrimar, set out a few days ago to come and find me. I know I should find this reassuring but it makes me despair even more. Who knows how long it will take him to arrive and if he’ll be able to get me out of here if he ever does arrive.
Rowena stared at the words in front of her, her heart slowly sinking lower and lower into her chest. She thought writing her feelings down was supposed to make her feel better, not leave her more depressed than when she’d started. She put her quill down roughly on the table beside her bed and rolled over so she was facing the plain white ceiling, her golden hair fanning out like a halo behind her head.
‘Are you alright Crown Princess?’ Damia had been watching her closely as she stitched, wanting to keep an eye on the Princess as often as she could. ‘You’re seeming a little distressed.’
‘Are we ever going to get out of here Damia?’ Rowena asked, still staring at the ceiling.
‘Of course we are Crown Princess. What makes you ask that?’ She stood, putting her sewing neatly on her stool, and gliding gracefully across the room. She sat at the edge of the bed, picking up the diary and putting it on her lap, allowing her eyes to wander across the elegant script that decorated the page, before turning her eyes to her mistress.
‘I don’t know, everything just seems so pointless.’ Rowena’s voice was catching in her throat. She could feel the tears beginning to prick at her eyelids and tried to force them back. She got frustrated when she failed and tears spilled over and down her cheeks, which only made her cry more. ‘Why am I even writing this all down,’ she sat up and snatched the diary from Damia’s hands, flicking wildly through page after page of her own writing. ‘Is it so when I return home I can tell everyone about what I went through? Is it so when, in a hundred years, they break the lock on that door and find my dead body, they know who I was and what happened to me? What’s the point of it?’ Anger, frustration and fear welled up inside her and she threw the book with all her strength and watched as it spun across the room, paper flapping as the air caught it. It hit the stone wall with a bang and fell to the floor.
At the sight of the poor, crumpled book on the floor, all the anger and energy drained itself from Rowena, making her collapse into a sobbing wreck on the bed. ‘I’m sorry,’ she sniffed.
‘What have you got to be sorry for?’ Damia reluctantly put her arm around the Princess’s heaving shoulders and pulled her head against her chest, trying to be soothing.
‘I’m not behaving like I should. I should be strong and able to endure this, but I can’t. My head is spinning and I can’t focus on anything except getting out of here.’ She looked up at Damia through her hair, her blue eyes looking even more intense now they were brimming with tears.
‘You are doing well my Crown Princess. Anyone else would feel the same way in your position.’
‘You’re being so strong. You aren’t letting it get to you; you’re not breaking down for no reason, and you’re in just the same position as me.’
‘Not really,’ Damia said absent-mindedly. ‘You have so much more to lose than I do.’ Regaining her focus, Damia smiled down at Rowena, reaching out and pushing the hair away from her face. ‘Now dry your eyes. It’s time for something to eat.’