Rowena woke up to the sun falling on her face, as she had done every morning since her arrival to the tower. She got out mechanically of bed, rubbing her eyes to clear the sleep from them and trying to flatten her bed hair as she walked past the mirror. She sat down at her desk, pulling her legs up against her chest and putting her feet on the seat of the chair. She stared down at her diary, which was sitting on the desk in front of her. She knew she should write something. She had managed it religiously for the last seven hundred and ninety-one days, why should she give up now?
Sighing, Rowena opened her diary, and picking up her quill, prepared to write.
To tell you the truth, I’m starting to wonder what I’ve found to write about all this time. It’s not as if anything happens up here.
She dropped the quill, sending spatters of ink over the paper.
‘Oh no,’ Rowena groaned, standing up quickly so the ink wouldn’t get on her white lace nightdress. Grabbing a handkerchief, she began to dab at the blobs of ink on the page. Unfortunately, this only seemed to make things worse, making the ink leave a strange shaped stain on the paper. ‘Well it’ll have to do,’ Rowena sighed, staring down at the spoilt page.
She sat back in her chair, staring wistfully out of the window at the early morning light. She could imagine how the wet grass would feel against her feet. She shuddered with pleasure at the thought of it.
As she stared into the distance, towards the horizon, she saw something metallic flash in the sunlight. Rowena blinked, thinking that her eyes were playing tricks on her again and stood to go get dressed. She stood in front of her wardrobe, staring at the dresses inside. Over the last few weeks she couldn’t be bothered to dress well, and had stopped wearing jewellery and make-up. There was no change as she selected a plain baby blue cotton dress. She didn’t want to disturb Damia; Rowena knew how hard she’d been working, so began to dress herself, struggling to lace her corset from behind. She managed to put on her first layer of clothes, then lifted her dress over her head. The material felt soft and warm against her skin, making her feel safe and comfortable.
She wandered around the room, not knowing what to do now she was dressed. Finally, she picked up a book Vincent had brought her from her desk, sitting down in the chair to begin reading. It was a history of Madrimar, the nation next to Fersere, and their biggest rival. Things had been tenuous politically between the two nations for years, but now the new Queen of Fersere, Rowena’s stepmother, had relations in both royal families, and her nephew, a Madrimian prince, was coming to rescue the heir to the throne of Fersere, things were improving between the two countries. Rowena knew she should know more about other nations, and had decided to spend some of her time productively, learning about the history of other countries to make her a better ruler when her father died. That’s not to say the history was interesting. It was mostly about lots of old men making decisions about taxes, which made Rowena’s eyes water with boredom. She opened the book determined to learn something from it, but after only a few minutes, her eyes began to wander away from the page and to the window.
Rowena blinked heavily as she saw another flash outside. She stood up to look out of the window; positive she wasn’t imagining it. Sure enough there was another flash, like light bouncing off something metal, something like armour.
‘Damia he’s here!’ Rowena ran across the room, opening the door to Damia’s room without knocking, her heart pounding with excitement. Damia was sitting on the end of her bed, a piece of paper in her hand. She was looking very serious. Rowena was too excited to notice Damia’s manner, almost jumping up and down with excitement. ‘We’re getting out Damia. My knight in shining armour has arrived!’
‘What do you mean?’ Damia asked, her head still feeling foggy from sleep. ‘You thought you saw him last time, but it was just your eyes playing tricks on you. Are you sure you saw something my lady?’
'I’m positive,’ Rowena insisted, grabbing Damia’s hand and pulling her to her feet. ‘I’ll show you.’ She ran back towards the window, Damia being dragged along behind her. ‘Over there, where there is a flashing light.’ Rowena waited as Damia looked out of the window.
‘I see it,’ she exclaimed. In the distance, the flashing had become closer and they could clearly see the form of a horse and rider approaching. The man was wearing armour, which making him flash in the sunlight.
‘We’re going to get out!’ Rowena took Damia by the hands and began dancing around the room, surprisingly elegantly for the amount of adrenaline that was now coursing through her body.
‘But you can’t meet your prince dressed like that,’ Damia said, stopping Rowena’s spinning and trying to hold her in one place. ‘I’ll have to get you ready before he arrives.’ She marched over to the still open closet and began flicking dresses backwards and forwards. ‘This one,’ she decided, pulling out the Princess’s most elaborate dress. It was made of the finest silver silk, gold thread edging the wide sleeves and the hem. An ornate section of embroidery along the square neckline showed golden leaves twisting in and out of each other on vines. Damia held the dress out for Rowena to put on and as Rowena adjusted the fabric around her hips, Damia began to feel her resolve weaken. Rowena was beautiful and looked like a true princess. But she remembered what she had to do. She smiled at Rowena and pulled her into a hug.
'I’ll get you something to eat,’ she whispered in her ear.
‘I don’t think I can eat,’ Rowena said. ‘I’m far too excited.’
‘Nonsense,’ Damia insisted. ‘You’re going to eat something. You can’t go on a journey on an empty stomach.’ Damia smiled before backing out of the room. She closed the door to Rowena’s room behind her before producing the key Narcissa had given her from the crack in the stone near the door.