"Cassandra, your father sends for you,"
Her eyes lifted from the book pages before her, standing slowly at the summons of the servant and brushing her dress carefully. Audiences with her father seemed a tedious presentation - usually called upon for some scolding lecture of sorts when he did not approve of her actions.
The Princess had never been close with the King. As a child, she was fearful of the man with the contenance of some majestic jungle creature with such power that could tear the little girl to pieces. She often wondered why he treated her so icily, so coldly, wondering if she was not good enough for his affections. Yet, as she grew older, she realized that he was not satisfied with anyone around him. She had watched her mother grow miserable, and her sisters only received the same attentions, the same harsh words lacking in fraternal love. It was as if his family was a business of sorts, assests advancing his own kingly pursuits. It was as if Cassandra had no father at all, and like the destiny before her, she was forced to accept that fact.
Her slipper heels made a stacatto clack as she moved through the marble hall in the direction of her father's chambers. She was surprised by his summons, almost believing that he would allow her to leave for Navarn without seeing her off. Though it was more likely he was to admonish her for some rumorous deed she was unaware of.
She reached the grand door of his rooms, the guards stepping aside respectfully at her approach. Gently she knocked, patiently waiting for her father's deep, imposing answer allowing her inside. It came soon enough, and, checking the smoothness of her skirts one last time, she opened the large golden knob and slipped inside.
"Father?" she looked about the grand parlor, decorated with the portraits of kings past, the ancestors before him, before her, all with the same stony eyes, hardened face, and frowning expression. Other than these faces, slightly eery as the flickering flame-light of the parlor fireplace danced in their dead eyes, it was devoid of people.
"Here, Cassandra. In my library."
Cassandra cautiously stepped around the corner, making certain her dresses did not catch on the corner of the heavy, intricate furnishings, or her arm did not not brush any of the fragile decor. Coming through the archway, she was swallowed by the dark, towering bookcases lining the walls, and came across that huge desk, sprawled like a sleeping lion in the center of the room. Her father was seated behind it, with candleight shimmering in his own eyes, which seemed, in such a light, less impressive and more sunken, weary with exhaustion.
"You called me, Father?
"Yes," he nodded slowly, gesturing to the seat across from him haphazardly between arranging the books and papers on his desk, as if she was not even worth looking at. "Please sit."
Cassandra moved toward the chair tentatively, remembering how she once thought, in a time what seemed so long ago, that this desk might eat her. Setting herself down softly, she could only wonder what her father was going to lecture her about today.