Chapter 4


It took Cassandra the longest while to gather the courage to set herself at her desk and pen her reply. For several nights, left alone to her thoughts, she lay awake thinking about it. What was she to say to him - he who seemed to so barge into her life in his short, curt fashion.  He was a face, a person, completely unknown to her - only a name, a station. That he appeared to be much older then her frightened her. What might her answer warrant in him? How could she place herself so eloquently when she was still a child in her learning compared to he who was an adult? What sort of first impression could she make?

And, still, after restless hours of thought, she paused as she lifted her pen once more. Crumpled papers scattered at her feet, all inspiration had long drained from her. She was only left with the heavy feeling of anxiety, burning at her heart and churning at her gut. What if she offended him? Would he then despise her for the rest of their life together? She could not ignore the searing question: Who was he? What sort of man was this Prince Alezander?

She did not ask for help. She avoided her mother, who she loved so much despite it all, and refrained from showing her the letter or informing her that she was to make a reply. She did not tell her governess, who, with her cold eyes and frigid voice, would have heightened her nerves tenfold.

In her neatest hand, she slowly scrawled out the introduction which she thought proper enough, after staring at his own letter for the longest period.

Your Majesty, Prince Alezander II of Navarn,

She sighed heavily, briefly gazing out the window watching the new dawn toss pinks and golds over the horizon. How many hours had she been up contemplating, writing feverishly, only to throw away?

I learned of this arrangement with the coming of your letter. Please do not take offence when I say I am frightened, for I was very frightened at my first knowledge of this. It was my mother who first explained it all to me, and then soon afterwards I was brought before my father to also be told that it was my duty.

By now, a certain emotion arose in her chest, and the flow of words came smoothly from her head to her pen, some it rehearsed from her earlier drafts, but some ideas flooding anew.

I do not understand much of this, yet I shall accept it. I beg you to understand of my pause and reservation, though I will

Cassandra swallowed, closing her eyes for a brief time. Frowning, she continued.

happily do as I am obliged . Also I shall continue to write if you do as well, knowing that one day we

She moved the pen around in her hands, swishing the words that tasted so bitter about in her mind. It almost hurt to write them, like it was confirming the truth, that it was, in fact, reality and not some bad dream of hers.

will brought together whether we both like it or not.

An itching curiosity tugged at her to inquire after him at this moment, but something said it sounded very improper and was not fitting for such a letter at this time. Perhaps he would tell her about his life, and perhaps she would learn from others about him before the fateful day that they should meet face to face.

Cassandra once more read the letter over with some sort of grim satisfaction. It was enough. It had to be enough. She knew not what else to say or do.

With my highest regards, and wishes for the happiness and well-being of yourself and family,

Princess Cassandra of Aedryn

The End

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