Chapter 9


All were in a hasty state of preparation, servants scattering down the corridors with arms full. The bedchambers were prepared for the exorbitant numbers guests, the halls scrubbed spotless. The kitchens were set into full swing, hurrying to make a perfect feast. Great bouts of flour were hauled in, sugar in huge bags, eggs and various other produce in large baskets. Cooks swirled about in a chaotic dance, the clatter of pots and hustling of feet creating a wild symphony. Grand Hall itself was decorated with meticulous effort and spectacular style. As any other celebration, it would be a sparkling evening, an innumerable amount of candles and glittering décor hanging all around.

The day of the great celebration was not as enjoyable as Cassandra warranted - like other attending ladies, she was tended by a flock of handmaids dressing her hair and cleaning her to the point of ridiculousness for hours upon end. She was much used to it by now - it was a regular routine well practiced after all the parties the young Princess had to prepare for during the course of her life - and yet she was quite brored of it all.

Cassandra tired much by the time she was finally bid to put her sumptuous gown on. The whatever small excitement she had felt at the beginning of the day over getting flaunted over and made so handsome had long faded. She did as she was told, standing before the full-length mirror as the women around dressed her with the utmost care.

She frowned at herself in the reflection, the person frowning back almost appearing not be the one she knew. Her dress was one she knew well; it was emerald, and almsot made her eyes a similar color. It left her broad, graceful sweep of shoulder and neck bare, free for the decorative jewelry that hung there.

“You are a vision of beauty, Your Highness,” smiled one of the handmaids sweetly, smoothing out the skirt despite there being no imperfection there.

“Why do you grimace, Your Highness?” inquired another, something of a worried expression crossing her face.

Cassandra shook her thoughts from her head, looking down to smile slightly at all the ladies gathered around her.

“Oh, look, they are beginning to arrive!” cried one of the younger ones, interrupting any reply Cassandra would have made. She abandoned her work briefly to glance out the window filled with the faded grey light of approaching twilight.

“Mary, return here at once!” scolded another sharply. “It is not your business to--,”

Cassandra put her hand upon the servant’s own shoulder, instantly quieting her. She looked to the window as well, walking to the wide sill to take a look for herself. Mary lowered her eyes and briskly moved aside. Gazing out, Cassandra placed her fingers upon the glass as if attempting to break free from her room, or touch the visitors, the guests to the party, appearing quite like toys from her high-up perch. A flood of carriages and horses, snorting and whickering, trotting and flickering their ears about. Regal women gowned so beautifully hung to the arms of the high-held men dressed in their best as they climbed from the carriages. Cassandra smiled to herself as she spotted Sam among all the drama, the glitter, taking horses to the stables as he was bid. Her eyes wandered to a figure on a glistening black stallion, built like a warhorse, leading a parade of unrecognizable men handling a young, brilliant gray mare spotted with snowy white starbursts. The rider himself dismounted gracefully and handed his horse off to Caleb, one of Sam’s companions. As he began his way toward the castle, he turned his eyes upwards toward the sweeping turrets and rising towers, looking over the architecture with eyes set into a well-built, intelligent face. His eyes stopped briefly as they reached the window in which Cassandra looked out. She was unsure whether he had truly seen her, but, for a moment, it appeared their two glances met. Blushing as if they truly had looked eye-to-eye, she turned aside her gaze and moved from the window as quickly as she could.

“Come, ladies, we must place the finishing touches on Her Majesty - are you ready, Your Highness?” the head maid bid to both her women and the Princess with a beckoning smile. Still thoughtful, Cassandra silently obliged, letting the servants do the last of their work.

The End

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