Chapter 11

Like many others in the room, she had a tendency to watch Marie Diana, twirling about with various handsome bachelors who gallantly flaunted and did their best to impress the Goddess-Princess. She had made a spectacular entrance, glowing in a gown of gold to match the shimmering tiara god golden hair mounted upon her. Her beatuy was almost ethereal, as if she was a woman from a dream.

Too, her eyes wandered to the man she had met through the window earlier, who also stood beside the Ambassador at her entrance. Cassandra could not help but feel intensely curious about him. There was something about his appearance in which made her wish to know more, their unusual “meeting” of sorts. Like Marie, he had a charming, chivalrous manner which had many pretty women at his disposal for dancing and watching him just as Cassandra was. On occasions, his eyes would pass over to where she sat on her throne, and she did her best to turn her face away or appear occupied, hoping dearly that he had not realize she was staring at him.

It was not long before the Ambassador Jermayn asked Cassandra for a dance, not long after he danced with his own wife several times as she had observed. He brought his rotund figure before her, bowing slightly, “Your Highness, would you fancy a dance? For long is appears that no one has danced with you.”

She accepted with the least bit of anxiety; since she was a small child, the Ambassador had been a large part of her life, visiting her and treating her with kindness, which, on occasions, could become almost uncomfortable. Though, more then the King, he felt to her similarly of what a father should feel, yet how little she knew of him herself, it seemed he knew all of her. Only recently when it had been revealed that she was long-betrothed to Prince Alezander and the destined-queen of Navarn had she fully understood why Ambassador Jermayn lay such a claim to her life and its details.

“I fail to understand how all the men in this hall have not offered you a dance this evening, for tonight, you would appear far superior to all women,” he began as the dancing started. He smiled, leaning in closer to whisper, “But do not tell my wife that.”

Cassandra laughed lightly, coloring at his compliment yet withholding any reply. The Ambassador went on, “My Prince has missed out; it seems. If he saw you now, he would be very pleased. Very pleased indeed.” The remark only made her redden further and avert her gaze--was his only intent to make her act so ridiculous? “As he is not here to claim you, I am afraid that others will attempt to.” He winked good-naturedly, swirling her about steadily.

The set of music ended in a lovely final crescendo, allowing for the partners to set another bow to one another before preparing for the next dance. The Ambassador chuckled, somewhat red in the face and breathless, “Oh, I fear I am not what I used to, Your Highness. My feet, my lungs, cannot take so much dancing. Alas, I am an old man!”

The Princess laughed as he took her by the arm and led her off the dancing floor. “Here, Your Majesty, before I sit and rest myself, I really must introduce you to someone--Giddeon! Come, come!”

Cassandra stiffened as the man she had seen from her window turned about at the Ambassador’s voice, leaving a few others he had been talking with to stroll over. She could not identify the certain feeling in his eye as he smiled in the friendliest of manners to them. “Yes, Ambassador?” he bowed his head obligingly, though his eyes remained very much on Cassandra.

“I would like to introduce you personally to Her Majesty, the Princess Cassandra,” he titled toward her in an acknowledging fashion. “And Princess, this is Prince Alezander’s greatest of companions, his cousin, the Duke of Lycroft, Sir Giddeon.”

Sir Giddeon bowed, low and dignified, Cassandra curtsying slightly in return. “It is very fine to meet your acquaintance; I have heard much about you.”

“Oh,” Cassandra murmured, fiddling with her fingers awkwardly. She flicked her eyes up to meet him, a certain confidence returning in her voice, “I then hope it was all well and good, and wonder from whose mouths you heard it from.”

He smiled smoothly, the Ambassador interjecting with a hearty laugh. Sir Giddeon continued, “I have only heard good things about Your Highness, and it seemed all that I have heard has been fulfilled and more.”

She could not help beaming bashfully at his remark. “It appears unfair; if you know so much about me, I know nothing of you, Sir.”

“You have learned something that you have not heard, Giddeon!” chuckled Ambassador Jermayn, taking Giddeon by the arm. “That Her Majesty is quite clever for her years, for certain!”

Sir Giddeon laughed lightly, his eyes turning toward the mounds of twirling persons and the great increase of music which signaled the next dance. “In place of my cousin and Prince, may I offer you this next dance, Princess?”

Cassandra curtsied slightly, not helping herself a slight smile.

In a way, she had gotten her wish to know more of this man.

The End

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