With that, Reggie’s eyes fluttered open. He was immediately greeted with the sight of Lottie, his nursemaid, opening the deep purple velvet curtains around his room. She wore the same outfit as always; black dress with white apron and bonnet. Upon opening the final set of drapes, she cast a quick glance towards Reggie. She smiled when she saw he was awake.
“Good morning, Prince,” said Lottie, offering him a curtsy before making her way over to the bed. “If you wish to stay in bed, the king and queen will allow it. Of course they’re worried about the health of their heir. Is there anything I can get for you? Soup, water, a cool cloth?”
“All three please,” said Reggie. He’d been in bed with a fever for the past three days, but he was beginning to feel the illness fade. Maybe the fever was responsible for his dream. Then again, in Alterra, people believed that fevers could lead to prophetic dreams. “Also, please bring a message to Papa. Tell him I dreamed of leading our soldiers to war and of a girl with hair like flames. Ask him to consult the fortune-tellers. I feel like it’s important.”
“Of course, Prince,” said Lottie. She reached for the embroidered draperies around Reggie’s bed. “Should I close these, my lord?”
“No, thank you, Lottie,” said Reggie. With a final curtsy, Lottie was gone. For a few minutes after that, Reggie lay in silence; the sounds of the servant’s chatter beginning to lull him back to sleep. As his heavy lids began to drift closed, he heard his door open. “That was quick.”
“What was quick?” came the voice of Princess Adelaide, better known to Reggie as Addie. Reggie’s eyes opened again, taking in his sister’s brown hair and blue eyes. Her hair had yet to be styled or even brushed. She wore her white nightgown still. “I came to see if you were feeling well enough to join Molly and Father and I for a ride this morning.”
“No, not that well. Though I’d really love to. I feel like I haven’t walked in ages,” said Reggie. Addie closed the door behind her and took the few steps to sit on the end of his bed. “Making yourself comfortable are you? Am I to assume you’re staying for a while?”
“If you’re going to be in bed for the rest of the day, there’s no reason to be lonely,” said Addie. She swept her long brown hair over her shoulder. “I’d imagine you’ve been bored and lonely for these past few days.”
“But you could get sick,” he replied. “Then I’d be better, then you’d be in bed with a fever.”
“Then you’d have to visit me,” said Addie. “Revenge would be sweet.”
The two shared in reminiscing and teasing until Lottie returned. But she wasn’t alone. King Valentine and Queen Coramund were with her. Reggie turned white at the sight of them. If not one but both of his parents had stopped what they were doing to come speak with him, something very bad or important had happened. He really hoped it was the latter.