I drew the comb through my long raven hair one last time. I didn't need to- the people wouldn't adore me any less if I came to them covered in cow dung- but it seemed necessary on my birthday. I sighed. No matter how hard I tried to get them to notice Marian, they never saw anyone but me. Once I had been told I was like the sun, and I saw the comparison. None notice the silver moon beside the bright golden sun. I walked out of my room to meet Marian. I waited outside her room and heard a sound like a projectile hitting glass- though it couldn't be from Marian's room, could it?
The door opened with a slight creak and Marian appeared in the doorway, the sunlight from one of the grand windows making her brown locks shine as if they had some internal light. She didn't look at me, not properly, just walked almost mechanically towards the huge mahogany doors of the throne room. They opened as we reached them- there was someone waiting for us. The guard welcomed us both, though there was a marked difference between the "Good morning, Adeline, I trust you are well?" to me and the "Oh, good day princess," to Marian. She looked like she might have struck him were it any other day. I took her hand and pulled her into the hall.