Please give it a quick read and comment on story flow and if the humor provided by her maidservant helps to diffuse the situation.
managed to make her
way back to her rooms through a fog of despair and disbelief. Of all the things
she had envisioned for her life, being married, especially to a Malinorian, had
never been one of them. Deep inside of her, where the cauldron of anger
normally simmered, sat a cold emptiness. Floane, sensitive to the mood of her
mistress, moved quietly about the rooms, laid out a change of clothes and poured
the Princess a cup of chilled wine. At a knock on the sitting room door, Floane
quickly hid in the bedroom. Sofia
Queen Oliva entered and stopped just inside, then quietly closed the door behind her. The Princess stood motionless, staring out of her window.
“You will leave in the morning with an escort of ten men commanded by Lt. Marton. You may take along one maid. The men will escort you to Seaside where a ship will be waiting to take you and the escort across the Straits of Durmont to the capitol city of New Bratan. There you will be met by King Charles and Prince Mathias.”
Gliding to a side table, the Queen carefully set down a small bejeweled chest.
“Inside of this chest is an ancient wooden box, the contents of which are unknown. No one has been able to open it for many generations. The box has been part of the Royal Treasury since the time of the first Queens of Dahlian and is believed to contain an item of great power. King Charles’s only requirement for the betrothal was the gift of this box, so you will present it to him immediately upon meeting. How he even knew of its existence is a mystery.”
Unused to being ignored, the queen ordered, “Face me while I am speaking.”
She involuntarily took a step back as
turned to face her. Out of lifeless eyes spun a darkness that threatened to
draw the color out of everything in the room. Determined to finish what she had
started, the Queen continued. Sofia
“My daughter, your sacrifice will benefit our country immeasurably. As your Queen I demand it of you. As your mother I ask it of you.”
Receiving no response, the Queen turned and made her way back to the door and risked one final look at her daughter on the way out. As the door clicked shut, a breath of sound escaped
lips, “I have no mother.” Sofia
Unable to think, she continued to stand long after the Queen was gone. A movement drew her attention to the bedroom door where Floane stood transfixed. With faltering steps her maid walked across the room as if being pulled by a rope straight to the jewel covered chest.
Once there, her hands slowly grasped the lid and raised it. Eyes bright with wonder, she trembled slightly as she reached inside and lifted out a wooden box darkened with age. A smile danced at the corners of her mouth as the box appeared to open on its own accord and she was bathed in a golden light. Closing her eyes with a sigh, the lid of the box closed and she returned it to the chest.
As the glow around her maid diminished, the Princess heard a voice, as if someone was speaking to her from the bottom of a well.
‘The bearer of the box is found. Guard her life with your own.’
“Floane! What are you doing over there?”
“Your Highness? I… it is such a lovely chest!”
Tearing her eyes away, she bounced across the room, hands clasped together.
“This is so exciting! Are you really going to Marlinor? And to be escorted by Lieutenant Marton. He is so handsome! I have always dreamed of sailing on a ship. You have to beware of pirates though or so I’ve heard. And the King! They say he is so strong and handsome that women fall down at his feet!”
Laughing at her maid’s excited ramblings helped to lighten
’s mood and put her in the right frame
of mind for what she had to do. Sofia
“It will take more than a pretty face to make me fall down at the feet of any man,” she snorted. “And don’t you worry about pirates. Our ships are a match for anything those thieves will have.” Turning toward the bedroom, she continued. “Now I need to get out of this gown and leave to make certain arrangements. While I’m gone I want you to pack only the two large travel chests. When I return I’ll have one of the Guard escort you to your quarters so you can pack without being disturbed. I want us both ready to leave first thing in the morning.” Not receiving a response,
turned back to find her maid frozen like a deer caught in the gaze of a hungry
“Floane? What is wrong? You heard the Queen. She said I was allowed one maid and you are the only one I would trust to travel with me.”
Fear filled eyes regarded the Princess as Floane trembled, “No one in my family has ever left the
, your Highness. We have always
served the Queens of Dahlian. My grandmother told me that a curse had been
placed on our family and anyone who tried to leave the Palace would die before
reaching the end of the bridge.” Rose Palace
Putting an arm around the shoulders of her maid,
steered her towards the bedroom. “I imagine your grandmother told you that just
to scare you into not leaving the Palace and getting into trouble. Don’t you
worry Floane. I will protect you with my life.” With a sense of unease, she
wondered, why would I say such a thing? Sofia