Chapter 7 - Preparing the Bride-to-Be
Princess Lillian spent the remainder of the day in her chambers being prepared for her wedding. Servants worked tirelessly to carefully bathe her with the finest salts and lotions, dress her and garnish her with the finest jewels the Kingdom owned.
Her gown was made of smooth white silk and lace and had a jewel-encrusted off the shoulder design at the top; it truly was an exquisite masterpiece which wrapped around and extenuated the curves of her body, leading off to a long train of white and golden lace behind her. Her long golden hair had been carefully pulled up and styled in messy up-do with a long white lacy vail falling from behind her head, across both of her shoulders and down to her lower back. A large diamond encrusted tiara adorned her head and with each move she made the splendid jewels sparkled in the light. The tiara itself had belonged to her mother when she had been married many years ago, so it carried a lot of sentimental meaning to Lillian as she wore it with pride.
While the servants were finishing their final touches on Lillian she glanced down at her right wrist, noticing a strange marking had started to appear, though it was faded. She frowned as she used her left hand to try and wipe it away. Perhaps it was a dirt stain. No luck; the marking seemed to be under her skin.
As she stood wondering what it was a knock sounded at the chamber door and everyone turned to see who it was.
“Enter.” Lillian called out as the women continued to work around her.
The wooden door opened and two familiar faces both stepped into the room one after the other.
“Mother, father!” Lillian said with a smile as she moved over to greet them.
Giving her mother a hug first, Katherine held her hand over her heart as Lillian then went to hug her father immediately afterward. Katherine was in pure astonishment at how stunning her daughter looked here before her now, as a woman about to be married. Though her situation was not ideal, she could not have been more proud as a mother than she was now.
“Oh Lillian, you look absolutely stunning!” she complimented as Lillian and Greggory turned to face her.
“Do you like it?” she asked them both with a smile. She had never felt so beautiful in her entire life as she spun around once to show them the entirety of it all.
Greggory couldn’t help but smile, even in this difficult time.
“Father?” she asked, waiting for his reply.
“What? Oh, yes of course. You’re a vision my dear!” he spoke, kissing her on the cheek. “As always.”
“We just came to check in on how you were doing.” Katherine explained.
“Your mother couldn’t stay away.” Greggory chimed in honestly.
Katherine gave him an elbow to the ribs and he gasped playfully. Lillian chuckled at their playfulness; it was almost as if nothing was changing between them. Almost.
“So... not long now.” Katherine said, seeming hesitant as she took Lillian by the hand and led her across to the balcony window of her room. “How are you feeling?”
“Honestly, I don’t know.” Lillian replied as they stopped just in front of the balcony. “I don’t know how to feel about this.” she shrugged her shoulders.
“I’m so incredibly proud of you, Lillian. You may not know it yet, but you possess great kindness, wisdom and unrelenting strength. Believe in yourself, daughter, as I believe in you. You will get through this.”
With watery eyes, Lillian and her mother shared one last hug before the fast approaching ceremony was due to commence. Just as Greggory was about to speak, there was yet another knock at the door and all three of them turned to face it.
“Yes, enter!” Greggory commanded.
One of the Rykiss soldiers popped his head inside and nodded towards his King.
Greggory nodded back and the soldier closed the door behind him.
“Well, I’m afraid it’s time.” the Queen announced, hesitantly.
With the signal having been given, Katherine moved across to take the bouquet of freshly cut white lilies from the servant holding onto them for Lillian. Greggory reached around Lillian’s head and grasped both sides of the vail, then pulling it back up and over her head to partially hide her face until the end of the ceremony, as per Rykiss tradition. As Katherine handed her daughter the bouquet of lilies, both mother and father stood back to see their daughter as a finished masterpiece and both were overwhelmed with great emotion.
“Am I ready?” Lillian asked, seemingly unsure she could do this.
Greggory smiled in response. Holding out his elbow towards his only child, he waited patiently for her to wrap her arm around his and the two began to walk towards the chamber doorway together, as father and the bride-to-be.