“I can’t do it, Liv! I won’t!”
The sound of a door slamming resounded in the palace as the small, but very angry princess raged through its halls. Suddenly, she stopped in her tracks and whirled upon the handmaiden hastily following in her footsteps.
“Father said I was to have a choice. He said I had until Summer Solstice to decide, but now he goes and pulls this?”
She huffed before turning around and setting off once more.
The majestic tapestries hanging on the stone walls swayed as the two young women barreled past them, coming threateningly close to swinging off their hanging posts.
“My lady, you must slow down, please! As… untimely as this news might be, I’m sure your father —“
“My father does nothing unless it benefits him directly, Olivia. Believe me when I say this has nothing to do with me and everything to do with whatever scheme he’s got going on at the moment.”
The princess didn’t let herself be fazed by her maid’s attempts at calming her down, choosing instead to remain focused on her goal.
“I don’t care what he says, I won’t do it. I won’t let him parade me around like a slab of meat to be bought by whichever lord presents the highest sum.”
Despite her best attempts at maintaining a neutral tone, the princess’ tone wavered slightly, and she promptly increased her pace to make sure that no passerby could see the tears glinting at the corners of her eyes.
But Olivia saw; she saw the way her mistress bunched her fists in the fabrics of her dress as she ran, saw the tension in her frail shoulders.
And maybe it was the fact that court was not in session, that they were mostly alone in the large hall save for the ever-present guards, or maybe it was that small amount of uncharacteristic vulnerability that she heard in her lady’s voice. Whatever it was, Olivia decided that for once, and just this once, she could let decorum go to hell and help her friend. So when she grabbed her lady’s arm and pulled her back, it was with the concern and the love of a confidante that she said,
“Ari, you need to slow down.”
As they faced each other in the hallway, the princess and her handmaiden let their titles blow away like the tapestries on the wall and simply stared into each other’s eyes. Before she knew it, Crown Princess Ariadne of Dacra collapsed into a heap on the ground, weeping in her friend’s arms in mourning the freedom she was soon to lose.