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The Summer Court

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The Summer Court is a long held tradition in faery that allows suitors to come to court in pursuit of a prestigious marriage. In this case Princess Elsine is the maiden in question as her sickly father and King needs her to wed so the kingdom stays in their hands. With the castle grounds being turned into a medieval version of the Bachelorette, Elsine has no time to argue with her Father. Activities, games, jousts, feasts . . . possible wine cellar raids are all on her calendar. Being chased and flirted with all summer by hot rich dudes? Flower Crown on her head and Ring on her finger by Fall? Elsine is ready for all but the latter.

Fantasy / Romance
Kylie R. Trask
5.0 1 review
Age Rating:


“This is no longer up for discussion, Elsine,” King Ulrich’s sighed as he turned away from his pleading daughter, looking out the window of his study.

“But―!” She started, pausing at the frustrated glance he sent her.

Pushing her father had never worked well before, but she was so caught up in her disdain that she braved a step nearer to the towering man. “Why can’t it just be a fun, get-to-know-me summer?” She shuddered at the thought of marrying someone she had only known for three months. She rubbed at her arm, hoping her father would reconsider the terms of The Summer Court.

He whirled, his sky-blue eyes blazing, “You would have me invite the sons of other Kings and Lords to this castle, then proceed to humiliate them by letting you flirt with them all, only to send them home with nothing?!” Elsine flinched at his thundering voice, the reality that she had crossed the line settled heavily on her chest. She knew her duties as the only heir, but it seemed so quick and unfair to make her marry for politics instead of someone she fancied.

Hanging her head she shook it, her golden waves swinging against her cheeks, “No, my King.”

Bringing his hand up he dug his thumb and forefinger into his temples, “You must understand, Elsine, we have no choice. If things were different, I would have set up ways for you to meet them and converse before courting. I know it would have made this entire thing easier for you.” He squared his shoulders as though he wished to carry the burden for her, and his eyes softened. “I am sorry for that, I truly am― but I hope you will behave as the future Queen of Summer would. I believe in you, Elsi.” With that he passed by her, patting his big hand on her small shoulder, and left the room without waiting for her answer. It was not a question he had posed, but an order.

Elsine watched him go and ran her sweaty fingers through the ends of her hair. She would do the very best she could to please him. It was what she always tried to do. To make him proud. He had no son to pass his title to, only her. The princess knew that her father loved her, but sometimes she wished she had been born a male. That way, her title wasn’t directly tied to her marital status. But that was how it had been in Tir na nÓg .

Her thin, regal nose scrunched as she tried to imagine the possible suitors. The mental images of goblin princes or males twice her age made her eyes widen in horror. She sent up a prayer to Titiana, the goddess of Summer for help, adding a small request. Please let them be my age and beautiful. If they weren’t she would beg the goddess to turn her into a Cait Sith for the rest of her days. Crown be damned.

With a sigh, the princess left the room. Making sure to keep her head up as she passed the guards and folded her hands across her torso. She rubbed absently at the intricate lace detail, keeping her face blank as she walked back to her quarters. But, as soon as she entered her room, the weight of what her circumstances had cornered her into fell on her heart. Shutting the door behind her back she leaned on it as though it were the only thing keeping her standing. She wanted to cry for how things had begun to change so rapidly and uncomfortably. Losing a queen of a realm was devastating to the people, at least in her mother’s case. She was beloved. But with the mysterious illness that was chipping away at her father’s health― the realm would lose its figurehead. Elsine’s face crumpled as some tears wove silently down her cheeks for how much she was losing. She didn’t feel ready to fill the shoes of a queen, let alone with a man that she dreaded would be more of a stranger than the true love she wished for.

Her hands came up to cover her face as she sank to the floor. Tears warmed her palms as she mourned the love she hoped for, her mother, and soon her father. She knew it was selfish to feel so empty and alone when she had a kingdom standing behind her. But she let herself break. Just once before nothing in her life was her own anymore. She didn’t try to stop the tears and she allowed that for one moment she would feel sorry for herself.

When her shoulders stopped shaking Elsine wiped her tears away and stood. She took a shaky breath. It was time to stop crying. Though she might be considered unlucky in her circumstances, Elsine knew the privileges she held as heir were more than most girls could hope for. Making her way across the stone floor, she paused at the mirror and patted her pink face. Her fingers traced under her long eyelashes to clear away the remnants of her tears. Standing up straighter she pulled her golden waves over her shoulder, bringing her fingers down to trace the lines of the laced corset with all its embroidery and little ruffles of delicate lace. Her soft sloping chin rose, the determination coming into the depths of her crystal blue eyes as she tried to emulate the confidence the queen before her displayed with such grace and dignity. Her mother’s voice echoed in her mind, “A Queen’s reign is not measured by her King, but by the strength of her own heart, my darling.”

The princess let the words wash over her, clinging to them. She stared back into the now hardened crystal blue of her eyes in the mirror. Let these suitors be measured against the heart of a queen, then.

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