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Promises Beneath the Blackberry Tree

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Summary

[wip, summary soon]

Genre:
Fantasy / Romance
Author:
Madeline
Status:
Ongoing
Chapters:
1
Rating:
n/a
Age Rating:
16+

Chapter 1

As the sun set and the moon arose in the sky, the soft light highlighting her hair, Rubia stared at her dresser as she put her hair clips away for the night. The butterflies on the clips glistened in the light, and she placed them nicely in the drawer, shutting it quietly afterwards. She untwisted the braids, brushing her fingers lightly through to loosen the twists, but kept her eyes locked onto the mirror. She stared at her reflection as she dressed into her nightgown, pulling it on in a swift motions, but she would not take her eyes off herself. She sweeped her hair back behind her shoulders and put it up into a nice bun, finally blinking hard and switching her gaze to the floor. She stared down at the hardwood floor, feeling the cracks in the aged wood with her heel, before turning and heading towards her bed. She fluffed the pillows, folded the blankets neatly, before taking a seat on the edge.

Rubia's last night in her bed. Alone, in a bed. She gazed at the clock and started to count up the hours before sunrise again, leaving just 15 hours until the next morning. She laid on the bed, her head pressed on the pillow, and she flipped up the edges to press tightly against her ears. Her ears rang slightly as she applied the pressure, and she closed her eyes, slowly releasing her hands from the pillow. She curled up by her stuffed frog, a stuffed animal she had ever since she was young, and she relaxed against the foam mattress. The cold wind blew in through the cracked window, and the crickets began to chirp in the distance, performing soothing lyricals to the girl to release her tension and worry for the upcoming day.

[ー]

"You wanted to see me, father?"

The man ahead clasped his hands behind his back, his face turned towards the stained glass. The glass illuminated the floor with shades of lavender, emerald, and gold as Rubia walked up the aisle.

"Indeed. I have gotten word of your most recent attempt at messing with the garden fairies, is that correct?"

Rubia shifted uncomfortably in her shoes. "I wasn't messing with them, father, I was helping them getー"

"I do not want an explanation, girl," the man turned to looked over at Rubia. "That is the least of my worries. I have also received word from Iidia. King Frija is in dire need of help."

"And what help must that be?"

"He requests a bride for his son. Sir Roux Nuria. Him and I have arranged for tomorrow, 09:00 sharp. I'll allow you to be free from your duties for the rest of the morning, as Nadia will help gather your things and get the dress ready." A maid stood by his side, gazing down at Rubia and smiling, giving her a small and subtle hand clap. Rubia did not return the clap, as she didn't even notice. She gazed down at her feet and rocked back and forth on her feet. After a long silence, she nodded.

"Yes, sir," She spoke. "However, I would like to request to meet this man. I have never heard his name spoken, never caught a glimpse of him. I would like to meet this mystery man before he claims me as his own."

The father turned around, his dirty blonde hair falling below his shoulders. The emerald light from the glass illuminated his eyes as he looked down at his daughter. Fuzz grew uncontrollably on his chin and his jawline, but could never been grown long enough. He stepped down and walked towards Rubia, his narrow eyebrows tilted to a point.

"Did I ask if you had questions? You will marry this man tomorrow. I do not care if you have never heard of this man in your life. I want you out. I will get you out." Rubia stood and looked up at him, nodding.

"Yes, sir."

His face was inches away from hers and he stood up straight, giving her room to breathe. "I want you up in your room," He spoke, "I do not want to see you until sunrise. Nadia will accompany you until then. Supper will be in your quarters and nowhere else, am I understood?"

"Yes, sir." Rubia didn't raise her head, instead, she spun on her heel and walked, Nadia scurrying behind her. Rubia was glad she was behind her, so she could not see the tears slowly falling down her cheeks.

[ー]

"Don't think too much of it, mistress, he may turn out better than expected."

Nadia combed through her hair as Rubia sat in her chair. Her strawberry blonde hair flowed down against the back of the chair as Nadia combed through it, Rubia's eyes closing.

"I've never met this man. He's never spoken to me, never seen me, he probably doesn't know my name." Rubia shook her head and Nadia's smile was seen in the reflection of the mirror. She let out a small laugh and Rubia turned her head, looking up at her.

"Nothing, nothing. You need to go into it with an open mind, that's all. You may come to appreciate him, or you may not. But I'm afraid, if you do not, you have no choice but to live with the master. Your father does notー"

Rubia had looked down again, but spun her head quickly to the side. "Don't talk about my father here. You may talk about him anywhere else, but not here, Nadia."

Nadia nodded and bowed her head in apology. Rubia waved it off softly with a smile, and Nadia resumed. She braided her hair into two small braids in the front for her side bangs, bringing them back and tying them together in the back to create a crown like shape. She placed Rubia's hair into a low ponytail, smiling and admiring her work. "I believe the master will be astonished when he sees you. Whether it is for the first time or not."

Rubia smiled up at her, then at her reflection. She stared into her hazel eyes, seeing Nadia poke her head around her shoulder, resting her chin on her right shoulder. Rubia smiled more and Nadia smiled in return, before standing up straight.

"I will come back with supper. Relax for now, you have a long day ahead of you." Nadia smiled before opening the door, leaving with a sweet wave, before shutting the door behind her. Her footsteps echoed as she walked down the stairs, vanishing soon after. Rubia waved back and stood up, her bare feet patting the ground softly as she walked over to her window. Opening the window, she smelled the fresh air. The smell of fresh loaves of bread, the echoing noise of a cow's groan as fresh milk was produced, the birds lightly chirping as they fed their young filled her senses. She leaned forward a bit and attempted to glance over the trees and hills, far into the distance. She knew, standing there in a far bigger kingdom than she could imagine, was the kingdom of Iidia, and she knew her spouse was awaiting her arrival. She rubbed her forehead with the palms of her hands, a strand of hair falling in front of her hands as she ducked her head, before she stood up straight, straightening her back as she picked her head up high.

"Chin up," her mother would speak against her ear. "Always pointed your chin up when being spoken to. Always smile, mask your emotions for the crowd."

Rubia stared at the window, her eyebrows narrowed slightly as she composed herself. She would not let her spouse see her crumble. It is better to practice now, so no mistakes would take place later.

[ー]

The heavy ray of light pressed down against her eyelids, the girl regaining consciousness slowly as she turned and wiggled underneath the cotton sheets. The door opened with a creak as servents walked into the area, opening the window and lightly pulling the covers away from her bare legs, her nightgown slightly wrinkled as she turned on her side away. Nadia smiled amongst the servants, motioning for them to get her outfit prepared as she moved closer to Rubia, grasping her hand and pulling her up softly so she limply sat upright. Rubia's eyes slowly began to open and Nadia smiled brightly in her direction.

"Good morning, your wondrous day awaits," Nadia bowed teasingly in front of her, Rubia letting a tired laugh leave her lips.

"Good morning to you all," Rubia looked around the room as the servants scurried joyously past. "I am afraid I am not nearly as excited as all of you."

"Put all of that negativity behind you, my lady," a servant smiled. "Today marks a new chapter for you. Sir Roux must be waiting." The servant giggled and others joined, but Rubia sank in her seat, her head low.

"Come, my lady, let's get you dressed."

[ー]

Rubia could feel her stomach churn with each step she took, each step leading to another deep, empty feeling in her stomach. She had bid her father goodbye, but his platinum hair was turned to her. He fixed his gaze on the wall ahead of him, and responded with a nod. Rubia bowed, then stood and walked out, shutting the door behind her, knowing she would never step foot in there again.

The step on the carriage creaked as she crawled in, sitting on the seats and making sure her dress was to not get dirty. Rubia had requested Nadia come with her, as a guest of the wedding, and her father was reluctant to let her go. Rubia did not know when she would see her again, and she wanted to give her a proper farewell, after all the years she had stood by her side loyaly. She rested her head on Nadia's shoulder as the carriage began to move, closing her eyes.

Rubia's eyes opened slowly as she felt the carriage creak to a halt, Nadia moving to get out and hold the door. Rubia rubbed her eyes slowly, careful not to remove the eye makeup, and she parted her eyes open slowly to see a blurry Nadia, her vision becoming clear slowly. She began to step out, hearing the faint cheer of a crowd become louder as she took a step down to the ground, her ears adjusting slowly to the sound.

"Right this way, my lady."

Before her stood a man who wore silver and bronze amor, his short red hair smoothed back and his sword gleaming in the warm sunlight. His blue eyes gazed down at her and sparkled in the light, his arms crossed as he looked down at her. Rubia gazed up at him, before nodding. A servant, who looked identical, but somehow different from her home, showed Nadia in the direction of the commoners area. Nadia wrapped her arms around Rubia and pecked her cheek as a farewell, smiling and leaving to find her way through the crowd to the best area to watch. Rubia watched as she left, before looking back to the man who towered over her, her footsteps moving to her surprise. She attempted to stop moving and to turn around and run back to the carriage, but as she kept trying to force her movement to stop, it seemed to be only more motivation for her feet to move faster towards the entrance of the arena.

As she entered, the man led her through the castle's hallways and up a flight of stairs, Rubia keeping her head down low. She ignored the light coming in from the glass windows, instead she focused on her feet and the carpet below her. The man walked in front of her and stopped suddenly, opening the door in front.

"My lady, Sir Roux awaits."

The man opened the door, leading to a large room filled with people. Rubia's eyes widened slightly. Where was Nadia? Surely there would be a ceremony outside. Rubia fidgeted with her dress, biting her lip and pondering about where her friend may be. Her thoughts were interrupted as the man awkwardly nudged her forward, as if hinting for her to begin to walk down the aisle, as people stared down at her. Rubia's legs began to move on their own again, as it seemed, and she began to walk down the long aisle and to a small stone step, where she would be expected to stand and to take her vows. After she took them, she knew she would belong to her husband, and her husband alone, and her family name would forever be changed and a different expectation would be expected.

Rubia kept walking at the same pace, hearing a mixture of noises from the crowd inside the room. She kept her hands at her sides, although tempted to place her hands over her ears, and she kept her eyes focused on the ground, but her head high. She approached the stone step and stepped onto it, turning to her right. As she slowly turned, she noticed the steel boots of the man in front of her. She did not dare to look up at him, the priest muted in her ears, but she could not help but feel the intense stare of the man in front of her. She closed her eyes for a moment, squeezing them shut to block out all the noise, before opening them once more. Her head slowly rose, and her eyes trailed up from the boots to the steel knee pads, to the chest plate and shoulder pads. Her head finally stopped moving and her eyes locked with his, and she felt the intense stare sink deep into her chest. The man opened his mouth and spoke a few words, none of which she could hear or make out, and her mouth did the same to her surprise. The man in front of her relaxed only slightly, and Rubia's ears began to ring once more, the cheers of the crowd becoming more prominent in her ears once more. She felt his strong hand take a hold of hers, and she faced the crowd with him, sweat dribbling down her forehead and the side of her face.

Rubia was spun around once more to her right, her hand gripping his hand tighter and her eyes widening, feeling her husband's warm lips against hers, and she finally fell limp into his arms.

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