The Royal Banquet
At the mention of my name, I became shocked feeling weak where I stood. It felt like my legs could not carry me any longer. I couldnt understand what I was feeling but it was definitely nostalgic.
Still trying to come in terms with what happend between I and the prince when I walked in earlier. The way our eyes locked to each other like our souls were one made me uncomfortable coupled with the fact, that the other ladies were already aligning to Gemma Argyros. The rumour going around espcially within the courts were quite strong that she was already the chosen one and that the ceremony was only a formality.
I had never encountered the prince not for once because I've been away for years studying in London.
A week ago, when I returned from Italy where I went to visit my aunt, Lady Veronica, my mother informed me that she had submitted my name amongst the royal ladies for the selection ceremony .
At first, I got angry because my consent was not sought before such an action was taken. Secondly, I had never thought of falling in love with anyone talk more of marriage. Dont get me wrong, I knew I would eventually get married someday but I wasnt sure about the timing so hearing my name creep out of the royal Mc's mouth sent every type of fear and anxiety emotions through my body.
Yes, I later agreed to do my parents bidding but that was to fulfil all righteousness but not get chosen.
The whole room was divided with some persons rejoicing about the choice not because they knew me because I had literally been away but I guess because the prince made his own decision.
Still feeling shocked, I managed to swerve my eyes through the room and the situation was messed up. First of all, the king and queen were more of in a confused state as they demanded the paper be brought to them for confirmation peradventure a mistake was made. When they read through and it was boldly written, they turned to the prince shooting missiles out of their eyes.
In fact the situation could not be more emphasized. The princes choice scattered the ceremony as the kings angry voice rose calmly "Eridian, in my office now!" He commanded the prince and walked out followed by his wife.
Gemma, on the other hand broke down in tears as her friends tried to console her while her parents were obviously disoriented with the way they looked. We were asked to exit the room as the Mc was made not to mention the name a second time.
"Eridian for heaven's sake, tell me that was a joke" the queen shouted angrily red with fury once we settled into the kings office.
"Do you know the level of embarrassment you just caused us?" The king stressed also very angry slamming his hands hard on the table. "You had one simple order Eridian, choose Gemma as a bride. Was that so hard?"
Feeling a whole lot bad for my actions, I knelt down falling to my mothers toes."I'm very sorry for the embarrassment I caused you both but the truth is I was actually going to choose Gemma but then Aris appeared and everything changed" I explained remorsefully still pleading.
"What changed Eridian? What?"
"I dont..... know and I cant explain it but I felt it and it was really strong" I stammered trying to describe the way I felt.
"That's rubbish" my mother stated now sitting down with her legs crossed. "You know what you will do? You will go back into that room and apologise to the people telling them you made a mistake and fix this mess up" she scowled.
Rising to my feet, I wanted to respond to my mother in a certain kind of way but as the monarchs, I couldnt because disrespect was a punishable offense even to royals like me.
"I'm very very sorry" I continued the apology "But I can't change my decision. It seemed everyone wanted me to bride Gemma but what about what I want? Does anyone even care about that? All my life I have only lived to please people especially you both. Cant I atleast do this one for me - please myself this one time?"
They were both staring at me like i was crazy or have been brainwashed.
"The only thing you would be doing for yourself is marrying Gemma and nothing more" she refired still standing her ground, then she stood up and walked out.
"Father, please!" I approached him pleading for his support on this, wanting him to reason with me in the same direction.
"You dont know this girl Eridian!" He echoed.
"I know father but atleast she's the daughter of Duke Floros of Islandes. He is a noble man of worthy character father so I trust he has definitely done a good job in bringing up his daughter according to our royal customs and traditions" I made a case.
My father was gradually seeing reasons as I explained on. "But you dont love her?" He reminded me of something that might be a strong point of contention for the queen.
"Right now I cant say but I sure have feelings for her otherwise I wouldn't have chosen her" I paused for a while taking in the expression on the king's face then continued "I will get to know her dad when she moves into court" I said giving him an assuring nod as he rubbed he massaged his temples slowly.
He exhaled deeply "Now give me time to think about this. As for tonight's ceremony, it has come to an end" he expressed and communicated others extending an apology on behalf of the royal family.
The next day, I felt like going after Aris because I had trouble sleeping. Rolling from one end of the bed to the other feeling like a part of me was missing and then waking up to the reality of the mess that was created yesterday.
It was no doubt that the itching public would be aching to hear the news. It was tradition that immediately after the selection ceremony, the announcement of the prince's bride to be is made and within seven days, she moves into court where she will live under studying the current queen for a period of twelve months.
After which she will be wedded to the prince as his wife and remain as such until he is crowned king and then she becomes the queen.
As I thought more about Aris, the image of her last night flooding my mind and head made me restless. I was eager to meet her but I felt it was better remaining indoors after what transpired yesterday. I wasn't ready to face the queen nor Gemma and though I felt I owed an apology but that will be after the current issues have been sorted out.
I'd also hoped my father would see reasons with me and support me abruptly on my decision.
"Your highness, Lord Charles is here" my attendant called out informing me of Charles presence. Just what I needed.
"Let him in" I echoed from inside my bedroom where I was stuck on the bed under the covers.
"Troy, what's up with you man?" Charles questioned taking a seat opposite the bed.
"Nothing! Just tired" I whispered sitting up with my back against the bed rest. "Hows the court?"
"Well, it feels normal. Everyone going about their day to day stuffs. He paused looking at me. "Do you want to talk about what happened yesterday at the ceremony?"
"I dont know man" I shook my head. "I want to meet her" I spoke bluntly.
"No! Aris" I said taking in deep breaths.
Staring at me confused he stood up, and strolled across to the bed taking a seat. "You want to meet Aris? And what about Gemma?" He questioned me.
"Something happened to me yesterday once my eyes were set on her. I swear it was really strong like a force. I feel drawn to her man and I know she must have felt startled or maybe even scared when her name was mentioned. All these and more are the reasons I need to see her"
"Should I arrange a meeting then?" He asked and just then Gaius appears with a gloomy face.
"Your highness" he bowed. "The king has sent for you in his office right away" he informed me and then walked out.
"If you can, arrange the meeting" I told Charles and stood to prepare to answer the kings summon.
"I'm coming in dear" my mother called out and slowly opened the door revealing my bedroom where I was lying helplessly on bed.
By my side were used tissue papers folded and scattered all over signifying that I had been crying all through the night.
"Oh my poor dear child" the duchess cried out when she took in my environment and rushed to my side. "Aris this is unhealthy. You have to stop crying!"
"I cant mother! The more I try to stop, the more the tears rush out. I have never felt so humiliated before in my life" I said in between tears and hiccups. There was pity in her eyes and I know she felt guilty as she leaned forward and hugged me.
"I'm so sorry my dear child. I felt you needed to socialize more that was the main reason I did what I did, not to humiliate you. I never even imagined the prince would choose you. I just wanted you to mix up with other ladies of the court maybe make a friend or two. You've kept to yourself for too long" She lamented whilst explaining herself.
"So what's going to happen next?"
"I dont know my dear but by traditions, your name is supposed to be announced today as the prince's bride to be"
"And I dont see that happening" I countered.
"Because they dont want me besides I dont want to get married and even if I wanted to, definitely not to a prince".
"Dont say that" She rebuked me lightly. "Do you know how many girls would kill to be you right now. I believe you saw all of them yesterday competing for the princes attention and approval and dont worry about them not wanting you, it's not your problem"
"That's exactly what I'm saying. I dont want to be them. I meant he could have chosen any of them, why me? I dont even know him"
"Hmmmmm" she sucked in a deep breath. "Prince Eridian is a very handsome young man, intelligent and skillful and also a very brave fighter Aris. Everybody saw the way he was captivated by you once you walked in. I know you might feel it's not important about you but to your people, the Islandes, it is a great honour and privilege that the queen to be comes from their village. Think about it dear" she made her point then stood up. "I will tell your father that you can't join us for breakfast so you would eat in" she smiled softly and walked out.
My mother was right. First of all I had no friends because I was anti social. Secondly I needed to feel highly favoured that amongst all the thirty young beautiful ladies that paraded themselves before the prince, he saw me worthy to be his bride and chose me. I needed to look at the bright positive side of these, all I could do if I eventually become the queen.