A LADY MUST NEVER LOOK UNDIGNIFIED

Arowyn mused to herself as she finished her quail and gently dabbed the corners of her mouth. She tossed the napkin aside and watched as the jester jumped around in front of her and the royal court. Moments later, as he cleared off the floor, the gallant and dashing Prince Edward confidently approached the King and Queen. 
“Your Majesties, I humbly request the honor of performing a brief sword play for your beautiful daughter, Princess Arowyn”. He looked at Arowyn and winked. 
With that Arowyn sighed and forced a smile. King Trystan joyfully granted his request and gave Arowyn a look of warning. Prince Edward proudly introduced himself to Princess Arowyn and swiftly pulled out his sword. He nimbly sparred with another man, Liam, and although skillful with a sword, Arowyn grew bored almost immediately. Once the Prince completed his show he bowed to the cheering crowd. 
Princess Arowyn stood up, “Excuse me, Prince Edward?”
“Yes, Your Royal Highness?”
“That was quite exquisite, Sir. I wonder, would you be willing to show me how to swing such a mighty sword as expertly as you do?”
The King and Queen exchanged a look of concern. “Why yes, of course Princess Arowyn. I would be honored.”
Arowyn offered the Prince innocent smile before joining him on the floor. He demonstrated some movements for her until she stopped him. “That is superb. However, I wonder… since I am but a Princess… would you let me hold your sword, just to see how it feels in my hands.” 
The Prince was leery and looked to the King for guidance. King Trystan slowly nodded while eyeing the princess cautiously. 
“Here you are, Princess. This part right here, is very sharp.” 
Arowyn slowly wielded the sword. “So, you swing it like this?” then daftly cut the sharp blade through the air making an audible whoosh. By then everyone in the room had their eyes on Arowyn. 
“Yes, Princess. But please be careful. Why don’t you give the sword back to me and I will show you some more steps with Liam’s help?” 
“How about you use your partner’s sword and we spar together?” 
“Now, Princess. I do not think that is a very good idea,” stammered the Prince. 
The two, both armed with swords, playfully sparred back and forth as the Prince taught a few very basic moves to Arowyn. 
“My my, Princess,” the Prince said with a hint of feigned exaggeration. “You are indeed a quick study. I’m certain that in no time at all you will be able to steal an opponent’s sword.”
As the prince looked away, the princess quickly spun, and in one deft movement knocked the Prince’s sword out of his hands and held her sword against his neck, almost piercing the skin. 
“Yes, Prince Edward. Perhaps someday…,” she said. Before her father could intervene, she swiftly dropped the sword and twirled on one foot to walk away. All the while, smiling and engraving to memory the look of pure terror on the Prince’s face. The Prince, who by then had turned several shades of crimson, bent to pick up his sword and started walking towards Arowyn, but tripped and stopped as he felt a cold draft on his legs. He looked down to see his pants around his ankles, and glared venomously at the belt that had been cut by his very own blade. 
After the events of the day Arowyn wished more than ever that she was out with Suntaria, the beautiful mare she adored. Her father walked into her chambers with a scolding look on his face. 
“Arowyn, you cannot behave in such manner. I expect more from you.”
Arowyn flinched, a moment of guilt filled her as she looked at her father sheepishly. 
“I am sorry, Father. He is but a cocket and I do not wish to marry him.”
The King sighed and hugged Arowyn tightly. 
“My darling, Arowyn, the matter has been settled. You must accept your fate and responsibilities that lie before you.” 
She returned the hug, “I understand, Father… but what if my fate were meant to be different?”
The King shook his head solemnly and gave her a look that told Arowyn the discussion was over. “Please Father, just promise that you will stand by me no matter what fate may bring my way.” 
King Trystan replied, “I can’t make any promises.”

Copyright Travis Bryant © 2019