1. and today was no different. The girl with shimmering blue eyes squirmed and fidgeted to no relent as two servants worked fervently to fasten the ruby-studded corset around her chest. “That’s plenty tight, ladies. Thank you,” 

    The girl kept her gaze fixed out her bedroom window to the horse stables down below. The servants exchanged a knowing glance, both all too familiar with the impossible task of vesting the royal girl (or royal pain, as they quietly referred to her in the servants’ quarters).

    “M’Lady, are you sure?” The tallest servant asked politely. “The other girls’ corsets will be much tighter.”

    “I’m not those girls,” The words escaped through the girl’s mouth like arrows fired from a bow with no intention of turning back. She was so preoccupied with the stable that she didn’t even notice she shorter servant roll her eyes as she surrendered and removed her hands from the corset strings dangling from the girl’s back.

    Then, a pair of stronger hands slipped between the servants and grabbed the strings before pulling them far tighter and mercilessly than either of the servants would have dared. 

    “Today you are that girl, Arowyn.”

    Arowyn gasped as the air pushed out of her lungs before whipping her head back to see her mother, the Queen, standing beautifully in her regal attire with a firm look on her face.

    “Mother, it’s too tight.” 

    “Perhaps it will have you think twice before acting up for today’s events,” The Queen winked at Arowyn and gave a smile that displayed a subtle, yet deep love for Arowyn despite the headaches she’d had from a daughter who detested everything it meant to be a woman of Remerian royalty.

    Though Arowyn was stubborn, she was not disrespectful so with a sigh she turned her head back to the stables while her mother casually crushed every last rib in her body.

    Down below the stable master was feeding one of Arowyn’s favorite horses. It was a beautiful, strong horse with a deep brown colored mane which covered its entire body apart from its front right white hoof that looked as if it had been dunked in a canister of white paint.

    After feeding, the master gave the horse a gentle smack on the rear sending her galloping off toward the farthest edge of field. A smile crept out from the corner of Arowyn’s mouth as she couldn’t help but think to herself how wonderful the life of a horse would be.

    “Come now, Love. We don’t want you to be late for your big day,”

    The pleasant solitude of Arowyn’s mind was interrupted by the Queen’s hand as she turned Arowyn to usher her toward the door. They turned to discover they had other company at the door.

    “Are you going to behave?” Arowyn's father, King Tristyn Lockridge, leaned at the doorway in full royal garb while wiping a stain from his gauntlet with the back of his wine stain red velvet cape. 

    “I can’t make any promises.” Arowyn smiled, eliciting a firm smack to her side by her mother’s hand. His Majesty, however, simply returned a polite smile before lowering his eyes to the floor. No, it wasn’t the answer he wanted to hear but after sixteen years he knew better than to expect a anything else from his daughter for this type of occasion.

    Silence settled in the room like the royal hounds by the fire after one of their Winter hunts. Arowyn studied her father’s smile. It revealed more lines around those joyful eyes than she'd ever remembered seeing. Her father was getting older. She knew this, which is why she decided to appease her father with a more promising answer,

    “But I will try.”

    The King looked up, caught off guard but his expression remained calm and unaffected, a trait which made him the excellent ruler he was.

    “That is all I ask,”

    The three shared a gentle smile in the brick-lined chamber. It was a quiet and telling moment. Life was about to change. Though great responsibility had befallen them for being born into Royalty, they were much like any family full of love and memories and a resistance to change for fear of losing the wonderful moments they shared. 

    But despite their love, duty took precedent, a truth that none of which had turned a blind eye toward. So with little else to be said, Arowyn’s father extended his arm to escort his daughter to the festival that was about to take place below. The Queen put a gentle hand on Arowyn’s shoulder as the three left the room, bracing for the change that lied ahead, for that day was to be the day Arowyn would meet her husband.