I need to hurry if I want to make it to the council meeting on time. I quickly walk into my closet and scan the room for something to wear. I carefully select a combination of clothes to suit my mood and the occasion. I grab my long maroon skirt draped over with a transparent black mesh. I love this skirt, the embroidered black jewels and long frills at the bottom are gorgeous. Perfect. I’ll pair this with my laced red corset and my black lacey top. Oh accessories… accessories… Ah! My ruby earrings and the necklace my father gave me would go well with this. Maybe if he sees me wear it he’ll be less angry with me. I hope.
I take my time to get dressed in large part due to the corset which I haven’t worn in a while. I finish up with my earrings and necklace and take one last look at my vanity mirror. My light steel colored eyes stare back at me through the mirror as if looking right through my own soul, if I had one. My pale skin is such a strong contrast to my pitch black hair that sometimes I wonder if I’m a walking corpse. Okay. Done. Let’s get this over with. I open my chamber doors and walk outside to see Josiah waiting for me. Patiently. I walk up to him and notice that his eyes are closed.
“Josiah? I’m ready.”
He opens his eyes and looks at me with a soft gaze that reminds me of my mother.
“You look stunning Princess.”
“Oh! Thank you! Sorry I took so long, it’s been a while since I’ve worn a corset and I’m out of practice tying the back myself. I feel a bit overdressed.”
“A noble can never overdress,” he mockingly smiles at me before looking up, above my head. “Your mother’s crown?”
I instinctively bring my hand up to touch it. “I wanted to feel like she was with me today.”
“Not an unwise decision. I’m sure she would be proud of you Senna.”
“I doubt that. Not after everything I’ve done.”
“I do not. She had been proud of you from the very moment you were born.”
Again, the tightness in my chest. “I wish she was here.”
“So do I Princess, so do I.” His gaze wanders for a moment and I see a sadness in his eyes I can’t quite describe. He locks his eyes back to me. “Shall we?”
I smile at him. “We shall.” I wrap my arm around his and decide to tease him a little bit. “Lead the way O Legendary Guardian Josiah, Slayer of Hunters and Men.”
He laughs at the mention of his title and gently pats my hand with his own as we begin walking. I feel the warmth of his hand through my thin gloves and feel at ease. I’ve always felt this way when he’s next to me. I’m happy he’s the one escorting me. On a day like today, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
As we walk through the corridors and halls of the castle, troves of my people hurriedly move out of our way bowing as low as they possibly can at the very sight of us. Their whispers to each other about my outfit range from shock to gossip about my choice in attire. Josiah’s gaze silences them all in an instant. If his gaze could kill, I’m sure countless bodies would have already piled up behind us. The more people we pass the more their reverence weighs on me. People move out our way, perhaps out of respect, or fear. Maybe both.
Josiah and I bend around a corner into a hall and see a few children playing with each other carrying wooden swords. I smile at the sight of them. They’re playing ‘Hunters and Revnians’ I assume. The parents instantly recognize us and visibly panic. My smile changes to a frown. They quickly run to grab their children and move them out of our way. The children whine but quickly get hushed by their parents. One of the mothers looks at me.
“We’re sorry, Your Highness. We had no idea you would be coming this way.” She says while bowing deeply, still carrying her child in her arms before rising without meeting my gaze.
I wave my hand in a relaxed manner. “It is not your fault. I prefer to move about the castle without any Night Stalkers following me at every turn. Josiah here is more than enough company.”
I smile at her. She doesn’t see it.
She bows again before quickly moving out of our way without saying a single word and never looking me in the eyes.
Josiah continues to walk and lead me forward, but suddenly I hear a woman yell. “Kiera!” A little girl crosses our path and trips a few feet in front of us. She must have escaped her mother’s grasp. The little girl instantly sits up and starts crying. Poor thing. I instinctively let go of Josiah’s arm and quickly run to her. I kneel down in front of her and help her stand. She’s sobbing and her clothes are visibly dirty. I brush the dirt off her dress and rub the dirt off her cheeks with my gloves. “There now. You’re alright. It was a minor fall little night walker, nothing to cry over.” She looks at me directly with her soft gray eyes while sucking in air from the constant sobbing. “You see? Better?” I ask, giving her a big smile.
She giggles in the most adorable way. “Thank you.” She replies, speaking with a lisp, tears still running down her face.
Before I can respond, a woman interrupts us. “Your Highness!” She falls to her knees in front of me. “Please forgive my negligence. It won’t happen again!” she exclaims, clearly terrified.
I lightly sigh before responding. “No, it’s quite alright. Please…Stand.” I stand back up and she waits for me to fully rise before rising herself. I continue. “There is nothing to apologize for, consider the matter already forgotten.”
She smiles widely. “Oh thank you, Your Highness! Your kindness won’t be forgotten!” She bows yet again and grabs her daughter’s hand. I wave to the little girl and smile. She puts her hand near her mouth in embarrassment. Her mother turns around and leads her daughter to do the same. I watch as they walk away.
“We should go, Your Highness.” Josiah’s voice comes from beside me.
I raise my hand. “Wait.”
“Of course.” He replies.
I watch as her mother holds her daughter's hand and leads her down the corridor. They smile and laugh with each other, the little girl skipping to keep up with her mother’s strides. I watch as they walk together getting further and further away from me until finally bending around a corner. Gone from my vision. I look to the floor and then back at Josiah. “We can go now.” I once again wrap my arm around his, all the while feeling a lump at the back of my throat and a slight heat rising in my eyes.
I can feel Josiah’s gaze on me. “Princess?” He says in a concerned tone.
I slightly brush my hair over my eyes with my hand. “Go please.” I take a deep breath and let it out gently.
“As you wish.” With that, he continues to lead me towards the council chambers.
- Under Lexa's Boot
- YA Novelist - Fantasy and Sci-Fi Addict
Hey I'm AeroKaia. I'm an author who's currently writing Reaper's Kiss and trying to keep up with my own release schedule (fingers crossed). It's always been a dream of mine to become a writer and share my stories with the rest of the world. Although I prefer to stick to Fantasy and Sci-Fi with a romance focus, I love writing all kinds of stories within the teen fiction category. I plan to release a YA Sci-Fi story at some point after I feel ready. One story at a time, right? Haha.
I'm a huge fan of The 100, A Discovery of Witches, and I'm currently watching Shadow and Bone.