We rode home in silence. I hated it because it made me nervous, and gave me time to think of what was waiting once we arrived. The wedding consummation. I had never even touched a man before, father made sure of that, and now I would… I shook my head. You’re scaring yourself, I scolded myself. Maybe he would spare me tonight if he had someone else to be with.
“Do you have another wife, Your Highness?” I asked.
I shouldn’t have. It was none of my business. Mother had told me to be careful not to ask a prince such questions, but I didn’t care. I needed to know what was waiting for me once we reached home. 1
He turned his gaze to me and narrowed his eyes. Did he get angry?
“No, I don’t.” He answered slowly.
I was surprised that I felt relieved when I shouldn’t have. This would only mean that I would have to spend the night with him. I shivered at the thought.
“But I have many mistresses.” He finished.
Oh, of course. Why didn’t I think about it? He was an attractive man and a prince. I wanted to curse, but he suddenly laughed.
“You don’t seem to like that,” He drawled.
Why would I? But I couldn’t say that, indeed.
“It’s not for me to like or dislike, Your Highness,” I stated simply.
He didn’t say anything to that.
I wondered what his name would be.
“You may call me Lucian when we are alone”.
Lucian. I repeated the name in my head. I liked the sound of it.
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After a while, the carriage stopped, and then a guard informed us that we had arrived. Lucian stepped out of the carriage and offered me his hand. I took it, and he helped me down.
The castle was grand and the garden even more luxurious, with green bushes and colorful flowers. The castle was made of ivory walls and several tall, square towers. The towers were connected by large bridges and small windows covered its walls along with gaps for archery and artillery.
There was a big fountain in the middle of the garden surrounded by grass and bushed in all kinds of shapes. Different range of flowers were symmetrically scattered across the garden. It was truly a beautiful sight.
“Lucian?” someone called and I turned my head to see who.
Four men in royal robes approached us from a distance.
“We came to welcome you and your bride,” One of them spoke as they neared.
“Is that so?” Lucian asked.
“Of course, we are brothers after all!” The other behind him smirked.
“Why don’t you and your bride join us for dinner?” He suggested. “We would like take a closer look at your bride,” and then he shot me a glance.
Lucian walked up to his brother, standing only a few inches away from him. It looked like he was trying to intimidate him which clearly worked because suddenly his brother’s guards grabbed their weapons as if ready to attack.
Lucians guards reached for their weapons as well and there was suddenly tension in the air.
What was happening? I thought they were brothers or did I hear wrong?
“Thank you brother, but I must decline,” Lucian said in a polite tone, that didn’t match the menacing look in his eyes.
Turning his back to his brother, he took my hand, gripping it hard he dragged me through the halls of the castle. He was angry.
“Won’t we greet your parents, Your Highness?” I asked.
Lucian came to a halt and his grip on my hand loosened. “My mother is dead,” he said his voice void of any emotion, “and the King, do not worry about him, he does not matter,” he added then started walking again, only this time he didn’t drag me.
As we strode through the halls with Lucian still holding my hand two maids appeared in front of us.
“Your Highness,” they greeted with a bow. “With your permission, we would like to prepare Her Highness.” They inquired.
Prepare me for what? Preparing is what I have been doing my entire life.
At first, Lucian didn’t let go of my hand, but when the maids gave him a pleading look he released me and left without a word.
The maids motioned for me to follow them and led me to a dressing room where they helped me get out of my wedding dress and slip into a beautiful white nightgown with its matching robe, both made of silk. They took out the pins in my hair and let it fall in waves. After putting some scents onto my skin, they served me tea.
“What’s this?” I asked.
“It’s a herb tea that will help you relax and decrease the pain, Your Highness.”
“What pain?” I said, but then realized what they were talking about.
They must have seen the horror on my face because I could see pity on theirs. Why did they pity me? Was he going to be rough with me? Well, he didn’t seem like the gentle type from the way he gripped my wrist earlier. It was as if his hand was made of steel.
“I don’t need it,” I said and stood up straight. “Just take me to the chamber”.
They hesitated but then followed my orders and led me to our private chamber where they sat me down on the bed. Adjusting my hair and gown they took one last look to see if everything was perfect.
“We will inform His Highness that you are ready,” they informed and left.
The worst scenarios appeared in my head and my heart pounded so hard in my chest that it was getting difficult to breathe. My hands started to sweat and my head began to spin. I waited for what seemed like hours but was likely just minutes.
After the long wait, the door finally opened and Lucian stepped inside. Closing the door behind him he just stood there for a while, studying me with those odd eyes of his before approaching me slowly.
“Aren’t you tired?” he asked standing a few steps away.
“I am, Your Highness.”
“Lucian,” he corrected.
“Lucian,” I repeated, in barely a whisper.
“Then we should go to sleep,” he said and lay down on the bed next to where I sat. “I am tired too.”
Lucian looked at the woman in front of him. She looked so frightened. He wondered if she was scared for the obvious reasons, or if she was scared because she had heard the rumors about him.
Either way, he didn’t blame her. Most people feared him, even his own father. He never dared to look his son in the eyes. Lucian always wondered what he had done to make his father fear him. 8
He always knew that he was different. He had even scared himself when he was a little boy, when he had discovered what he could do.
When he, for the first time, moved an object with just a thought, or when he had wished his brother could burn, and then suddenly his brothers’ clothes were on fire. Everyone rushing to help him get out of the flaming clothes. That day he had been terrified. Running to his room he had cried in a corner, wishing he could talk to someone about it. But who? His father feared and hated him; he would just scare him even more, and his mother was dead. He wondered how she would react.
His brothers used to play with him at first, but then when they got older and started their training, they noticed he was faster, stronger and a better fighter. He was also a very skilled swordsman; his teachers always praised him. But his brothers, they mocked him, telling him to stop cheating. ′Cheating is what the Devil does,′ they would say.
The maids had mixed feelings about him. They were as attracted to him as they were scared. Some of them liked the thrill, the danger. The young ones would give him seductive glances, but the older maids would warn them. ‘Be careful,’ they would say, ‘tempting people and making them sin is what he does.’ Some would listen some wouldn’t.
The only people who didn’t fear him or hate him were his men. His soldiers. They were tough men who didn’t believe in rumors. They respected him. Still, they weren’t his family; he could only talk business with them.
Lucian looked at the woman now laying beside him. The woman who was his family now. She was laying so far out on the edge he was afraid she would fall from the bed. She didn’t even move, she was so stiff. Even though he told her to sleep, he could still hear her heart beating wildly inside her chest.
She had surprised him earlier with her bold questions. He liked her so far; she amused him. Lucian remembered the look on her face when he told her that he had mistresses. She was probably the jealous type. I guess I like jealous, he thought, smiling to himself. And when she played the flute, and when she had whispered his name.
Now she was as timid as a rabbit. That, he didn’t like.