My second attempt at writing a novel. "Dauphine" is a young adult fantasy. I had a whole kingdom set out in my head. Filled with different kings, families, and cultures. Though I made it through chapter 1 and that was it. So, here is chapter one. Please excuse any writing errors.
Just breathe in and breathe out. One more tug and then this will be over. You would think by now that I would be used to this, but no. I still feel as though I will not be able to breathe if Grace pulls those strings on my corset any further. The pain women go to look good for men in this society. Shouldn’t a princess be able to choose what she wants to wear? I can remember having this conversation with father so many times. “No Willa, when you become a peasant and are no longer a princess you will be able to wear whatever you want”. All that I ask is that I get some say, but no, I wear what I am told to wear, that is until my majority.
“Okay princess, I am all done,” my maid servant Grace tells me.
“Thank-you Grace.” I adore Grace she has been my maid for as long as I can remember. She was and is the closest thing I have had to a mother in this world. With her long golden hair streaked with silver sitting in a beret at the nape of her neck, her light blue eyes and silky white skin. She is a classic Lyran. Where I am not.
I pull at my royal blue gown and sigh. I just wish things could be easier. You would think that being a princess of one of the most prominent kingdoms in all the lands I would have some sway. But I am young and a woman. Two things that I do not have going for me.
With my back to Grace I can see her looking at me through the mirror. She is wearing her concerned face. It is the same face she uses whenever she worries about me. Eyes slightly squinted, mouth in a straight line. She never will say anything but she can see that I am restless.
Instead of continuing with our wallowing Grace makes herself busy pulling my long mahogany hair up into a golden net. I do not have the typical looks of a Lyran. I take after my mother. Or so I am told. My mother died during my birth. My mother was from a distant kingdom to the east of Lyra. Their colouring is darker compared to Lryan colouring. My hair is a dark mahogany, my eyes a penetrating black, my skin however is as white as milk and I am one of the shortest people at court.
I feel as though sometimes I am living in a land of giants and I am a little elf, just waiting for one of the giants to spot me and say I don’t belong. Well of course I don’t belong, in a kingdom ruled by men and only men. When my mother died my father was persuaded relentlessly to take another wife, to conceive a male heir. But my father is a proud man and would never be persuaded by the other men at court, even if it meant he would have a woman as heir to the throne. I am the first women to be heir to the Lyran throne. There are a lot of people at court who would rather die then see a woman take the throne and many people at court would love to see my cousin Tristan on the throne. My father however is adamant that I take the throne when he dies or steps down. You see my father and his brother have never had a good relationship. Ever since they where young there has been a rivalry between them. My Uncle Prince Erican believes he would have been a better ruler over my father, but he is the younger son, so he was not to be king and that privilege went to my father King Eadwyn.
Ever since I was a little girl I have been groomed to take my position as Queen of Lyra and I will be Queen. If there is one thing I am sure of in this world is that I love my kingdom and would never see it fall into the hands of an amateur. Don’t get me wrong, I love my cousin but he is not the best of role models, with his idea of politics as kissing babies and the occasional public appearance. Suffice to say I am forever telling him it is much harder work then that.
Tristan’s mother Princess Orinda and his sister Princess Arianna also would rather see the Prince on the throne then me. No love lost in the women of my family.
I just wish there was some way to be Queen without having to wear a corset. I really detest those things. I am sure a man invented the corset, there has to be no other explanation for it.
Coming out of my haze Grace tells me that my father has sent for me and that I am to go to him before breakfast.
After putting my gold encrusted slippers on I make my way to my fathers chambers. Grace walks behind me on my right, as is her place and guards are positioned on all four corners of me as me and Grace make our way to the King’s chambers.
I am received by Father’s chamber maid at his door and escorted into his study where Father is awaiting me. I take my place in the guest chair and wait for father to speak, as it is considered rude to address a person higher up then you before they address you first.
I love my father. But he always plays by the rules. I have not decided weather it is his virtue or fault. However, I can not blame my father for these rules, as it is how it has always been and as I am a women I am to be looked down upon even further then men. Whether I am royal blood or not. But if I was not my fathers daughter I would never be dauphine, second in line for the Lyran throne. He may be a stickler for some rules but I am afraid his hate for his brother is stronger and his love for me greater to want me to be the future Queen of Lyra.
“Willa, my daughter. I have some very exciting news to be presenting you with this morning.” Father seems to be very cheerful this morning. The last time I saw him this happy was when he told my Uncle Prince Erican it would be over his dead body before he ever saw Tristan ascend the throne. Which my Uncle replied, “It would be my pleasure.”
I never know how to respond to him when he is in such a mood though so I give him a cheerful smile in return.
Satisfied my father has my attention he continues.
“Two weeks ago, you may not be aware that I sent a delegate to Marcelon. He returned only a few days ago. Do you remember Willa?”
“Yes father, of course.” Come to think of it he has seemed quiet cheerful for a few weeks. It can’t just be because he sent a delegate to Marcelon. What would he want with Marcelon anyway? It is on the other side of the Aquinas Mountains.
“Well, it seems I am to travel to Marcelon on the morrow.”
“Shush child I am not finished yet.” What is so exciting about traveling to Marcelon? It is at least a three day ride through the mountains. Not to mention the extra days it takes to travel from the mountains to Marcelon’s capital city. At his age, I don’t think my father should be taking such long trips.
“Willa, for blessed sacks child, are you even listening to me.”
“I am sorry father. Please excuse my rudeness.”
Father stares at me for a few minutes and seems to contemplate something. This of course makes me quiet anxious to hear his news now.
“As I was saying,” Father continues. “I have arranged to have a meeting with Julien Beccari, King of Marcelon. To discus the prospect of both our fair lands joining. Through a royal marriage,” Father adds in hast.
A joining of both Marcelon and Lyra would put both our lands in a very good position. I imagine. As both Marcelon and Lyra are two of the most revered kingdoms in all the lands. This is quiet exciting news. I wonder who the lucky couple is.
“And Father, who is to be married.”
“Yes,” Father says. “Married. That dear, is were you come in to my plan.”
I have no more thoughts or words, I am blank.
“Willa, if all goes well with the King when I see him, you are to marry him. Of course, no one else would do for a king.”
“But Willa this is not just a marriage of union for the joining of two strong kingdoms.”
At this point my senses are starting to return and I eventually come out with a solid “Its not.”
“Of course not Willa. This union between you and the King would guarantee your succession as Queen, here in Lyra when the time comes for a new ruler. You see, if you and the king marry he will rule over Marcelon and when I name Julien my heir he will be king of both Marcelon and Lyra. But as his wife and Queen he will leave you in command of Lyra while he rules over Marcelon. It is the perfect plan Willa. You will be Queen of Lyra and no brother’s son of mine will be king.”
At this point I don’t know what to think. My father wants me to marry the king of Marcelon and make him his heir and denounce me as heir. But I am still to be Queen as Julien can not rule over two kingdoms at once and I will have to stay in Lyra to rule.
But this is not how it is meant to be. Me and Father were going to fight, and I was going to be Queen whether the court approved or not. If that were to happen I would be the rightful ruler of Lyra. If I where to marry Julien and this plan of my fathers would come to pass I would not be the rightful ruler of Lyra. I would be a fake, a stand in.
“When I am to meet the King those are to be my terms and you will rule Lyra and your children will rule Lyra. It is what I have always wanted for you. But this way it is easier Willa. This way you will be under the protection of two Kingdoms.”
I can’t imagine what my face looks like right now. There are a thousand different emotions whirling through my head, anger for being made to marry someone I don’t know, sadness that our country would not accept a Queen as ruler, and despair as I have no way to tell my father no. I can see it in his hard grey eyes and tight knit brow that no one is to sway him in this matter, especially not his daughter, whom he is apparently doing this all for.