A couple of months ago, I was hit by an idea. Maybe not literally, but figuratively. I saw in my head seven princesses. Jessica Day George wrote a version of The Twelve Dancing Princesses and that’s what started the ball rolling. I created a new world, with a new plot. There will be war, romance, awkwardness, betrayal, heartbreak, and sisterly companionship.
Here’s a segment of it for you dear reader. It’s one of my favorite parts thus far. It’s at the beginning, when princes (that’s right, multiple) are arriving at the castle. Leyla, the eldest, and her lady-in-waiting and best friend, Charlotte (known to the sisters as Charlie) are stealing a few moments of freedom before anyone arrives.
“Well, I might as well enjoy my last few moments of freedom. Let’s go see what ruckus Meg is up to.”
Charlie smiled. “Race you to the kitchen,” and she dashed out.
“No fair!” Leyla cried out, following quickly.
The laughed as they ran through the halls, screaming as they dodged people, animals, and furniture.
Charlie looked behind her and abruptly ran into something. She automatically reached out to steady herself and found that she was steadying against a broad-shouldered, dark man. She looked up into dark brown eyes.
“Excuse me,” he said, smiling.
She quickly removed her hands. “Oh, uh…yeah.” She shook her head. “I mean, it was…my fault.”
Leyla finally caught up, panting. “Are…we…done…now?”
“Um…” Charlie struggled to pull her gaze away from him.
Leyla noticed and drew herself up. “I don’t believe we’ve met.”
“Forgive me,” he bowed, “how incredibly rude. I’m Patrick DeLye, member of His Majesty King Marcus of Gaer’s court. We arrived this morning.” His eyes slide to Charlie once more before snapping back to Leyla as she spoke.
“Welcome to Rynia Castle.” She curtsied. “I’m Princess Leyla and this is Lady Charlotte.”
A man with dark curly hair strode into the corridor scowling.
“There you are!” he bellowed. “I’ve been looking all over for you!.”
“Ladies.” Patrick bowed once more and turned to the man.
“Stop flirting and hurry up! Have you gotten everything in?”
“Good. I’m meeting King Richard after dinner, but before that Darius and I must meet the princesses. Apparently I have to look presentable. Darius can’t wait to meet them. Can you believe the man?”
“Of course, but sir–”
“I wish we wouldn’t have to deal with those silly women at all, but custom…” he trailed off.
Patrick glanced behind him and saw that Leyla had collapsed against a wall in silent laughter. Charlotte, on the other hand, was looking at his master with contempt, hands on hips.
“Sire, I think–”
“You two,” Marcus addressed the princess and the lady. Charlie’s eyebrows rose. “Go find King Darius and inform him that I wish to see him.”
“And who, exactly, are you?” Charlie crossed her arms. The question made Marcus pause. Patrick slowly backed out from between them.
“Excuse me?” his voice lowered.
“Who are you?” she repeated. “It’s a simple question.”
Leyla came up behind Charlie, attempting to keep her face serious.
“I am King Marcus of Gaer, and I am unaccustomed to receiving insolence from maids. Do as you’re told.”
Patrick bit back his mortification and laughter, knowing it would only make it worse.
“I wouldn’t have guessed that you were a king.” Charlie continued, ignoring his order.
“Nor I.” Leyla couldn’t help but smile.
“And you’re to be presented to the princesses?” Charlie looked him up and down. “I suppose you’ll do. I doubt you get much better.”
Marcuse was speechless.
“No,” Leyla disagreed, “he’ll clean up all right.”
“Not enough to impress…well, anyone really.”
He started turning red.
“And with a pompous attitude like that, I’m surprised that they asked his opinion at all about the wa–”
Leyla elbowed her in the side.
“Shut up,” she whispered. She looked at Marcus’s bewildered face. We’ll deliver your message, m’lord.” she grabbed Charlie’s arm and dragged her past the men.
“Good luck tonight,” Charlie taunted. “You’re gonna need it.”
“What a woman,” Patrick muttered.
“Snap out of it.” Marcus sighed. “They were impertinent.”
Patrick smiled a bit.
“Come on, I need to get ready.” They both walked in to his chambers.