Slighted Chapter 1

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I gave my consent to be married. I knew the treaty, knew the price of the lifestyle I enjoyed. What every human's lifestyle in the Center Kingdom cost. I was willing to be part of that treaty. I knew my duty.

It did not make me any happier though. The last few days in the village were nearly unbearable-seeing the buildings, people I had grown up with, all that I had known. The realization that I would never see them again, never be a part of my world again settling down like a dark blanket, numbing me. Isolating me. And I had yet to leave my own kind.

The journey was less than a week, to the edge of the Mortals' Border, the fringe of the Old Forest, and the limit of our region. I was dressed well, fed well, mounted on a fine steed. My dowry, a string of two dozen snow colored horses, flanked the procession. I was surprised at the simplicity of the event, but in a way it was comforting. I believe that I would have been angry if the ceremony was frivolous in the least, but it was presented as exactly what it was: a business transaction, a bargain to retain peace. I gave my people credit for their honesty, and sat up straight in the saddle.

The Elves met us promptly.

They bowed graciously from astride their fey beasts. I met their gazes squarely, and nodded in return. No words were exchanged, they simply took what was offered. I led my mare forward without looking back. The elves closed around behind me, and I followed the leading rider into the forest.

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My fiancé gave me a passing glance as we rode into his city. I saw him from a balcony, gazing down at our arrival. He gave more attention to the horses. His circlet shone gold even in the cloudy morning light. I dismounted and was escorted inside the largest building.

The entire city was fashioned to mesh with the trees, and though the stone pieces were crafted by hand, they fit into the surrounding scenery as a human settlement never would. I caught a scent of native antiquity, of a race entirely suited to stem from this land. Before I crossed the threshold to the elven city I had a flash of foreshadowing. I knew they would be unlike anything I had experienced. I knew I did not belong.

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The wedding took place that evening, as the sun set to the west. A single white ribbon was tied loosely around our wrists, a prayer of some sort chanted over the intricate knotwork. I could have very well imagined it, but I felt as if something…else…was tied around our hands. I couldn't explain it, and it vanished quickly.

They removed the ribbon and dismissed me. My husband left without giving me a second glance. I walked alone to my chambers and spent my wedding night crying soundlessly in the faery realm.