Dawn blossomed over the city of Thebes, spreading the folds of her rosy robes across the sky. The sea absorbed the soft color, dying the churning waves like bleeding paint. A warm breeze whispered across the water, scented with jasmine and ginger, flying towards the city to bless the wedding of Hector, First Prince of Troy, and Andromache, the lovely daughter of Eetion, king of Thebes. The mild wind vaulted the city's walls, and snuggled into Andromache's chambers.
The young bride sat nestled on her feather-soft bed, playing with the ends of her sleek, nut-brown hair, anxiousness bubbling in her stomach. Her wedding gown, deep indigo with golden stitch work at the collar, was folded carefully atop her trunk, opposite where she was curled. It seemed to simmer there, awaiting the moment she put it on to burst into flame.
Andromache looked around her room: it was a desolate chamber, all her weavings and keepsakes, her loom and silky clothes were in the belly of a Trojan ship, rolling across the salty sea so they would be waiting for her when she arrived in Troy. The remnants of her childhood: tiny gowns and crude dolls, had been burnt at the altar of Artemis, along with a few locks of her hair, in hopes that her transition from maiden to wife would go smoothly. Andromache was really more concerned about the transition from Thebes to Troy. She had woven prayers of hope and worry into all her sacrifices: to Hera to a blessed marriage, Hebe to make her a dutiful daughter-in-law, and the final ritual, when she and Hector had knelt before the altar of Aphrodite and asked her to make their marriage fruitful.
Andromache closed her eyes: she could hardly imagine having children with a man whose face she barley knew. All she could remember was his thick black hair and how tall he was, years older than she was: traits in a man who could become an intimidating tyrant. But there was no where for her to hide now: no last days with her mother, sisters-in-law and female cousins, no brothers to stand beside her and murmur encouragement.
The princess sighed, and hugged her arms to herself. A warm, fragrant breeze breathed through her window, and a soft voice whispered in her ear:
"What is it you fear, sweet Andromache?"
She turned, and a beautiful face was smiling at her: the rosy-lipped goddess Aphrodite sat beside her, dressed in sky blue, her obsidian black hair shining in the morning light.
"Goddess-" Andromache started, beginning to slip of her bed to bow down in reverence; she obeyed her impulse to worship the deity of love automatically.
But Aphrodite stopped her, cupping her chin in her hand and smiling. "Many fear me, but today you need not be one of them. Now tell me what worries plague your wedding day."
Confused, Andromache settled back down against her pillows, "Why come to me, Lady? I know other young women who need your comfort more than I do."
"Ah," Aphrodite smiled, and smoothed Andromache's hair, "but they are not about to marry the crown prince of Troy."
"I don't know how this match came about," Andromache admitted, ashamed, "I don't deserve such honor, and my dowry was pale and pathetic in comparison to some of the fortunes offered elsewhere. Hector and I have met but once or twice, and I can't say I have any claim to his heart. He probably doesn't even remember how I look."
Aphrodite laughed, "Do you think that your father and Priam arranged this match on their own? No, my child: I wouldn't let such an important lord be married off to just any girl. Believe me, I know the hearts of men, and I wouldn't trust Hector's to two old kings - not even Priam and Eetion."
Andromache giggled nervously, but continued to speak. "So my wedding isn't just Troy's need for solid allies? I need not feel indebted to Hector for marrying me?"
The love goddess's milky white face turned serious, "You must never forget your gratitude, Princess: it is what keeps a marriage alive; just as Hector will never forget his luck that you won't scorn or ignore him."
"One more question, please Goddess," Andromache asked quietly, "will he love me?"
Aphrodite kissed the young princesses' brow, "That I will make sure of, my dear."
The deity pulled a headdress from the folds of her velvety robe: it was a thin, braided golden band with a gauzy purple-blue veil. "This is my wedding present to you - it will make this day easie"
Andromache took the headdress, thanking the goddess and staring down at the fine craftsmanship in wonder. When she looked up, meaning to thank Aphrodite, the glorious goddess was gone.

Andromache sat on her pillows a moment longer, and then stood, placing the veil atop her dress and staring out her window at the churning sea.
The door creaked open, and Andromache's mother peered in at her daughter. "Andromache? Its time."
The girl looked up at her queenly mother and nodded.