Eyle rose from her bed quickly as she heard the door from her sitting room creak open. She hastily tried to wipe the tears from her eyes and her pillow. She was still wearing the white dress from the day she had talked to Melior. It was all wrinkled and stained being slept in two whole weeks. Her light brown hair was knotted and greasy, and she had lost her shoes and cloak under the bed. Her room was littered with broken vases and molding food. Whoever was coming to take her to the wedding would be unpleasantly surprised.

A skinny maid in white and silver livery put her head through the door.

"My lady, it's time to–" Her eyes widened. "My lady, what is this? Is there a problem, with the food, or the room? We tried to–"

"No, everything's just fine," interupted Eyle. "I just was a little... unhappy. I'm ready now." I have to face my fate. There's nothing I can do about it. "Prepare my bath, Rosalin."

"Yes, my lady. Right away," said the maid as she fetched a bathtub from the closet and ran to the kitchens for hot water.

While she was gone, Eyle set to making her room cleaner. She piled the food in a corner, with the vase shards. When Rosalin came back with the water, she looked less like a street beggar and more like a princess.

I have to be brave, and face this proudly.

She bathed and cleaned her hair. Whenever Rosalin wasn't looking, she magically reheated her water so she wouldn't have to bathe in lukewarm water. It wouldn't do for everyone to know that Eyle could use magic.

Once she was done, Rosalin called two other maids to help dress Eyle. Her dress was elaborately bulky, white with a long silver train and and a heavy silver veil that wrapped around her face, leaving only her hazel eyes visible. The train was embroidered by a huge scarlet falcon, symbol of the ruling house and of Trasland. The veil was capped with a coronet formed of two intertwined scarlet roses. It took one hour for the three maids to dress her, and, by the time they were finished, it was time for the wedding.

Her father came for her, knocking on her sitting room door. He was wearing his crown, silver with five jewels, four of them representing the four major houses of Trasland. Ruby for House Tras, sapphire for House Leo, emerald for House Faol, and amethyst for House Meren. The large diamond in the center was for Trasland, and the union of the houses.

"Eyle, are you ready?"

"Yes, father." She walked to him and hugged him. "I'll miss you when I'm married."

They walked out together, the maids running to catch the silver train.

The palace was on a hill, overlooking the city. As Eyle came out on the balcony that hung over the streets of the capital, she gasped. A bridge of magical power, glittering every color imaginable, started from the balcony and slowly sloped down to the roof of the nearest palace, where her husband was waiting. And people were waiting underneath the bridge, watching.

The whole city had gathered to see her wedding. As she looked at her people, she saw hope in their faces, and joy. Eyle had heard of the many bandits and wild beasts that had been attacking the roads. People needed reassurance that their rulers were still there, and that they were still happy.

My marriage will bring my people joy. They need this to get through this unhappy season.

Eyle smiled for the first time that day. This wedding was a sacrifice she had to make.

Slowly, Eyle stepped out onto the shimmering bridge. Her people applauded and cheered. Calmly, she walked down towards her fate, tears flowing down her cheekes as she saw her husband come into view. He was covered in a black cloth, so she coudn't see his face.

As she took her slow steps to her destiny, Eyle realized that this wedding was for her good, and so she would make the most of it. She would care for this man, whoever he was, and learn to love and cherish him, as she had cherished Melior.

Eyle took her final step onto the palace roof. Her groom slowly unwrapped her veil as she lifted the cloth from his body.

"Melior!" It was him, smiling, joy twinkling in his blue eyes. Eyle laughed in delight as he spun her around, then held her close. She cried tears of joy onto his blue tunic. It was him!

Behind Melior, the priest cleared his throat,

"Melior ke Leo, son of Archduke Divnos ke Leo and of Archduchess Tastina ke Meren, will you marry Princess Eyle ke Tras?" His magnified voice rang trough the city.

"I will," said Melior, running his finger through Eyle's hair.

"Eyle ke Tras, daughter of King Mappel ke Tras, will you marry Lord Melior ke Leo?"

"I will," said Eyle, laying her head on Melior's chest.

"Thus you are married, under the eyes of the gods," pronounced the priest. Eyle heard cheers as the mages started magical displays in the skies, but she ignored them. Instead, she looked straight into Melior's eyes.

"I love you," she whispered.

Their seemed to last forever.

"You were wrong, Eyle. This is a fairytale."