"What did you say?" Elisabeth asked.
"Do I really need to repeat myself Betha? I said you are getting married," said Henri, the King of all Monde who also happened to be Elisabeth's father.
"But I'm only seventeen Papa!" she exclaimed.
"I was married by the time I was eighteen and father by the time I was nineteen." He said picking at his fingernail. Elisabeth thought it funny that he could be doing something so trivial while determining her future fate. The universe could be cruel.
"But Marie isn't married and she's twenty-seven!" she said pleading.
A strange look came over her father's face. She couldn't quite place it, but it was strange nonetheless.
"Marie is a special case." He said
"I get it. Because Marie's mother was a princess of Ibonia and my mother was a simple noblewoman, she gets a free pass?" Elisabeth said angrily.
"Elisabeth, you're treading on dangerous grounds." He warned.
"It's the truth Papa. You allow Marie to get away with murder. It must have something to do with the fact that we have different mothers." Elisabeth went on.
"ENOUGH!" He yelled.
Elisabeth balked but she kept her mouth shut. It was best not to argue with her father when he was angry.
The King rubbed his temples and turned his piercing blue eyes to his daughter. He then turned to his man.
"Tell her Giraud."
Giraud grimaced, but begin looked at his parchment and begin reading.
"Elisabeth Anna Isabella, Princess of Monde. You are here by betrothed to King Fernando VII of Albabias. Your father, the King, has promised to pay a dowry of 100,000 crowns. You will leave two weeks from now for Albabias."
Elisabeth was seething. She had heard of the Fernando. He was twenty years old than her, a drunk, womanizer and an alcoholic. How could her beloved Papa promise her to that leecher.
"But Papa, Marie is closer in age to the King. Would she do better as a bride?"
"You are at a prime age, Betha. It is your duty to produce children that will rule the Albabian throne. Plus you are healthy. Marie has her illness," he started. "Besides the King asked for you specifically, he has seen your portrait and he finds you quite beautiful. I also hear he has a thing for blondes"
Elisabeth fumed. She couldn't believe her father was treating this as a joke. Her future was on the line. She had so many things she wanted to do. Becoming a wife and mother at such a young age was unthinkable. Of course she knew that was expected of her. But she had hoped that being a princess of the realm had afforded her some leeway. Apparently not.
"Are we clear, Elisabeth?" He asked.
She wanted to argue, but she knew it was futile. Her father wanted her to bow her head and nod like a good princess should.
"Yes, Your Majesty." She said quietly.
"You are dismissed."
Elisabeth walked slowly out of the chambers. Marguerite was waiting for her.
"What did he want, Betha?" Marguerite asked.
Elisabeth couldn't answer. She burst in to tears.