To end the war the beautiful, powerful and talented princess of Neyear sacrifices her future. Along with other conditions this sacrifice includes marrying and having offspring with the crown prince of the enemy country. She soon realizes that maintaining peace will take much more than she imagined when her husband leaves her as soon as they arrive at his father's castle, leaving her to suffer the hatred of his people. Will she be able to survives the hardships in her new home or will her sacrifice have been in vain?
A new story! I'm really excited about this one. I might not update this as often as my other story.
The heroine of this story is the complete opposite of Celeste (my other story's heroine). Whereas Celeste had an extremely timid, uncertain and closed off personality, Anahita is open, confident and proud.
Just like Cinderella Celeste, this story takes place in a time and place that doesn't exist. If I have to place it, it takes place in the same world but at a much earlier time. Some places that were mentioned in Cinderella Celeste might reappear in this story. Though, the story doesn't have ANY relation with the Cinderella Celeste story.
Some of you might wonder: Wasn't she going to write a story about Aden? Well. I have to wait, because it takes place after Cinderella Celeste.
Please enjoy! =)
I decided to write this story in first person, because it will bring out more of it (if that makes sense). So I changed this chapter to first person also.
I, Princess Anahita Ishtar of Neyaer, sat with the most important guests at the wedding. I was surrounded by women of high or royal status that were discussing all kinds of topics. As they sat there chatting, they often asked for my opinion about matters. Although, these topics would have interested me in normal circumstances, right now I was tired and hoped the coming hours would pass quickly.
At my right sat Freba, my sister-in-law, the wife of my eldest brother, Bahadur the crown-prince of Neyaer. She seemed to be able to keep up with the other ladies. But then again, she hadn't been as busy as me the past few weeks. I could only think about the things on my to-do-list when I would be back home. As soon as we would arrive home, there was another meeting of the high council planned with Papa, King Rumin. I had attended every meeting the past five years. That's how I was up to date about all the ups and downs the nation had been going through. About the people's suffering. The signs of victory approaching in a few years didn't take away the damage the war was causing every single day.
I wasn't obligated to attend the meetings, like my brothers were, but I still did. And while I focused on getting information from the council meetings, I sent off my knights to gain information about secret missions that weren't discussed in the council. Some of my knights were even sent off abroad to gain intelligence on the enemy's operations.
I was lost in thought when I suddenly heard a sentence that caught my attention.
"Oh, I've heard Prince Nathaniel of Willerlia is here also."
"How could he be here? I thought he wouldn't be attending."
"Apparently, he was hurt in a battle a couple of weeks ago. It left him unable to lead his army for some time."
I knew about this. Prince Nathaniel was the crown-prince of Willerlia. He got hurt in a battle in which he fought my eldest brother. It was one of the most stressing battles of the war. My brother had won. I remember the day the news had reached the palace. Mama and Freba had cried of relief. It had been another encouragement for me to think of a plan to end this war. I didn't want my family to be in a position which caused them so much stress.
So, he's here? Could this be another chance to gain intelligence? I should tell Raerden to keep his eyes open and pick up everything he can. I thought
I looked around to search for Emmie, my bodyguard for the party.
"Ana, dear, I'm going inside with the Duchess Euphemia. Are you coming with us?" Freba asked me. Ana is shot for Anahita. It's what I'm called by family and close friends.
"No, I'm fine. I'll stay out here. Thank you, though." I answered.
Freba put a hand on my shoulder.
"Ana, dear, you should enjoy this. Don't let the situation at home ruin this for you. You've waited a long time to come to Princess Amelia's wedding."
"I'm fine. I'm enjoying the fresh air out here."
Freba smiled and nodded, before leaving. As soon as she was out of sight I found Emmie. Emmie understood by her princess' expression that she was needed. I got up to approach her. When we reached each other, I spoke in a soft voice, but tried not to act suspicious.
"Tell Raerden to keep his eyes open. There are some interesting guests here. Unexpected guests."
Emmie's expression turned serious. Her eyes met mine and she nodded, before leaving the terrace.
I looked at the beautiful setting. The place for the party was enormous. The terrace I was on, was decorated with white roses at the sides. They gave off a feeling of peace.
Peace was a word of a different time and place. We had all been longing for peace. It wasn't like I was directly effected by the war, except for my brothers being away most of the time and my parents aging faster. The widows and orphans I met during visits to cities and villages broke my heart also. Mama had advised me not to attend the council meetings. She had just wanted to protect me. She thought that if her daughter didn't know about the situation at the borders, she would be able to live a more peaceful life. Though she knew she couldn't protect me completely she still tried her best. Not that my mother didn't care about the people. She just didn't wanted her daughter to take on the responsibilities I had taken on. She wasn't able to stop me. Her daughter had the determination of her father.
I picked up a fallen rose and stroked its petals. While looking at a lower terrace, that was crowded with people also, I was sure I wouldn't be able to meet half the people that were attending.
"Princess Anahita Ishtar of Neyaer?" I turned around to see a young lady standing behind me. The girl had light blond hair and very bright blue eyes. She was dressed in a beautiful dress. Her dressing made me think she was royalty.
"Yes?" I responded.
"I am Sophia Maria, Duchess of Kerni. Nice to make your acquaintance."
"It's very nice to meet you also." I said as we greeted each other with kisses on the cheeks. "Princess of Willerlia."
The girl smiled at me brightly. I smiled back but couldn't shake away the uncomfortable feeling. The girl in front of me was nice in every way. The only thing off was that she was the princess of Willerlia. The nation Neyaer was in war with.
"I heard you are a friend of princess Amelia's." she said
"Yes, I am."
"I'm here as a guest of Count Jonas. I would like to speak to you. Shall we go sit somewhere."
"Of course." I wondered what Sophia wanted. When we were seated, Sophia was the first to speak.
"This is quite a relaxing atmosphere, isn't it."
"It is indeed. Kerni is quite a distance." I did my best to make polite conversation. This normally wasn't hard, but seeing the person I was talking to, I had to stay more aware of what I was saying. "I assume you have been staying here. Pity that we hadn't met yet."
"It is." Sophia looked at my dress for a moment. "By the way, I've always loved the style of dresses they have in Neyaer. You are wearing an exquisite example."
I smiled. "Thank you."
"I'm not just here to compliment your dress princess Anahita." Sophia suddenly said in a serious tone.
Here it comes. I thought.
"What I really wanted to talk about is your work." Sophia continued. "You, your highness, are a wonderful example of what a person, be it man or woman, should be doing in your position."
"I'm sorry?" I couldn't really believe what I was hearing.
"Your work in the war. I'm sorry, I didn't really want to be bring up the subject of war at this occasion, but I felt like I should take this opportunity to express my thoughts. I didn't think I would get another chance like this. I think you deserve appreciation. I'm sure you hear this all the time. But, if I may show a bit of pride for my heritage, as the princess of Willerlia, I'd like to express my appreciation."
I was speechless. It was rare that people actually went out of their way to praise my efforts, but the princess of the enemy nation doing it, was something I had never dreamt of. Sophia smiled sadly at my surprised expression and continued.
"You see, I don't think many people would use the power, you have, to do good. Often people just take the easy way and choose a side."
I finally found words.
"It is thanks to the power and freedom provided to me by my father, King Rumin, that I am able to set up these little missions."
"Yes, it is. But you choose to use it to help ease the pain of war for the common folk, instead of gathering an army to help support the war like so many do. It is kind of funny, how you manage put people's back up doing so. I have attended some of the meetings my husband has with the warlords of my father. They don't appreciate your little army roaming around."
"It is also thanks to your father, King Ardul, that I've been able to send my army across the border."
"Yes, my father is a king who loves his people...Princess Anahita, you are updated more than I am about the situation of the war. I would like to meet with you to discuss some ideas. I know both sides are suffering and previous negotiations for peace have lead to nothing. On both sides there are people who want to stop this. You probably understand me more than anyone, when I say I want to see this war ended. Would you please be able to make some time for a meeting?"
I was surprised. I had met with the enemy camp before to make my peace missions possible, but I had never been present myself. I had always sent Samuel, my knight. Although, my father gave me a lot of freedom, he would never let me go. It was for my own safety. Princess Sophia wanted a personal meeting.
"Do you have a place in mind where this meeting would be held?" I asked.
"At Princess Amelia's new home."
I knew I had to be careful about what I was saying.
"It is a rather smart choice, seeing neither Amelia's father nor her husband are involved in the conflict. However much I would like to meet with you, I can't promise anything...Would I be allowed to bring other people?"
"Of course, but please be careful with your choice. I'm sure none of us would want our meeting to end up in more conflict."
There was a pause. I thought about how to handle this.
"Please take your time to think this over." Sophia said. "I will be waiting for your reply. I am leaving for the capital of Willerlia tomorrow, I will be there for a week before returning home to my husband in Kerni. You have plenty of time to think this over. When you decide to contact me, please do so when I'm in Kerni"
"Is princess Amelia a close friend?" Sophia asked and I noticed she wanted to steer the conversation in a different direction. I decided to go along with it and we spent time in each other's company for the rest of the wedding, eventually joined by other ladies and gentlemen. Although, they tried their best not to make it obvious, I could see that they were surprised to see the princesses of the two adverse countries together.
The thoughts of what Sophia had said, lingered in my mind the whole time. What would happen if I agreed to meet? There were two possibilities. One was that we could find ways to end the war together. The other was a dangerous one. They could take me prisoner to pressure my father. I wondered if my father would ever let me go.
It would be pretty hard for them to take me hostage, seeing as Count Jonas had a neutral position in the war. If I would be harmed while on his land, things would turn out very negative for them. Although the Count was on friendly terms with Willerlia, the trade relations with Neyaer were extremely important for him. Would my father agree?
One thing I knew for sure. I had to discuss this with Papa without Mama or my brothers knowing. Perhaps Bahadur could also be trusted to give rational advice. My other brothers, though, nuh-huh.
"I really enjoyed spending time in your company, princess Anahita." Sophia curtsied. It was time to leave the party. I slightly bowed my head and brought up my right hand until it was at chin's hight.
"It was a pleasure for me too."
"I'm glad we were able to see each other here. Perhaps, if it wasn't for this unfortunate war, we would have been very close friends." she had a somewhat sad smile on her face. I felt like her words were genuine.
"I'm sure we would be." I really liked the girl's personality. We had a lot in common even thought our culture's were so different. "Are you here with your husband?"
I realized that my question could be taken wrongly. The fact that there wasn't even a slight change in Sophia's expression told me it wasn't.
"No, actually." Sophia told me. "My husband had some important business to attend to. I'm here with my brother. He must be here somewhere."
She looked around to search for him in the crowd.
"Oh, I see." I smiled. "You're going to Willerlia with him to spend time at your parents' house."
Sophia nodded. I followed her to a see-through curtain that separated the portion we were in from the another one and we said goodbye.
While lost in thought, I looked at Sophia talking to a servant girl. The girl went away for a moment, after which Sophia was approached by a man. He had a tall and broad figure and, if I saw it right, his hair was white. He didn't seem old though. Perhaps it was the color of the curtain that made his hair seem white. The hand he used to gesture Sophia to come with him had a bandage. I snapped out of my thoughts. Was this Sophia's brother? Was this the man my brother had fought? Prince Nathaniel of Willerlia. He was said to be very talented and good-looking. Bahadur had confirmed the talented-part. He had said that in normal circumstances, he would have respected the man. I couldn't confirm the good-looking part as I only saw his back from where I was standing. I turned around to go to the spot where I could find Emmie. When I found her, I told her to look for Freba and Raerden, so we could start preparing for the journey home.