I am the blind princess of Mattona. Thankfully, I wasn't first-born. I would never be expected to rule, at least not my own kingdom. That was a relief. I didn't really want to rule. In truth, I wanted to be a healer. My magic was strong enough for it, even if I could not reverse my own condition.
Those who knew me, knew that I was perfectly capable despite my handicap. Those who didn't quickly learned. My magic tutor was always impressed with my performance. He always treated me like a real person, not like a stuffed doll.
I did have to worry, however, about who my parents would marry me off to. Who would want to marry a blind princess? Sure, the princes from the other countries would want to marry me for my money. Would any of them want to actually get to know me? I knew that as a princess that I was only a political pawn. However, it hurt me when I heard the other girls my age discussing boys. It's all their lives seem to be about. I continued my studies, wondering in the back of my mind, what the fascination with boys was.
The bigger problem that I was facing was that my 18th birthday was swiftly approaching. I knew my parents were looking for a match for me, and wanted to use my 18th birthday ball to pick one. Of course, I had no part of this conversation. My brother Shawn kept sneaking me snippets of information when he could. He was training to take over the kingdom from our father one day, so he sat in all of the important political meetings. My marriage was one of the biggest political maneuvers for our nation.
Most of the time people forgot about me. They saw me as an oversized doll, unable to help myself. They didn't know my secret and I hoped they wouldn't find out. It would cause more problems than it solved.
My assistance dog, Zoe, stood from her spot at the side of my desk chair and barked once at the door. The door opened and I heard the soft steps of my maid, Sharon, enter the room. "Miss, you're going to be late for your lessons," she informed me. I nodded in her direction, and stood from my desk where I'd been reading. Years ago, one of the merchants had created a book with raised letters so I could read them with my fingers. He was extremely rich now, and all of the books in the kingdom had been transcribed. I visited his shop whenever I could.
My Soul, Mairyn, hopped off of the desk and onto my shoulder. Everyone had one. It was a creature that appeared at a person's birth and disappeared at their death. The popular theory was that these creatures were our souls living outside of our bodies. I wasn't sure if I believed it, but they were called Souls. They were in the shape of ordinary creatures. Most of the servants were in the shape of a dog. Mairyn was strange, she was a winged cat. The Priests said she was different because of my disability. I appreciated the excuse.
Once Mai was settled, I took the handle of Zoe's harness and began my trip to the study, where I took all my lessons. I knew the route well, I travelled it every day. I still walked with Zoe, though, it was much safer. She would make sure I wouldn't walk into any obstacles, or people. She was a great dog, one of the first trained to work with the blind. There was a whole school for training assistance puppies, now. I work with them to help finish the training and test the dogs before they are given to their blind person.
I heard the maids discussing the preparations for the ball. I was running out of time. I would leave the life I had made here behind. I didn't want to. I didn't want to start from scratch in a new palace with people who didn't understand me.