Annalise was ushered by two women into the Great Hall, a large room with 3 long, wooden tables which were ordered in rows. A grand fireplace stood before them all. Brilliant fire flickered and scorched, the comforting smell of wood burning surrounded Annalise.
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"T-this is crazy..." She whispered. She rubbed her elbow nervously as she was told to wait for the arrival of the king.
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She wanted to run but she knew that she was being watched, she rested her gaze upon the brick walls and saw a surrounding of arrowslits. Annalise was smart enough to realise that she couldn't leave anytime soon. She wanted her mother, she missed her dearly. The way she sang her to sleep, the way she told her how to dress-
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She quickly realized how much she resembled a lady of the night.
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"Oh no, look at what I'm wearing..." She placed her hands over her eyes.
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An old woman smiled at her, "Lady Annalise, if you could follow me to your chambers. It seems you're not keen on your ensemble."
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Annalise agreed. She couldn't meet a queen looking like a 4th class citizen. Even though she hates her current situation. Her mother always told her to make the best out of a terrible situation.
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She followed the lady up a steep stairway. Paintings of figures greeted them as they went along. Annalise couldn't help but marvel at one painting in particular.
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The man in the painting had short golden hair and beet red eyes. He had sharp features and his pale skin only accentuated them even more.
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"I see you've already taken a liking to King Alexander's son. Prince Nathaniel has certainly bloomed throughout the years." The lady's gaze had become cold.
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"Um, may I ask you... How old is the prince?"
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"His 18th birthday will be tomorrow." Her gaze switched from cold to warm in a matter of seconds. Who knows what is going on in that lady's head. Could she feel bad for Annalise?
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She entered her new sleeping chambers. She gasped. The room was gigantic. Her new bed was large and made of soft cotton. The bedding was silk with a cotton pillow. The lady led her into the walk-in closet. Splendid arrays of color flew around.
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"I hope you don't mind but I've already taken the privilege of choosing your new clothes. Of course you can pick your own if you want. I don't want to pry."
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Annalise giggled, "Don't be silly, I'm more than happy to see what you have prepared for me."
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The lady looked at her, "I'm glad to hear that. I didn't know you were going to be so thin. We might have to make some adjustments."
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Annalise stepped into a large, purple ballgown made of expensive fabrics and a golden hemline. Annalise was wowed, she had never seen purple garments before. The dress was pretty big in the waist department. The lady was stumped for a moment.
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The lady muttered, "We might just have to use a corset."
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"I'm completely fine with that. Mother never let me wear corsets!" Annalise was clearly excited to try on her first corset. This purines warmed the lady's heart.
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"Just one moment, I have a better idea." The lady pulled out a long piece of sheer, white fabric and tied it around her waist. "You look so beautiful, My Lady."
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"Thank you..." Annalise whispered.
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The slam of the castle drawbridge closing echoed throughout every room.
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"The prince had returned. Come with me Annalise, we must greet your fiance." The lady turned to exit.
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"Lady Annalise, I know this is hard for you to take it all at once but believe me. It will get better."
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"It's not that... I feel very unsteady in these heels." She wobbled, pressing her body against the wall.
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"Oh forgive me, you can wear these slippers." She handed her silk, house slippers.
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"Thank you... you've been so kind to me. May I ask your name?"
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The lady grinned, "You can call me Emonie, My Lady."
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"Thank you Emonie."
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Emonie walked down the grand stairway with Annalise close behind. Nerves bundled in her stomach. What do you say to royalty? She is way underprepared. She glanced down at the grand hall below, the man from before stood next to an unfamiliar, familiar man with golden hair. Annalise jolted upward, almost falling into Emonie.
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"M'lady, get a grip on yourself, will ya? First impressions are important."
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Prince Nathaniel whispered to the man, "So what does she look like?"
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"Your Magesty, you shall see very soon, she's currently cowering behind the banister. Take a look for youself." The man smirked.
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The prince's eyes widened. "She's cowering from me?" He asked.
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"It would seem so." Emonie frowned.
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Nathaniel strode over to the staircase. There sat, at the bottom stoop, Annalise covering her eyes with her hands as she wept. He froze, the intoxicating smell of honey slapped him in the face.
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"M'lady, your scent is as sweeter as the finest honey. A beauty as you shouldn't be sitting on the stairs. You're weeping because of me no doubt, I am deeply disheartened by this. Please allow me to properly introduce myself." Nathaniel tinted pink.
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Annalise slowly lifted her head, her emerald eyes twinkled with despair. He was out of words to say. Out of instinct, he grabbed onto her arm and pulled her into a tight embrace.
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"I'm so sorry... Please know that I never asked for this either." He whispered in her ear, "You probably hate me for this, I don't blame you. You've been through so much..."
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Annalise muttered, "Let go of me..."
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"What-" Nathaniel was quickly shoved away by Annalise.
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Annalise snarled at him, "I don't need the pity of a spoiled prince. You have no right to comfort me, as if you really care."
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The man couldn't hold back his laughter, Nathaniel stood silently in embarrassment.
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"I should have warned you, she's pretty scary." His chuckles quickly silenced when Nathaniel let out an ominous laugh.
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Nathaniel's eyes burned with anger, "You think you're really something, don't you little Annalise, let me give you a reality check. You are mine. You are nothing but property to a powerful man, if you don't like it... Then you can keep your mouth shut!"
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Annalise ran upstairs, trying to conceal her tears.
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"M'lady wait!" Emonie followed after her.
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Nathaniel covered his face and groaned, "What have I done?"
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The man answered, "I believe you told Lady Annalise that she was nothing but proper to a powerful man. You are really good at making a lady feel special."
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"Shut up Dominic!" Nathaniel's face scorched red. "Why did I say those things to her?"
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"Because you have really bad anger issues and an easily bruised ego?" Dominic teased. "Oh, were you being hypothetical?"ns184.108.40.206da2