We rode home in silence. I hated it because it made me nervous and it gave me time to think about what was waiting for me in my new home. The wedding consummation. I had never even touched a guy before, father made sure of that, and now I would.... I shook my head. You're scaring yourself, I scolded.
"Do you have another wife, Your Highness?" I asked. I shouldn't have. It was none of my business. Mother had told me to be careful not to ask a prince such questions, but I didn't care. I needed to know what was waiting for me once I arrived. He looked at me with a narrowed gaze. Now he would get angry, I thought.
"No, I don't," he answered slowly. I felt relief. Why? Just because he didn't have one now, didn't mean that he wouldn't get one.
"But I have many mistresses," he finished.
Of course. He was attractive, and a prince, and a man. I wanted to curse, but he suddenly laughed.
"You don't seem to like that," he said. Why would I? But I couldn't say that.
"It's not for me to like or dislike, Your Highness," I said. He said nothing to that. I wondered what his name would be.
"You may call me Lucian when we are alone". Lucian.
The caravan stopped, and then a guard informed us that we had arrived. Lucian stepped out of the caravan and offered me his hand. I took it, and he helped me down.
The castle was grand, and the garden was even more luxurious, with green bushes and colorful flowers. "Lucian?" Someone called, and I turned my head to see who.
Four men in royal robes approached us.
"We came to welcome you and your bride," one of them said.
"Is that so?" Lucian asked.
"Of course. We are brothers after all!" The other behind him smirked.
Are these men his brothers?
"Why don't you and your bride join us for dinner?" He suggested. "We would like to take a closer look at your bride," he stated insinuatingly, shooting me a glance. Lucian walked up and stood in front of him. He was a few inches taller. The guards behind his brother put their hands on their weapons as if to attack any time. Would they really attack him? Why would they? Looking at Lucian's guards they also had their hands on their weapons. What was all this about? They didn't seem like brothers to me.
"Thank you brother, but I must decline," Lucian said in a polite tone that didn't match the menacing look in his eyes. Turning his back to his brother, he took my hand, gripping it hard as he dragged me through the halls of the castle. He was angry.
"Won't we greet your parents, Your Highness?" He came to a halt. His grip on my hand loosened. "My mother is dead," he said with no emotion. "And the King, do not worry about him, he does not matter," he said with finality and started walking again. This time he didn't drag me.
Two maids appeared in front of us. "Your Highness, My Lady," they greeted with a bow. "Your Highness, shall we prepare Her Highness?" They inquired.
Prepare me for what? Preparing is what I have been doing my entire life. At first he didn't let go of my hand, but when the maids gave him a pleading look, he only then released me.
I was led to a dressing room, where the maids helped me get out of my wedding dress and slip into a beautiful white nightgown and its matching robe, both made of silk. They took out the pins in my hair and let it fall down in waves. After putting some perfume onto my skin, they served me tea.
"What's this?" I asked.
"It's an herb tea that will help you relax, and it will decrease the pain, My Lady."
"What pain?" I was confused, but then I realized what they were talking about.
They must have seen the horror on my face because there was pity on their own faces. Why did they pity me? Was he going to be rough with me? He didn't seem like the gentle type from the way he gripped my wrist earlier. It was as if his hand was made of steel.
"I don't need it," I affirmed and stood up straight. "Just take me to the chamber." They led me to our private chamber and sat me down on the bed. Adjusting my hair and gown, they took one last look at me to see if everything was perfect.
"We will tell His Highness that you are ready," they said, and left.
The worst scenarios appeared in my head and my heart pounded so hard in my chest I was afraid it was going to explode. My hands started sweating and it was getting hard to breathe. I waited for what seemed like hours, but was likely just minutes. Suddenly, the door to the room opened and he stepped inside. He had changed into more comfortable clothes and walked toward the bed where I was sitting.
"Aren't you tired?" He asked.
"I am Your Highness."
"Lucian," he corrected.
"Lucian," I repeated in barely a whisper.
"Then we should go to sleep," he said and lay down on the bed. "I am tired too."
Lucian looked at the woman in front of him. She looked so scared and timid. He wondered if she was scared for the obvious reasons or if she was scared because she had heard the rumors about him. Either way, he didn't blame her. Most people feared him, even his own father. He never dared to look his son in the eyes. Lucian always wondered what he had done to make his father fear him.
He knew he was different. He had even scared himself when he was a little boy and had discovered what he could do. When he, for the first time, moved an object with just a thought, or when he had wished his brother could burn, and then suddenly his brother's clothes were on fire. Everyone ran to help him get out of the flaming clothes. That day he had been so scared he ran to his room where he sat in a corner crying, wishing he could talk to someone about it. But who? His father feared and hated him; he would just scare him even more, and his mother was dead. He wondered how she would react. His brothers used to play with him at first, but then when they got older and they started their training, they noticed he was faster, stronger and a better fighter. He was also a very skilled swordsman; his teachers always praised him. But his brothers mocked him, telling him to stop cheating. "Cheating is what the Devil does," they would say.
The maids had mixed feelings about him. They were as attracted to him as they were scared. Some of them liked the thrill, the danger. The young ones would give him seductive glances, but the older maids would warn them. "Be careful," they would say, "tempting people and making them sin is what he does." Some would listen, some wouldn't.
The only people who didn't fear him or hate him were his men, his soldiers. They were tough men who didn't believe in rumors. They respected him. Still, they weren't his family; he could only talk business with them.
He looked at the woman now laying beside him. The woman who was his family now. She was lying so far out on the edge he was afraid she would fall down from the bed. She didn't even move; she looked so stiff. Even though he told her to sleep, he could still hear her heart beating wildly.
She had surprised him earlier with her bold questions. He liked her so far; she amused him. He remembered the look on her face when he told her he had mistresses. She was probably the jealous type. I guess I like jealous, he thought, smiling to himself. He also liked when she played the flute, and when she had whispered his name. But now, she was as timid as a rabbit. That, he didn't like.