So, yer back for the last bit of the tale, are ye? Well, we’ll finish this up, then I shall go and have my morning nap, agreed? Good.
Traditions are funny things. They often have their roots in the simplest of beginnings, yet are carried forward through time as if they were the most necessary thing in the world.
Such was the case with the princess. Early in the morning, she was roused from a dream of the man she had tumbled with the day before. Her shoulder throbbed, her bottom ached, and her breasts and woman-folds were tender. In her dream, he held her still, his cock pressing into her from behind ~ oh how she had enjoyed that ~ filling her, as his hands twisted and pinched at her breasts. She woke when her nurse rubbed her shoulder, bidding her to “wake, my pretty.”
She’d woken to that very greeting every day of her life, and there was more than a tinge of sadness between the two women, as they realized that today would be the last. Nurse would be retired, and set up in her own household, well taken care of by the King and Queen, as the princess began her new life as the wife of the Randy-Cock Prince. She wasn’t happy about that, yet the memory of her unexpected encounter yesterday filled her mind enough to push away her trepidation, at least for the nonce.
A simple outfit was laid out, a plain cotton chemise, a white shift, a delicate shawl. There were thin slippers, and a veil as well.
“Tradition at your Princes’ homeland is for you to arrive as a traveler, claiming to be a princess. They will tell you more when you arrive, but you will dress as a common woman, and on the morrow, you will be accepted into the family as the mate for their son the Prince.”
The nurse bustled around her as she disgorged information. In short order, she was prepared, and brought to her parents.
After tear-filled fare-thee-wells, she was placed on a plain horse. Of course it was her old friend, Sandy, who looked at the princess sheepishly, as if embarrassed about throwing her into the river. Yet, if not for that, she might never have met and mated with the delightful stranger, who’s bruises branded her body. She patted the pony on the nose, and kissed her velvety muzzle.
She would be led to the Prince’s castle grounds by a small entourage of guards, then left to enter alone. Her family would arrive on the morrow to celebrate the nuptials. There was much bustling and hubbub in the outer bailey as the princess mounted her mare, and clucked her to move. The faster she got on with it, the faster this nightmare would be over. Hopefully the prince would have little to do with her, and she’d be allowed to begin planning the library of her dreams.
The prince rolled his eyes at his father. Though he was well away from the years when such was only marginally accepted, this newest edict by his parents was so ridiculous that there was no other response.
“It is the way it has been done.”
“Your mother is expecting the tradition to continue, as it did when she arrived here to wed me. Do not scoff at her, lest she begin to cry. Again. I do not like to see your mother so overcome. You will make yourself scarce for today, but remain within the castle proper. You will meet your bride in the morning, as has been done for generations.”
When he would have protested more, his father raised his hand and spoke a single terse word.
The prince shut his mouth, yet his eyes flashed. He should at least be able to meet the woman he’d be shackled to for the rest of his days. Yet this stupid tradition said that she and he would not meet until they stood beside one another, standing before the priest who would bind them together.
“Here. This is the bridal ring that has been given on Joining day. You will use it in the ceremony, but will need to create your own to present to your bride later.”
“It is already attended to Father. I know the tradition. Just because I don’t agree with it, doesn’t mean I’m not prepared for it.” With a terse nod, he strode from the room, trying to not sulk. Parents! Would that they could see that he was a man grown and leave him be.
They’d left in the morning, and arrived late in the evening. Darkness had closed around them, as stars winked on above. The scent of loamy earth rose to tease at her nostrils. Ah, the last smell of freedom, she thought, as the lit walls of the castle came into view ahead. Just outside of the drawbridge, which was up, her entourage stopped.
Duncan dismounted, and helped her off her pony.
“Good blessings to you, little one,” he murmured, giving her a brief hug. He felt the little quivers of fear from her, but, wanting her to be the strong woman he knew her to be, gave her a small shake, and a smile.
“Show them what you are made of, princess.”
Turning Duncan walked away, leading her mare.
She stood, looking rather forlorn, as the jingle of harnesses faded away. She knew the men would pull back a mile or so and camp for the night.
Tipping her head back, she stared up and up the tall walls.
“Hello?” Her voice was tiny, and sounded…forlorn. Well, that would never do.
“Hey!” she yelled. “Open up. Tis a chill in the air!”
“Who goes there?”
“A princess, and I’m cold and tired.”
There, the tradition had been upheld. She shook her head in the dark. Such ridiculousness. Her daughter would never…that thought drew her up short, even as the creaking and clanking signalled the lowering of the large drawbridge. Her hand moved to her belly, and she wondered…had he planted a seed inside her? Oh, the thought of that both thrilled and worried her.
With a thunk that made her jump, the bridge dropped full into place. A woman stood there.
“A princess, you say?”
“Yes, Majesty,” she replied, again according to tradition. She recognized Queen Margaret immediately and smiled. Her godmother frowned at her. More tradition.
“You will need to prove that before you can wed my son.”
“How shall I prove this to you?”
“Come with me, we shall see.”
The princess moved forward, and the Queen linked arms with her.
“There, now, tradition has been satisfied for now. I have food being kept warm for you, child, thinking you may not have eaten much today. Am I correct?”
She understood! How Margaret needed that just now. Of course, she remembered, her future mother-in-law had been through this very scene when she had come here to wed her Prince Leo. At least she came here, knowing King Leo and Queen Margaret. How much harder it must have been for Queen Margaret, when she came here for the first time, never having met anyone in King Leo’s family.
After a light meal, and lively conversation, the scene was once more taken up.
“Come, girl,” bid the queen. She was led to a small chamber filled with a single bed…piled high with feather mattresses.
“You will sleep here on our most comfortable guest bed,” bid the Queen, and then she was left alone.
She smiled. Silly traditions. Taking up the brush on the table, she tended to her hair before braiding it for the night, put her simple valise on the table, and shed her clothing.
Wearing just a simple shift, she clambered up the bed-ladder, and lay down. The bed was soft, dreamy. She fell asleep quickly, more tired by the events of the last few days than she had imagined.
In the morning, she was wakened by the Queen.
“And how did you sleep?”
She knew her part well, by now.
“Simply terrible, Majesty. The bed was …unexpectedly lumpy. Why, I’m bruised from head to toe!”
Reaching between the lowest two mattresses, the Queen withdrew a single dry pea. Holding it aloft for all to see and bear witness to, she then turned the girl, and tugged down the left shoulder of her gown. There was indeed a series of small bruises on her left shoulder…and the princess was very glad that the queen had not revealed her right shoulder where the bruise there looked suspiciously like …teeth.
The queen threw her arms around the princess, exclaiming to all gathered outside “Tis true, tis true! A princess has arrived to wed my son, at long last!”
The princess barely contained her urge to roll her eyes and exclaim, “oh, glory,” in her drollest tone. None there knew that the queen had gently pinched the princess on this same shoulder as she had led the girl to the guest room the night before. She plastered a smile on her face, as she was turned to face the queen.
But it was not the queen who stood there. It was Prince Randy-Cock himself. He was a handsome devil, to be sure, but she had never doubted that, having met several of his siblings. The queen and king bred beautiful children.
The prince was shocked.
Rather than a horse-faced lass, he found a beautiful young woman. Yes, her hair was red; tied back in her bed-braid he couldn’t tell much about it, really. Her features were sweet, her nose tiny and upturned, her eyes the deepest blue of mid-summer skies. Her lips were pink and full, and he felt a quick punch of lust in his gut.
She glared at him, yet held her tongue, seeing the group of people congregated outside the door watching their first meeting with avid curiosity.
Standing on tiptoes, she kissed his cheek.
Except that he turned his head at the last moment, and captured her lips with his own. Taking her head in his hand, he kissed her deeply and thoroughly, shocking them both with the sense of familiarity.
The princess was annoyed, and oddly, excited, by the stolen kiss.
“I greet you…my betrothed.”
“I greet you, my beauty.”
At that she did roll her eyes.
“Really?” She whispered at him. “Really? Are you so cock crazed that this is the only important thing?” She pointed at her face, frowning.
He smiled at her, and took her by that hand, leading her out of the room. His hand grasped hers firmly, sensing the struggle to come, as he tugged her through the crowd who called blessings to them as he strode with her to the family chapel.
In moments it was done.
Her family was there, though they’d been but a blur as he’d pulled her into the small space. She had seen the Priest, clad in the deep ruby cloak of his office, representing the blood of the Mother who had birthed them all. She saw the hundred candles, lit and gleaming, symbolizing the hundred years wished upon them for a long life together. She smelled the scent of orange blossoms, and perfume, everything a whirling assault on her senses.
She hadn’t expected to be so overcome. Yet she felt tears gather as the ancient words were spoken.
We are birthed of the Mother, and spend our lives in search for the spirit of the One she has planned for us to be with. Today we gather to join one such pairing.
Well, our princess was a bit skeptical of that statement, knowing the hand of men had more to do with her joining to the prince…but the moment was ripe with emotion. I saw tears in her parents eyes, too, as I looked on from the sidelines. It was a lovely ceremony, if you enjoy those sorts of things.
Yes, I know, you likely do enjoy them, don’t you?
Well, eventually, all the words were spoken, and the ring was pressed onto her finger, and they kissed and held hands, and moved out of the chapel, and into the Great Room, where a huge feast, days in the making began. This is always my favorite part, really.
The prince and princess ate, talked to people around them, danced, and spent the rest of the day entertaining the crowd as he kissed her hand, her fingers, her nose, and she would smile, grimace, or roll her eyes depending on whether she thought someone was watching.
Well, I was watching…and if you’d been there you’d have smiled about it too.
At long last, the party quieted, and the King uttered the words that the Prince had been yearning for, for quite some time. I’m not as certain about the princess, however.
“My son, the Prince, and my newest daughter, the Princess, may adjourn to their chambers, and set about the task of providing heirs for the kingdom.”
That, by the way, was more of that traditional talk. The princess turned bright red, as obviously, no one had told her of that part. The prince laughed, and scooped her up, and strode from the room.
“So she won’t run away,” He called over his shoulder to the assorted cat-calls from the watchers, who likely would slink off in assorted groupings for their own post-wedding matings.
I know I did.
And yes, I did promise that this tale would be done today. But I think, just looking at you, that you’re the kind that wants all the details. I speak rightly, do I not?
Yes, I rather thought so. Now, as I said at the start, I need to bathe, and then curl in the sun and rest. This tale-telling is exhausting work. I shall see you on the new day. Now, off with you.