"WHERE IS SKYE?!"
'Am I hearing things? Or did someone just call me name?'
The sun shined brightly as it streamed through the windows, bouncing off of the almost-white marble floors of the castle. It stung the eyes of the young woman who was hastily being escorted down the great hall, towards the banquet room.
Skye had walked down this hall her entire life, but never had the floors ever seemed so blinding. It was an odd detail to focus on, but focus was hard to come by that day. She had sworn she'd heard someone calling out her name.. Her mind had a haze about it. The bride was tired, but her nerves kept her from falling to the exhaustion.
Horses nickered loudly outside, drawing the lass from her thoughts. She could hear men yelling as she walked, and swore she'd heard her name called again. Anyone present in Moonstone Castle should've been in the banquet hall; aside from the guards. Focusing on the ruckus instead of her feet, the bride nearly fell. Righting herself; Skye chided her own idiocy.
"Are ye alright? Why did ye trip?" the old servant escorting her asked with concern in her tone.
"I could've sworn I heard-ah, nevermind. Ima sure 'tis nothing," the lass focused on her walking, convinced her servant must not have heard the ruckus.
'The bride needs to walk down the aisle, not trip down it,' she thought to herself.
The morning was cool, but the sun was quickly warming the day as the noon hour struck. She couldn't eat much that morning, now her stomach was twisting in knots. It was her wedding, but she could find no happiness in the thought. For Skye believed that little happiness could be found in what came after.
The life of a normal girl is what awaited Skye Moonstone. She would marry the man her father has chosen, eat, then depart for her new home. It was nothing like the life she'd originally planned, but that life had died years ago, with him...
'I will bare Jacob's children, and live a simple and quiet life.. I will do what father has ordered me to, since he wouldn't listen.. I suppose that is what is expected of me as a woman, and I have no other choice in the matter,' the bride thought bleakly.
"Lady Skye, we must hurry! Yer father will be furious if yer late to yer own weddin!" her servant nearly shrieked as she huffed with the pace.
"Do not worry yer self so, Peggy. We'll be fine! Father knows that Ima never on time. That's why he told me noon when the ceremony isn't til half past that," the bride replied as she kept to Peggy's slower pace.
Skye's servant had been by her side for as long as the lass could remember. Peggy was closer to her than her own mother had been. Skye's parents were more concerned with their wealthy lifestyle and maintaining it, than her. Money and position had always been what was most important to them. It was also the motive behind who they had chosen as her future husband, or so the lass suspected.
Skye had no bond with him, and barely knew him. The little she did know made her doubt her freedoms would be kept. As she stepped closer to the their destination, the bride's mind began to wonder.
'What will me days be like now? At least here, I could ride me horse how I like.. Or cook in the kitchens whenever I felt bored, or found me self disinterested in me studies. Would Jacob even allow such things? Tis not common for a woman of status to cook, and he seems like the type who cares far too much about what others think.. '
Skye's thoughts became more erratic as her panic built from her unanswered questions..
'So few women are educated like me self.. Will there even be anyone there I can talk with, aside from Peggy? Will he still let me continue me studies, or will he forbid me? And what will he say when he sees me riding astride instead of sidesaddle like a 'respectable lady'? Fat chance he lets me keep Thoth; that beast of a horse will probably scare him.'
In a flash, they'd made it close to the doors of the banquet room. Skye hesitated when she saw the guards. Her life was about to become very different, but very boring. Especially if her future husband was like most men. 'Jacob is nothing like Him...'
A spark of anger began to build her ire. No matter who her husband would be, Skye would be herself. No one was going to take her freedom; even if she had to run to the Highlands to get away. She grew up believing she'd be able to make her own choices, and Skye refused to change on the fact; even if the groom was not her choice.
'I will Not turn into one of those submissive and docile housewives that has no say or will in her own life! I'll die before that!' Skye thought to herself, stoking her ire further.
As courage found her again, Skye walked up to the doors. Peggy gave her bairn's hand a gentle squeeze, accompanied by a toothy smile. Tears gathered at the corners of her eyes as she nodded at the lass she'd seen as her own child all these years. The young woman smiled back at her with all the warmth she'd held in her heart for the old woman. After a moment, Peggy left her lady's side to go and take her place amongst the other household servants. As well as let them know that the bride had arrived. Leaving her to face her fate alone.
The ruckus from outside seemed to have died down, making Skye curious at to what it was even about to begin with. She'd sworn she'd heard her name called, but hadn't recognized the voice completely. It had definitely been a man's voice, and a strange feeling gripped her heart when she tried to think on whom it could belong to. Shaking her head slightly, the lass attempted to rid herself of the feeling bubbling up from her gut.
Clearing her head, Skye took one last deep breath as the violinists began to play. She smoothed a non-existent wrinkle from her dress, and nodded to the guards. They smiled politely, and opened the doors wide. So as not to obstruct the guests' view of the bride as she entered.
Hair down and flowing to show her untouched state; Skye Moonstone was a sight to behold. The light rebounded off of her white, diamond-studded dress. Causing some of the guests to turn away a moment. It was lined with silver and white gold along the trim and bust. Her father wanted to display both his daughter, and their status to her future husband and his family. Her red-gold curls bounced with every step she took. The closer she came, the clearer her future husband's face became.
Skye had known Jacob for two years, but not once had he ever spoken at length with her. In fact, the only words she had ever heard from him were of how attractive she was to him. He made her feel uncomfortable, and her skin crawled to know that he would be the man with whom she would spend the rest of her life with. She knew there would never be love between them, and her heart ached slightly for it. But at least, eventually; she would have her own children to love.
'That will be enough for me, I think,' Skye thought sadly.
As she reached the halfway point down the aisle, the features of her betrothed came into focus. He was only an inch or so shorter than her father, which was still much taller than her. He had very light, golden-blonde hair that was of medium length, braided and pulled back. His jawline was somewhat soft, and his eyes were a bright brown color. His shoulders and chest were wide, and very muscular. He had served in the king's army as a wall man; running all manner of gear up and down the stairs. He was also trained in swordsmanship and grappling, from what her maids had told her.
Indeed, they knew quite a bit about Skye's future husband. Including things only a woman could come to know about a man. One maid in particular had made it a point to describe him as 'vigorous' and 'the best beddin she'd ever had'. It had both disgusted and irritated her to find out at first. Then again, that could also work in her favor. She did not see herself as one of those women who would seek out their husband's affections. 'Better he find a mistress to occupy his time with.'
'But I will still have to lay with him... to bare his children,' Skye shivered as the thought popped into her head, and her eyes met those of her betrothed.
Only once had Skye seen the look he gave her now. And even then, it made her stomach turn. Jacob was good looking enough, but his eyes held smoldering ice. He looked her up and down; like how a wolf eyed a doe before ripping into it's flesh. A cold shiver ran up her spine again. Skye's heart began to beat erratically in her chest, and her pace slowed significantly.
Suddenly, all she could think about was running.. Running to the stables, jumping on Thoth, and riding until the black beast could no longer. Not that it would really help. Her future family was currently the wealthiest in all of Alcon Kingdom; next to the royals. They would hire the best trackers money could buy, and hunt her down. She exhaled a shaky breath at the thought.
'Liar...' the random thought popped into Skye's head as she panicked inwardly.
The lords and ladies stood now, and her father was beginning to look impatient. Skye's slow in pace had been obvious. Some of the guests were making comments about bridal nerves, but she didn't care. The look in Jacob's eyes had changed to icy hostility. He held out his hand with a huff, as if to try and quicken her pace. As she reached out to place her hand in his, the doors to the room flew open. Five men clad in armor with the king's insignia upon their chest plates marched through the doors, and down the aisle.
The man who led them made eye contact with Skye as he passed. His eyes were a vivid green, and familiar to her. It was gone the moment it had registered, but Skye could've sworn she'd seen a smirk..
'Was it even there? Why is my heart pounding? Could he have been the one callin' out for me before?' Skye thought as she gladly put her hand down to her side, and took a half step back; allowing the men to pass.
The green-eyed knight now stood between them, with his broad back to Skye. She didn't even need to look at her father to know he was furious. This was supposed to be his perfect show of wealth and power: now interrupted. A vein on his neck bulged, and his face turned as red as his hair was in his youth. Taking two long strides, he closed the distance between him and the man; standing only two feet or so apart. He stood next to Skye's betrothed, who was clearly seething with rage at the interruption as well.
"What the bloody Hell is going on?! Who are you? What right do ye have to interfere with me Daughter's marriage?!" the Lord practically roared.
"Good to see you too, Lucas. It has been some time, but I never knew Lord Moonstone to one to break a contract," the man replied with an obvious smirk.
"Contract? What contract?! Who the devil are ye, boy?!" the lord yelled out of consternation.
"I am Tidas MacArthur, son of King Magnus MacArthur, Third Royal Prince of Alcon. And I have come to collect my bride!"