A little more background to my Fairy Tale.  Here we see the Court of Celenia through the eyes of Princess Alia.

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Left alone, Alia cried until her eyes burned, but dragged herself up from her divan to splash her face with cold water when sleep threatened to claim her. She slaked the raw dryness of her throat from her water jug, then moved to her window seat to watch the evening bustle of the palace. She did not summon any of her servants, didn’t want to face anyone.

The last of the day’s sun splashed the leafy palace walkways as the Courtiers gathered for the evening feast. Always at King Argo’s court there was some visiting faction to feast; King Argo’s power stretched across the lands and there was always a delegation wanting a share of his influence.  Alia watched a party of them now, men swathed in black robes and golden jewellery from far to the south of her father’s kingdom. In the middle of them, bearing a flashing golden scimitar on his hip and a circlet of gold on his brow was their Prince, come to court her hand in marriage.  Her father had already dismissed his suit, but the Prince had remained at the Court to try again and hope, as some men had done before him. Alia did not think her father would change his mind; she had heard him denounce the Prince’s country as savage.

The trickle of people petered out once the evening deepened into gloaming. The stewards appeared to light the torches for the return of the revellers after the feast. Alia heard a soft knock at her door then, so she rose to answer it.

“Oh my sweet Princess! Why have you not sent for me, child?” Her Royal nursemaid gushed as soon as Alia put her head around the door, then the elderly matron bustled passed her, imperiously gesturing to the small troupe of servants following to bring their burdens into the Princesses Day Room: trays of food from the feast and Alia’s deep copper bath and steaming kettles to fill it with.

“Marena, thank you, but I’m fine just now,” Alia tried to protest, knowing she would be ignored by her pragmatic nurse.

“Nonsense, child. You need food and relaxation, not moping!” Marena told her bullishly. Alia sighed and inclined her head graciously, submitting to the care of her servants under the older woman’s watchful eye.

 

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