Here is the final update of Coridel. Someday soon her sisters, Jonquil and Alisaid, will be featured as dolls (possibly with stories attached). I'm very pleased to have finished this set, it's not often that I complete both a doll and story!
Click below to finish the story:
Coridel sat in her room, penning a letter to Rastruan. Her father’s messengers would be leaving the following morning to deliver news of the Mountain Act.
The page before her was blank; there seemed to be so much to say, yet no words to put down. She gathered her robe around her and went to sit in the window. She could see the moon rising above the peaks which so recently had sheltered her. What words could she send to the mountain lord?
“Dear Rastruan,” She tried, imagining him reading her letter aloud. “I arrived home in good condition; your men were very good travelling companions. My father has agreed to all my proposed amendments to the law. Soon, very soon, your people will be safe.”
She wrinkled her nose. It sounded stiff. If he were in the room right now, what would she say?
Coridel laughed, “If he were here I would order him out of my bedchamber. T’would not be proper.”
“And how proper are you normally, princess?” A voice from the balcony asked.
Coridel gasped and pulled away from the open window. “Who’s there?”
“No one to be alarmed by.”
“I have guards at my door; I could call them if I wished to.”
A low laugh, “I have a feeling you won’t.”
The voice was familiar, but was the recognition only her mind playing tricks on her?
She retied the sash to her robe and went to the balcony door. A quick glance out showed her a tall man standing in the shadows. She cautiously opened the door. “Rastruan?”
“Who else would dare land on a princess’s balcony?” She could hear his smile in the dark.
“Why are you here?” She asked, smiling in response to his.
“I remembered something I hadn’t said to you.”
She laughed, “You could have written a letter!”
“As you were doing?”
She blushed, “You heard that?”
“It sounded as bad as my own attempts. Letter writing has always been one of my worst accomplishments.”
“I wanted to go with the messengers but father is afraid to let me out of his sight. I have guards with me almost constantly.” She closed the door behind her and sat on the balustrade.
“You weren’t joking about the guards outside your room, then?”
“I’m afraid not. They guard my quarters all night, and during the day they accompany me whenever I go outside.” She sighed. Then she jumped up and ran to him. “You’re really here!”
He laughed, “Yes, I am.”
“I can hardly believe it!” She said softly. “What was it you came to tell me?”
Hesitantly he responded: “Now that I’m with you, I don’t know if I’ll be able to say it.”
He pulled her out of the shadows until he could see her face. “I don’t have any right to say it.”
“Say it anyway.” She softly persisted.
“You left a hole in the camp. It doesn’t feel natural to have you gone.”
“The men miss me? Is that what you’ve come all this way to say?” Coridel kidded gently.
“Yes, the men miss you, but that’s not what I was trying to say. I wanted to tell you that I missed you too. And-“ He paused.
Coridel smiled at him, waiting for him to finish. He did not.
“Do you need encouragement to conclude that thought?” She asked, stepping closer.
“Like this.” She rose up on her toes and kissed his cheek.
“I think that might help.” He kissed her.
“What was it you were going to say?”
Between kisses he whispered: “That I love you and want to marry you.”
She pulled back to look at his face in the moonlight. “I love you too.”
She hugged him. “I thought I would never see you again, and yet here you are, standing on my balcony and kissing me.”
He laughed and held her close.
“I don’t know how we can make it work, though.” He whispered. “Your father will never allow it.”
Coridel frowned, “He wants to marry me off to a good candidate for kingship. He’s been interviewing young lords since I returned home.”
“And I am far from being the ideal lord.” Rastruan commented self depreciatingly. “I don’t even have a proper title.”
“You are worth ten times any of those men!”
He smiled, “You are fierce enough maybe you can convince your father of that.”
“I will.” She promised. “Just wait and see. You are the only one I will have.”
The king was in open court the following day, preventing Coridel from seeking an audience until that evening.
“Coridel,” Her father said as they retired to the library to speak in quiet. “I have unfortunate news for you.”
Startled, Coridel asked: “What is it?”
“Well, you see.” Her father began, “I made a rather rash promise… that is, I wanted to encourage the men…” He hedged until Coridel interrupted.
“What did you do, father?”
“I promised that the man who rescued you from the dragon could have whatever he wanted, within the limits of half of my kingdom, provided it was something I could grant.”
“But there was no dragon for me to be rescued from, I explained this to you several times.”
“But, my dear, there was. A grizzly mountain man has come forward and before the court declared he rescued you from the dragon. He explained that he had made possible for you to come home from the group of outlaws.”
Coridel frowned, “Who is he that he makes up such stories? Be careful of him, father, he is probably just seeking a fortune. What did he ask for? All the money in the treasury?”
“Ah, not quite.” The king cleared his throat. “He wanted you.”
“What?” Yelped Coridel. “Tell me you did not promise me to him!”
“I gave my word.” He said helplessly, “And this man proved he had rescued you, in front of all my advisors. I had to honor his request.”
Coridel felt faint. Just last night hope had been born and now it was dashed to pieces.
“Father, I think I need to sit down.”
With a worried frown the king helped his eldest into a chair and rang for a servant. “Bring refreshments and smelling salts, quick!” He ordered.
“Coridel,” He placed a hand on her shoulder.
Her breaths were coming fast and shallow. Her face was pasty. How could her future have changed so suddenly?
The smelling salts came and she breathed deeply. Slowly her head began to clear.
“When will I meet him?”
“Err, he requested to meet you tonight. In just a few minutes actually.” The king anxiously wrung his hands. “If you aren’t feeling well we can post pone it.
“No.” Coridel said, pulling herself up. “Let me meet my husband-to-be tonight.” The words tasted bitter in her mouth. Her mind frantically tried to find some reason to refuse. But how could she? It would be treason to disobey the king, even if she was his child.
“Are you sure you are up to it, daughter?”
“I spent two and a half weeks in the forest with a group of outlaws; I can survive a meeting with my future spouse and king.” She took a long sip of water and wiped her mouth. “Show him in as soon as he arrives.”
The king nodded and directed the servant to do so.
Ten minutes later, Coridel’s betrothed entered the room.
Coridel was facing the fire when she heard his footsteps. She did not turn around at first.
The king greeted the man quietly and in whispered tones Coridel could hear them talking. She steeled herself and turned to face them.
“Coridel, please meet-“ The king began to introduce them.
“Rastruan?” She whispered, feeling faint all over again.
The mountain lord laughed, “Who else would want to put up with you ‘til death do us part?” As he spoke he gently helped her sit and drink some water.
“Father didn’t say who- I thought you would be a stranger!” She babbled.
The king watched in confusion. “You, eh, approve of this man?”
She jumped up and hugged her father. “He is the only man I would choose in all the seventeen kingdoms! Oh, Father, thank you!” Then she turned back to Rastruan. “How did you do it?”
“By rescuing a damsel in distress and reporting that fact to her father.”
“I was hardly in distress.” She protested.
“You certainly looked distressed when I threatened you with a sentence of being tied to me.”
“You did have me a little worried.”
“You thought it was appalling then.” Rastruan grinned, “Yet now you are willingly binding yourself to me?”
Coridel laughed, “Ah, but I am only doing this to fulfill Delia’s hopes.”
“She wanted us to be like her mommy and daddy.”
He chuckled, “I hope we have many children to call us mommy and daddy.”
Coridel snuggled closer to him. “So do I.”
About the Artist
I'm a full time veterinary technician who enjoys winding down by creating beautiful costumes and recreating historical outfits on paper.
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Behind the Scenes
Stories of Life