Cae's Story - 3

In which Cae and Isolden discover one another.
It's been a few years, I know. I'd like to think my writing has improved- the story, too.
Feel free to message me and comment. If I can get three people asking me to, I'll continue.

Chapter 1

Discovery

by: sabulous
His eyes meet mine for a moment. I am scared- terrified, even, and most certainly overwhelmed. There isn't a scrap of kindness or pity in his eyes. I wouldn't have wanted there to be. Such a strong man is what I need, a pillar to lean on until I can get my feet back under me... and a good tutor for my latent magic.
He addresses us briefly, though I can't recall quite what he said. Not that it mattered. The gist of it was simple enough. He wanted a new consort, one to hopefully live up to the high expectations his beloved princess Abelle- so his standard was royalty. I had expected nothing less. But at this point, I had nothing to lose, so I waited patiently as every other girl was lead into a side room, and quietly tested. Most of them were sent away afterwards. Two were kept. One was angelic, with blonde hair and blue eyes that could stop a man's heart, and she couldn't have been a day over twelve. So innocent. The other was her opposite, and I had to doubt she was under eighteen. Nevertheless she was breathtaking, a coffee-skinned beauty who stared down her pixie nose at us while preening her pearl-dotted hair.
Then it was my turn. There I was, before a king, dressed in rags and still grimy. Surely I would be sent away. He saved me for last so that he could leave all the sooner, I was just sure of it. Ferox needed the support too badly, and fate had never been kind to me, so my hopes were lowered, lowered, lowered- and then never dashed, for he smiled softly to look at me. It wasn't much of a smile, but I didn't need one. That hint was enough.
He wasn't gentle with me, though. He needed a worthy heir and consort. I needed to be that woman. "Your name, girl," he started without preamble.
"Caeca, your majesty," I reply in turn, and try to keep my voice from shaking.
"Sir. Or master. Your majesty will take too long, and I value efficiency," He quickly asserts. I nod, mute. "What is it that makes you think you have magic?"
I gulp. There are nearly an hour of these questions in store for me, followed by a very invasive magical scan of my mind and soul, to ensure that I do, indeed, have the magic I had always assume.
My reward is another tight smile, and a request that I gather my things and return to him early upon the morrow. Quickly, I ask if I may bring my brother along. I can see him wish to refuse, until he sees my desperation. Then a strange look passes over his face, and reluctantly, he gives a terse nod. My sigh of relief echoes across the hall, and I dare to give him a brief smile of my own before I rush off to give my brother the good news.

As boys are wont to do, he argued with me. "Heir? Consort? You're thirteen, Cae!" He argues stubbornly, the ungrateful brat. "You're in way over yer head!"
"Yeah, well, an there ain't no one to pull me out this time, Ferox!" I remind him angrily. Who is he to judge me? I did this for him. I can't watch him starve on the streets. If it means being a princess, well, all the better for me. He will not complain so much when he is full of rich royal food, of that I am sure, and of that I am quickly proven right the next day.

Nearly as soon as I arrived, I was given a sweet roll - a delicacy I had not tasted but once before - and then taken off to be bathed. Even being watched and creepily helped by a Secret Policewoman could not ruin the delicious sensation of feeling the dirt lift from my body, or the bubbles form in my hair as sweet-scented soaps are rubbed onto my scalp. I scarcely recognize myself in the mirror when I am dried off. My skin is so pale now, without the sunlight of the countryside. Fat has faded from my figure, leaving me spare, but with large hips for a girl my age. Wisps of hair hold moisture, but they are quickly shaved away. I am promptly informed that Isolden chooses girls for a reason, and prefers us smooth.
He is my king, my savior. I am happy to oblige, and quickly learn how to wield the straight razor myself, and do battle with the legions of fine hair that are mine as a young woman. I will vanquish them, for that is what my savior asks. Then I am presented with a gown of red velvet.
No rabbit fur was ever so soft beneath my fingers. The color is rich as blood, trimmed in virginal white. I can imagine nothing more beautiful, though they tut about how there is no time to fit me and the dress sags more than it should, my thin frame unable to quite fill it. If they keep stuffing me with sweetrolls, I do not think that will long be a problem.

The next few hours pass in a blur as my hair is brushed and braided. A locket finds its way about my neck, kohl about my eyes, and rouge onto my lips and cheeks. I look ravishing, a full-grown woman to be sure. A suitable heir and consort to a king, with my magical secrets that he can unlock for me. One day, a queen in my own right.
He meets me in his personal study. We talk briefly- rather, he asks questions, which I answer as best I can to impress him. "Where are you from?" he asks, and I have the impression it is less a matter of courtesy than an important issue.
"Lumgard, sir," I reply simply. "My parents were farmers and sheep-herders, until the flood."
"Ah, yes, the flood," He murmurs.
"My brother and I were the only ones from the village to survive," I continue after a moment. "Without relatives, I brought us to the city, where I prayed daily for opportunities like this."
He perks up slightly, and studies me intently. "Prayed?" He murmurs, almost a rhetorical question. "To what god?"
It is all I can do to shrug beneath that arresting gaze. He is like a bird of pray, trapping me with eyes alone. A man without mercy or softness, who carries a great burden. I want to share it with him. Quietly, I admit that I had never thought much about who I had addressed it to. I had never been particularly religious.
"There are no gods," He informs me abruptly. It takes me quite aback, but if my master believes it, then so to do I. "We are the greatest forces in this universe, my dear. You have the most magic, beside myself, that I have ever found. I knew from the moment I first saw you that I had to have you. We will be gods in our own right, Caeca. Never let anyone else try to take your divinity away from you." With that, he leans forwards and presses his lips to mine.
I press back, hungry for more- not just of his touch, but of his philosophy, his power. I want to be that confident one day, to wear my aura of magic like a sacred crown, to know that there is not a being in existence more powerful than I. And this man, this wonderful, godlike man, can give it all to me.
I shall not be the first to break this passionate kiss.

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