So often in media of any kind, especially in the 21st Century, those who choose to sacrifice love or wealth or happiness for duty are frowned upon, ridiculed and cast aside onto the dung-heap of characters unworthy to lodge in the hearts of the reader or viewer. While I personally would not sacrifice all for duty, as a writer, I think it important to try to understand the whims, motivations and actions of others. My WIPpet this week is an excerpt from a short story I wrote on the 30th of January last year.
Every generation, a bride is chosen from the provinces. When Jorgina’s cousin suddenly dies, she finds herself engaged to a boy prince she does not love. Will she choose love or duty?
The journey to Bridam was long and incredibly daunting. I had spent my entire life enclosed on all sides by trees, the light filtered to a gentle green glow. The brightness of the endless fields shocked me, but nothing prepared me for the immense bulk of the mountains or the insane bustle of the coastal capital. Now, though, after almost a year, I have adapted and my wonder seems so naive.
The throng that lines the streets as we progress towards the temple is terrifying but I try to hide the fear. I dare not pass my misgivings onto my already nervous groom at my side who clings to my hand as a drowning man to his driftwood salvation. I wear the carved horse brooch that Simm gave me the day I left. My ladies-in-waiting insist that such a rustic ornament is unsuitable for a royal wedding. I have not seen my stableboy in over a year. Then suddenly, a figure breaks through the ranks of guards sepaprating the wedding party from the crowds. It is a figure I recognise. Behind me, I hear gasps and exclamations. A guard lunges but misses. And before me stands Simm, taller and broader in the chest than last I saw him but with the same mischievous glint in his smiling brown eyes. In the moment before the guards drag him away he takes my hand and, his gaze never once leaving mine, kisses it. As he is pulled away he touches a hand to his chest, just briefly.
He sees the brooch. He understands. He forgives. And with that final blessing I find the courage to choose my fate. Squeezing the prince’s hand in reassurance, we lead the procession into the temple.