H. M. L. Swann
Day 12: Wedding
300 Days of Writing
Day 12: Wedding
He fidgeted with his tunic, uncomfortable with how it gathered at his wrists and constricted his arms.
He missed the feel of air on skin, how the sun would tan his broad shoulders as he stood on stilts in the water. He missed how salt and sand would cake underneath his nails.
“Stop that, we spent all morning starching that for you.”
He nodded to his keeper. She had been with him all night, coaching him on how to please a woman, his life now depended on his ability to make his betrothed come.
He would be lying to say he wasn’t nervous. He had laid with women and men on the coast, but there was no report to that, just skin on skin, hotter than the day sun, and swimming in the ocean to cleanse afterward—slick bodies touching.
“Do you remember your duties?” The Queens Guard entered, three women clad in leather armor, their staves heavily adorned in white flowers for the occasion.
He nodded. He didn’t want to give them the satisfaction of hearing his voice. They had been trying to get him to speak ever since they had come for him, but he refused. If the Queen wanted to keep his bloodline trapped in this awful tradition, then she would have a mute husband.
He thought he saw them roll their eyes. “Come then. It’s time.”
He followed them through the stone halls of the fortress. Lilies hung from the ceiling on thick golden cord that roped along the passageway, transforming the corridor into a net of gold and flowers. Like a fishing net, he traced the lines with his eyes, dissecting where the knots intersected.
When they reached the bedroom of the Queen the guards stopped at the door, knocking in a specific coded rhythm. He waited and felt his sweat stain the new shirt they had given him.
The ceremony wouldn’t be official until he had pleased the Queen. If he didn’t, it would be seen as high treason, and punishment for such crimes would be life in prison or death.
The door opened to reveal the Queen. Her dark skin shimmered, a golden dust coating her bare arms.
He could see the contours of her body through her white chiffon dress. She was still wearing her golden crown.
“Well. Let us be wed.”