Maral Ghadia – An excerpt from ‘A Monarch’s Gamble’

It was the late afternoon, and preparations were well underway for the dinner celebrations. After Faizel had announced that his daughter would be his successor, he called for a momentous celebratory dinner in honour of the future queen of Integer. Maral, the petit, long ginger haired, blue eyed, girl was sitting quietly in her quarters looking out beyond the capital city to the large plains that seemed to be never ending. She had requested that she be left alone to consolidate on the events of today until she was ready for the maid to prepare her for dinner. By her right side was a small round wooden table, with a glossy coating, with a glass and a jug filled with her favourite wine on top. It was a gift from her mother after she had been named her father’s heir, and hadn’t been touched. Maral wasn’t crying, she didn’t know how she felt, she was neither happy nor upset about the decision, her mind was a void and she couldn’t quite compute what had happened in the Great Hall. Wearing her favourite dress, an embroidered purple and white dress that hung loosely over her legs, and tightly around her chest, leaving her arms and shoulders exposed. She looked over at the jug of wine and the glass next to, wondering about having a drink, her mouth dry, she didn’t feel particularly thirsty, or hungry, but reluctantly leant over and poured herself a large glass of red wine. Holding the bottom of the glass between her middle fingers in her right hand, she swished the wine about and took a big gulp. The taste softened her throat and calmed her nerves slightly. She continued to drink the wine until her throat was no longer dry. Feeling slightly better that she had drunk a couple of glasses of her favourite drink, she stood up from her chair and walked over to her armoire to look at her various outfits. Loose and tight fitting dresses along with her night-gown and horse riding outfit, so many, so pretty and elegant, and yet, she had still not found someone to admire her wearing them. She stroked the width of all her dresses when there was a knock on the door.
‘My lady, are you ready?’
Maral looked over and closed her armoire doors, ‘Yes, do come in Beth’
Maral’s maid walked in, closing the door behind as she did, ‘How are you feeling now my lady?’
Maral sat at the end of her bed, he hands clasped between her legs, ‘Better now thank you Beth’, she said, forcing herself to smile
‘I’m glad to hear it my lady. It’s always worrying when you’re not yourself’
‘I’m fine, I just needed some time alone to compose myself…I can’t quite believe father chose me to become his heir’
Beth gestured for Maral to stand up so she could be undressed and dressed in her dinner clothes, ‘You are a strong woman my lady, and he is proud of you and what you’ve achieved in your life’
Maral looked reflectively at her maid, ‘And what would those achievements be Beth?’
‘You have followed in the footsteps of your father, you have represented him when he is away from the city, you have proved yourself to be a strong woman’
Maral smiled at her maid, this time genuine, ‘Thank you Beth, you are ever so kind’. Maral always liked the company of her maid, even though it was her job to serve her, she always appreciated Beth’s kind and considerate words of support when she ever went through rough times.

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