December – 1022 YD
Offenure Castle, Lenyol
‘Régan?’ Royal Consort Bridget called for her daughter. ‘Régan?’
Princess Régan flinched, waving her lady’s maid to the doors. The servant went quickly to them, pressing her weight against the heavy oak, admitting herself to the hall. ‘Your Royal Highness,’ she curtseyed, ‘the Princess is a little indisposed, though she is pleased to receive—’ the Consort brushed past— ‘you.’ Crimson, the poor maid laboured with the handle to close the door.
‘I am bathing, Mother,’ the Princess stated, keeping her back turned. ‘Perhaps you could leave me in peace?’
The golden bathroom was steaming—or had been, before the doors were opened. A great bath stood on golden claws in the centre of the room, reflected in a large mirror on the wall. The mirror was one of few in the palace, and worth several fortunes, not least for its gilded frame carved into a continuous string of dragons. A small fire was lit in the fireplace, with the Princess’ garments draped across the reclining couch before it.
The lady’s maid bowed to the Consort as the Princess flicked her eyes to the ceiling. The maid exited behind a hanging tapestry.
Régan’s bathing robe splayed across the surface of the water. She struck it and turned to Bridget. ‘Mother. How can I be of assistance?’
‘Do not take that tone with me.’
Régan sighed, and corrected her manner. ‘How may I be of service?’
‘Your father has requested your presence at the midday meal. It has been almost a week since your return; you are expected to dine with us.’
‘I do. Every evening.’
‘Fulfilling only the minimal requirements of duty could be perceived as an affront.’
Régan wondered if Bridget had created this sentence alone. ‘I hope you can forgive my oversight. I have been preoccupied with work; I will gladly join you for meals.’
Régan brought her teeth together. ‘Yes.’
‘Well! I ask that you put aside whatever matters seem to take precedence over your own family, and present yourself to the Dining Hall within the hour.’
The Consort left, making to open and slam the door in drama, but its weight was far too great. She struggled to release herself.
Régan expelled a cough of deep amusement as her mother stormed down the hall.