Princess Pirouette looked out the window of her carriage as it rolled by the countryside. What little patches of snow left on the ground were rapidly melting beneath the warm glow of the sun. This was the first time since her arrival at court nearly four years ago that she’d left the confines of the palace and its grounds. She was on her way to the old King’s favorite hunting lodge where she was to interview candidates for the post of captain of her personal guards. That she would have any say whatsoever in who would be in her household was a sign that she was coming of age and that her judgement was to be respected.
Tata Sous-sus sat across from the Princess, filling the compartment with her idle chatter. Pirouette did her best to ignore her, but Sous-sus would not consent to be ignored. She would interject each pronouncement that parted her lips with the words, “Don’t you agree, my dear?” Pirouette would close her eyes, purse her lips and nod assent in a manner that could only convey the sentiment, Leave me alone!