Lady Greenmeadow was the late queen’s lady-in-waiting and gentlewoman of the bedchamber. As such, she was the perfect choice to become Princess Pirouette’s new governess. Every morning she would raise the Princess from her slumber by presenting her with a breakfast tray. After the Princess had eaten, she would dress her charge and lead her in morning prayers. Everyday followed the same routine which brought the comfort of stability into the life of Pirouette. A life which here to for had been riddled with sorrows, grief, doubt and uncertainty.
“God bless Lady Greenmeadow!” Exclaimed the King after Princess Pirouette made a perfect curtsy in front of His Majesty. “Will you be glad to go riding with me this morning?” Asked the old man gently.
“Oh, yes! Your majesty! I should love to go abroad with your grace,” the young girl gushed.
When Princess Pirouette entered the Throne Room, it erupted into a cacophony of whispers. To the Princess’ ear, it sounded much like the hissing of a hundred snakes. She immediately curtsied, walked a dozen paces on the red carpet and then curtsied again. She did her best not to look at the King, who was exceedingly old. His snow white hair fell loosely upon his shoulders. A matching beard flowed down to the center of his chest.
Extending a gnarled, arthritic hand, he said, “Welcome to my court, little lamb.”
Princess Pirouette heard the news from her maid who heard it from Her Highness’ confessor, so it must be true. How the King’s only son had been killed in battle not more than three days prior to the arrival of the delegation from the capital. Pirouette felt certain that she knew why they had come. With the deaths of every conceivable heir to the throne, no one was left save the Princess. They’d come to take her away.
Pirouette knew that she must dress to impress, so she donned her best gown, a satin and silk affair embroidered with repeating shapes: circles, triangles and squares. When she swept into the room, she looked older than her twelve years. The delegates bowed low and she allowed her majordomo to lead her to a plain, straight-backed chair.
The day was bitterly cold, but that didn’t stop Queen Pirouette from taking a ride on her favorite horse, a white mare with a small diamond-shaped patch of brown on her nose. It pleased the Queen to take big breaths of air and then watch the steam as it came out of her mouth. She was some distance from the castle when she heard the chapel bells ring. Shielding her eyes from the glare of the sun, she saw a rider coming in her direction. Bad news, she thought.
And she was right. The messenger brought sad tidings that brought to her might the reality of the brevity of life.