Alyssa DeVries

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: The Imaginarium

A character in response to a writing prompt (Destruction You Seek) who is a highborn girl pledged to an arranged marriage with one of the most prominent noble families in the realms.

Alyssa DeVries

Alyssa lifted back the curtain of her intricately carved carriage. The team of horses pulling it had been perfectly handled by the coach driver and had it not been for the occasional rut of a wagon wheel or rock in the road, she would barely have noticed if they were even moving. The trek had been arduous, many a night spent in dilapidated taverns in sleepy hamlets or villages that did not even warrant a name on the maps if fortune held; if not then a sprawling tent, surrounded and protected by a company of her Fathers finest men; the guards who escorted her on this fortnight-long journey. Her heterochromatic eyes glanced over the vista, the spires and massive stone structures of the fabled city of Garlmain. The last refuge and testament; to humanity's greatness, back before the fall. A small gasp escaped her lips as the crest of the hill displayed the sprawling city in the distance. It was one thing to see it portrayed in paintings, to hear about it described in the songs and tales of the traveling bards. Another to see it with one's own eyes.

Her eyes, one mottled green, and the other a stark icy blue, a reflection of Summer and Winter, left and right. Set in a frame of pale skin and stark black raven hair, she posed quite the curiosity. The sages claimed it as a chance alignment of the stars while she was in her Mother's womb. The clergy attributed it to a malign spirit who nearly stole her eyesight. In truth, she felt like it was neither. It was merely just her eyes with no discernable advantage or disadvantage. She could see as well as anyone. To a child, though, such things held no meaning. To her parents, however, it was a mark of slight shame to think one of their brood to have been imperfect in any way. She thought back to her many sessions sitting and posing with the painters commissioned to capture her likeness with oil, brush, and canvass. The pale wintery eye obscured slightly, a portion of hair, a tilt to the face in profile. Even her betrothal portrait had been portrayed with her eyes closed, as if she was asleep, her lips slightly parted, chin up, breasts slightly enhanced as the artists tended to do when placating themselves to the ego of highborn. She corned the painting, yet with her parent's approval, it was sent off at the request of the Garlian Emmisary, tasked with seeking out a highborn female for a proper marriage, a task she was sure echoed across the human realms of Etamunda by other Emissaries.

Alyssa was shocked to see a few months later a portrait displayed in her father's court. The Emissary was displaying it with flourish and pomp as if he was uncovering the Prince himself. Her parents clapped with earnest approval. Her siblings, who had been watching with rapt attention, murmured and cawed their jokes, yet she remained still. She tilted her head at the picture, taking it in fully, with maroon eyes, ashen hair. Handsome, well-groomed, and a smile that seemed to reach through time and distance, Alyssa shook her head, her sinking feeling in her gut accompanied by the hair on her neck standing; she opened her mouth to speak, a shiver of terror rippling up her spine. "We accept...we accept this union of our Kingdoms!" Her father's voice boomed in the nearly empty court where the reveal was taking place; her Mother rushed to her sweeping her up in an embrace, "My daughter...you are betrothed!" A chorus of claps and cheers from her siblings and the Emissary bowing low before being caught up in her father's handshake and shoulder slaps. Then the moment passed, and it was too late. Her fate was already sealed.

A knock on the carriage wall from a gauntleted hand. The gleaming silver of the Captain of the Guard. Trotted into view. The salt and peppered mustached man blocking her view. "M'Lady...please. You must conceal yourself. We are still in the outlands, and we do not wish to draw any further attention." Alyssa sighed and nodded, the grizzled veteran whose command of the company of mounted cavalry had seen masterfully to her protection and care on the trip. What he could not provide was company. A sympathetic ear to unload all of her apprehension and worry. A mother's bosom to lay her head in and speak of her fears, a father's shoulder to cry on when she felt the burden of family and duty too great for her own petite shoulders to bear. Alyssa nodded, "Yes, Captain. Apologies." She pulled the curtain closed and retreated back into her thoughts, adjusting the fur wrapped traveling cloths, a large pendant bearing her family's sigil keeping the warm fur around her shoulders in place. Her life so far could be described best as her familial line. Middling. Thirdborn to a brood of six, a fact not lost to her of the striking similarity of her betrothed husband. While her nobility was secured in the estates and landholdings of the DeVries dynasty, it paled in comparison to the sprawling King of Garlia. Alyssa was born to a middling Kingdom at best. The forests and lumber of their northern lands, their chief export, as well as the many furs of beast and animal desperately sought after by the Kingdoms of the South whose lands had been tamed and developed by the Kingdoms of Old. Her Kingdom's claim to fame for containing the wildest and untamed land filled with old forests and wildlands. A kingdom that time nearly forgot.

Alyssa sighed as she pulled out her cross-stitched project, a nearly complete representation of her Kingdom's boundaries. Complete with major rivers, roads, towns, and the thick, sprawling forests of the North. The stitching would make a nice reminder of the Kingdom her Mother would insist, pointing to a similar piece her Mother had done when she made the long trek from her southern Kingdom to marry her father. So Alyssa obliged and began work on it months ago. The map of her Kingdom's borders and features drilled into her mind from her many lessons throughout her upbringing. A rock of the carriage had caused her needle to slip and prick her finger. She quickly brought it to her mouth before the drop of blood could fall and stain her white dress underneath the silken fur that draped her shoulders. She sighed, putting the stitchwork tools down. The click-click-clack of carriage wheels and clop-clop-clop of horse hoofs continued on as it did since she left home.

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Submitted: November 23, 2021

© Copyright 2021 kelmynn. All rights reserved.

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Comments

CreativeMarauder

I was promised grim-dark. :(

It was well written though. It didn't drag despite nothing really happening. I get that it was just a writing prompt so I don't see that as a negative. It got you writing and you wrote well.

Sun, November 28th, 2021 9:50am

Author
Reply

Finally figured out how to respond directly to the comment! Just wanted to say sorry about the misleading tag. The character intro was intended for a grim-dark setting. The intro is just mean for establishing backstory and motivations through exposition. Thanks for the compliments and perhaps one day I may try my hand at more long form stories for these characters of mine.

Tue, November 30th, 2021 5:13am

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