It had been three years since Brune had been allegedly kill, and Eirawen was now ten years of age. She continued to spend her time in the village, avoiding her stepparents as well as she could. They didn’t understand her in the slightest and it truly broke her heart. To King Ryan, was she only some lure for a handsome son-in-law? Was her worth only depicted in her choice of husband, weighing more if he were appealing to the eye? She resented this, though she hardly began to understand it, and she was inwardly very bitter, but, toward the townsfolk, she remained kind and gentle.
By Queen Morrigan, however, she felt even more degraded. Having been raised by such an endearing and caring mother as Dara, Eirawen’s shock came in abounding with the vain, selfish monster. More than this, she could not comprehend what transgression she had aired to deserve the Queen’s malice. Perhaps her mother had, in some way, offended the servant? Could it be that Eirawen still held her role as Princess, with neither parent alive, much less on the throne? She felt very lost, without a place to belong, and cried a good many nights, alone.
Even in the city, as she aged, her own people had begun to treat her very differently. Her close friends, the girls, grew jealous of her beauty, though they had yet to reach the green shade of the Queen, and the boys began to be quite bothersome. Of course, they were trying to be just so, in order to win her love, as all young boys try. It didn’t work, I should say. The more they pulled her long hairs of coal, the more she cried the next night. The more filthy puddles they soiled her flawless, white skin in, the more she prayed for another life. And somehow, these other foolish town girls would complain that every boy ignored them because of her.
When Eirawen had been younger, the problem hadn’t been quite so bad. But, even then, she had felt Brune was her only true friend. It was this deep friendship that the two had shared that the wise Magic Mirror had informed Ryan of before; not romance, so young, but simply the love friends share, when they choose not to judge one another.
And so, really, Eirawen missed Brune most of all and wondered incessantly if, were he alive, he too would have treated her so differently now. She was tied between the castle, with her duties as Princess, and the townspeople, with their own struggles to share. Yet she wanted to be neither place.
It was lucky, though, that she chose to spend most of her time alone, because she surely would have gone mad in either the village or the castle. Morrigan, though cruel, did not plan to kill her, but tried desperately to ruin the girl’s perfect form and face. She began filling golden bowls with candies and chocolates, placing them all about the house, to tempt Eirawen. She began sending the Princess on duties out of doors, begging that the Sun would colour her milk-white skin bronze. But none of this worked at all, because Eirawen’s self control overcame the many chocolates and she brought a parasol with her on all trips outside. In fact, the chocolate plan fairly backfired because Morrigan ate a good deal of them instead.
The young princess’ favourite place became, instead of any regular place, a small hideout she made in the trees. She would sit up in a tree, in the castle garden, and draw things and write things and read things and do all sorts of things by herself. She threw herself into her studies, which were many, as she was the only Princess. But she was not to be the King’s only child a lot longer.
Finally, in the beginning of Eirawen’s eleventh year, Morrigan conceived two twins, which were born the following fall.
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