The forest is magnificent. Giant yew trees reach for the sky, their leaves sending dappled sunlight down toward the moss-covered floor like a parting gift. Even Shiloh can’t deny the majesty of the place, as much as she might have preferred the wood around her a little more dead, with four legs, and holding up a tankard of beer.
But alas, good things apparently come to those who wait. And wait. Shiloh sighs, pulling her pelt more securely around her as she shifts into a warmer patch of sunlight.
“Are you almost finished?” she asks. “It’s nearing dusk, my love.”
The nearest tree is a monster. As thick around as three broad men standing in a circle, arms outstretched, fingertip to fingertip. It hides Shiloh’s wife from view. Just.
The boy watches from his dias, ruffled dress pressing in uncomfortably on all sides. They insisted on a corset this morning, ignoring his winces as the maid pulled it tight around curves that are becoming harder to ignore. It wasn’t the first time he had borne this sense of wrong as someone worked to present all the most awkward parts of him to the world. After all, he is the princess, and with that title comes certain obligations.
Including, apparently, suffering the groggy afternoon heat as a goatherder’s son tries to tug an ancient sword from a stone.