The chink of cups on trays woke her from the dream, and this time she wished she hadn’t woken. Because the night before came rushing back, along with the season she had lost since coming into the Wylder Mountains and left her roses behind…
The blood roses!
She sat up so quickly her vision swam and she pressed her fingers to her temple to stay the blood pumping back into her head. How could she have slept so late? The roses had not been tended, and even if that Wyne, Hvalla had tended the gardens, the Prince gave that one to her.
After hopping over the edge, she slipped her feet into the slippers waiting beside her bed.
“What troubles you, child?” Wyvar asked with underlying confusion and frustration.
“I forgot the roses,” she choked back a sob and rubbed her sleeve over her eyes.
Wyvar sputtered. “B-but it is nearly dinner time, and the Prince will not like to be kept waiting. And I brought you your favorite tea.”
“I can’t leave without telling them goodbye,” she said. Vynasha saw the golden dress waiting for her beside the wardrobe and, disregarding the Wyne in her presence, she began to strip and throw the garment on. She ignored the corset waiting to the side, favoring the gathered, diamond studded yellow fabric around her waist. It swished about her feet as she drew the laces of her stay together and tugged on the embroidered and jewel-studded jacket over it. She glanced in the mirror quickly and only bothered with the black ribbon to tie her heavy curls from her face.
All the while, Wyvar continued to drop spoons and upset his tray, while he spoke. “Leave? But I thought Grendall was helping you find a means of escape, and there’s still the Prince’s surprise…”
She looked at him, then, eyebrows raised and a twist of her mouth that plainly believed the contrary. Wyvar sighed and nodded slowly, resignedly and approached while she tied the black boots she had stashed from underneath her bed the other night.
“Those do not belong with that dress,” he gestured.
Vynasha pursed her lips and frowned at the frilly heels she was intended to wear. “I’d trip before I could even make it out on the grounds…Do you have the sack?”
Wyvar’s mouth worked silently and he stared as she rushed to grab both books from beside the crackling fire and return to stand across from him expectantly. “Why, yes, of course I remembered. It has everything you will need, I promise. But my dear girl, are you certain it must be now? After what happened last night…”
“What?” she cut in bitingly, “After I saw my wedding gown being stitched together before I had accepted the Prince’s proposal? Or before Grendall nearly took my head off?”
He hung his head and clutched the sack tightly between his hands in front of him. “Forgive me, Mistress…I shall, miss you I suppose is all. There will never be another like you. No one has tried to escape before and no woman has made it this far into the Prince’s affections. I had hoped…” he trailed off, his face closing up from betraying anything further. She surprised herself by wrapping her arms around his broad shoulders and tugging him close.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t be what you wanted,” she said against his ear. “But I never came to break any curses or be anyone’s savior. I promised my mother I’d find Ceddrych, and I’m going to do just that.” When she pulled away Wyvar was smiling foolishly, stupidly, hopefully, bless him.
“I understand. Perhaps you’ll come back?” He nodded upon seeing her answering smile. “Very well. What shall I do with this?”
This halted her in her tracks, stayed her hand flight out her door. “Take it to Grendall. He’ll know what to do.”
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