Rhiannon stood patiently as the seamstress measured her body. It was probably the first time in her life when she was getting a new outfit that would fit her.
Since she was was officially"engaged" to count Belfort. She was required to appear more respectable, and attend the banquet. It was no surprise that her protests went in vain. Dejected she just allowed the seamstress to do her work while she planned her escape.
"I want a pink dress mother!" Margaret squealed.
"Of course dear, " Catherine replied.
"Pink would look horrible on Margaret because she is a redhead but who cares," thought Rhiannon.
She was not even interested in any of this.
"Alright! That should be enough, by when can we expect the dresses to be ready?" Catherine asked the seamstress.
"In a week my lady," the seamstress replied.
Vasilios rounded his desk in the library and pulled a heavy leather-bound book off a nearby shelf and looked at the cover- in slightly faded golden lettering it read "The legislation of Arcadian Royal". He blew a thick layer of dust off the top of it, coughing slightly as he inhaled some of it by accident.
He sat down at his desk, and opened the book, rifling through the pages until he found what he was looking for.
He sat hunched over the pages, reading with great intensity. When he began reading, he had a slight frown, however as he continued, his eyes narrowed considerably, the colour rising in his face.
Suddenly, he felt a breath near his ear. So engrossed he was in the book that he didn't smell the presence of Helena.
He snapped the book shut and slammed it down on the desk with such force that the goblet of wine that was standing untouched for several hours, full to the brim, fell over and spilt it's contents everywhere.
"Vasilios, did I startle you!" She said in her sweet voice. Her face displayed shock! Vasilios was not known to get startled easily.
He caught her hand which was around his shoulders now, removing it.
"What are you doing here?"
His wolf was protesting, now that he had found his mate, it detested another female company, even if it was Helena, his childhood friend, his closest ally, and if his mother had her way, his betrothed.
For Helena was Alpha Cedric's daughter. One of the most powerful pack leader.
She had grown up along with him. He had hoped along with the rest of Arcadia that she would be his mate. Unfortunately, that didn't happen.
He never felt that mate bonding with her. That didn't deter his mom from pushing Helena as his potential queen when the time came. In case the Alpha didn't find a suitable mate, he could take any other female wolf as his wife. For a royalty, it was much more complex.
As an unmated Alpha crown prince, he was the most sought after man in Arcadia. Which was both flattering as well as annoying depending on his mood.
Currently, he was in a bad mood, he had found his mate whom he could not have, logically.
But when did wolves ever followed logic!
"What were you reading? " Helena continued her chatter unaware of his inner turmoil.
"Nothing important," he replied, getting up.
"Why are you here?"
"To see you, of course, we were supposed to go for a run, but you left one your own last time," Helena replied with a wink.
Helena was easily one of the most beautiful girls of Arcadia, she was tall with a shapely muscular body, her blonde curls cascaded until her waist. Her best features were her curves.
Wolves were used to nudity as they shifted back and forth to their wolf and human forms so they were not scandalized by the human body.
Hence Arcadian females were bolder in their dressing, they wore low cut gowns even midriff-baring dresses, unlike the outside world.
Right now she was dressed in a backless toga kind of dress which displayed her ample cleavage, it didn't work on him though. He wondered if he would ever feel normal again.
"I have a lot of work Helena, perhaps, some other time." He replied with a pleasant smile.
She pouted her lovely red lips.
"Brother...Oh! I am sorry. I wasn't aware that you had company," Arios said with a sly grin as he entered the library.
"Hello, Arios," Helena said with a dazzling smile.
Vasilios frowned, "it's nothing like that Arios, what is it?"
"Mother wants to see you, she is in one of her moods," Arios replied, making a gesture of quotes to stress on the word "mood".
Vasilios rolled his eyes. His mother the Luna queen Nymeria was from the most powerful pack, same as Helena and would stop at nothing to get what she wanted. And she loved her power.
"Mother, you called me?" Said Vasilios as he entered her court ignoring the looks of other females.
"Vasilios, it's been such a long time, you haven't come to visit me." She complained.
"I have been busy with work mother," he replied, plopping down on a chair next to her.
An omega immediately poured him a glass of wine.
"Well, the mating ball is happening soon. So do you intend to announce anything? You see I have so many requests for you. All the Alphas keep offering their daughters as prospective mate. But unfortunately, you haven't found one yet. Perhaps, you should consider taking one of these noblewomen as a wife unless you have someone else in mind." She smiled at Helen, who had a smug smile.
He furrowed his brows. He has already found his mate, who was a human! He wondered how would his mother react to that. Definitely, not favourably.
"I haven't given it a thought mother. I have more important work right now. I don't understand what's the hurry. I have ample time to find a mate if she exists." he was restless.
He usually kept his mental guard up, so that no one else read his thoughts.
Nymeria looked disappointed," as a crown prince it's important for you to get a wife and breed some pups to strengthen your claim to the throne son, I gave 2 sons to your father and we are not even mates."
It was true their marriage was just for power. Whether they had a true mate whom they rejected, he had no idea. Over the years Alphas had become prone to marrying for power and status rather than getting a true mate.
The true mate bond was the most sacred and powerful bond for a wolf. It was like the joining of souls. A true mate could transfer their powers to each other. Even save each other's lives by sharing their life energy in the time of crisis.
He wondered how could wolves give up such an important bond over greed for power.
"Aren't you doing the same thing? Rejecting your mate?" His wolf chided him.
Vasilios was not very happy about it.
"Mother, if there is nothing else to discuss, I would prefer to leave. I am busy."
He finished his wine in one swig. Bowed to his mother and left her court. Perhaps, it was time to shake up things in Arcadia. He couldn't wait any longer, he needed to speak to his mate, whatever was her name.
Rhiannon patted the mare in the stable. She had given birth to a colt a few days back. Rhiannon often visited her to check on the mother and the colt.
"You look happy today, at least someone is happy." She murmured sadly.
She was distracted by the sound of footsteps and chatters. Rhiannon turned towards the source of the commotion.
Some king's guards were walking in along with disgruntled looking Prince Matthew, Margaret, and her brother Alfred.
"Hey, Rhiannon good to see you here, we are taking prince Matthew for a ride, I mean for site seeing. Would you like to join?" Alfred grinned nonchalantly.
Rhiannon looked panicked.
"I..... I.....dont think father would like that." she stammered.
Margaret looked angry but she had to play nice in front of the prince.
"Alfred, father had not permitted her and Rhiannon doesn't enjoy riding. Isn't it Rhiannon?"
Rhiannon nodded ignoring the curious look of Matthew. She was feeling uneasy under his stare.
"There is nothing to be scared of, who are you btw?"
Rhiannon's eyes widened at being addressed directly by the prince.
"I..... I am Rhiannon, your grace," she said curtsying.
"She is my half-sister, and she is engaged to count Belfort," Margaret added. Making it clear that she was unavailable.
Matthew raised his eyebrow.
"Well, can you ride?" He asked Rhiannon.
"Good, then join us." He said in a commanding tone. No one would dare object to that.
Margaret glared at Rhiannon while Alfred grinned.
"Excellent, let get saddled up," he said aloud.
Rhiannon closed her eyes and held in her breath. This was much better than walking. Of course, her father would have had her hide if she attempted to borrow a horse. She wasn't even given a proper riding lesson. However, the stable boy was kind to her and so was Alfred. He used to let her ride in secret.Their group made their way towards the grassy fields. Rhiannon felt the cool wind on her face. Why not enjoy the moment while it lasted. She thought."I haven't seen you around, why is it so?" Matthew asked Rhiannon startling her.She didn't realize when he arrived right next to her."I...I don't like socializing much, your grace, I like being indoors on my own, usually," she lied."Oh! So you are a homebody, what do you like to do?"Rhiannon looked aroun
Rhiannon shivered and wrapped her hands around herself. Her wet clothes clung to her."Rhiannon!" Alfred ran towards her.Ignoring the dishevelled state he hugged her."Thank God! You are safe sister, you frightened me."Rhiannon felt genuinely grateful, "I am ok Alfred, I was saved....by a wolf," she said."What?" He peered at her as if she had grown horns."When I woke up a wolf was staring at me.""Maybe he was contemplating lunch," Alfred commented," anyway let's go. The prince is worried about you."Alfred wrapped his cloak around Rhiannon which she accepted gratefully."I am relieved to see you safe, my lady," Prince Matthew said as Rhiannon
Damius smiled then took a sip of wine from his goblet."There is nothing special to know about mate bonds, which you already don't know, Vasilios,"Vasilios looked at his goblet and glanced back at his tutor."Perhaps, I was not specific, I understand the concept of soul mates and it's strengths, I want to know why most Alphas shun it, specifically with humans?"Damuis kept his drink on the table and stared at his wife's portrait."Let me tell you a story, it was long ago, I was around your age. One day I went to a nearby village for the summer festival of Venus, oh ! what fun it was, they don't do festivals like that anymore," he paused," anyway, there she was dancing in the ring, I was mesmerized, it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. My wolf was uncontrollable, that was it, I had found my mate."He stopped a silly smile played on his lips as he remembered t
Rhiannon sat in her room, idly brushing her long, dark curls, wishing she was anywhere else but in this room, in this castle, on this day. She glanced over her shoulder at the stiff folds of shining fabric covering her narrow bed.Her dress was delivered to her room and she was ordered to be excited about this banquet? It was sure to be overpopulated with arrogant nobles, she was supposed to play the demure bride of the old count.As a bastard, she was not quite a noble, but not quite a servant, therefore fitting in nowhere. The servant girls instantly ceased their gossiping when she approached. The girls of noble birth snubbed her as beneath their station as if she wanted to spend her time in their stiflingly dull company in any fashion. They bonded with Margaret though.She sighed. On the brighter side, she was finally allowed to be out of the room.
"Rhiannon, you are so lucky to marry me," the count said in a slurred voice."Perhaps, you should slow down sir," Rhiannon said putting the glass away."Let's dance," the count stood up pulling Rhiannon along with him. Startled, Rhiannon whimpered, but his clasp was so rigid. She could not resist.Vasilios gripped his goblet in anger. It put a slight dent in the golden cup. He could have easily crushed the ware like wax but it would have resulted in questions. He was here to get the tribute.But the moment he entered the Castle he could smell her. Her scent was everywhere, this was her home. He knew it right away. His keen senses soon picked up the details about her. She was the bastard daughter of the duke.Not that it mattered to him. His wolf didn't care about societal reputations but his mother wou
The count and Rhiannon were walking quietly through the forest near the lake, his low voice talking of his estates and his fortune that would be hers once they were married.The count had suddenly turned up the next morning. Apologising for leaving early during the banquet. Then he insisted on her going riding with him. Now here she was along the lake. Taking a walk and thinking about Vasilios.She replied sparingly to his questions, as something about him made her stomach ill at ease."So as I was saying, my castle has 100 rooms, maybe you should visit me sometime, I would love to show them to you," he held her hand in a romantic gesture.She pulled her hand away from his grasp. "Thanks for the ride sir, I am tired now, I want to go back," she said, increasing her steps.<
"Will you care to explain, what is going on and why do you look so dishevelled?" Areos were hammering Vasilios with questions, the moments he had returned to the guest wing.Although he had taken a dip in the lake to wash off the blood, he still looked dishevelled.Vasilios sighed," I killed him.""Yes I know, and it's going to get out of hand unless you explain to me why?""He touched her, he was trying to hurt her," Vasilios gritted his teeth in anger.Arios looked confused," wait what?""That count was forcing himself on a lady, in the forest. I did what he deserved."Arios raised an eyebrow," right, but we don't get involved in human affairs, also you could have just scared him off, what was the need to kill him?""I lost control, she is my mate," Vasilios said quietly.Arios stared at him dumbfo
Tap tap tap tap.....The sound of water dripping from a leaking pipe broke her nap.Rhiannon had been locked in the cell after being dragged away from the court. She had not protested because it was useless.It's not like she was scared of dying. That would be fantastic compared to the life she had been leading so far. However, she was furious over the unfairness of it.Her character was questioned. Her reputation was in tatters, even if she managed to escape death she had no future. She would have to run away.She was sitting against the hard cell wall, awaiting her fate."Rhiannon," a familiar voice called her.She turned towards the cell door and was surprised to see Alfred standing there.He looked at her with concern."How are you, Rhiannon?" He asked in a soft voice."Alfred, what are you doing here?" She stood up and walked up to the cell door."Well, I wanted to see you, I am sorry for everything."