The princess’ ladies attended the princess in all her matters, both proper and rebellious.
The changeling had an ear for gossip, she was so small and still courtiers and servants alike hardly noticed her presence. If any did notice her, she appeared so absorbed in her sketchbook that it was never guessed that she was really writing precise notes for the princess to later review.
The love child had mental powers both astute and creative, it was she who came up with a solution to whatever amusing plan the princess told them she wanted next. Singularly dispassionate, the love child looked at the court as a scientist would look at an anthill, and found it much less interesting than said anthill.
The two would follow their princess to the ends of the earth. Both outcasts, in her presence they were allowed to exercise their potential in ways most other gently bred women could only imagine. The changeling, born to elderly parents who barely outlived her childhood, found alleviation of loneliness. The lovechild, the third of a dozen children, found recognition.
The princess too was given great freedom as long as her ladies were acting as chaperones. Together the three studied art and literature, science and mathematics, so filling the princess’ idle hours with fodder for countless riddles. The princess even taught her ladies simple magic, and they were both found to have an aptitude similar to that of the princess.
This idyllic existence stretched on for several years, until news came that would necessitate a great change.
The princess was to be engaged.
After the birth of the prince the issue of the princess’ marriage became much simpler. Before, the prospective suitors were limited to second sons of powerful rulers, ambitious men without a kingdom of their own to rule. Now that the kingdom had a king prospective, the princess could simply be married to whichever nobleman would make the best alliance for her brother. However, her proud parents were much more ambitious than this. Their daughter, their strong, beautiful, perfect daughter, would marry no one less than a king. And so a king they sought.
Sadly, there were not many kings eligible to marry the princess between the time constraints of her fourteenth to eighteenth years. It was against the law to marry her off younger, and for her to stay longer in her home kingdom would be to invite the chance of the people getting too attached to their princess. So her parents searched far and wide for a kingdom for their daughter.
To increase her eligibility they stifled tales of her magic. Not all kingdoms were as intwined with feary kind as their own, some, it was rumored, even found magic frightening. Also, since not all kings would love a queen more clever than themselves, and the princess was indeed clever, they focused all the tales on her beauty and grace.
The princess accepted all these plans with her famous poise. Only her ladies knew her true feelings. The princess was a born ruler, and tutored minutely in her proud lineage she raged against her diminishing control in a kingdom that she felt was rightfully hers. She masked her impatience with the restraints by secretly manipulating all that she could.
The princess was born with in innate grasp of human nature, and this she used for her amusement. Thus it was that maids who were bosom friends one week would be sworn enemies the next through a series of chance circumstances. On unimportant days the castle’s kitchen would be unable to make edible food. Noblemen would find their stockings unable to stay up, and eye each other suspiciously for the culprit, quarreling in the hallways. Ladies’ dresses and hair would never be perfectly right outside the royal family, whom all assumed the prankster was too timid to attack. To keep up that illusion the princess’ ladies would purposefully order the wrong size garments and run their fingers through their own perfectly coiffed hair.