Like the perfect gentlewoman she was, Lady Francis showed no surprise at her majesty’s sudden appearance, and properly bowed her head as the princess took her many frustrations out on her trusted lady.
“Why would a fairy talk to you? Why would she tell you these things? How would you be in such contact? Why do you know my situation so intimately? You are nothing, to take such liberty as to discuss my situation with an outsider! How dare you? How dare you!”
The princess’ voice began to falter, wavering on the last syllables as she struggled to keep back tears. This was the closest she had come to losing control since she had learned to walk. Princesses, you see, do not lose control. At most they faint. They do not get angry, they do not shout, they hardly ever disagree or fight for themselves, unless it is a truly horrendous situation involving trolls or possibly incestuous relationships they must fight (like in the legendary tales of Allerleirauh and the True Bride).
But Princess Priscilla was angry. And for the first time, she was showed no intention of hiding these feelings. Her brother was preferred, her power was to be ignored. Even her ladies would be able to marry happily, and live their lives without having to suppress what was the most wonderful part of herself… Suddenly the princess froze. Was her magic really the best part of her? Did she really treasure it most of all her many talents? If that was true, then, then…
Lady Francis had yet to speak. While her princess struggled within herself, railing at the cage she felt had been built around her, Lady Francis had finished setting the room to rights. Now she stood with no expression on her face, calmly waiting for her princess to command her. There was something different about the lady now. There was no emotion, no personality in her person. It was though she was simply a mask, a form without a heart or a soul that could be touched. Princess Priscilla felt the difference, though she could not express it.
“Look at me.” The command was instantly obeyed, and the Princess was startled by how much her lifelong companion looked like a stranger. “What have you done?”
Lady Francis raised her eyebrows.
Louder, in a voice that sounded almost like a strangled cry, the Princess repeated her question. When Lady Francis once more refrained from answering, a hard glint appeared in the Princess’ eye. “You will answer me. You belong to me, no matter what the fairy says, you are mine. And you do not want to make an enemy of me.”
With no more emotion than another eyebrow quirk, Lady Francis succinctly recounted her original meeting with the fairy people. Princess Priscilla listened with composure, and walked towards the door when the story ended. Without turning, her hand on the door, the Princess said, “How could they choose you, over me? They will regret this, I swear it.” And she was gone.
The lady followed her princess, only pausing to murmur to herself, “And I thought leaving would be simple. It looks like things will be interesting after all.”
Story Note: Lady Francis is losing her human identity and personality in gaining magic, but the princess knows her name and her magic gives her the ability to see fairies, companions, and other magical peoples.