The Princess and Her Ladies Pt 8

Eitelkeit felt useless.

Both Princess Priscilla and Lady Francis had become distant, caught up in worlds so private that Eitelkeit felt she could no longer touch them.

Lady Eitelkeit had no place other than next to them.  She was a changeling, not just in rumor, but in reality.  Her father and mother had wished for a child for so long and so desperately that the fairies had finally taken pity upon them.  Eitelkeit, as still and lovely as a priceless toy, had appeared one morning in the apartments of the Royal Advisor.  At first they believed she was the mere image of a child, yet as the old couple marveled at her beauty, her eyes opened, and her lips turned upwards in a smile unlike any they had ever seen.  In that moment, she became their most precious treasure, one that they would not let go of.

That she had become companion to the princess was no coincidence.  As her body grew, so did her parents’ worry.  They were old, and had neither expectation nor desire to live past their time.  Yet they could not let their daughter be left alone.  It was at their petition that the king made their daughter a lady in waiting to the young princess.  It was at their petition that the princess began to take such care of her.  The two had even spoken with the family of Lady Francis when that lady was also chosen to serve the princess.

And so she had become a lady in waiting to the princess.  And so the Princess Priscilla and the Lady Francis watched over her.  And so her parents died.  And so she became the treasure of her friends in their stead.  With them, she was to always have a place.

Until the unexpected happened, and the story changed.  It was to have been a simple story, of a lovely princess and loyal ladies.  But the princess had sworn her vengeance on fairies, and her looks were slowly turning terrible in their great beauty.  But the Lady Francis no longer had a story, and was slowly erasing her presence from the stories of others.  But the Lady Eitelkeit, a changeling with no understanding of humanity, a looker on with interest only in the beautiful, had no place other than beside them to go.  She was made to be cared for and treasured, she had no place outside of that.

So when she, always hiding, always watching, saw her princess steal away from the treasury with a dark cloak to hide her movements and an ever darker aura hiding her identity, the Lady Eitelkeit still watched.  And reached for her pencils, for she had never seen beauty as dark and complicated as her princess appeared to her in that moment.

She did not react when the castle uproar began.  The prince’s coronation had been ruined, the fairy gem stolen.  Lady Eitelkeit only blinked when the guards questioned her on the accident.  She did not mention the new locket the princess wore with such arrogance, nor the picture she had painted the night of the incident.  Lady Eitelkeit never spoke with those as vulgar as guards.

It was only when the fairy came that her porcelain composure was broken.

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