Rune had spent the night before her wedding in the spare room of her parents’ apartment, the only night she had ever spent under their roof. After an early breakfast she had jogged to the back entrance of the Sjeldnjar townhouse and slipped in, completely avoiding the press camped out the front of the building. Once inside she’d gone straight to the suite she called ‘the wedding ready room’ in her head to shower and then submit to hairdressing and makeup.
He bridesmaids and flower girls arrived from wherever they’d stayed for the night and were submitted to the same routine of beautification. Heiress-presumptive to the throne, Princess Silvana, age seven, was the youngest of the bevy of flower girls that were going to precede Rune and her father down the aisle. Rune’s friend from the orphanage, And, tried to explain to the Terrencian bridesmaids why her name was a conjunction.
Rune simply tuned it out as background hum and floated through the morning. She didn’t even look at herself in the mirror until they settled the antique silver Sjeldnjar coronet on her head to hold the veil in place. It was like the formal photograph, someone had worked magic and she actually looked like a princess.
Archduke Franz had won the argument over what his half of the wedding party was wearing and only his brother and best man, Archduke Dionysus, was in military uniform. The groom and the other groomsmen were wearing dark, tailored suits without a medal or decoration in sight. Franz thought he was doing fine until he ruined his tie three times and one of his former squad mates took pity on him and tied it for him.
All too soon it was time to get in the cars to be driven to the cathedral. One of the groomsmen, Berthold joked, “If you’ve changed your mind, we can take the drivers and make a break for the border in the cars.”
Franz looked around. “No,” he declared. “If I miss this appointment it will just upset her. To say nothing of annoying my uncle and her aunt. I think we should go to the cathedral. Besides, Berthold, if we don’t go to the wedding, you won’t get to dance with the bridesmaids.”
“There is that,” conceded Berthold as he opened a car door. Then they were in the cars and on their way.