"Sylvia, are all our guests here? Is it time?"
"Yes, your majesty, all of those on the list and then some have arrived. It appears that word spread further than we anticipated."
"Marvelous, I'm sure father will be pleased. Send word I am on my way down. I will be behind you shortly. I need a moment to prepare myself."
"Very well, your majesty, I will head down first."
Sylvia closed the door behind her finally giving me a moment to breathe and be to myself. These moments of being unaccompanied were scarce. To be able to breathe and hear ones own thoughts.
My palms were sweating and my heart racing. Why am I so nervous? This is the moment I've been dreaming of since I was a young girl.
From the stories my father told me of him and mother. It allowed me to imagine what true love could feel like. My father was rough on the exterior but deep down he was gentle and caring. He had a heart so big with love for me and my mother. Something I'd craved to experience for myself with a family of my own one day.
I took one last look in the mirror checking for any noticeable flaws. My waist length hair was intricately braided back into three large roses that trickled down into various patterns atop a straightened layer of hair. My blue eyes were bright, matching the lightness in my silvery hair. My nose sprinkled with freckles and my lips a vibrant pink. My father always told me I had a natural beauty about me just like my mother. A face of an angel that captured the heart of a toughened soldier like him.
With the final thought of my mother looking down on me right now. I took one final deep breathe and steadied myself to head downstairs. My future, with whomever it may be, awaited me merely footsteps away.
With my hand placed on the staircase rail, I elegantly glided down each step looking poised and ready to find my true love. The deep sounding rumbles coming from down below faded as I got closer to the bottom. Heads turned and all eyes were on me.
By the time I reached the bottom there was absolute silence. My father greeted me at the bottom taking my hand in his. I looked out upon the sea of gentleman before me. Some looking very sophisticated and others looking very rugged.
My father cleared his throat,
"Honored guests, I would like to introduce my daughter, Fanariel, the sole heir to my Empire. I thank you all for traveling from far and wide to make her acquaintance. As you all must know, she is now of age to choose a husband. I will make myself clear, although I am her father and the current Emperor I give the full ability to my daughter to choose for herself the man she wants. With that being said, I'm sure you all must be hungry! Let us dine before we move on to the rest of this weekends events that have been planned to celebrate my daughters birthday! You will each have plenty of time to socialize and get to know each other better later on."
My father led me into the dining hall. The men's rumbling picked back up as they followed behind to begin the feast. I was quite pleased with the turn out. Several dozen candidates had arrived in time for the celebrations. As eager as I was to meet each of them one on one, first thing first, I am famished!