"Farewell and good riddance," seethed the princess as she turned on her heel, her lavender dress swishing. She stepped up and into the waiting coach and slammed the door behind her. Those were her last words to Airic. She didn?t even glance at him as the coach and escort passed by, heading toward the gates of Airic’s estate to begin their journey home.
Airic followed the departing princess and her escort, stopping to stand just outside the gates. He watched the princess slowly depart. A few loose strands of his long silver hair trailed across his face and his long gray cloak stirred in the gentle breeze.
How many more years must I wait until the right one is chosen he thought as his hand slid down his staff. He glanced at it before looking back at the departing group.
His mind wandered back to the day he had returned to his parents; his mother quietly weeping while his father began carving the staff. An unexpected turn of events that had changed his life forever. He carried that staff with him always, a silent reminder of his fate.
Another gust of cool wind tugged at his cloak. It was yet another disappointment. A sigh escaped his lips as he thought about the number of years yet to endure before the right one would be found. Each time that he chose a princess or a woman of royal blood, he hoped beyond all hope that this would be the one. The one to finally end his years of agony. Yet, it was always the same. They would come to his estate and he would wait. Nothing would happen and then after one year he would send them back to their homes. Some of the women would lock themselves in their room and stay there for the entire duration. They would eat their meals in their room and beg each day to be set free. It wasn?t as if they were prisoners. He smiled a tired smile.
Not all of the women were as arrogant or as dreadful company as this one had been. They had everything that they could possibly want and were free to roam about the estate and grounds at their leisure. A few of the women would have their meals with him and make the most of their stay. Even when they didn?t know how long he would keep them there.
Who would help an old man he thought, looking now at the empty lane. If I were young and strong and something of interest, it may have worked out to my advantage; however, I am just an old man. He laughed at that, an old man indeed. But then again, what would happen if they did agree? He shook his head to clear his thoughts. No sense in worrying about it now.
He stood there lost in thought long after the party was out of his sight before he turned around and headed back into his estate. How many more years he thought. How many more years?