Many miles away, high above the city, a woman leaned out of the window, her ebony hair loose from her braids and swaying in the gentle breeze. It was early in the morning and the air was crisp and fresh. Aera loved this time of day. When the world was shifting from dark to light. It was, to her, the edge of a blade or a coin. In the dark, where she was bred and born into, was her birthright. But the light had become a home when she lost her own. She now lived in the middle, unable to shake off the dark but unable to step into the light.
"My Lady?" came a small voice from inside the room. Aera turned and smile. "Yes?
"Shall we ready you for the day? You are expected downstairs to see the men off."
Aera sighed and came from the window, her feet light on the carpet. "Don't see why. They don't exactly care about me and my appearances."
She waved the small woman aside, insisting that she didn't need help to get dressed. Absently, she pulled on a long gown that flattered her figure of a gray-blue color, turning only so she could have help with the buttons up the back.
"Don't say that, my Lady. We adore you as our princess."
Aera smirked. "I appreciate that, Paytin, but there's no need to lie to me." The horrified look on the girl's face made her halt. Relectantly, Aera sat before her mirror and handed the girl her hairbrush. It was no use to be cruel to the poor thing. "I only mean that I hear the whispers. I know what they call me. The 'Evlen Whore', the 'Usurper', and the 'Tainted'. My favorite." she added, cocking her brow.
While Paytir brushed and pulled her hair into some design or another, Aera let her thoughts wander.
She did not fit here. She was an elf, not a human. Not only that, but she had blood ties to the elven clan that had been murdering and ransacking the city for centuries. And they knew that. It didn't matter that her own clan was peaceful and never left their forest. Just the fact that the ancestors of the two clans had once suckled the same breast was enough to mark her a pariah.
"Does it matter, though? If his Grace loves you?"
Aera didn't answer, but stared into her reflection. A symmetrical face as white as snow looked back. She had hair as black as night that shone in blue hues under the light. Lips small and rosy. And eyes, dark eyes, that were the unnatural color of violet. Her pointed ears jutted out from her head. Aera was beautiful, by the human's standards, but she often felt more of an oddity than anything else. And, more often than not, she felt her husband, Kentaro, loved her for simply being rare. And not in the good way.