I realize that this section of the forum is unfortunately empty, and even more unfortunately, there are no longer formal lores coming out, but I listened to Anka’s VO lines and was inspired. But conciseness is not a strength I possess, so below is part 1 of 3? (subject to change) of one idea for where Anka came from.
Critiques are always welcome!
I hope you enjoy!
He ran a hand through his dark curly hair nervously as he talked. She watched as he was asked a question, and he stood straighter, nodding respectfully. He gestured with his hands as he spoke. As the people around him laughed, he looked down at the ground, bashful. He caught her staring, and his clear blue eyes twinkled as he grinned at her from across the ballroom. Suddenly, someone crossed between their gaze. A young servant girl, struggling to balance a tray of newly cleaned silverware. A lone butter knife slipped off the edge of the tray and clattered loudly to the ground. The girl froze with fear as the people around her turned. Seeing the look of distress on her face, he stepped forward, bending down and picking up the knife. “Thank you, just what I needed.” He gave her an encouraging smile before placing the knife carefully into his jacket pocket. The crowd went back to their conversations, concealing their disappointment at not witnessing a more dramatic incident. The serving girl gave a grateful nod before rushing off. From his chiseled jawline to his kind nature to his brilliant, dreamy smile, Prince Darian was perfect.
And she was betrothed to him. She sighed contentedly, then started as she felt a presence at her side.
“Anna, do not slouch.” The Queen of House Laurel sternly glanced down at her daughter before turning back to gaze out at the ballroom. “I hope that you are prepared to dance tonight.”
“What?” It came out louder than she intended. “I mean,” she cleared her throat. “No.”
The Queen acted as if she did not hear. “Your betrothed will be coming to ask you to dance again tonight. You have been practicing?”
“… Yes.” Anna cringed as she thought of the hours spent stepping on her dance partner’s toes as the teacher demanded that she, for once in her life, step with confidence.
“Excellent. Remember, this is good training for-”
“For when I am forced to wed against my will? Not that I mind the prince, but why can’t I choose when?”
“Life is rarely choice, Anna. Do not disappoint me tonight. And do not forget-” The Queen leaned in and lowered her voice. “The fate of House Laurel rests upon this betrothal.” With that, the Queen walked confidently away, a smug, self-assured smirk just barely visible on her face- smile number eight, Anna recalled.
She muttered under her breath. “So, no pressure. Only the union of the two most powerful houses. Just-”
She turned at the unexpected voice behind her. But she turned too quickly, her heels squeaking against the ground, drawing attention. Her ankles gave away in the shoes that had been biting into her toes all night, and she threw her arms up to try to regain balance, but she could feel herself falling backwards, and as if in slow motion, she could see the people around her turning, feel their judgemental eyes, shame and embarrassment rushing to her face- she stopped abruptly. Strong, warm, comforting, but unknown arms supported her in a hug.
In her ear, a voice chuckled.
“You know, when my father said that I was to make you fall for me, I do not believe that this is what he meant.” The arms pushed her forward gently as she regained footing. She turned again, slower this time, to gaze into the amused blue eyes of Prince Darian of House Yew.
People around them went back to their discussions, but they still sent glances their way.
“Well… you startled me. So it is kind of your fault.” she responded, flustered. She brushed imaginary dirt off of her dress.
“My apologies, Princess Anna, startling you was not my intention. Please forgive me and accept this gift that I most definitely, certainly, obviously took a lot of care and thought into selecting for you.” He took her hand and bent at the waist, presenting the dropped butter knife.
“Oh, thanks. I…” Anna frantically tried to think of what she had been taught to say as she accepted the knife and dropped it into her purse. She should have been prepared for this, but she could not think of anything else except the cute dimples that the Prince had, and his clear blue eyes that now waited for her reply.
“It’s fine. Thank you. You look-” She could at least try to be proper. She put on smile number three, the one with warm approval. “The color of your uniform suits you very well, Prince Darian. Your stylists are to be commended.”
“Thank you. They tried to put something in my hair tonight, to straighten it, but I think that the gel made it even more curly. I did not think it was possible.” He ran a hand through his hair and grinned ruefully.
“I think that you look fine.” she assured him. “Besides, the job of a stylist is to accent your unique traits. Your hair certainly qualifies as a unique trait.” She gestured to the rest of the ballroom, full of straight-haired royalty turning to music.
“Really? Do you think that they will be proud of the way it bounces around when we dance?”
“Uh…Have your toes have recovered from our last attempt?” she asked.
“Oh, they have recovered, but whether or not they have forgiven you is yet to be seen.”
Prince Darian laughed at the apologetic look on her face, reading it perfectly. “Don’t worry. I will lead. We shall go slow.”
“Very well.” she said. Prince Darian nodded, then took a step away and bowed deeply.
“Princess Anna of House Laurel, may I have this dance?” he asked, extending his hand. The people around them turned their heads to hear her response.
Anna curtseyed in the way that she had been taught to do since she was a young girl, lowering her head, extending her right foot exactly four inches behind her left, and lifting her skirt just above ankle height. “Prince Darian of House Yew, it would be my pleasure.” She took his hand and before the eyes of the entire room, they stepped down onto the dance floor together.