Preparations for the ceremony were traditionally spread over a fortnight, for no other reason than to give the aristocracy an excuse for drunken debauchery. Not that they needed a reason, but the clergy turned a blind eye to their indiscretions since they did eventually lead to a solemn ceremony. A costly rite that added essential funds to the church coffers.
An arranged marriage, Agatha had no choice but to answer the royal command. She was to wed second in line to the throne. If she produced a male heir before her soon-to-be sister-in-law, her scion would inherit the crown, and she would be an expendable nuisance.
Agatha was personally selected by the King’s son. He noticed her at the market, selling woven blankets at a small kiosk near the cathedral. His Sergeant of Arms brought her to the palace. Agatha expected the order to simply mean a night with the Prince, nothing more. She was shocked to learn he claimed her as his bride.
Any other peasant, or royal bride, would be envious of Agatha’s fortune, but they didn’t know what she did. They didn’t know of the true nature of her bridegroom. They didn’t know of his predilection for inflicting pain. That the Prince was more than a beast, he was truly a demon of hell.
The day before her wedding, she was in the cathedral, seeking help before she resigned herself to a life of suffering.
“I cannot give you sanctuary,” the priest also knew of the demon within the Prince. “I have no power to protect you here.”
Pressing his rosary into her hand, his voice a harsh whisper. “I can only offer you safe passage out of the keep. If you can get free of the castle walls, you will be out of his reach.”
That night, Agatha entered the catacombs, the priest’s relic her talisman. The spirits, honoring his promise, let her pass. The sun was rising as she stepped out of the tunnels.
Trifecta, a weekly one-word prompt, challenges writers to use that word in its third definition form, using no less than 33 words or no more than 333. The week’s prompt is: Safe [adj \ˈsāf\] 3: affording safety or security from danger, risk, or difficulty