After a short delay, the procession made their way up to the entrance of the citadel and the horse Andromache was on came to a gentle halt. A pattering of footsteps came running her way and with Chruse's help once more, Andromache slid down the horse's high back. She nodded politely to the soldier who had helped her and turned to face the huddle of officials who stood to one side, their hands pointed up towards the steps for her to proceed first.
Andromache gave them a nod and carefully holding up her trailing dress with both hands, she climbed the first step with Chruse following dutifully behind her. As she climbed, she began taking in the grand welcome she had received from the people earlier. Almost lost in the crowds of people, the loud roars of laughter and joyous music filling her ears, she could only look upon the people and wave.
Almost instantly when the people of Troy had come into full view, she had noticed that the women of Troy were distinctly different from her in terms of their looks. Their fine light-coloured hair of gold or sandy brown shone in the warm sunlight and their skins were a lightly brushed with a bronze hue. Her hair, on the other hand, was a dark rich brown, similar to that of kohl and her skin was fair and pale, with only a slight hint of a golden tan.
The people had looked contented and happy, with good lives. She had seen few poverty-stricken people or beggars, but perhaps she had not taken enough notice of them. When the horses had begun to push their way forward, at once, the people parted, forming a neat wide path for them to pass through. The women had thrown pretty bunches of flowers at her, while some watching from above had whispered and pointed at her.
She was so lost in her thoughts that she nearly failed to notice that she had reached the top step, that had it not been for Chruse nudging her softly from behind, she would have surely made a disgrace of herself. Immediately she looked up and met face to face with a small crowd of people, all royalty, judging from their fine clothing of black, dark blue and gold threads. Although she wore a veil to keep her face hidden from others, she could see fairly well from behind it.
An old man with fine silvery hair stood with his arms wide open, his watery blue eyes sparkling as though an unknown power resided within. He had on a pleased smile and opened his mouth to speak.
"Ah! Princess Andromache! At last! My sons and I have been awaiting your arrival." He strode towards her in quick steps, placing two hands on her shoulders as Andromache bowed carefully.
When she raised her head once more, she smiled. King Priam, her father-in-law, made her feel right at home with his sincere welcome.
Then he stepped back, and two young men stepped forward. One was taller and well built, the other lean and tanned golden brown. She bowed in respect, knowing that either one must be Prince Hector.
"My Lady," they greeted in response, while Priam's voice cut in.
"This, My lady," he gestured to the taller man, "Is Prince Hector, your future husband. While this," he paused, gesturing to the other man with a fond twitch of his lips, "Is Prince Paris, his brother."
Swiftly her eyes turned to face Hector and she took in a greater view of his looks. With dark brown curls to match hers, deep brown eyes and a kind, yet strong face, she knew her father had not made the wrong choice. He was a good man, the tales and praises of him were true, she could tell. But what she didn't know was whether she could come to accept him and love him, despite his qualities. She believed that one could learn to love with time, but she could not gage how long it would take for her, except that it was hard to think of him as her husband, but as the one who had taken her away from her family.
She stood silently, a little overwhelmed at finally meeting him, her mind swimming with hundreds of thoughts about this new inclusion in her life standing before her, while she unknowingly continued to rest her eyes upon him. Slowly she felt his eyes flicker down to hers, an almost tender-like welcome in them. Before she think deeper into it, her attention was snapped back when she felt another hard nudge from behind.
The group had started to move.
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