When she was but fifteen years old, Princess Roseangel Moriah Willowdale found out that her country was under attack from a neighboring country. Along with her father and brothers, she mounted a horse, wore armor, and rode into battle, helping to secure a glorious victory for her people.

Her daughter Lydia Elizabeth did not have the temperament befitting a warrior, but as times were more peaceful that did not matter. Lydia Elizabeth was a more bookish sort, content to sit in the library and read. However, that reading did her good, and by the time she was thirteen she was one of her parents' most trusted advisors in all things. She studied medicine and eventually became a great healer.

When Lydia Elizabeth married, she had four daughters. One became a great artist, the next a valuable spy and diplomat, one a knight like her grandmother.

The fourth, Charity Roseangel, preferred the smell of horses and the outdoors. She managed to drag all three of her sisters at various times on mad quests across the country. She married the stableboy who attended her and had two daughters.

Both were explorers as well. The more adventurous one was only heard from on rare and random occasions, while the other dressed as a boy and rescued a prince from a horrible spell. His name was Ian Stonehill and her name was Elizabeth Whitney.

They are my parents.

After adventuring for a few more years, Ian and Elizabeth married and settled down. They had three daughters.

My older sister, Lydia, was a tomboy from the moment she realized she existed. She hunted and fished and didn't wear dresses until she was thirteen years old and suddenly decided they weren't that bad. Even then it was not uncommon to see her running around in trousers, her beautiful red curls bound up, as if those things would hide her wild beauty. She was trained in the ways of a knight and a warrior, even though the kingdom was at peace. She eventually became interested in magic from our court wizard and became something of his apprentice.

My younger sister, Willow, was much more docile. Except when she wasn't. At least she didn't want to be a warrior. But she was still wild. She was tall and blond and looked exactly like the sort of person who would be named Willow. She enjoyed reading and nature even more than did Lydia. She especially loved reading the books on why things were the way they were. She read histories and all sorts of sciences. She had her own telescope, and kept journals about plants and weather.

For five generations, the women of my family had been nothing close to what Mama called "ordinary" princesses. She and Grandmama spoke of it all the time. The women were brave, smart, resourceful, and did not marry just any man who demanded their hands.

Until I, Moriah Katrina, came along.

When I didn't take to toy swords or horses immediately, my parents figured I was a more bookish sort. They read to me and hired the finest tutors. But I was a slow learner and did not even care much for reading. They tried me with various sports of skill. I was not at all athletic. They gave me paints, but all I did was make simple drawings. I was good around people, but not noticeably enough to prove to the world that I was meant for politics.

I was Princess Moriah. I was a shame to the women of my family. They never said anything, but I knew well enough. I constantly heard the stories of them all, and the praises of Lydia and Willow while I sat with with my needlepoint and my typical good looks. I could sew, sing, and dance. I was beautiful. And that was my grand list of accomplishments.