All things Twilight belong to Stephenie Meyer, I just like to play around with her characters. ;-) They may get a little chilly with what I have planned for them.

I lie here in my bed thinking of those big moments that people have in their lives: births, deaths, and marriages. Tomorrow morning, I am to be married. I will become a wife and my kingdom will once again have a king. Like most brides, I am unable to sleep – nervous with anticipation. However, I believe I may have greater cause for anxiety than most brides. I barely know the man that I am promised to, and from what I do know, I dread the very thought of him as my husband. No matter what my personal opinion of this man may be, this wedding must proceed. I have a responsibility to Dagez, my kingdom, to ensure that the people of Dagez have a king to lead and protect them. Further I know that I must consummate and provide my kingdom with an heir to the throne. This is the burden of the crown – our personal desires and opinions must come second to the good of the realm.

My father – the only King I have ever known – died but two days ago after a short, but valiant battle with pneumonia. His deathbed is still warm, his body not even committed to the ground yet. Tears of mourning lined my cheeks as, just a few hours ago, I was crowned Queen. It's strange for me to think that in four days I should experience three of my life's biggest moments: the death of a beloved father, my coronation as the Queen, and then – only hours from now – I will become the wife of a man I despise.

My intended is fifteen years my senior, a Jarl. His father, Aaron, was my father's friend and most trusted and longest standing advisor. The arrangement was made when I was but a few years old. All my life I knew that I was intended for this man, Jarl Yåkov. Regardless, I had rarely spent time with him. When we would attend celebrations and other formalities, I would notice the way he bullied his attendants and even his personal attendant. I felt dirty after being around him, so I had always rejected his invitations for private dinners and picnics. I had always put off spending time with him as I always anticipated that my father would change his mind about the arrangement or that I may find a more preferable suitor. Now I know that will never happen and what was once a long way off has suddenly arrived. Like sands of an hourglass, time slipped away.

As I pondered this, biting my bottom lip, I considered the hope that my father would produce a male heir, or that I would find someone I preferred as a husband before this day came to pass. However, I had not, and the day had arrived all the same.

Now, I was to marry him.

Someone I did not like.

Someone I did not love.

Love is a luxury, something that could not be bought regardless of the riches the crown afforded us; love was a sacrifice that someone in my position would willingly give up for the betterment of the people. The sun's warm morning light leaked through the drawn curtains of my chamber, I rose and stretched my limbs, having not slept they are tight and sore. My skin still soft from the preparations in the bathhouse after my coronation, all that remains is to dress and begin the ceremony and three-day feast. My attendants enter the room and bring my dress to me, pulling it over my head and down the gentle curves of my body. There is a simple keyhole neckline with a black braid thread; the dress hugs my upper body, following the swells and valleys of my frame, before falling loosely from my hips. The warm forest green contrasting richly with my porcelain skin and fair complexion. Another attendant gently brushed the tangles from my hair, allowing it to fall past my shoulders to the middle of my back in loose chestnut waves. The women give me leave, allowing me a few moments to collect myself before the ceremony is to begin.

Sighing, I stared at my reflection in the mirror - the loss of my maiden role evident in my image. Gone was my kransen, the golden maiden circlet, a thick braided band with silver woven with garlands and speckled with thick golden leaves, all meeting to dip into the center of my forehead. My attendants took this symbol of my maidenhood, and reverently wrapped it in a soft cloth to store for the next daughter in our line. Drawing a deep breath, my eyes focused on my new circlet cushioned on a pillow awaiting the ceremony. This new circlet symbolizes my new status as a wife, passed down to me from my own mother. Equally as beautiful and special to me, this heirloom bridal-crown is made with silver; with pints alternately ending in clover leafs and crosses, with a garland of black and green silk cords. The colors are those of the Crown's family crest, woodland green symbolizing the magic of life, fertility, and passage between worlds, with a deep night sky black symbolizing the magic of all potential, knowledge, and the royal family as containers of light. Idly I wonder, is this same dress my mother wore when she married my father? Did she have apprehensions regarding their union? Or did she know him, love him already? Memories of my mother from my childhood flit through my mind, bringing tightness in my chest as fresh, hot tears threaten to spill from my eyes. A brisk knock breaks my revere, bringing me back to the present, and a small yet firm voice from the other side announces the time has arrived for the wedding.

It had been two months since my wedding, a marriage in name only. Thankfully, he did not insist that I share his bed with him, save that first night. The first night is an evening I would rather not linger on, for fear of remembering it. I had expected the act to be loveless; however I had not expected him to be so forceful or uncaring towards me. When finished and the witnesses departed, I gathered my evening gown and left the room, my bare feet ran across the stone floors towards my own chambers. Upon arriving to my rooms, I sent for my most loyal servants, and then bolted the doors shut.

I had taken great pains to avoid my new husband at all costs, not wishing to draw his attention to myself. Thankfully, Yåkov had already selected his concubines, who kept him entertained. Our paths had not crossed since that first night; however this day he had summoned me to him. Warily, I sent a reply that I was feeling ill and requested his leave. It was not proper for a Queen to refuse a summons from the King; however I was not yet prepared to see him again. Minutes passed without a return reply, then an hour. Satisfied that I had been excused from the summons, I removed my clothes and lay on the silken bed in preparation for my evening massage.

Since my wedding, I had taken to a massage to relieve the stress that gathered in my muscles, making my back feel tight and achy. Around this time each day, a low fire would begin to build between my shoulder blades, slowly crawling down my spine, gathering in the base of my back, slightly above my hips. Left unattended, the pain would begin rolling through my middle, into the tender dips between my thighs, in my belly, and a dull throb would pulsate in my lower back. Regardless of the discomfort, I only allowed my most trusted servants to attend me in this intimate manner.

I closed my eyes, settling into the softened linens and heard the door to my chamber open allowing a cool draft to dance throughout the room, sending shivers down my limbs. The door slowly closed again, and was followed by strong steps pattering against the stoned floor. "Ahem, your highness," the distinctly male voice called.

Lazily, I turned my head so that I could face the owner of the velvet voice. The man was about my age, perhaps a little older, his head covered with a dark thick wool material; strange amber eyes practically glowed from the shadows of the hood. His strong, tall stance really enhanced his lean muscles and curiously bright amber eyes. I blinked, clearing my vision and focused upon the strange man in my chambers. Clothed in a dark burgundy kyrtill lined with deep golden braided thread, the fabric stretched tightly across his chest, whispering of the plains and tight muscles found beneath the fabric. The square line of his under tunic peeked out from the neckline, revealing a black fabric the mirrored the night sky. His over tunic stopped mid thigh, and tight, dark leather trousers covered his legs, with burgundy wrappings covering his calves, the toes of his leather boots peeking out. My eyes returned to his face, taking in the dark wool cloak and hood he wore, shadowing his face, his strange amber eyes shined brightly from their shadows. "Sir, these are my private rooms, may I inquire why you are here?" I kept my voice steady, so as not to betray my worry that my husband has sent this man to fetch me.

"I do apologize Your Highness," he bowed deeply at the waist and then stood, "My name is Jarpr, and I am a servant from the realm of Tyr. I have been sent here as a wedding present from King Vanir. The throne has sent me here to assist you. I will be your servant."
I clutched the thin sheet closer to my body in modesty as I considered his words. The kingdom of Tyr sat to the East of Dagez, the two kingdoms separated by the mountains. For more than a generation, our two kingdoms remained at peace with one another, on friendly terms. I recalled a present that Tyr had sent in celebration for my parents' wedding; apart from the swords they had given one another in their wedding ceremony no other gifts had ever been mentioned. "Er, thank you, however all of my servants are women, outside of personal guards, I really do not have any male servants nor would it be appropriate for me to take any," I smiled apologetically and hoped he would return to the throne for reassignment.

"Ah, my lady, but I am a eunuch, you need not have concerns about me. Surely you have been served by eunuchs before?" Again he bowed deeply at the waist; this time however, his head was raised as he looked at me and smiled. No, he did not smile – he smirked and it utterly dazzled me. His confidence was nearly mesmerizing; unlike any servant I had ever met.

"Oh, of course," I murmured.

I was suddenly unable to recall my previous objections and found myself desiring his touch. As though he had read my mind, he rose from the bow and then stepped forward again, hands outstretched. "Milady, are you ready for your massage?" His arms reached for the heated massage oils as he sat near me.

"Yes, thank you," I replied as I turned to lie face down upon my bed. He approached and, with amazing and silent agility he was beside me, and I felt his hands as they removed my garments, revealing my bare back to him. I felt the warm oils on my back first, followed by his strong hands and knowing fingers. My skin hummed where he touched me, an electric shock penetrating my skin, leaving hot gooseflesh where his touch had previously been. Warmth spread through my body, twisting low into my belly, tightening my nipples, and blurring sweetly around the edges of my limbs. The reaction of my body to his touch was unexpected, shocking even.
His fingers pulled the muscles from my spine, the tips of her fingers applied the slightest bit of pressure and knots began to unwind. Oddly his skin was cool to the touch, yet I found myself too enthralled with the pleasurable sensations of his knowing hands, and dismissed the thought quickly. Within just a few short minutes, the muscles in my back softened and relaxed, I was amazed. "How did you learn to do this?" I inquired of him.

He was rubbing the oils into his skin and onto a cloth as he replaced each of the massage bottles to the shelves. "Generations ago, while upon a journey of self exploration, King Vanir, discovered puruşātha, which teaches us the four pursuits of life, one of which is sensual pleasure. In this teaching, we learn about sensual touch – or massages." His voice was soothing, deep and rumbling low in his throat, his breathe hot on my cooled skin.

"That is amazing, as a serf that you received such an education. Have you always been a servant or did that come later?"
He chuckled darkly, the sound of it so odd that I stole a glance at his face it was dark and humorless. "I have always been a servant," he shook his head and then returned his attention to my back. Long fingers dug gently into my sides, pulling the muscles and further relaxing them. A low moan escaped my lips and I instantly felt embarrassed by my primal reaction to his touch. Blood rushed to the surface of my skin, heating me further, and pooled in my cheeks, throat, and the swell above my breasts.

The air was thick with silence and the tension between us, neither of us wanting to be the first to speak. "How does your back feel, Highness?" he whispered, his voice was guttural and hoarse.

"Fine. Better. It feels better now, thank you Jarpr."

A shift in the bed signaled his departure from my side, I heard the clinking of the massage oils as the bottles were collected and put away. "Is there anything else you require my Queen?"

This was too soon. Our time together was but a moment. Now, his task was done and here he was requesting his leave from me. Unable to fathom why I felt so attached to this serf, yet not caring, only willing him to remain with me. His calming influence and the curious hum of my body in reaction to his, a safe haven. My mind raced, searching for something to keep his intriguing presence near me, his ability to both excite and calm me, to cause my body to burn at his touch, and chill at his absence. However, there was no reason to keep him with me, closing my eyes and turning my head away from him I evenly replied, "No, you may leave now."
Retreating footsteps echoed in my chambers as he crossed the distance next to me, to the door exiting my rooms. The door clicked open softly, the hinges squeaking in a light protest. Pausing, he turned back towards me, "I will see you in the morrow." Then he was gone.

A/N: This story will be a slow build, so bear with me while we wait for our favorite Cullens to appear. So what do you think? Do you think Tyr and Dagez are in trouble? Reviews are better than a sensual massage from Jarpr and reviewers will receive a sneak peak of next week's chapter. I will be trying to update once a week preferably on Tuesdays as it's my day of "rest" from course work. See you next week!

Edited: For some reason FF uploaded the older version of this file, so even if you're already read this chapter, you may want to re-read for missing sections.