Prince Arcani woke at dawn, as the sun peeked through the crack between the curtains on his window. At first he cursed the light interrupting his dreams, then he remembered the date and sprang to life. This was a day he had been planning for months. On this day, Prince Arcani of the Kingdom would travel southeast to the Empire and make a proposal of marriage to Princess Isis, sole heir to the throne of her father Aldwalda.

Arcani spread the curtains and allowed his eyes to adjust to the light. Some of the most elegant architecture in the Kingdom stood outside the window. Beyond it, the peasant dwellings, then the city wall. Outside the wall were the fields where crops were grown as the Kingdom’s main food source. On the other side of the farmlands was the eastern forest, containing game rarely absent from a royal meal.

Arcani turned from the window and began to ready himself for the day. He mentally recounted the preparations that had gone into the past two months: Wild boars had been caught, the finest crop from the field had been gathered, the finest jewelry had been forged, the best chefs in the Kingdom had been instructed and practiced the finest detail in everything to be cooked on the upcoming trip, ships had been built to carry them all to the Empire, elaborate clothing had been weaved and sewn especially for the occasion, and the dinner conversation had been carefully choreographed in Arcani’s head. No detail had been left untouched, and no circumstance was without preparation. At least that’s what Arcani thought.