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E - Everyone

To Win Your Hand Chapter 1.2

by AlexaBWill

I woke up the next morning dry-throated and crusty-eyed, lying atop my blanket. My head ached, and I was still wearing yesterday’s mud-caked clothing. If not even that could deter the innkeeper and his son, there was no way I would get out of my arranged marriage.

I rose from bed, donned the only other dress I owned and began my day with the same monotonous routine as always. I filled the pitchers with goat’s milk, cut bread for Cy’s breakfast, selected the tapestries which I thought would sell well, and set out for the market.

I had become so accustomed to the details of the road into town that I immediately drifted away into my mind, ignorant of the clattering of hooves until they were just behind me. A cochilia blared to alert me of the company’s approaching as if I was too stupid to see the horses… which in all fairness, I might have appeared to be.

The company was approaching quickly. Red banners flew high above the crowd, whipped back and forth by the wild wind as the soldiers rode along. They bore the arms of King Leon the Tyrant, as he was known in those parts. As a poor farming town, we received little news of the world beyond our own, but we knew enough to realize that our surrounding kingdoms were not as oppressive as Cathenos.

I backed off the street as quickly as I could, tripping over my own feet as I stumbled back into the bushes lining the road.

“Move off the road, girl!”

“What exactly do you think I am doing?” I snapped before I could stop myself.

A small man on horseback, the one who had spoken, unfurled the whip he carried and began to dismount. A melodious voice, coming from somewhere behind me, stopped him.

“Oh, leave her alone. We have more important things to do than gawk at a peasant girl. If we do not get to the palace by tomorrow, Arisia’s hand could already be taken!”

“Nonsense, Callian!” another prince said. “Father said Adon’s daughter was promised to us.”


A sinking feeling of dread welled up inside me. I had just insulted the crown prince. With that knowledge, it would have been smart for me to stay down, but curiosity got the best of me, and I raised my head.

I had heard tales of the neighboring kingdom, a place filled with benevolence, magic, and freedom. To me, it had always just been a dream, yet here the princes of my own cruel, rigid kingdom sat in front of me discussing the Valorian princess as if she was a prize to be won. I was only a weaver, nothing more than a mild nuisance, but I knew what it felt like to be helpless in choosing who you married. I understood Arisia as only a woman could.

Suddenly, I was angry, and nothing but it. These men whose lives were built on the suffering of women, who did nothing but oppress their people while they lived lavishly, dared to think of Princess Arisia - and by extension me and everyone one of my sisters - as an object to be thrown to them. Impassioned with rage, I forgot the desperation of my situation and the improbability of the mercy I had been shown. I threw my head in the air, and with fists balled at my sides, I marched into the road, right up to Prince Callian.

“What is she doing?” the prince in the back asked.

He was small and willowy with pale, sunken features and a pathetic expression worthy of no princess.

“Perhaps I was mistaken in my forgiveness,“ Callian said. “What are you doing, peasant?”

Standing in the ditch as an insignificant peasant girl, confronting my crown prince had seemed like a good idea. In the middle of the road, staring down half an army with their swords shining in the sun, not so much.

“I—I just was, um, awestruck by your…” I trickled off to a stop. This would come at the cost of my dignity, but better my dignity than my life. I put a bright smile on my face and curtsied. “I was only in awe of your beauty, Your Excellency. The tales truly do you no justice.”

Most of the men snickered, sharing their infuriating glances, but the sickly-looking prince simply stared at me like an idiot.

“Brother,” he said, “she is clearly a silly girl. This isn’t the first time someone has been dumbstruck by you. Leave her be and let us get onwards with our voyage.”

A flush rose to my cheeks at the stinging words. Of course, Pano thought I was a fitting match for his son. In the eyes of everyone else, I was just as dull as his poor excuse for a son.

After what for me was a breathless moment, Callian turned his eyes back to the road.

“Very well.”

“Thank you, Your Excellency!” I gushed, repeating it between curtsies until they were out of sight.

It was only then that I spit at where he had sat and continued on to the village.

I arrived with the night. The inn was filled with light, and from down the street, I could hear the bawdy soldier’s songs shaking the patchwork roof. I came in through the kitchen door, immediately assaulted by spices burning my nose and the crisp sizzling of oil. The air was hot and thick but familiar to me.


A short, comfortably built woman turned around, her round eyes crinkling when she saw me. Quickly setting aside the mushrooms she was preparing, she bustled forward to greet me.

“Theofania, you came! Oh, let me help you with that.”

She relieved me of my basket with one hand and smoothed my skirt with the other. I followed her to the fire with a smile, but I still couldn’t bring myself to say anything. My tongue was a brick in my mouth.

“What’s wrong?” Diana asked. “You are usually babbling like a babe the moment you step in the door!”

I began to shake my head, but she had already interrupted me.

“Oh, don’t speak of it! I know what Cy did, child, and I must say I thought him better than that. What was he thinking, marrying you off to that brainless, violent pig?!”

“Diana, quiet down! I know you are angry, but he is still your employer,” I said. “Besides, as much as I agree with you, and as much as I hate Cy right now, he was just trying to save the farm.”

Diana shook her head, turning to the fire with her hand planted on her hips.

“There should have been another way! He should have worked harder or married himself or sold the farm when he had the chance- ” Diana turned to me, wringing her hands. “Oh, but you have no choice. What can a silly little weaver girl do about it?”

I had to stop her before she could go on any longer - and hurt my pride any more.“Diana - “

“Oh, and if it was any other man! Any other man! But that Lithios”

“Diana, listen! I swear I will not marry him. I have a plan, and I need your help with it.”

“A plan? Good-bye? Theofania, what are you planning?” Suddenly, dismay spread across her face. “Oh, not the river!”

“The river? What--? Diana! I’m not throwing myself in the river!”

Diana’s arms dropped to her side.

“Then what are you planning?”

“Come here,” I said.

I beckoned for Diana to follow me into the stuffy pantry and locked the door behind us. It was a tight fit but a small price to pay for secrecy.

“I ran into the princes today.”

“The princes?!”

“Yes, the princes.”

“What did they say?!”

“Let me talk, will you?”

I took a step back, crushing what sounded like an egg. Thick, viscous liquid covered my heel. I grunted, lifting my foot to place it against the wall. Diana was still staring at me, her dark eyes unblinking.

“They are going to Valor. I think one of them is marrying Princess Arisia.”

“Well, that’s impossible.”

“Impossible? What do you mean?”

“Have you never heard?”

“Heard what?”Diana chuckled, shaking her head.

“If you spent less time running around the countryside and more time talking to other people, you might actually know things,” she said. “You know that Valor is the city where they learn and practice magic, yes?”

“Everyone knows that.”

“You never know with you.”

I scowled, although Diana could not see it.

“So what about it?”

“While he was still new to the practice of magic, King Adon made one of the Faerie folk angry, and they cursed him so that his daughter would never be able to love any man.”

“Why would she do that?”

“Because in Valor, blood is everything. Magical ability is passed down through magical lines, and if Arisia is unable to produce an heir, her family will lose the throne.”

“So her father must be marrying her away to our princes to produce an heir. Why is that impossible?”

“And you get angry when I call you ignorant,” Diana said under her breath.

I kicked her.

“It is against the laws of Valor to marry a woman away,” she said.

“Against the law?”

“That is what I said, no?”

Perhaps it was the smell of old cheese mixed with sweet spices, but my stomach felt as if it was boiling. I might not have to annoy Lithios to the point of divorcing me, after all.

“My plans have changed, Diana.”

“You never told me your plans to begin with.”

I smiled, wide enough that I’m sure Diana could see it even in that dim pantry.

“I am going to Valor.”

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350 Reviews

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Reviews: 350

Mon Feb 25, 2019 3:13 am
mellifera wrote a review...

Hey AlexaBWill! Hope you don't mind if I swing by for a review today ;)

I haven't read the first part of this, so if I misunderstand something/confuse anything because of that, I apologise.

First off, I noticed that the first three paragraphs begin with "I", which you'll want to watch to make sure doesn't become repetitive.

“Oh, leave her alone. We have more important things to do than gawk at a peasant girl. If we do not get to the palace by tomorrow, Arisia’s hand could already be taken!”

By the way he unfurled his whip before he began to dismount makes it sound like he was going to hit her with it, not get off his horse to stare/gawk at her? This sentence doesn't make a lot of sense given the context?

"Nonsense Callian!" another prince said.

You say "another" prince, as if there was one you mentioned beforehand? But I don't see the mention of any prince before this one speaks. And I'm curious as to how she knows he's a prince? Is it the way he is dressed? Is he wearing some kind of circlet or crown? What is the distinction between him and anyone else in the caravan?

"Perhaps I was mistaken in my forgiveness,"

But he?? never forgave her for anything?? someone else told him not to dismount and he didn't?? This line doesn't make sense.

"Impossible? What do you mean?""Have you never heard?""Heard what?"

ah, this happened once before now, but I think you meant to separate these onto three different lines? Dialogue should usually be separated when a new character is speaking because it clears up confusion as to who it is talking, especially if there's not dialogue tags. (It happens once more after this as well)

What is the significant, overall, in Valor that would make it against the law to marry a woman away? Does it only apply to someone trying to marry a woman away, or can no woman in Valor get married? This doesn't seem to make a lot of sense to me, but I also don't know if there is an explanation for it.

After Theofania gets back to the inn and strikes up the conversation with Diana, there's very little in the way of description. It becomes too dialogue-heavy and makes it unbalanced. There's also the bit with squishing the dialogue on the same lines when Diana and Theofania are talking, but I already mentioned that. In the way of specifics to balance it out, I wish you would have written in something about what Theofania's plans had been before Diana had said anything about Valor? Right now, it feels like you just wrote that in there to set up the conversation and she actually never had a plan, which would be remedied if you had wrote in her internal monologue during or before the conversation (before she got back to the inn, even) and then had her consider her options and go through what makes her choose to go to Valor. This is a first-person perspective, so I expect some inside information into Theofania as a character and what's going through her head.
Otherwise, I would try to add more description - what the characters are doing, what's going on around them, what the space they're in looks like or smells like or sounds like, etc - to balance out the whole second half of the work so it doesn't become so reliant on dialogue.

Anyway! I wish you luck with your writing :D If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to let me know!

I hope you have a fantastic day!

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159 Reviews

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Reviews: 159

Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:50 pm
Honora says...

I’m back again Alexa!
Once again I really like the chapter. It’s very intriguing and fun. I’m interested to see how she gets out of this arranged marriage! I liked your description and it’s easy to follow. Very well done.
The only time I was a little confused was when you would put their conversation in the same sentence but other than that it was very well done! Good writing! Looking forward to the next one! 👍🏼

AlexaBWill says...

Thank you for pointing out the part where I did that! I hadn't even noticed. Thank you for your feedback.

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159 Reviews

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Reviews: 159

Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:50 pm
Honora wrote a review...

I hope it comes soon because I’m not sure that I want to wait ;p

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562 Reviews

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Sun Jan 27, 2019 4:05 am
FlamingPhoenix wrote a review...

Hi Shikora here with a review for you on this lovely day.

So I see this had been in the Green Room for a wile now, so I'm here to help get it out. So let's get to it.

What I like

You started this chapter out really well, and I'm super happy with the speed it's going at, at the moment. I'm connecting with the characters really well so that's a good. I also like the name you have picked for your story, and I can't wait to find out what it means.

The plot

I can see this plot moving along really well, and your slowly telling us everything we need to know. To me is really good, but super annoying because I want to find out what happens next.

The Characters

Now what your doing with your characters is really good, slowly letting us get to know them better, and that's really good. But I feel like your not describing them enough. Like when your started your chapter, that was really good. But as we got further into the chapter, your description seemed to fade away. But I guess it's a little harder doing things like that in first person.

The setting
Your setting is really good, I like how you started your chapter with explaining what the place looked like a little.

I woke up the next morning dry-throated and crusty-eyed, lying atop my blanket. My head ached, and I was still wearing yesterday’s mud-caked clothing. If not even that could deter the innkeeper and his son, there was no way I would get out of my arranged marriage.

This was a really good way to start. But some things are missing, your description of the area is really god and what your character looks like. But doesn't the mud stink? And because it is dry doesn't it go all crusty?
this is just stuff I thought of as I read. May be you could add a little more, so I'm going to tell you a little something I keep in mind when ever I write, sound, sight, feel and smell. If you at two of these things into your story, it really will make the difference.

Well that's all from me for now. I really liked reading and reviewing this chapter for you, and I look forward to seeing the next one posted on YWS soon, Never stop writing and have a great day/night.

Your friend
Shikora. :D

Happy review day.


Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.
— Helen Keller