A/N This is only the first part of the first chapter of a story I'm working on. I tried out a few things in here that I don't usually, so I'd like some feedback before I go blindly ahead and end up having to potentially edit huge swaths of writing later on. That is to say, be harsh as you please, it'll help me in the long run.
This is easy. Megara’s gown flourished as she spun once, twice, and found herself face to face with her new partner. Oh, the prince was beautiful, not much older than she was, with honey blond hair that glowed in the torchlight and a dazzling smile on full display even while most of his handsome features were obscured by the elaborate mask that matched perfectly the rest of his regalia, the symbol of his house, the phoenix, even being alluded to with the distinct shimmering red feathers that decorated the edge. His eyes searched hers, those pools of deep brown chocolate and mystery seeming to see right into her. She gazed up at him in return, her smile showing she was dazzled in response to his dazzling, her crystal blue eyes wide and fascinated with his mystery.
This is easy. His arm snaked around her waist, his delicate touch settling into the dip of her hips over the layers of her embroidered gown, and she leaned a little closer into him. His smile widened so slightly that it was only really possible to tell by the gleam of his eyes, and he led the next step of the dance, then Megara took over, spinning away from him so her gown swished and swirled on the dance floor, making the golden embroidery sparkle as bright as the stars outside, and she returned to her prince, and he was glad to have her back. To spin her once, never fully losing contact with her, and to pull her again into the dance, always in sync with the crowd.
This is easy. The song, and with it the dance, faded into the midnight air. As the final note left them, the room, breathless and smiling, the prince gave Megara a bow, taking her hand in his and placing a kiss upon it. He didn’t release her as he straightened out, that beautiful smile of his softening as he held her hand and looked her over, took her in. She looked stunning tonight in her distinct red gown and gold mask, plainly symmetrical from a distance, with the detailed etchings only coming into focus from up close. Her thick waves of hair the color of polished gold were twisted up and off her neck, with only a select few strands framing her face and curling up around the base of her neck.
“You’re so beautiful,” he murmured, and she wasn’t sure if he knew she could hear him. Her smile widened the same way his had, not on her face, but in her eyes.
“Come with me,” he said. It had been a long moment of him appraising her, his eyes only lingering where it was appropriate for a prince’s eyes to linger, her eyes, the intricate patterns of the masterfully maneuvered gold threads that adorned her sleeves with images of feathers and swirls that called upon the aesthetics of flame and fire, and one place his eyes perhaps should not have but skimmed, the corner of her lips.
This is so, so easy. She dipped her head in acceptance and he led her elegantly from the ballroom and the revelry. The sounds of the people, dancing to the next song - which had begun as the prince had been looking her over - or engaging in idle chatter, or drinking from the selection of wine available to all, all became muffled the moment they stepped into the hall. Their footsteps were now the loudest sounds to be heard as he led her, her hand now out of his grasp and instead clasped before her, through the lavishly painted halls, hung with tapestries depicting the rich and noble history of his family. The white walls, adorned with simplistic yellow-leaved vines painted near the ceiling, were not equipped with windows, for this side of the keep was directly against the inner wall, so they had to be illuminated by torches even in the light of day. This lighting gave the tapestries an eerie look about them. The triumphant king holding his sword aloft as he stood above the limp body of his enemy looked less heroic than mad. The queen with her arms outstretched, a dagger in one hand, a goblet in the other, no longer looked gracious, instead appearing to have a cruel determination in her eyes.
“I’ve never beheld beauty like yours in all my years of living,” the prince said smoothly, like he was reciting poetry to her, “Every year I have held a ball like this one, the identities of my guests concealed along with my own, so I may find someone to wed for the purposes of love, and not the callus politics that my mother and father are so enthralled with. I wish to imbue my life with meaning. Like the symbol of my household, I wish to take flight on wings of my own and live freely. I know I am meant for adventure, in my life I am meant for more than these castle walls. More than the brooding nobles around me can offer. More than my fate as a figurehead, to spend my life listening to the endless woes of others while the world lies just outside these walls.”
He turned to her then, taking her hand again and stooping to one knee in one smooth movement, “And so, my lady, will you reveal to me your face and inform me of your name so I may know with whom I have fallen so deeply in love.”
So easy. She said nothing. In the place of words, she knelt with him, before him, and gazed into his eyes. She could feel his pulse beneath her fingers as her hand remained in his, see his pupils dilate as she stared into his eyes, hear his breath hitch as she leaned in, and in that moment where they were breathing the same air, so close she could make out the flowerlike shapes in his iris, so close she could swear she could almost hear his heart beating, in that moment she tested him. Tempted him to make the first move. When he did not, she did. She closed the remaining gap, pressing their lips together so he could use his newfound permission to do the rest.
She only allowed it to last only a moment before she pulled away. “Perhaps next year, sweet prince,” she said to him, her voice encased in the thick, melodic accent of the northern seas. And then she was gone, first standing so abruptly the prince had the breath he’d regained startled from him, then she was gone, gliding around the corner before he could find a single word with which to respond to her rejection.