It all started with an offhanded comment by the princess at one of the wizard's banquets.
"Someone should really teach you some manners."
All eyes snapped to Lady Ev, then quickly to Mistress West to gauge her reaction.
West offered a lazy smirk, leaning back in her much-too-gaudy chair and stretching her arms above her head with a languid yet calculated aire. "Are you volunteering, Princesa?"
Langwidere turned her nose up at the vile woman and returned her focus to her plate.
Conversation continued ad nauseum. West heard none of it, so focused she suddenly was on the Princess of Ev. She watched the girl for the rest of the meal, fascinated. She seemed unaware of a lack of her own social decorum, but at the same time acutely aware. It was a paradoxical conundrum that West itched to preserve. It was refreshing, actually, the way Langwidere was a spoiled brat one second and ruler of a kingdom in the next breath. She trounced back and forth effortlessly, at least to the naked eye.
For some reason she didn't want anyone else solving the riddle.
As the banquet came to a close and people started drifting off home or to Glinda-knows where else, West sought the princess and dragged her by the elbow quickly and quietly into an alley near the front gates of the city.
"Get your hands off me," Langwidere said authoritatively, shaking the hold, eyes widening with disgust at the black smudge on her perfect yellow dress. "How dare you," she said further, trying to rub out the mark.
"Well you know my manners," West said with a shrug. "If I were more refined, I would have simply called your name."
"Yes, you're brutish, we all know this. What do you want?"
"Do you really think you have what it takes?"
Lady Ev stared at her for several long moments, then tilted her head slightly to one side. "Is this about dinner?"
West stumbled a little bit trying to stand still, and just gave Langwidere a self-deprecating grin in response.
"What do you want?" Langwidere repeated, enunciating each word sharply, but somehow with rounded edges.
"I want to lose myself," West drawled, rolling her eyes back in her head for emphasis.
"Don't we all?"
West laughed, a hollow, empty sound. "Indeed."
"This conversation is tiresome. If you'll excuse me." She turned to leave.
"Princesa," West said starkly, halting the girl's retreat. "I don't just want to be lost; I want to be taken."
Langwidere stood stiffly, unmoving, to the point West thought she would never move again, but then slowly turned, raising to her full height and reaching out with lightning-fast reflexes to grasp West's chin between the thumb and forefinger of her right hand. "In that case," she said, her bright eyes dancing, "you may call me Lady Ev."