Becoming a princess wasn’t something Vicki had set out to do in her life, it had simply happened.
She loved Troilus, and he was a prince, and she’d married him.
Simple as that.
The important thing was that he loved her, and wanted to spend the rest of his life with her; him being some silly old prince didn’t matter one bit. Of course, he was a prince without a country now, but that didn’t matter either. They were the last of the Trojans, and they had a great destiny to fulfill. (Vicki had read about it in a text book, so she should know…)
Marrying a commoner aboard a ship at sea while fleeing his homeland wasn’t something Prince Troilus had anticipated for himself. But his kingdom being invaded by Greek soldiers hiding inside a giant horse wasn’t something he could have predicted either. (He should have listened to his sister- but no one ever did that.)
And his bride was not common at all, not by any stretch of the imagination. She was unlike anyone he’d ever known. She could see the future, and spoke in riddles of wonders he couldn’t understand, yet she chose him. When she stood beside him on their wedding day, he looked into her eyes and knew he was gaining something quite as great as what he had lost. She was but a slip of a girl, without any finery to adorn her simple bridal attire, but there was something of the heavens, of the gods, in her eyes, and her beguiling smile.
On that day, he felt like a king...
Writing by candlelight wasn’t something a modern young lady of the 25th century expected to do very often, but now Vicki found herself doing it rather frequently.
She and Troilus had been granted a cabin aboard their ship, as befitted Troilus’ royal rank. (Also, it was Aeneas’ expedition, and Troilus was his cousin, so nepotism probably played a role. Never mind. ) Vicki, or Cressida, as she was called by everyone now, liked to light a candle when she and her husband retired to their cabin, and chronicle their lives in writing before going to bed. When her husband would ask, amused, why she preferred to do this instead of lying with him, she would simply smile and say, ‘we’re making history. It would be awfully inconsiderate for future generations if I passed up an opportunity to make a first-hand account.’
Besides, she personally knew one history teacher who would be very happy to have such a document. She didn’t know how she’d get it to her, but she felt in writing it, she would be making it up to Barbara for her occasionally childish behavior toward her, somehow. Vicki resolved she wouldn’t be an annoyance to anyone again, now she was a wife and a princess.
Well, she thought, with a giggle, excepting maybe to her very impatient husband…
Troilus didn’t know how he had such luck. Most women would have been discouraged, given up. To voyage for so long, searching for a new home, it would have been too much for many men.
But not his Cressida. She was the soul of strength and steadfastness.
When he asked how she could be so calm, she would always reply in the same mysterious way: ‘I know we’ll be alright! We’re going to unite the royal lines of Troy and Latium, and lay the foundations for the Roman Empire! (Well, Aeneas will, at any rate, but we’ll help.) At least, that’s what I remember my teacher telling me; I never actually read the whole Aeneid- there was a concert the same week that exam was due, so my friends and I cheated a little and just read the Cliff’s Notes…’
Vicki didn’t know if she would ever tell Troilus all about the future; she’d told him what he needed to know about her own life, the basics he could understand, but she’d left out a lot. The Doctor was something she’d have a hard time explaining even to people from her own time!
When they finally settled in Latium though, she told him about Rome. She told him how she’d seen it in two different centuries, and it was always one of the most glorious places on Earth. How it would be called ‘The Eternal City’ because it endured as few cities on Earth had endured.
Wasn’t it exciting to be building something eternal?
Though she’d told him time & again she wasn’t a prophetess, he’d still smile fondly at these sorts of statements, and ascribe them to her gift of foresight.
And she’d sigh, and let him.
After all, as she’d said when she first came back to find him on the plain outside Troy, it didn’t matter if he understood her, only that he trusted her. And whenever, in a quiet moment, he looked into her eyes, and took her hand in his, she knew that he did.
Troilus hadn’t expected to be known for being the husband of the Princess Cressida, but he’d grown very fond of it. (Being known for it, that is. He’d always been fond of being her husband.)
It was a source of amusement to him now, how she had become something of a legend in her own time. How everyone knew she had the gift of prophecy, though she denied it, and almost everyone thought she was a witch, though she denied that too. (Most of the time.) She had knowledge that only the most learned scholars could match, and strange notions about how people ought to behave to one another. She never liked being served or deferred to for her rank, but she demanded to be treated with respect by even the greatest of men- even kings. And people were so astounded that they usually did, too.
At first people weren’t sure what to make of her, but if they got to know her, they admired her. And so did he. Through years of perilous travels, and then a bloody war- she never tired, she never wavered, whatever needed doing, she would see that it was done. She became known for her munificent charity, and eventually all her crazy schemes were accepted as simply the usual eccentricities of grand people. (Though when she began inviting young women to live in their palace so that she might tutor them, it raised more than a few eyebrows. Their sons, however, were strapping, hot-blooded young lads at the time, and some of the bravest warriors in the land, so when they came out in favor of it, people let it be. And that was how Troilus and Cressida gained some very well-educated daughters-in-law…)
Sometimes people would ask him how he could live with such a strange woman for a wife. But Prince Troilus would merely smile at them, and gaze upon his lady with contentment. He’d never learned the whole story of where she came from, or who she had been before she appeared in his life. But she was here now, at his side, through everything, with the same bright eyes and impish smile that had captivated him all those years ago.
She was his Cressida, and for him, that was all he needed to know.
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