PART 1CROWN PRINCESS
he was born Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee,Crown Princess of Kildenree, and she did not open her eyes for three days.The pacing queen directed ministers and physicians to the crib.They listened to her breathing and her hummingbird heart, felt her fierce grip and her tiny fingers soft as salamander skin. All wassound. But her eyes did riot open.For three days the grave-faced attendants came and went. They prodded her, lifted her lids, slipped thick yellow syrups down her throat."You are a princess," the queen whispered to her ear. "Openyour eyes."The baby cooed in her sleep.When the third day had worn away to the lake blue of evening,a hand parted the nursery curtains. All was still for the night. Thequeen dozed on the bed. The baby in her crib dreamed of milk, her round, perfect lips nursing in sleep. A woman in a fern green robe pulled aside the curtains and tiptoed across the carpets. She slid her callused hands under the infant's back and head, held her up, andgrinned.