The locals, having perhaps lived too long in the Asylum’s shadow, chose a new prince and princess every year for the winter festival. The couple wear icy white, and the princess carries a basket of the reddest apples.
The farmers and gardeners compete to have their apples chosen.
The children stand along the parade and hope for a kiss from the princess. Or the prince. The kiss, they say, will bring good luck through the winter. The children think this means Santa will favor them. The parents think this means good health through the flu season.
They also say the girl chosen for a princess will never marry, or she will marry but never give birth. Some girls hide on the day the princess is chosen. Others pray or bribe officials for the title.
Nothing much is said about the prince.
A few years ago a prince was found dead, either with a dagger through his heart or a wild animal’s teeth through his throat. Odd how that fact has not yet been made clear, nor his killer found, but many eyes look in the Asylum’s direction when his death is mentioned.
The princess from that year vow she’ll find the killer, and when she does she’ll tell us everything that happened.