Mar 24, 2011
Once upon a time there was a kingdom that was ruled by a young Queen. Like all true Queens, this Queen was practiced in the arts of statecraft, warcraft, hunting, art and magic. She was diligent and felt the duty of her position and so her skills increased as did her years.
By the time the Queen had come to the age when she was to marry, her skill and ambition had lead her kingdom to grow and prosper into one of the foremost in the land. As befitting a Queen of a rising kingdom, she married a similarly talented and ambitious King. Surprising both the King and the Queen, the two fell deeply in love. Neither had experienced anything like it and certainly they had not expected love out of a marriage based upon the precepts of diplomacy but love has never come when expected.
Out of this love came a child.
For nearly as long as the girl could remember it had been Autumn. And not the glorious kinds of Autumn that the songs told of: When the leaves changed color and painted the sky with their calm strokes through the air. When the air bit with the memory of summer and the promise of snow. When there was hope for spring.
Instead she had faced Autumn that was dead and cold and permanent. In the ten years since the King's death the world had laid still with him.
But the girl's father had not been still. Since her mother had drowned seven years ago with rocks in her pockets and peace on her brow, her father had worked constantly on his lands. Tilling, plowing, sowing, fencing, eating and sleeping had been his only focus. He seemed no longer able to see pleasure, pain or his daughter.
The girl could no longer stand this life. Furious at her mother, furious at her father, furious at her self and furious at the world she knew that something must change. And it was going to be the world.
The girl filled her pack and saddled the horse.
The castle was a marvel of architecture and magic. Having seemingly grown out of the side of the mountain, it was not a series of towers and turrets but a weaving mass of tunnels and outcroppings. From a distance the only thing the girl could see to distinguish the castle from the rest of the mountain was the massive entrance gate.
As she got closer she could make out not only the massive doors that had kept the Queen isolated from her kingdom for ten long years but the beautiful carvings that told the story of the Queen, the King and the young Prince.
Just as love comes, so it goes
As the war comes, the King goes
Suddenly death comes, and no one knows
The Queen gives birth, and hope grows
In the air and the earth, a doom grows
Suddenly illness comes, and no one knows
The leaves are fallen, and night grows
The Queen is calling, the Prince's dream grows
Suddenly Winter does not come, and one knows
So long as he sleeps, so sleep the seasons
The door did not open, so the girl climbed in a window. She walked through a room filled with mannequins, each clothed in the finest garments, dressed with care. She paused, listening for guards, for courtesans, for people. She heard nothing.
She came out into a corridor filled with doors. Behind the first door was a bare room, with a bed. She saw a sudden burst of movement in the corner as she left and stood still, listening. No sound. She closed the door and moved to the next.
Here was a room filled with furs. White, pure, soft furs. The girl walked through the furs, amazed at the beauty, feel and opulence. There was nothing else in the room.
The next room was a bedchamber, beautifully outfitted with a giant gold and red canopy around what must be an amazing bed. The girl slowly walked toward the bed, listening intently. No sound. She moved the curtain aside and saw the Prince, ashen, eyes closed, still. And the door opened.
The girl threw herself behind the bed as she heard the door. Her heart beat in her ears but she still heard the quick rush of steps toward where she had left the bed's canopy open. The girl's terror slowly turned to ice in her veins. A glint from under the bed caught her attention and she grabbed the long, thin dagger slowly and silently. A noise from the other side of the bed caused her to crouch, tensing her muscles and nerves. As the footsteps rounded the corner, the girl let out a noise and rammed the dagger into the Queen's heart.
The dagger began to shake until the girl could not longer hold it. The shock on the face of the Queen had loosened and her customary grief once more took its place. A light burst from the wound and the Queen's grief blinded the room.
When the girl could see again the Queen was gone and there was a rumbling from somewhere deep inside the castle that she could feel more than hear. She rushed to the bed and found the Prince had opened his eyes, color flowing back to his skin.
The young Prince was overjoyed to see the world. He did not understand the significance of the white blanket which covered the world nor was he quite clear on what exactly people expected of a prince. All he knew was that this world was one he could shape and form in a way that he never could the world of dreams he had been trapped in for much of his life. The rest he would understand in time.