Okay, so I have been failing miserably in helping Hattush with the blog. *smiles apologetically at Hattush*
Therefore, I have decided to just post one of my stories. I love writing and have A TON of stories – finished and unfinished.
This one I wrote for a contest, based on three photos. it was a bit challenging to figure out a storyline that would fit around all of the photos, just so the story could correlate correctly. Thankfully, I did figure out a storyline that worked – and here’s the finished project! Please let me know your HONEST opinion in the comments! I LOVE hearing from you guys!
The sound of clashing metal and blood curdling screams penetrated the beautiful spring day that had started out so peaceful with the melodious trilling of larks and the sweet smell of new earth that had been hidden under a blanket of sparkling snow throughout the bitter cold of winter – now it was interrupted by bloodthirsty barbarians. Aelliana’s wide hazel green eyes strained for a glimpse of anything that might be hiding in the inky darkness of the room, where she had been instructed to conceal herself. She wasn’t a bit frightened for herself, but instead for her beloved father and mother. What was happening? Were Mother and Father alright? Torrents of thoughts invaded her mind with their tortuous barbs. She should be out their helping defend her home, not crammed in here like a toddler! She could wield a sword as well as some men, thanks to her father – well, she could handle the cinquedea, a lighter sword version, at least, with swift precision.
Suddenly, a lanky young man burst into the hidden room. “Eínai asfalés, Prinkípissa.” The old language password, brought her to her feet instantly, knowing immediately that today, the password was merely that – a password. “James! What is going on?” She exclaimed, but he only grabbed her hand and swiftly dragged her out of the room, whispering an apology for laying hands on royalty as they slipped noiselessly through the concealed corridors, dodging cobwebs and startled rats that scurried out of their way. Knocking once, hesitating for 5 seconds, then knocking twice in rapid succession on a wall distinguishable only by a small niche, granted them immediate access to a small, dimly lit room. Blinking to accustom her eyes to the light, she saw her parents and fled into their arms; barely noticing their ashen faces and worried eyes. “My dear, you must escape now. There is a group of four men below that window,” Her Father motioned to the small, shaded window to their right, “that are awaiting your arrival to hasten to Keckleydor where you will be safe.” Her father said gently. Her lovely eyes widened. “You and Mother will accompany me, will you not?” Her parents exchanged a glance. “Ellie, we will, Lord willing, follow soon after. We cannot leave our beloved people in such peril; we cannot flee at the first sign of danger.” Only slightly comforted by their words, she stubbornly persisted. “Then I will also remain. These are my people also, and my home. If you must stay, then I certainly must also.” Her parents looked worried. “Aellianna (my God has answered) Aethelfled (noble beauty) Daralis (beloved) Fira (fiery, ardent) Milldrede (gentle strength) Wynnfrith (joy and peace)! You must go! No questions!” At Aelliana’s shocked, pained look, her Mother softened her tongue. “My dear, you must go. We love you, and will follow shortly, Lord willing. No, now no more arguing. Go.” Her Father stepped forward and handed her a small sachet with the careful instructions only to open it when she was safe. Tears threatened to spill over and she swallowed hard, restraining the tears only with immense effort. “Yes, Mother, Father. I love you both so much. Farewell. “ She whispered, swinging lithly out of the hewn window. At the ground, she swung upon the steed presented to her, and bowed her head as her escorts carefully snuck out of the castle grounds. She barely noticed her escape route, as the tears finally won over and her resolve not to weep crumbled. Burying her head in the horses powerful neck, she surrendered to the agony inside, sobbing as if her heart would break – something in her knew she’d never see her parents alive again on this earth.
From the beginning everything had moved so swiftly, too swiftly to comprehend. Aelliana (E-liana) swept her gaze from the mountain peaks surrounding the stone fortress like never tiring sentinels, to the lowland valleys encompassing the castle itself. She shook her head of golden copper hair that framed her face like a shining halo, swinging loose about her shoulders, and reaching her waist, as if trying to erase the terrible, life changing momentous events that had occurred recently. But was it truly just recently everything had happened? Or was it a hundred years ago? Nothing felt real anymore. Not even the cold, hard stone under her fingertips, worn smooth by hundreds of years of touch. Her mother would scold dreadfully if she could see her now, letting the wind play with her loose strands, but her mother…….She clenched her teeth angrily, fighting the intense burning tears that pricked her eyelids. Those barbarians had no right! No right!! They had destroyed her homeland and her life itself.
Along with her parents’ lives.
She’d escaped just in time, not knowing that her parents would not follow. Never again would she see their faces, full of love for her, their only surviving child. There had been 5 children at one time, but one by one had died of a strange fever that ravaged their small bodies until they were nothing less than flushed, barely breathing skeletons. She alone had survived. Even though she was the youngest and smallest, she had somehow been spared…….
“My lady?” A mild, soft voice interrupted her memories, sharply bringing her back into harsh reality. Aelliana whirled around in surprise to see a small, dark haired girl about her age clothed in the tunics worn by servants. Sighing, she answered, “Yes?”
“I am Claudia, Lady Rashida assigned me to serve you during your stay here.” Clearly, the girl wasn’t frightened by her as many others had been, she met Aelliana’s vivid hazel green eyes calmly. Finally, she replied. “I see. Is there anything else Lady Rashida instructed you to do?” This time, Claudia flushed and looked away. “Yes, my lady. She instructed me to let you know that there is an important meeting you need to attend later, and to come see her when I found you.” Her jaw clenched angrily. Lady Rashida like to domineer over people, making them do what she wanted them to do, and intimidating them beyond belief. Apparently, she thought she could do that to her also. Well, she would not bend to every whim of Lady Rashida; as she oft saw the wicked way of life she led. “You may tell her – “ She broke off suddenly. “Actually never mind, I’ll tell her myself.” She smiled gently at Claudia, who she could sense had a kind heart. In apparent relief, Claudia smiled back, and followed Aelliana as they descended the stone steps from the vast balcony at the very top of the castle.
The moment they entered the drawing room of Lady Rashida, Aelliana was bombarded with instructions. “My Princess, you must meet with your deceased father’s advisors, and make an immediate decision on whether to marry the Prince of Wales or the Prince of Ireland. Your decision and the fate of your country rests entirely on your shoulders, Your Highness. The sooner -” Aelliana could stand it no longer. “Lady Rashida! In all due respect, as my parents taught me diligently to honor and respect my elders, I must remind you that you cannot and will not take up the role of ‘mother’ to me. The only one who fulfilled that role perfectly was my dear, deceased mother. I am well aware that I need to make some momentous decisions, both for myself and my beloved country. The reason I am currently residing at Keckleydor Castle is because its strength, both in size and in armed protection, is unequaled except for Keinderouseor, my previous home, now under barbarian surveillance and guard. You and your husband, Lord Farquaad have done a wonderful job in its upkeep so far, and you have my gracious and heartfelt thanks for doing so. Keinderouseor (ken-dor-o-se-or) is my family home, having been passed through the Decaidore (de-say-a-dor) family for generations. Have no fear, my lady, that I will bring it back under my rule. I will meet with the advisors and make my next move. No, for the last time, I will NOT marry either Prince Steffan or Prince Kaiser. Marriage is a wise step, and I plan to marry a wise man. NOT one who seeks only to enhance his popularity and enlarge his kingdom; one who is greedy and selfish.” Lady Rashida’s mouth hung unattractively open in astonishment at Aelliana’s quiet, yet powerful words. With a curtsy, Aelliana turned gracefully and left the room.
With a sigh, Aelliana cupped her chin on her slim hands as she listened to the advisors argue over what was the best course of action, as if they were the kings themselves. A hesitant tap on her shoulder made her turn around in surprise. No one was allowed to lay hands on royalty! A middle aged man with kind brown eyes, asked her softly if she could follow him. She surprised herself when she rose and followed him! When they exited the room, he approached his topic of conversation with conviction and gentleness. “My Princess, during the fight at Keinderouseor, there was a valiant young man that fought bravely for your family and the castle. He saved the lives of countless other soldiers and servants, nearly 200 lives he saved by putting himself at risk. I know he will not be honored in any way, so I took it upon myself to come to you and speak appraisingly on his behalf.” She cocked her head to one side, her eyes searching the man’s face. “Two hundred, sir? He saved that many lives, by putting himself in harm’s way, so fewer lives would be lost?”
“Yes, Princess. Regardless of his own life, he fought valiantly, heedless of anything but saving others’ lives.”
“Is he a knight?”
“No, Princess. Not unless you knight him.” Aelliana thoughtfully studied the deep, breathtaking blue of the sky from the window they had paused in front of. “Can you arrange for him to be brought here tomorrow four hours after the rising of the sun? Such a brave man should be rewarded with at least knighthood. An estate or two also, perhaps.”
The man’s kind brown eyes brightened. “I knew you’d make a wise choice, Aelliana. You are a wise, kind hearted young lady, that will make an amazing queen. Don’t let the cares of this world change you, my child. May God bless you!” He turned and left, as quietly as he’d arrived. It wasn’t until he was long gone, that Aelliana realized that in his last words, he’d failed to use ‘Princess’, her proper title, and yet, she didn’t begrudge him for it.
The next morning, four hours after sunrise, Aelliana eagerly headed toward the large ballroom – part of the original, ancient castle, and had to remind herself to walk gracefully, with dainty, evenly paced steps. After entering the spacious ballroom, with immense, domed windows, she headed toward the small, yet well built raised platform upon where her throne was placed. She had taken special precaution to clothe herself in her best garments, and Claudia had done a wonderful job in picking the perfect dress of creamy silk, with a border of golden threads and a jewel studded belt from her mother, with the crown that her father had given her before she fled the castle. Not until later had she realized why her father had chosen to give her that instead of anything else – he’d known that he wouldn’t escape. She shook her head of loose, copper strands and gracefully sank onto the throne. She sighed and ran her slender fingertips over the richly smooth, mahogany wood, this wasn’t her father’s throne that he’d wisely ruled from for over 35 years. This was an older throne that was smaller, and less ornate, one that had been stored in Keckleydor if need for it had arisen. A wry grin crossed her lips, Need indeed. I wish I didn’t need it. The doors were suddenly flung open and a courtier entered announcing the entrance of several knights attending the knighting of this man. With a gasp, she realized she didn’t know his name! How embarrassing. At that moment, he entered. She shot to her feet, all the rules of proper etiquette forgotten and abandoned. Duke William! Her old time playmate! Little Willie! This was preposterous! Silence fell across the assembled crowd, as William made his way to the platform and knelt in respect before her astonished figure. Regaining her composure, she nodded at the elderly Solomon to bring her the sword. Keeping her gaze steadily on the kneeling young man with chestnut hair before her, she couldn’t help but allow a small smile as she remembered their childhood friendship that had only ended when his father made a public fall from disgrace and was banished from Etzerlland, and family loyalty bade him go with his disgraced father. When handed the sword, she carefully placed it on one shoulder and the the other, saying all the while, “I now knight thee, Duke William, for thy noble deeds performed at Keinderouseor, saving many lives, while risking thy own. Rise Sir William. Thou are now an esteemed knight, and anyone who crosses thee, crosses me, Princess Aelliana who knighted thee, before God and these witnesses.” The tall young man rose and bowed low before her, murmuring, “My Princess, I would die for you.” His forest green eyes met hers in a kind and sincere gaze. “I would, Aelliana. I always would’ve died you.” Her breath caught in her throat and she was only able to manage a brief nod, dismissing him as the crowd dispersed.
Later that evening, she paced the balcony anxiously. She turned to the brisk wind and let it caress her flushed cheeks, but a sudden movement at the door attracted her attention and she whirled around, her hand at the sharp dagger concealed in her bodice. Her eyes widened in surprise as she recognized the lean figure at the door. “William!”
“My lady.” He bowed respectfully, but his deep green eyes twinkled in merriment. Suddenly, she put her hands on her hips angrily. “William, I didn’t even know you were back in the country, much less at our castle!” He came to stand next to her, overlooking the lush, green valley. “El, I came to your family’s castle to speak to your father on….” He hesitated. “What, Will?” The nervousness she’d at first felt with this tall, handsome knight with the forest green eyes of her old playmate, melted away as soon as he’d called her ‘El’, his nickname for her since they were toddlers. “Well, I asked your father for permission to…..” He rubbed the back of his neck nervously. “To marry you.” Her eyebrows shot up. Seeing her look, he hastened to assure you. “ I know, but I’ve been praying diligently about a young lady to marry, and the only person who kept consistently coming to mind was you.” A small smile tugged at the corners of her full lips, and she turned to him. “I accept.” He looked confused. “You accept what?”
“Your marriage proposal. I know Father would’ve approved, and I would rather marry you than anyone else.” His eyes lit up at her words, “Your Father did approve, but…ran out of time to speak to you.” Her eyes filled with tears, and he embraced her gently as she cried. “But I can’t marry you yet. “ He said after her tears ceased. “I have to reclaim your castle from the barbarians, first.” She opened her mouth to protest, but her stopped her. “Please. Don’t try to persuade me otherwise. I can be just as stubborn as you.” She sighed in defeat. “Choose what men and arms you need. I will support you.”
The next several days were a flurry of preparation for the upcoming battle, with Will and Aelliana stealing only a few hours daily for walks around the garden, discussing the future. Their bond grew unbreakable. The dawn of the day the men were to march to retake the castle, arrived and Aelliana was up before the sun to bade Will farewell. Clothed in a simple, light golden dress, she arrived just as he was leaving the gate, but seeing her, he reigned in his steed. Choking back tears, she grasped his arm, “Please, Will. Be careful. I can’t lose you also…… I love you.” His eyes brightened. “I love you also, El. Lord willing, I will return and claim you as my own.” He lifted her hand to his lips and then rode off. “Lord, protect him. Protect my Will.”
News of the battle was inconsistent, different bits of news arriving from different spies. Aelliana paced nervously in her room, her eyes downcast, praying fervently for the men risking their lives to regain her castle, and her Will. A knock at the door interrupted her reverie, and she called out admittance. “My Princess, we won!”The breathless spy exclaimed. “Oh, praise the Lord!” She whispered. “How is Wi- Duke William?” She spy smiled, “He’s well, Princess, and eagerly racing here to claim his bride.”
The next day, Duke William and Princess Aelliana knelt in the large cathedral, and pledged their lives to God, and asked His blessing on their wedding the next day. “I surrender our lives, and my knighthood to Thee oh God. Do with us as You will.”
Aelliana echoed a soft “Amen. Let THY WILL be done.”
Okay – what did y’all think? I thought the middle was a bit rushed and the ‘love part’ was cheesy, but, eh. I had a maximum amount of words I couldn’t exceed.
Do you enjoy writing? Have you ever written a story? What’s your favorite time period to read about?
With much love,