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Monday, August 8, 2011

A Princess’s Adventure, Chapter 1: The Age of Issuance

Chapter 1
The Age of Issuance

Princess Rosalia’s seventeenth birthday was only three weeks away, so was her age of issuance. Not that she made much of it. Unlike most princesses, she was not spoiled; Despite her parents’ efforts. She seemed to have a natural affinity towards common sense. Rosalia always had an interest in things princesses were not supposed to be interested in. At least not openly. Such as how the knights trained, debates with her father’s advisers and council, in scholarly pursuits, and
in events outside of the castle and kingdom. Rosalia’s interests had always irritated her majesty, the queen to no end, who never understood her daughter's interest in the concerns of commoners nor her interest in martial and academic concerns.

But now the king was making a major announcement ahead of her turning seventeen, when she was to be recognized as a direct heir to the throne of Anglicia by tradition. Rosalia was distressed, as it could only mean he had something arranged for her, something that could only mean trouble for her. She was going to find out ahead of time what it was. She knew well enough that her father would never tell her, but her knight friends might know something, even if it was just a rumor.

She slipped into the knights’ training room when none of her father’s sycophant advisers were not around. Wasting no time, she went to one of the knights there: Sir Wilson, a castle knight and a friend of hers.
“Do you know what my father is up to?” she asked.
“No, I am afraid I do not know, but what I do know is this: the King has been keeping his plans secret known only to himself and his most trusted advisers.”
This bit of news made her nervous, but what he said next scared her.
“Not even the servants, who are often ‘over hearing’ things have heard a word, and that means he is being extremely vigilant with his plans for you.”
Seeing the concern creep over her face like a dark shadow he quickly tried to cheer her up. “But do not forget most of us are on your side. We all know you well and support you, you want to be yourself, not what the King and Queen wish for you to be.”
“Thank you.” She felt somewhat better, but not completely.
“You better get moving. You do not want the King to find out you were here again, or he will throw in the tower for sure this time.”
Rosalia thanked her friend again and quickly left the knight’s training room before any of her father’s close advisers caught sight of her there.

She sighed as she entered her personal chambers closing the doors securely behind her. “I guess I have no choice but to wait for him to make his announcement tonight,” she thought.

A little while later there was a knock on her chamber door, it was her lady-in-waiting, Augustina. She was the youngest daughter of a lesser noble family who was sent to be trained at the castle a few years ago. Because of their closeness in age she was Rosalia’s best friend and the closest thing she had to a sister.
“Princess, may I come in?”
“You may.”
Entering the room she noticed Rosalia sitting at her desk drumming her fingers.
“May I ask what is wrong Rosa?” She asked.
“Ugh, it is my father’s planned announcement tonight. I just know it will be something a do not agree with.” She looked at Augustina and continued, “I have to tell you I am jealous of the fact you do not have to deal with this kind of thing from your parents.”
“You should not say something like that. The king and queen care a great deal about you. They are just looking out for your best interests.”
“You mean their best interests.” She interjected.
Augustina took a moment to think about what she said next, “Well, you are partially right about that, but as their only heir they have to do both.”
She did not answer, in her heart she knew Augustina was right. They did have her and the kingdom’s interests in mind. Still she could not shake the feeling that this was all wrong. That there was something else she was intended to do or be.
Sensing that Rosalia was reflecting on what she had said she concluded to move on from what they were talking about. “Now. You should start to get ready for the party tonight.“
Still thinking, Rosalia nodded her head in acceptance. Augustina removed from one of the wardrobes a beautiful dress made from a golden-yellow silk with deep purple accents. It had cost over six hundred golds to buy from a foreign merchant. As she got ready for the festivities that night she tried to prepare for the potential shock of her father’s “announcement.” She had Augustina announce all kind of things she thought her father might say. Unfortunate it did not work. If anything it was distressing her even more. Especially with every tug of a string as
Augustina laced up her dress. To the point she just wanted to run and hide somewhere. Somewhere in the castle where no one would find her, but as much as she wanted to do that she could not do that no matter how much she wanted too. She was not the type to run and hide.
“I am sure everything will be fine” Augustina said trying to cheer her up as she finished braiding Rosalia's long fuchsia colored hair just like her mother's.
“Sure.” Rosalia thought to herself as she left her room.

The festivities began with the standard for an Anglician royal occasion. It started before the sunset as the noble families arriving in the great hall in their finest garments. First with the best minstrels and performers from around the kingdom singing the glories both recent and long ago of heroes, the dragoons, knights and the enemies they faced. With the performers reenacting these events during the songs. Then the beginning of the banquet was brought in extravagant
food cooked by the best cooks the land could offer. And during the feast a well known wandering bard who had been convinced for the right price played for that night’s feasting; recounting recent tales from far away lands. Before the king’s announcement the court magician preformed a few dazzling tricks with a few low level fire and lightning spells.

Once the magician’s performance was over the king stood up and thanked him for his show. He then announced that he would now reveal the good news for his daughter. This was the moment Rosalia had been dreading all day and night.

“We are met here tonight for the celebration of my daughter’s reaching the age of issuance, or more specifically the good news for her and the kingdom’s future. I have kept these plans secret, from even my closest advisers, until I had secured, with certainty, a momentous opportunity for the kingdom. That will greatly increase our potency.” The king had a well known and earned habit of making long speeches with long words. If it was not written down he could keep going for a while. Fortunately this was not one of those nights, “I have reached an accord
with our friend to the south, the Kingdom of Vestal, that our daughter shall marry the youngest prince of that Kingdom and he will come to live here with us.” The crowd of nobles cheered the announcement, yet the servants and knights flinched, for they knew what was about to happen.

It was at that moment Rosalia couldn’t contain her anger any longer.
“I will do no such thing!” It came forth like the eruption of a long dormant volcano in the middle of a quiet night. Now while the residents of the castle knew well the princess’s tendency to disagree with her parents’ wishes and to argue with them over it, the nobles were not. They found the princess’s behavior scandalous in their minds.
“I will not marry anyone! I do not wish to marry! I don’t care what accord you have come to with anyone! I didn’t agree to anything, and won’t go through with it!”

Now while the King was angry at his daughter’s behavior, it was the Queen who responded.
“That is enough! It is time you stop acting like some commoner’s daughter. You have an obligation to the kingdom and us, and to do what is best for it. We have tolerated your behavior long enough, and it is time for that to end! We will lock you in the tower until your appointed days if that is what it will take.”
While Rosalia had heard anger in her mother’s voice before this was different, and she knew if she continued to protest she would be locked in the tower and let out only for functions she was needed for, and then with an armed guard to keep her in line. She promptly sat down, and became as quiet as a small slime hiding from a cat, but that didn’t stop her from planning. She knew she had only one option now, escape.

© Copyright 2011 David S Flythe

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