It took me a little while to complete this writing challenge. I also didn’t completely follow the required parts, but I wanted to focus more on the characters than the specifics of the challenge. It was interesting, don’t know if I like it, but here it is.
Writing Challenge 10-02-2014
The dark haired beauty strode down the path from the castle to the stable. The servant was struggling to keep up. His plaintive voice filled the air. “Please, your majesty, don’t leave like this,” an elderly man panted after her.
She stopped abruptly and turned on him. The poor man stumbled to a stop, desperately trying not to run into her. “Did I miss understand? Did or did not Prince Darien break off our engagement?”
The man paled under her glare, he stuttered for a few moments and then settled for a nod.
“Then I do not see that there is any reason to stay.” She turned and stormed toward the stables.
The man looked pleadingly back at the castle, wishing someone would come rescue him. No one had wanted to confront the queen. They all were silently, cursing the prince. Sending a letter to break off his engagement, not even having the decency to do it in person; he had left his kingdom to clean up the mess.
The king was furious that the Ambassadorial trip to the Moon Kingdom had resulted in his son falling in love at first sight with the Moon Princess. Their kingdom was not that great or controlled that much power. The alliance with Queen Beryl had been an excellent match. While a marriage to the Moon Princess would not be below his station and under other circumstances would have been wonderful. In this instance, they were making an enemy of a very powerful kingdom, on a planet that they lived. Even if Darien did not come back, which seemed very likely, it would leave his earth bound family to bear the brunt of her anger.
Sighing, the servant’s shoulders slumped and he trudged on to the stables. He found the queen saddling her own horse, while the stable hands kept a safe distance.
He was the castle steward and didn’t spend much time around the horses, but even he understood there was something different about the queen’s mount. The large black thing seemed to hate everyone, including its rider. Her Majesty was not intimidated and was mounted and riding the monster toward him. Quickly, he jumped to the side. Still the beast snapped at him as it walked by.
“Please! You’re Majesty! Take a guard!” he called after her.
She didn’t respond and when she reached the road, took off at a gallop.
The steward was relieved and crushed. He had failed the king and now he would have to tell him so. The men in the stables watched him with sympathy as he slowly made his way toward the castle.
Beryl was consumed with fury. How dare he discard her? She ruled the strongest Kingdom on Earth. A beautiful powerful sorceress, willing to share all she had with a prince from a small backwater country. Turned aside for an empty headed child!
She had a chance to meet the princess last year. While she was pretty enough, but there was very little going on behind the lovely blue eyes. Queen Serenity was a worthy rival, with a regal bearing and command that she was willing to respect. But the little princess? Never.
This could not be allowed to happen. No one humiliated her like this. She hated them all.
Shame bubbled to the surface, she had let go of her pride and confessed her love to Darien. No one had ever had such power over her. To be so callously discarded. Thrown aside like she were just a piece of garbage. She wanted to crush him as she had the letter. For a year he had strung her along, taking everything she gave. Allowing her to think her love was returned in kind. Bastard.
Her lover would not get to live happily ever after with his princess when she had to live with the humiliation of his rejection.
Somehow, they would all pay for this. She would find a way to strip everything from him.
So consumed was she by her thoughts, Beryl did not hear the horse approaching.
Shuten had left as soon as he could in pursuit of the Queen. He was ashamed of his Prince and fellow soldiers. When they heard that the sorceress had left, none had wanted to go after her. The cowards would rather hide inside the castle, then risk her justified fury, to provide the proper guard for her return trip. It disgusted him the lack of pride is people seemed to have. None wanted to be the one to speak badly of the Prince or deal with the dishonorable consequences. Shuten had not hesitated to accept the task. Their honor demanded that they take care of her until she was safely behind her castle walls. Prince Darien’s disgraceful behavior would not compounded by him.
Finally he was able to catch up to the swift moving royal. Her black hair billowed out behind her in a glorious rippling black curtain.
“Your Majesty, Queen Beryl,” Shuten called. He pulled along side, “Please allow me to escort you back to your castle.”
She turned deep blue eyes toward him. “I do not wish anything from your Kingdom.”
It was completely understandable and he did not argue the point. “Then accept it from me. I cannot allow a lady to travel alone.”
“Why?” she asked, her gaze seemed to bore into his soul. He knew his answer was important.
“The prince may have left Earth and forgotten what honor and loyalty is, but I have not. Where he has failed and shamed himself, I will remain the knight I was raised to be.”
Anger still shimmered in her eyes and her face did not soften, but she nodded and continued forward no longer looking at him.
Shuten settled in to the right and back, a respectful distance from the woman who would have been his queen.
They had been riding in silence for approximately an hour when the world began to darken. Looking up he watched the sun wink out off existence. His horse shifted nervously beneath him in the darkness.
“See how they flaunt their power,” Beryl said.
Shuten looked in her direction, “Who?”
“The Moon Kingdom, they have said they want only peace, but how many eclipses have we seen in the last few months?”
“I’m not sure, far more than usual.”
“Yes, the Moon would not have to raise a sword. They only need to deny us access to the Sun and where would we be? Helpless, starving and defenseless; so they remind us how much power they have over us.”
For a moment Shuten was stunned. It was a powerful weapon, to deny them access to the sun. How had he missed the warning?
“Do you know what the Moon Kingdom produces?”
He thought, but nothing came to mind, “No, your majesty.”
“Nothing. They collect royalty from the surrounding planets and each of them provide for the Moon.”
The eclipse began to pass and he was able to look Queen Beryl in the eye. “They hold control over our solar system, promising that it will bring peace, but peace for whom? Has the Moon Kingdom brought peace to our planet? In what way does an alliance with the Moon Kingdom benefit us? It benefits them greatly. I have visited the Moon, they have no peasants. Everyone is gloriously clothed and fed. No laborers, no farms, just Palaces, princesses, and princes; with those entire people dependant on our resources, how does it benefit us?” she asked.
Shuten couldn’t answer, he was ashamed to realize the enemy stood at the door and he had not seen them. Dressed in silk and smiles, they held a sword at their throat, and only one of their leaders had seen the threat for what it was.
The queen turned and continued on, leaving Shuten with his thoughts.
Suddenly, the sphere he carried in the pouch at his waist had greater meaning. He was being offered great power and hadn’t understood why. Now, it made sense, if the Earth was headed for war, they would need all the power they could muster. His loyalty would always be for his planet, no matter the choices of his kingdom. They would align with the Prince or the Queen, but that would not matter in the end. He was a knight and had chosen to serve with a Kingdom he thought reflected his own personal beliefs. The last couple days showed that to be untrue.
Powers were in motion and he was being chosen to play a part.
He could feel the heat of the orb, eager to join with his skin.
The castle came into sight, Beryl had made her decision. In her hand she rolled around a purple globe, the voice offered her the power to defend the Earth and get her revenge on the Moon Kingdom that wished their subservience. She was the right ruler for Earth, not the pampered royals on the moon. Together they would make them pay. In her mind’s eye she could see Darien on his knees before her; completely under her power, at her mercy, if she had any. If she couldn’t have him, then he would die, the choice was hers.
As she approached the gate she stopped and turned back to the knight escort. The voice said he too had a part to play. It gave her the words to say.
“Knight Shuten, thank you for your companionship. When the time comes, fight bravely and never let your loyalty waver.”
Shuten watched the Queen disappear behind the gates. Yes, he was loyalty personified and that left only one path for him to walk. He would not return to Prince Darien’s Kingdom. Another called him and he would answer.