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The Perfect Princess.

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Hillary



Joined: 13 Apr 2004
Posts: 1767
The Perfect Princess.  Reply with quote  

I posted this a long time ago, did some edits, and umm, just added more. Hope y'all like it.

*****

The Abbot called it a blessed day. The Fairy Godmother said the sun had surely smiled upon the kingdom of Darrows. The King beamed with pride. The Queen slurped pain numbing tea as fast as it was brewed. Celebration! Let the wine flow like water! A princess and heir had been born to the noblest of families, the Dragonsbane family, well into its sixth century of rule.

By pigeon, by mouth, by parchment and sea, the news traveled fast: Lucretia Elsabet Sarramia Dragonsbane was, by all accounts, perfect. As perfect as could be. Every peasant’s smile, every toast and cheer affirmed what everyone had already suspected; the hopes and dreams of a kingdom were now twined round the pudgy pink fingers of an infant girl.

In the royal chamber, Millicent eyed her sister, her fairy wings fluttering behind her. In theory, they were moving fast enough to set her aflight, but the fact that she outweighed most pack mules and perhaps a Clydesdale or two meant her feet remained planted to the ground. “Bloody hell, Anne. It took you long enough to pop one out. You’d think Harry wasn’t in your drawers all the time.”

The queen made a rude gesture before wilting into the pillows. “Do shut up. I don’t see you giving the kingdom any new royal blood. And take it from me, it’s not without its pains. I feel like my insides have been drained.”

“It’s not my time,” Millicent said, waddling over to the window. She threw open the sash and lit a cigarette, blowing a stream of smoke at the heavens. “Besides, I’m whale-like enough without nine months of blubber.”

“MY LADY!” the newly appointed nursemaid exclaimed, swooping in to pick up her charge. “The child is newly born! She can’t be exposed to . . . to that.”

“Oh for heaven’s . . . then take her to the nursery. I’m aiming it outside! I had a trying day by proxy, damn it.”

With a ‘hmph’, the nurse scurried from the room, not bothering to hide her annoyance.

Millicent sighed at her sister. “You hire the most annoying servants. They’re far too lippy.”

Anne simply shrugged. “Sister dear, if I did everything to please you, I’d never get anything done.”

“Perhaps.”

The Fairy Godmother watched Anne fall into sleep, a content smile on her mouth. One by one the attendants took their leave. Millicent mashed her cigarette against the windowsill, closing the shutters to keep the chill at bay. Now alone with her exhausted sibling, she approached the bedside to lean down and grace the queen’s brow with a kiss. “Don’t be telling anyone I said this,” she whispered, “but you did fine today, Anne. Very fine indeed. She’s perfect.”

The perfect princess in the perfect kingdom.

Perfect.

>><<



At eighteen years of age, Lucretia had - as everyone expected - turned into the quintessential fairy tale princess. She had creamy white skin, as soft and as smooth as the best of satins. Her garnet spun hair cascaded down her back to sway around her hips. A swanlike neck, graceful hands, and eyes likened to a pair of sapphire stars set the romantic’s heart aflame. She had magnificent posture, a beautiful mouth, and her voice! Her song would shame the larks to silence.

She was what every farmer’s daughter wanted to be. She was what every field hand wanted in a wife.

The perfect princess.

Lucretia dropped her hairbrush onto her vanity, blinking at her reflection. What to do with herself? Her tutors had given her the day off in commemoration of her birthday. She supposed she could go riding, and maybe for a hunt, but her favorite mare was recovering from a bruised foot and the rest of the horses were far too docile.

With a sigh, she went to her bedroom window, surveying the land she loved. Darrows: lush greenery, sprawling vineyards, picturesque villages surrounding an enormous castle of white marble peaks. From here she could see the nearby lake; Rayne’s Tear, where she swam to cool off in the heat of the summer months. The Lion’s River snaked to the east, providing fresh water to Darrows’ dark grape vineyards renowned for their sweet – yet tart – harvests. She could smell fresh baked bread, and hear a peasant singing as he prodded his mule along the cobblestone streets below.

The perfect kingdom.

Lucretia wandered from her room, nodding at the servants dusting and straightening the halls. She made her way to the gardens, navigating the maze-like hedges with ease. Her mother was here, somewhere; she always did needlework with her ladies in wait during lunch. Lucretia smiled; a visit with the women would do her good. At least, it would give her something to do for a while. Through the rose bushes and around the rhododendrons, Lucretia meandered until she heard their chatter. They were across the way, by the lily pond. She hiked her skirts and dashed through the grove, enjoying the feel of grass crunching beneath her feet.

She found them in the shade of the great oak, their wicker chairs set in a circle, their heads collectively bowed over their latest sewing project. Lucretia smoothed her rumpled skirts, scanning the dozen or so heads until she found a familiar silver crown.

“Hello Mother,” she said.

The queen gasped, her fingers flying to her throat. “Lucretia! What are you doing here?” She said on a choke. All conversation promptly ceased. There was a distinct lack of noise as the cross-stitching assembly gaped at the princess in horror.

“Erm, just visiting.”

The queen’s smile was tight. “Right then. “ She regarded her attendants with a delicate shrug, and they began to whisper amongst themselves. Lucretia couldn’t hear them, but whatever it was they were discussing yielded much head shaking and gesturing.

Well. Isn’t this just awkward. She shuffled her feet, unsure whether she should stay or go.

A moment later, the queen stood from her chair, beckoning her daughter over. “We have a gift for you, though it’s a bit early.”

“Are you sure, Anne?” Came a disembodied voice, and Lucretia looked around, recognizing the not-so-dulcet-tones of her Fairy Godmother.

The queen growled. “Millicent? Where are you hiding?”

“Here, darling. Here.” The corpulent Fairy Godmother appeared on a golden chaise just behind the party. She took a drag from her ciggy-on-a-stick, waving a hand to clear the coil of purple smoke. “Just listening to you hags go at it. I really didn’t know Penelope’s baby belonged to Captain Hawkes. For shame!”

Anne settled her hands on her hips . “I hate it when you do that, you bloody snoop.”

“You decided to be a queen, I decided to be a Fairy Godmother. Different skill set, love.” Millicent projected herself from her dais and waddled over to Lucretia’s side. “Hello lambie.” She stood on tiptoe to kiss her cheek. “Good to see you.”

Lucretia crinkled her nose at the cigarette smoke clutching at her aunt’s hair. For all her magic, the woman couldn’t seem to overcome that stench. “Good to see you too, Fairy Godmother.”

“Lucretia, come here. We want you to try this on.”

“What am I trying on again?”

“This.” The ladies in wait stood as a single unit, flourishing a gown of silver and white before them.

Lucretia blinked at it. “What’s that for?”

“Your ball.”

“What ball?”

Millicent prodded Lucretia forward, jabbing a thick finger into the middle of her back. “Go. Try on the dress, before your royal mother loses her royal mind.”

“But what ball?” Lucretia repeated, walking stupidly towards the gown. She had to admit it was gorgeous; the bodice and underskirt were a pure snow white, the overskirt a fine gossamer silver. The silver embroidery had been done by hand; she knew her mother’s work when she saw it.

“Your birthday ball. We need to find you a prince,” Anne said brightly, ordering a pair of servants to retrieve some dressing screens.

“A prince?!” Lucretia squawked, her distress stifled by the mass of ladies now milling around her, pulling at her gown, tugging on her hair. “What prince?”

“Never you mind.” The screens arrived and were promptly set up in a circle. The queen shepherded her daughter behind them with a smile. “Oh, hungry dear?”

“Not really. What prince, mother. I’d really . . . “

“Here, eat something.” And before Lucretia could finish her thought, the queen crammed a finger sandwich into her mouth. “Egg salad. It’s luscious.”

Lucretia felt like a puppet as her arms were raised above her head. Her simple blue frock was thrown to the side. Just as she thought she would catch a chill from standing around in her chemise, the silver gown was dragged over her head. At least four sets of hands set about tying and lacing the thing together.

“Wha ‘prince, moffer,” she said through her egg salad.

“Don’t worry yourself, lambie. Just wear the bloody dress, mmkay?” Millicent said, stepping back to eye her niece. “Oh, aren’t you just a dish.”

Lucretia wanted to tug on her hair and scream. The dress was getting tighter and tighter as the lacing on the corset was pulled taut. She swallowed the mouthful of egg salad, desperately trying to catch her mother’s eye. “Mother, what are you planning? What ball? What are . . . ” But her voice was lost amidst the praise of the ladies in wait. They all cooed at how pretty she was, at how delicates she looked in the new silver gown. Lucretia very much wanted to shred the thing with her bare hands, to stamp her foot and demand answers, but that wasn’t what princesses did.

“Mother, please!” she wailed, her protest quickly staunched by yet another sandwich jammed into her mouth. She tried to speak through the half chewed food, she tried to swallow it down, and that was likely her mistake. Because you see, the perfect princess in the perfect gown in the perfect kingdom promptly choked on her sandwich.

And died.


Last edited by Hillary on Thu Mar 30, 2006 11:04 am; edited 2 times in total

Post Tue Sep 13, 2005 10:48 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Hillary



Joined: 13 Apr 2004
Posts: 1767
 Reply with quote  

No one quite knew what hit them. One minute the Princess was blathering on about the ball and a prince, the next minute she was clutching her throat, her eyes enormous orbs of panic. Then she fell to the floor in a heap.

The queen screamed, the ladies in wait began to wail, and Millicent started to swear. The Fairy Godmother couldn’t really tell what was wrong with the princess other than her color being off, but then, it was obvious the girl had been getting upset, and upset people turned pink, didn’t they?

“Get away, move away!” Millicent said, falling onto her fat bottom. She pulled her niece into her lap, slapping at the princess’s cheeks. “Wake up, lambie. Wake up!” she ordered. A lump of ash struck the princess’s forehead, and Millicent swept it aside, tossing her cigarette away. “Lucretia Elsabet Sarramia Dragonsbane, wake this instant!”

The princess’s eyes fluttered closed.

“Oh my God. Oh my God,” the queen wailed. “Get Doctor Willinhast out here. NOW! Tell him it’s an emergency!”

Millicent’s hand went to the center of Lucretia’s chest. “Bloody hell. She’s not breathing. She’s choked!” Her hands began to glow as she called her magic. She wove a spell of restoration over the fallen princess, sending waves of power into her. Her magic must take root!

Again. And again, and again.

More magic. More!

In her mind’s eye, Millicent willed her magic into the princess’s chest. She willed it to wrap itself around Lucretia’s heart, to force it to beat, to force her lungs to draw air. She envisioned her hands working inside of the girl, touching the various organs, forcing the various bodily functions to process. She envisioned life flowing through Lucretia’s veins.

But, for some reason, there was nothing left, nothing for her magic to grasp onto. That little spark, that miniscule bit of magic that made every human being wake from their beds in the morning was simply gone.

By the time the doctor arrived, Lucretia hadn’t breathed in ten minutes. The queen was a soggy, guilt ridden mess, and Millicent was chain smoking with tears running down her cheeks. The time she’d needed it the most, her magic had failed. It was rather obvious there was nothing the wizened doctor could do, either. The daughter of Darrows had been felled by egg salad, and when Doctor Willinhast shook his head, telling them oh-so-sadly that it was no use, the queen fell into a faint.

>><<

The Princess would be buried in five days time, wearing the very same silver gown she was supposed to wear to her ball. A shroud of misery fell over Darrows; how did this happen? Why? The Princess was loved by all, a sweet girl, a beautiful girl. A perfect girl. Why? Why, why, why? That was all anyone could say.

The queen would not leave her bed, her self loathing and misery making her near-catatonic. Doctor Willinhast kept her on a steady diet of sedatives in hopes of alleviating the strain. Though everyone insisted that it was not the queen’s fault – after all, who died from egg salad sandwich? - she would hear none of it. She’d force-fed her baby and now she was dead.

The king, to his credit, maintained the appearance of the strong figurehead. On the outside, he was a study in quiet dignity; grieving, but not shattered. On the inside? He was devastated. Not only had he lost his child to the most preposterous of things, but he was in true danger of losing his wife as well. Her eyes were glazed over, and all she could do was mutter apologies in a maddened whisper.

Then there was Millicent.

The Fairy Godmother was furious. Well, furious and heartbroken. Her lambie was the closest thing she’d had to a child of her own, and in Lucretia’s hour of need, Millicent’s power had failed. She poured through her books. How had it gone wrong? She should have been able to grab the egg salad and melt it or SOMETHING. But alas, there were no incantations to aid choking princesses, nor were there any anti-egg salad ones.

So truly, she had done everything possible. But it wasn’t enough.

It was the night before Lucretia’s funeral. The princess’s body lay in a glass coffin in the royal cathedral, guarded by two score of soldiers. Tomorrow, the masses would be allowed to pay their respects to their fallen princess, but tonight, only family and close personal friends were allowed entry.

Millicent chain smoked all the way to – and through – the cathedral, though the Abbott shot her a rather nasty glare for extinguishing her cigarette in one of the potted palms. She didn’t care; her eyes were riveted on the body of her niece. She tottered up to the coffin, her pudgy hand skimming over the top.

“Oh Lambie,” she sighed, shaking her head. She settled a heavy stare on the guards who promptly bowed and exited the room, the doors clanging shut behind them. The Abbott retreated in a flourish of scarlet robes. Millicent pulled up a chair so she could stare at Lucretia, a lump settling in her throat. The princess’s body was nestled in a bed of purple blossoms. Her garnet spun hair fanned out around her, each curl adorned by a single rosette. Her lashes cast crescent shaped shadows down her cheeks.

Even in death, she was lovely.

Millicent reached into her purse, slipping another cigarette into her silver-plated holder. She snapped her fingers, sparking the ciggy to life, and took a drag. Then she did it again. For hours, she sat like that, smoking, staring at her dead niece. She heard the clock chime midnight, and still she didn’t move.

Then the first tear came, and the second, followed quickly by a third. It wouldn’t stop. She sobbed well past the cigarette turning to ash and plummeting to the floor. This wasn’t possible. This wasn’t supposed to happen. Princesses married princes and eventually became queens. They danced at parties, and sang for the adoring masses. They rode on floats in parades, and tamed unicorns. But never – NEVER – did they choke to death on egg salad sandwiches. What kind of fairy tale kingdom was this?

The Fairy Godmother tore herself from her chair, pointing her fingers at the glass casket. She was crying so hard she could barely see. The top of the coffin slid away to hover above the ground, and she flipped her wrist, lowering it onto the carpet. A muted scream escaped as she stumbled to her niece, the princess forever sleeping in the nest of spring blossoms. She grabbed Lucretia’s hand, pressing her fat cheek against the long, cold fingers. And she wept, and she wept, the crystal tears of a Fairy Godmother forever denied her ward.

And somewhere, deep inside of the dead princess, magic stirred.

Post Tue Sep 13, 2005 1:46 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Hillary



Joined: 13 Apr 2004
Posts: 1767
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King Dragonsbane was just about to bite into a bagel when his dead daughter arrived for breakfast. She was dressed in her silver gown, the casket flowers falling from her hair like snowflakes. She looked confused, and tired, and slightly green.

The king‘s breath caught in his throat; her funeral was in five hours, how was she . . .

“Lucretia?”

The princess swayed unsteadily on her feet, a tired smile on her face. “Hello Poppa.”

The bagel fell from the king’s hand. His Poppet was dead. He’d seen her body. He’d watched her chest, willed it to rise and fall, and when it hadn’t, he’d wept like a baby. But now, here she was, standing before him, looking weak and tired.

And about to fall over.

“Quickly, catch her!” he ordered a guard, just as the princess slumped. She was caught seconds before her head struck the doorframe. The king sprung from his seat, waving wildly at a dining room chair. “Seat her, here. Call Doctor Willinhast.” He grabbed a glass of water and held it to her lips, encouraging her to drink. “Open your mouth, Poppet. This will be good for you.” She did as she was told, but as soon as the liquid touched her tongue, she spit it out, blasting the king in the face.

“Noooo,” she groaned, shaking her head. “Not thirsty. Hunger . . . hungry,” she mumbled under her breath.

“Right then.” The king wiped his face with the back of his sleeve, grabbing a slab of bacon from a nearby platter. She opened her mouth, seemingly too weak to feed herself. He shoved two pieces of bacon at her, and she chewed furiously, growling slightly in the back of her throat.

“More please,” she said, her mouth still full.

“Certainly poppet, certainly.”

The king fed his daughter slab after slab of bacon, impatiently waiting for the doctor to arrive. It didn’t take long, either; Willinhast must have run all the way to the dining room from his quarters.

“I’ve heard a rumor, Sire, and it simply can’t … oh merciful God, be thankful,” the petite man said, skidding to a halt in the doorway. He looked a mess; his white hair stuck out from his head in crazed tufts. His spectacles were askew, his moustache stained with what looked like boysenberry jam.

“You said she was dead!”

“She was!”

“Am not,” Lucretia said.

“Am too!” The doctor shook his head, approaching the young woman slouching in her seat. He put his hand to her forehead, sweeping a lock of red hair from her eyes.

“You’re chilled to the bone, my dear.”

“Mmmm. Bacon.” The princess opened her mouth, eyeing her father expectantly. He promptly fed her the last from the platter, reaching over for the basket of bread.

Doctor Willinhast motioned at the guards. “Take her to the sick ward. I will examine her there.” A pair of guards nodded, slipping their interlocked hands beneath the princess’s legs. They lifted her from the seat, arranging her arms around their necks so she was properly secure.

“No!” she suddenly wailed, reaching out to her father, her eyes red rimmed and panicky. “I’m hungry. Poppa!”

“All right, Poppet. All right. Here.” The King tore a small piece of bread from the loaf and handed it to her. She greedily inserted it into her mouth, but then the oddest thing happened; her face crinkled into a tight mess, and she spit it on the floor.

“Not that. Meat. I want meat.”

“We’re out of bacon, Poppet. I don’t have . . . “

“Please!”

The king looked at the doctor, alarm written on his face. “What’s wrong with her?”

“Hell if I know, Harry,” Willinhast said, forgetting for a moment that in public, he shouldn’t use the king’s birth name. “But I’m telling you, she was dead.”

“I’m not dead, just hungry!”

The king put a soothing hand on his daughter’s shoulder. “All right, poppet. I’ll have something made. Just go with the nice doctor and . . . and find out what’s happened.”

The princess’s brows dipped into a V. “All right, but make it fast. I’m. Hungry.”

>><<

“Honey?”

Murmur, murmur, murmur.

“Honey, I have the most wonderful news!”

I’m so sorry, Harry. I killed her.

“Anne! She’s alive. A misdiagnosis. Love, please. Snap out of it. Come to the emergency ward.”

Can’t be. No, can’t be. Saw her dead. Can’t be. I killed her!

“Come see her, honey. Just get out of bed, please. I’m sure we can . . . “

The king was cut short as the bedroom door was thrown open, striking the wall behind it with a tremendous crash. A lovely picture of the Darrows landscape fell to the floor, its frame splintering apart at the seams.

“Anne Marie, get your skinny arse out of bed before I drag you out.”

Harry smiled at the large shape looming in the doorway. “I see you’ve heard the news, Millicent.”


Last edited by Hillary on Thu Mar 30, 2006 11:08 am; edited 1 time in total

Post Thu Mar 30, 2006 11:05 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Hillary



Joined: 13 Apr 2004
Posts: 1767
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“Move. MOVE, MOVE, MOVE.” Millicent shouldered past the semi circle of nurses gaping at the dead-but-not princess. Upon seeing her niece sitting upright on the examination table, her breathing hitched, her hand flew to her mouth.

I will not cry. I will NOT cry.

She took deep even breaths to try and calm herself.

“Hello Fairy Godmother,” Lucretia said through a mouthful of sausage. Millicent’s smile went from one of sheer excitement to . . . tepid at best. Something wasn’t right here. Grease covered the princess’s hands from fingertip to wrist. It had gathered at the corners of her mouth, too, glistening in the bright lights of the examining room. Millicent blinked in horror as Lucretia shoved not one, but two sausages in her mouth at a time, chewing with her mouth gaping wide.

Millicent eyed the servant carrying in a second tray of breakfast meat and shuddered.

What the devil . . .

When she’d heard about Lucretia’s miraculous appearance – on the day of her funeral no less - she couldn’t help but think her magic had something to do with it. In fact, she knew her magic was responsible, but the question was, what did it mean? How did it translate? Lucretia looked like Lucretia. Her smile was the same, her mannerisms were the same. She was just a bit green, and apparently starving after five days locked in a glass casket.

But then, wouldn’t anyone be hungry? Really, really hungry? Hungry to the point of and snarling and drooling?

“Quite the appetite,” Millicent mumbled.

The doctor nodded, inserting some metal device into Lucretia’s ear. The princess seemed oblivious, too intent on her breakfast to care that she was being prodded. “Indeed. Meat, though. Just meat. Nothing else.”

“Any ideas why?”

“I was going to ask you the same thing.”

Willinhast removed a stethoscope from his bags. He pulled it around his neck, slipping the earpieces into place. “Lucretia, dear, please put your arms over your head?” The princess did as she was told, craning her neck back so she could drop sausages into her open mouth.

Millicent shooed a nurse from a chair in the corner, wriggling between the armrests. “Why is every furnishing in this bloody castle meant for skinny people,” she muttered, ignoring the chair’s squeal of protest at her impressive girth.

Willinhast clucked his tongue. “It’s unhealthy to be obese, that’s why. It’s also unhealthy to smoke.”

“Shove it, Doc.”

“Consider it shoved.” The doctor placed the stethoscope against Lucretia’s chest, moving it around in circles. “Hrmm. Lucretia, I need to loosen your laces.”

“All right.”

The doctor tugged on the tightly woven strings of the bodice. When he managed to make a gap big enough to house his stethoscope, he hushed the room with a wave. “This might be a bit cold, dear . . . “ He placed the disk against her chemise and bowed his head, listening intently.

“Hrmm.”

He moved the stethoscope further inside of the gown.

“Well I guess that answers that,” he exclaimed a minute later, his weathered hand reaching for the princess’s wrist. He placed two fingers at the base of her palm, all the while staring at his watch. “Hrmmm. Interesting. I think that will do for now.” He motioned at one of the nearby maids. “Why don’t you get her back to her room, bathe her, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera?”

Millicent nodded. “I just got her majesty out of bed. The king was attending to her for the time being, but I’m sure she’s anxious to see her daughter.”

“Yes sir, ma’am.” The servant girl grabbed the tray of sausage and started walking from the room. Behind her, Lucretia whined, hopping down from the examining table with her hands outstretched. She tottered from the room, all the while grabbing links of sausage and cramming them into her mouth.

Willinhast let out a deep sigh, running both hands through his crazed white hair.

“Go with her,” Millicent ordered the remaining guards and servants. “I need to speak with the doctor. Alone.” The flippant tone ensured a prompt exodus. As the last nurse filed from the room, she pulled a cigarette from her case, ignoring the doctor’s glare as she lit the tip orange. “So what’s going on?”

“What did you do to her?”

“Pardon?”

“Your magic, what did you do?”

“Nothing.”

“Nothing?”

“Don’t use that tone . . . no, nothing. Why?”

The doctor stalked across the room, leaning down so he was just a few inches from the Fairy Godmother’s face. When a tendril of smoke started to creep towards him, he blew it back at her, watching it wreath around her head.

“The Princess is still dead, Millicent.”

“What do . . . “

“No pulse. No heartbeat. She’s dead.”

“Oh dear.”

Willinhast jabbed his finger at Millicent’s ample chest. “You’ve unleashed the walking dead on Darrows. And it’s our very own Princess Lucretia.”

“Oh bloody hell in a hand basket.”

Post Thu Mar 30, 2006 11:06 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
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