Mandy stared out the kitchen window, watching Rosa. She sighed. Oh how I’d love to tell Rosa who her mother is! Then she wouldn’t have to hopelessly long for Prince Owen and live as a servant! Mandy sighed and turned away to look at the lunch menu. I must keep the secret a little longer.
High above, someone else was also watching Rosa. Queen Leila turned from her high window and stalked over to a long, dark curtain. After looking around to make sure no one was nearby, she pulled the curtain over and slipped behind it. She walked over to a tall marble pedestal and picked up the single item on top of it: a small, intricately carved hand mirror. Its polished surface gleamed in the low light as she tilted it so she could see her face. Then, she spoke. “Cullen, Cullen,” she softly called. “I need you!” Suddenly, her face disappeared from the mirror and a dark face replaced it. It was a man’s face, with matted black hair and suspicious black eyes.
“Yes, my queen?” he hissed. “What may I do for you?”
“I’m sure you saw the girl sitting in the kitchen garden.” the queen said. “Was she more beautiful than I?”
“Nay, not now, my queen,” Cullen hissed once more. “You are still the most beautiful in the land.”
“Good.” Queen Leila sharply replied. “You may go.” She set the mirror down, and the face disappeared. She walked away, slipping through the curtain once more. No one was more beautiful than she. No one at all.
Things went on fairly peacefully in this way for three years. Then, disaster struck. It happened at the annual tournament, a competition between the castles to see which had the better warriors, and the greatest display of fighting skills in the land. It was held at a different castle each year, and this year it was Aren Castle, where Rosa lived. And, as tradition demanded, the king of this castle would enter at least one event.
The king’s chosen event was the joust, which surprised many. The king was notorious for being a bad horseman. The people still spoke hopefully of him winning but Mandy had a different opinion when the news reached her. She revealed it to nobody, but she thought to herself No good can come of this. They don’t consider what can go wrong. And if the king is hurt because he is less skilled than he thinks, what will happen?
When the day of the joust came, everyone in the castle showed up. Mandy and Rosa even left their kitchen to see the spectacle, and were able to find standing positions near the jousting arena. After several jousts, the king made his appearance. At first, everything seemed to go perfectly. The king’s tall, brown battlehorse pranced, the king’s armor, sword, shield, and lance were spotless, and the king himself looked regal and imposing. It seemed like nothing could go wrong. As the king galloped down the length of the ring, people cheered. Then, when the king and his opponent made contact, catastrophe struck. The king’s lance struck his opponent’s shield, breaking the shield into fragments. However, the knight’s lance was off-target and it hit the king himself, bursting through his armor and severely wounding him. Doctors were called, and they took the king away, shaking their heads and muttering. The festivities were cancelled, and everyone went back to their usual jobs. None felt like having any sort of celebration anyway, not after what happened.
The king died the next day, and the whole castle fell into mourning for their lost ruler, from Mandy and Rosa in the kitchen to Queen Leila in her high tower. Everyone was sorry at losing the king, even those who had not particularly liked him. Mandy alone thought I knew no good could come of the king’s entry, but never this. However, everyone shared the thought What will happen now?
What will happen now? Whatever it is, you'll find out Thursday when I post Chapter Three! Until then, please comment and tell me what you think!-Sarah
Update: Chapter Three is up!