So I finally got around to choosing a winner. :) It's at least getting me in the right direction, even though I still have to completely fulfill the two entrants' prizes.
The first place winner is....Lily! And here's her story. :)
In the land which was once called Europe many, many seasonsago there lived four kingdoms. Riparian on the bank of a river, Fidelitysurrounded by lush meadows, Scintilla by the shore, and Mythannor on themarshes. Each kingdom is led by either a Queen or a King, Fidelity andScintilla are led by a Queen and Riparian and Mythannor are led by a King.
Every fiveyears, six names are drawn from a large, wooden ball and those apprenticeswould become the next Ladies in Waiting or Servants. When the Queen or King ofa kingdom becomes too old to lead, the Queen or King chooses the most skilledand gifted Lady in Waiting or Servant to become the next leader of the kingdom.Those not picked became Maids of Honor or Castle Workers until the next Queenor King was named.
Today wewill be hearing Bell’s story and how she became one of the most rememberedQueens in all the kingdoms.
“But miss, you must wear a dress.” A timid Maid ofHonor tells me.
“Well, I am becoming the Queen and I say that I maywear a blouse and a skirt.” The Maid of Honor looks flustered. “It is thetradition.” She insisted. I sighed and allowed myself to be hassled into adress and boarded the carriage next to my mother. Who just happened to be thecurrent Queen of the kingdom of Scintilla.
Iwould have never guessed that my mother, the Queen, would have picked me tobecome the next Queen. I suppose the other Ladies in Waiting thought it wasunfair. My mother signaled them to board the carriage and while most of themignored me, Flower whom I had grown closest to, squeezed my hand. “You’ll dogreat.” She whispered to me. “I hope.” I said as I squeezed back.
Ibarely had time to take a breath, as soon as I stepped out of the carriage Iwas whisked away onto the stage next to my mother who was just about to addressthe kingdom. The crowd fell silent.
“Today is the celebration of a Lady in Waiting tobecome the Queen.” The kingdom roared so loud I could swear the kingdom ofRiparian, all the way past the river could hear it.
“Do you promise to uphold all the principles of aQueen and care and fight for your kingdom with your life?” My mother asked me.You could practically hear the whole kingdom holding its breath.
“I do.” I said finally understanding the excitement ofbeing the Queen.
“Then I giveyou your Queen,” my mother said to the kingdom. “Queen Bell of
The celebration of a newQueen is huge. H-U-G-E. As
soon as I was off the stage I got hauled into a chairin front of
line of citizens who all wanted to shake my hand ortalk to me or get
advice from me. I tried to be polite and charming and,well, like a Queen but after talking to hundreds or even thousands of people,it gets tiring. Next
up on the listwas a dance. I got put into a frilly dress and danced
with hundredsor young men. Some of them were charming but most of them
were not.After the dancing my mother came rushing toward me. “You have
to do theLadies in Waiting ceremony.” She hissed in my ear. Oh my gosh she
was right, ithad been five years from mine. It was a wonder how five years
had gone by soquickly.
Iwalked up to the stage and took a deep breath. As I got on the stage the kingdomfell silent again in moments. I cleared my throat and swallowed. “Citizens ofScintilla, as my first duty as Queen we gather here today to bestow newresponsibilities to six apprentices.” I stuck my hand in the wooden ball andcalled. “Love Destine.” I spotted a girl with long blond hair dashing up to thestage.
I called more names, SunshineDarington and Skye Riversteen, and stuck my hand into the ball again. “SeaGarnet.” Halfway done.
I called three more names, Ivy Hallagorn and MarieCandyway, then I dismissed the kingdom.
“Atyour service, Queen Bell.” Flower whispered to me on the carriage ride back tothe castle. “Thank you Maid Flower, you may go fetch me a glass of water.” Isaid. I bit my lip to keep from laughing. We would have laughed if not theLadies in Waiting were seated in the back. I’m sure it would not have made agood impression if the Queen started laughing with her Maid of Honor.
Ipassed the Ladies in Waiting to Petal, a Maid of Honor, as I had seen my motherpass us onto one of her Maids of Honor. I went up to my night chamber andcollapsed onto the bed. It was the most tiring day of my life and I still had anaming ceremony to get through.
Aftersupper the Ladies in Waiting were called up on the stage for the namingceremony.
“I call upon my kingdom to allow these apprentices tobecome Ladies in Waiting and provide their responsibilities and comfort totheir kingdom.” I spoke the traditional words. “Apprentices, do you promise toprovide your kingdom with endless comforts and necessities?” I asked.
“I do.” My Ladies in Waiting replied.
“Then it is time for you to become true Ladies inWaiting. Love you will become Lady Heart of Endless Kindness.” I said to Heartas she curtsied in respect. I felt a glow of pride in myself. “Sunshine youwill become Lady Rainbow of Shining Sun and you, Skye will become Lady Star ofGlimmering Skies.” They both curtsied.
“Sea, you will become Lady Shell of …” I drew a blank.This was really bad. “You will become Lady Shell of Sandy Beaches.” I lookedinto the crowd and saw my mother frowning disapprovingly at me. Doesn’t she ever make a mistake?
“Ivy, you will become Lady Willow of Tall Trees andMarie, you will become Lady Candy or Amazing Sweetness.” They curtsied. “Mayyou be bright to the future of our kingdom.”
More than a moon has passed since the day my Ladies inWaiting got their new names. Every day was tiring, but rewarding and my Maidsof Honor were proving to be very helpful. Even the ones who had ignored me fora while after I had just become Queen. The Ladies in Waiting are making such greatprogress and I feel that Rainbow may be making the most progress, I also likeher spunk.
Wewill be heading to my first Assemblage as a Queen tonight and I think I am asexcited as my Ladies in Waiting are. The Assemblage is when all four kingdomsmeet in peace every moon and a half at a huge stage at the border of everyone’sland.
Weset off at moonrise, I am leading my Ladies in Waiting to the Assemblage and Ican almost feel the excitement in the air. When we arrive at the Assemblage,Riparian is already there. I turn to face my Ladies in Waiting.
“Go talk with other kingdoms but do not grow to attachedto them or give away any weaknesses of our kingdom. You may meet these peoplesomewhere else then at an Assemblage and it might be a problem cause by them.”I dismiss them and go talk to the Riparian King.
Henods at me and walk toward him.
“Is this your first Assemblage as a Queen?” he asksme. I nod. “Same with me,” he says. We talk for a little bit and then I go togreet the Fidelity Queen. It is still Queen Ivy. She looks at me and gasps.
“You can’t be Bell, can you?” she asks and I nod. “Oh,so you became the Queen, congratulations.” She says.
“Thank you.” I reply.
“Letthis Assemblage come to a start.” King Night from Mythannor announced as QueenIvy and I quickly stepped onto the stage. “Tonight we will be introducingourselves and reporting what has been going on in our kingdom.” The RiparianKing said. “I am King Pebble of Small Rocks.”
I stepped forward. “I am Queen Bell of Bird’s Call.” Isaid and turned to King Night. “I am King Night of Darkening Sky.” He said.Lastly Queen Ivy spoke.
“I am Queen Ivy of Tangling Vines.”
We all stood in a moment of silence until King Nightbroke it.
“Mythannor will report first.” I nodded. “Things havebeen well and another set of Servants came in a moon and a half ago. They arelearning quickly and our old ones are also improving.”His servants raised theirchins and looked proud.
“Scintilla will report next.” I said. “Our first sixLadies in Waiting are training hard to understand what it takes to be the Queenof Scintilla. They are quick learners and look bright for the future of ourkingdom.”
King Pebble cleared his throat. “There is a smallsickness in our kingdom but we are recovering quickly. The Servants aretraining hard and learning lots.”
Queen Ivy stepped forward. “Weather is good and wewill be soon harvesting crops. Our new Ladies in Waiting are learning quicklyand our old ones have the knowledge already to lead a kingdom.” Her old Ladiesin Waiting beamed. “This Assemblage is at its end.” I announced and we left.
Nearlya year has passed since my first Assemblage as a Queen. The Ladies in Waitingare intelligent and training hard and the future seems bright for Scintilla. Iwas sitting on my bed at in my night chamber when I heard a knock. I opened thedoor to see Honey.
“Bell, I mean Queen Bell, I was up in the tower and Isaw Queen Ivy and her Ladies in Waiting marching toward our castle.” Shereported to me.
“What!” I gasped. “They crossed the border?” I ranpast Honey to the tower and saw them myself. My heart sank. What could theypossibly want?
I raced down again and rang the bell to call all myMaids of Honor. They came in moments. “Honey has reported Queen Ivy and herLadies in Waiting walking toward the castle.” They all gasped and lookedshocked. “Flower, I want you to round up all the Ladies in Waiting. And I wantSun, Honey and Petal to go escort them to the castle.” I watched them take off.“Clover I need you to stay here with me and the Ladies in Waiting to see whatthey want.” She nodded.
Momentslater Flower came back with the Ladies in Waiting whom were all lookingworried. I positioned the Ladies in Waiting so they were on either side of theMaids of Honor and myself in the middle. The door opened. Sun, Honey and Petalwere surrounding them as they came into the castle. Trying my best to soundfriendly but firm I asked them. “What do you want?” Queen Ivy stepped forward. “Mythannoris tearing up our kingdom.” I gasped. “They are convinced that we have theirapprentice. They say that we are the only kingdom that would take their apprentice.Please help us stop them.” Her voice was nothing like I heard before from her.It was pleading. “Of course we will help.” I said firmly.
“Is that wise?” Sun asked me but I ignored her.
“Sun and Honey, stay here with two of the Ladies inWaiting and send one if Mythannor or Riparian come.” They nodded.
I looked at the Ladies in Waiting. “I will take LadyWillow, Lady Rainbow, Lady Star and Lady Heart.” I told them and turned to theMaids of Honor who were coming. “Let’s go.”
Aswe reached Fidelity the whole place was a mess.” Queen Ivy looked thunderstruck.I turned to my Maids of Honor and Ladies in Waiting. “Don’t do anythingdangerous and don’t get into any fights you can stop. Report back to me ifsomething happens.” They dash off and I exchange a glance with Queen Ivy beforerunning into the mess myself. I quickly smell something and I gasp. I smelledsmoke. I quickly locate the fire which is dangerously close to the castle. “Water!”I gasp “Throw water on the fires!” I shouted. Then a Fidelity apprentice staredat me. “Intruders!” he shouted. Many of the Fidelity adults looked up in horrorat me. I wanted to reassure them that I was on their side, but Queen Ivy did itfor me.
“No, she’s not. Fidelity is helping us!” She said tothe apprentice and adults. I breathed a sigh of relief.
“Fidelity, grab anything that can hold water and go tothe river to fill it! Throw it at the fire.” I shouted. I located a bucket andran to the river. Rainbow ran beside me and filled her bucket along with me. Weran to the fire and I threw the water onto the fire. It crackled loudly.
AsI ran back to the river I saw Star and Willow working together to carry a largetub of water to the fire. That must have been pretty heavy for twothirteen-year olds. “Rainbow!” I shouted, “Go help Star and Willow.” She noddedand rushed toward them.
Soon the fire was out andthe only thing to worry about was Mythannor.
“Scintilla” I shouted. “Come to me.”
Queen Ivy ran up beside me and shouted the samecommand for her kingdom. “What is your plan?” She asked me.
“Charge at them with buckets of water and throw it atthem and hope they flee.” Queen Ivy stared at me like I lost my mind and slowlynodded. She relayed the plan to her kingdom and I relayed the plan to mine.
“I want ten buckets for each kingdom.” I said to themall.”Go!”
After many trips to the river most of us were armedwith buckets of water.
“When I give the signal.” Queen Ivy hissed. “One, two,three. Now!” she shouted as a mob of Fidelity and Scintilla raced towardMythannor. I think that alone could get them fleeing but once they got wet KingNight shouted.
QueenIvy turned to me. “Fidelity is in your debt.” She said and turned back to thecastle to try and repair the damage.
“Scintilla” I shouted once more. “We’re going back.”
I had gotten my kingdom through one of the mosttoughest times in seasons and because of that I was proud of both myself and mykingdom. And because of that I had decided to hold a celebration for all ofScintilla, even those who didn’t help with Fidelity’s problem. “To those whoworked together to help Fidelity. To those who are training to be the nextQueen and to those who are in my kingdom!” I made a toast on the stage. “Go have fun.” I told my Ladies in Waitingand Maids of Honor. “You all deserved it.” Rainbow and Star rush off togetherand I hear them whisper, “Look at that, two celebrations in less than twomoons, that has to be some kind of record. One that’s going to be rememberedfor a long time.” And it was remembered.