Archive | February 2016

Something Amiss in Alerald – TT ‘hip’

For the next few weeks we’re sharing snippets of a new story, tentatively titled Something Amis in Alerald, a LGBT Fairy Tale.

Princess Reanna is having a confrontation with her parents, King Reynard and Queen Amica, over her not wanting to marry any of the Prince’s that have come looking for her hand. The Queen is suspicious about the closeness between the Princess and her serving girl, Nahla. The King announces a ball, where Reanna will either choose one of the suitors, or the King will choose one. Reanna comes up with a plan. She’s been secreting food away, and has been spending time in the stables to familiarize herself with the horses. But then…Catherine Hyll, Princess of Zaylor arrives at the ball and throws Reanna’s emotions into a whirlwind.

This week in Tuesday Tales, we’re writing to the prompt ‘hip’. Return to TUESDAY TALES here, to read more snippets from several different genres.

Tuesday Tales

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Trumpets sounded, to announce Princess Reanna. The crowd stilled and turned to see the young girl that they were there to honor. The eligible men in the room salivated when they saw her youth and her beauty. Although, the dowry they sought was a tempting prize of itself. They all lusted after the riches that were promised to the man chosen as the Princess’s husband. Because of the largess of the dowry, they’d anticipated a plump and ugly duckling. Instead a young, elegant swan stood in their vision, filling the old men with lustful longing, and rising the trousers of the younger ones who still had vigor under the covers.

princess4One by one, the young – and old – men were brought and presented to Reanna. Others danced while the introductions were made. The men were chaste to leave, not wanting to abandon the lovely lass to the attentions of the other suitors. Soon Reanna was flocked in a throng of drooling men, each clamoring to garner her admiration.

Reminds me of a pack of wild, hungry dogs, snarling around a chunk of meat, Reanna thought. She scanned the room, searching for a glimpse of her beloved Nahla. Not seeing her, she turned and caught the bold stare of a set of obsidian eyes. An enchantress with ebony tresses and a plunging neckline accenting the full cleavage it surrounded stood across the room. Reanna’s breath caught and she felt a sudden rush of longing in her loins. She longed to stride across the room and fondle the breast that threatened to spill out the gown.

What would all these men do then? The thought of how the circling vultures would respond if Reanna had the courage to act on the thoughts in her head caused her to laugh with pleasure. The men preened, all certain that they were the ones that brought the glow to Reanna’s face.

Reanna turned to find her mother. Seeing her not far away, she sidled over. “Mother, who is that woman over there? The one in the daffodil gown and the jet black hair.”

Queen Amica turned where Reanna’s gaze was locked. “Her? That’s Catherine Hyll, of Zaylor. Haven’t you met before?”

“No, I’ve never seen her before.”

“Are you certain? I’m sure she’s been at gatherings we’ve been to.”

“No, Mother. I’m positive. If we would have met before, I would have remembered her.”

“We shall remedy that. Come, dear, I’ll introduce you.” As the two women made their way across the room, the Queen bent her head and whispered, “I’m sure she’s just here to pick up one of your crumbs. She hasn’t been able to find a husband either.”

Catherine and Reanna’s eyes were locked and never wavering as the two women made their way across the room. The images that came unbidden to Reanna brought a pinkness to her cheeks.

“Catherine, it’s come to my attention that you’ve never met my daughter. Princess Reanna, this is Princess Catherine, come from the north, from the Land of Zaylor.”

Reanna thrust her hand out. “It’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m so glad you traveled all this way for my ball. Was it a long and tedious trip?”

Catherine enveloped Reanna’s hand with both her own, closing them around the dainty offering and filling it with her warmth. “The pleasure, my dear, is mine. No, the trip wasn’t horrid. Two days journey is all.”

“Two days? You’ve been on the road that long? Then you must stay here and rest, as our guests,” Reanna blurted out. “Mother?”

“Why, of course,” Queen Amica replied. “I’ve had several rooms made up for those coming a distance. You must stay.” A tap on her shoulder turned the Queen from the conversation as she gave her attention to another Queen from a nearby land.

No one seemed to notice that the two girls stood in rapt discussion, their hands still clasped together.

Dancers whirling around the room intruded on the guest’s space that lingered along the sidelines. They soon forced the women back closer to the wall. They dropped hands as Reanna turned slightly and tried to appear that she was watching the room, instead of the ravishing beauty standing beside her. They stood closely, almost hip to hip, as they spoke, oblivious to anyone else around them.

“So, I hear you’re to marry one of the men that are sniffing around you,” Catherine said.

“That’s my father’s plan. That doesn’t mean that it’s mine.” At these words, Reanna had a quick moment of despair as she thought of Nahla, the love of her life. What am I doing, entranced by another, when I love one? Then, Catherine spoke again, and all thoughts of Nahla fled.

“Are you drawn to any of them?”

“No, none at all. I can honestly say that there’s not one man out there that tempts me, nor delights me.” Reanna spoke breathlessly as the fever of longing filled her. “What of you? I hear you’ve not wed. Is there one out there that you long for?”

The soft pink tip of Catherine’s tongue etched the length of her lips as she hesitated before answering. “Not I. I have no desire to bed with a man.”

“Me either! I thought I was the only one. Just the thought is revolting.”

Finding that they had a common bond sent a rush through both of them. They continued speaking, leaning closer together, and their talk becoming more intense.

Nahla quietly made her way around the room, carrying a serving tray filled with tankards of the household’s finest mead. She offered the goods to the visitors, while keeping an eye out for Reanna. She finally spotted her ensconced in the back, talking to Catherine. Seeing Reanna standing there, so close and cozy with the visiting Princess from Zaylor, filled Nahla with a sense of dread and foreboding.

Something Amiss in Alerald – TT ‘mixed’

For the next few weeks we’re sharing snippets of a new story, tentatively titled Something Amis in Alerald, a LGBT Fairy Tale.

Princess Reanna is having a confrontation with her parents, King Reynard and Queen Amica, over her not wanting to marry any of the Prince’s that have come looking for her hand. To complicate matters, the Queen is suspicious about the closeness between the Princess and her serving girl, Nahla. To thwart the girls, Nahla’s duties have been switched to helping cook in the kitchen.

This week in Tuesday Tales, we’re writing to the prompt ‘mixed’. Return to TUESDAY TALES here, to read more snippets from several different genres.

Tuesday Tales

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Reanna slept fitfully that night. Tossing and turning, every joint in her body ached from the constant movement. As daylight broke across the land, the faint crows of the earliest roosters out yonder foretold of the forthcoming sunshine. She knew this would be the best time to try to steal away and try to catch Nahla attending to the early morning kitchen duties. The courtyard would soon be bustling with preparations to send the criers forth announcing the news of the upcoming ball.

She eased out of bed and tiptoed to the servant’s alcove, hoping that crotchety Margaret was still sound asleep. The snores echoing from the small room told Reanna that she needn’t go further. Elderly Margaret slept the sleep of the dead, with the raspy vibrations reverberating through the tapestry curtain as proof that she still lived.

Poking her head through the thick tapestry hanging in her doorway, Reanna saw that the corridor was clear. She slipped out, staying on the sides of the gray stone walls. Should she chance another occupant in the walkway, it would be easier to duck into the nearest doorway and remain unseen.

castle kitchenShe didn’t encounter any other people on her journey to the kitchen. From the sounds within, she knew more than just Nahla was hard at work already. Inching towards the huge archway that opened up into the bustling hive of activity, Reanna peeked her head around, looking until she spied Nahla on the far end, busy washing a mound of dirt encrusted potatoes. Reanna watched patiently and stealthily until Nahla finally raised her head as she brushed an errant lock of tresses from her forehead. Reanna raised a dainty hand in the air, waving to catch the attention of her friend.

A flush rose up Nahla’s cheeks when she noticed the motion from the doorway, with only the barest glimpse of a blond head peering around the granite boulders separating the two rooms. Her head swiveled as she looked around the kitchen, figuring out where Cook was and trying to determine if she dare take a chance to abandon her task to go meet Reanna.

Cook wasn’t anywhere around and the other indentured servants intent on their own tasks, one mixing a massive mound of dough for the daily bread and another dressing a tableful of chickens. Nahla stepped quickly towards the doorway. Reanna gripped her arm and pulled her around into the other room.

“Reanna…you shouldn’t be here…if Cooks finds me gone…”

“Hush, my sweet…I had to see you. I couldn’t bear going another day without seeing you.” She threw her arms around Nahla, clutching her tightly.

Nahla’s knees weakened and she slumped into the Princess’s embrace. “It’s only been one night. But I’ve missed you so,” she whispered.

“As have I. I barely slept at all last night. My arms ached to not have you in them.”

“I can’t stay here long. I must be back at my station before Cook returns. I’ve heard rumors…she whips her girls for the slightest infractions.” A tear formed at the corner of her eye.

“Then you must get back. For now. I’m working on a plan.” Reanna lowered her face into Nahla’s neck and spoke quietly into her ear. “After the ball…in a fornight…we shall be together after the guests disperse.”

“What…how…”

“Shhhh, my darling. I daren’t tell you yet. In case anyone finds out, I don’t want you implicated in any of my plottings. Just remember…after the ball. We’ll be together then.” Reanna placed a tender kiss on Nahlia’s lips and pushed her away. “Now, go. Before your presence is missed.”

After Nahlia returned to her chore, Reanna peered into the kitchen again. But this time it wasn’t to locate her beloved. This time she scanned the room, figuring out where the food supplies were stored. She’d been in there before. Only occasionally, when she was younger and in search of a snack. As she got older, she’d learned to summon a servant and have goodies brought to her room. So she’d never paid much attention to the room again. Food simply appeared from it. How it got there, or got prepared was not her problem. Nor did she spend any time with thoughts about it. But now, now she had a desire to know the whole layout. She’d press Nahla for more details later. Nahla would know what foods were stored where. But, she didn’t dare let Nahla know exactly what plans simmered in her mind.

Something Amiss in Alerald – TT ‘beat’

For the next few weeks we’re sharing snippets of a new story, tentatively titled Something Amiss in Alerald, a LGBT Fairy Tale.

Princess Reanna is having a confrontation with her parents, King Reynard and Queen Amica, over her not wanting to marry any of the Prince’s that have come looking for her hand. To complicate matters, the Queen is suspicious about the closeness between the Princess and her serving girl, Nahla. To thwart the girls, Nahla’s duties have been switched to helping cook in the kitchen.

This week in Tuesday Tales, we’re writing to the prompt ‘beat’. Return to TUESDAY TALES here, to read more snippets from several different genres.

Tuesday Tales

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As the pair left the room, Nahla trailed behind the Queen and turned to give Reanna one last beseeching look. Her large dark eyes simmered in tears and threatened to spill down her cheeks.

Reanna remained mutely in front of the window, knowing it was useless to protest. She pursed her lips and sent a silent kiss before Nahla turned back to follow the Queen. The silence of the room was overwhelming and an acute sense of loss and longing filled Reanna until she thought she’d burst. Pacing back and forth across the bed chamber, her mind was in a frenzy, trying to figure out how she’d slip around to the kitchen to spend some time with her beloved – without cook or any of the others finding out.

princess3Margaret’s hacking cough announced her approach before she entered the chamber. Bustling into the room, she cleared her throat and proclaimed hoarsely, “Seems I’m to tend to you now, m’lady. Queen Amica directed that I’m to dress you in the new green gown.”

When Reanna stood still and silent, not moving, her new attendant clapped her hands together loudly. “Where is the garment? We must hurry. I’m not of a mind to fail at the first task Her Highness set before me.”

Reanna grudgingly pointed towards the alcove where an assorted rainbow of luxurious dresses hung on pegs. Without much cooperation, and amidst persistent and irritating coughs, Margaret finally had the Princess clad in the requested attire.

When a young page appeared shortly thereafter, requesting that Reanna follow him to the dining hall, she did – accompanied with a petulant pout and a stern resolve that she would be properly cold and icy to the Prince from afar. Her parents may rule the land, but they wouldn’t be able to rule her into a charming hostess for her unwanted suitor.

Flouncing into the dining hall, with a stomp apparent despite her soft soled slippers, she stopped abruptly when she saw only her mother at one end of the long table and her father at the other. “Where’s our guest? I’d heard that some willy-nilly was to see Father.”

“Not that it’s any of your business,” the King replied, “but I sent Prince Gerard back to Thoide.”

“Perchance why?” Reanna paused, then added in a rush. “Not that it matters. I really don’t care. Just curious.”

“The union he proposed was not as advantageous to Alerald as he made it seem. For Thoide, it would have been a magnificent boost to their assets. But he had nothing to offer us that would have benefited our kingdom. I sent the page for his horse before the lather had even cooled.”

“What?” Reanna sputtered as her ire came spilling forth. “That’s all I am? Chattel? The kingdom as my dowry is all that matters? And what my hand in marriage brings to us? What about love? Where is love in all of this?”

The King looked at his daughter with coldness in his face and ice in his reply. “Love? Love has nothing to do with it. Your marriage needs to benefit Alerald. It’s about joining two lands, two kingdoms, into a mutually advantageous pairing. Love,” he scoffed, “is for the peasants. Not for royalty.”

“But, Father…” Reanna glanced at the ire showing on the King’s face and clamped her lips shut. Speaking back to the King was an impetuous undertaking, even for his own daughter. Her face brightened when she looked up to see Nahla shuffling towards the King’s end of the table, bearing a monstrous tray laden with delicacies. Reanna stayed quiet, waiting until Nahla sidled up next to her with the meal’s offerings. “We must speak…soon.” Reanna whispered under her breath as lifted a turkey leg from the tray. She raised her eyes and caught her mother glaring at them from her place, bringing an end to any stealthy conversation.

When the three royal figures had filled their pewter plates with the bounty served, Nahla placed the tray on the table, bowed, and backed out of the dining hall.

The King raised his intricate wine goblet in the air and proclaimed, “A ball. We shall have a ball!”

The Queen squealed with delight. “Exquisite news, m’lord! Pray tell, for what occasion?”

“Why, to garner suitors for my daughter’s fair hand. I’ll send criers out on the early morn’s light. A fortnight from now the castle will be filled with eligible men wishing to curry the Princess’s favor. She shall have a bevy to choose from. If she doesn’t choose one…I shall choose one for her.”

Reanna’s blanched face bore testament to her true feelings about her father’s announcement. Thoughts flew frantically round her head in a flurry. I shall come up with a plan. I’ll not let him beat me at this game he plays with my life.

Something Amiss in Alerald – TT picture prompt

Chrys N. Jay is taking a short break from Starting Over, for a new story, tentatively titled Something Amiss in Alerald. For the next few weeks I’m trying my hand at an LGBT Fairy Tale to submit for a contest. So we’ll leave Victoria and Toby in the bedroom where we left them (I’m sure they’ll find many ways to amuse themselves while they’re locked in there) and we’ll introduce you to a new princess in town. One that has no desire to find a Prince Charming. We’ll see where the story goes, because right now…I have no idea where this will take us!

Princess Reanna is having a confrontation with her mother, Queen Amica, over her balking at not wanting to marry any of the Prince’s that have come looking for her hand.

This week in Tuesday Tales, we’re writing to a picture prompt. Reading will be quick, these weeks are limited to 300 words. Return to TUESDAY TALES here, to read more snippets from several different genres.

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TT_020916

“What? You think you shall live out your life as an old spinster woman? You think that will make you happy?”

“I shall not be alone. I’ll have Nahla.” Reanna turned and gazed up into her servant’s eyes. “I shall most decidedly be happy in her care.”

A scarlet flush spread up Nahla’s cheeks. When the Queen’s keen gaze turned in her direction, the flush deepened and a sweat broke out upon her brow.

“I see…” the Queen mused, her eyes glancing back and forth between her daughter and the young servant girl. She paced the length of the bedchamber, and stopped abruptly in front of Reanna, staring at her.

“I believe it’s time for a change.”

Nahla stood by mutely, not daring to utter a word, her face drained, white and pale.

“Nahla, gather your belongings,” the Queen commanded. “I’ll be back.”

Once the Queen turned and left, Reanna flung herself into her servant’s arms with a sob. “Whatever are we going to do?”

Nahla stroked Reanna’s back as she held her. Her face was blanched white. Servants had been killed for less in the Land of Alerald.

Reanna tipped her head and nuzzled Nahla’s neck. “Dearest…I musn’t lose you. My heart belongs to you.”

The girls clung to each other in despair, fearful of what Queen Amica had in mind.

“However can she know?” Reanna wondered. “How can she know that I love you?”

“Maybe she doesn’t. Maybe she only suspects. If she returns and finds us clutching each other like this, she will certainly know.” She untangled herself from the embrace and stepped back.

As Nahla slipped into the small room curtained off from Reanna’s extravagant bedchamber, the Princess turned and moved to the turret window in a daze. She stood staring out into the vast land before her, her mind in a whirl.

 

Something Amiss in Alerald – TT ‘stolen’

Chrys N. Jay is taking a short break from Starting Over, for a new story, tentatively titled Something Amiss in Alerald. For the next few weeks I’m trying my hand at an LGBT Fairy Tale to submit for a contest. So we’ll leave Victoria and Toby in the bedroom where we left them (I’m sure they’ll find many ways to amuse themselves while they’re locked in there) and we’ll introduce you to a new princess in town. One that has no desire to find a Prince Charming. We’ll see where the story goes, because right now…I have no idea where this will take us!

This week in Tuesday Tales, we’re writing to the prompt ‘stolen’. Return to TUESDAY TALES here, to read more snippets from several different genres.

Tuesday Tales

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The bustle of Queen Amica’s skirts on the flagstone floors announced her presence in her daughter’s room where Princes Reanna lay lounging on her goose down mattress.

“Reanna, rise daughter. We must get you presentable at once.” When Reanna merely raised her head and continued to lie there, the Queen clapped her hands for added emphasis. “Now! Where is that servant girl? Where is your newest gown? Hurry, Reanna. There isn’t time for dawdling.”

“Why, Mother? Whatever is the rush?”

“Prince Gerard is here. He’s in speaking to your Father now.”

“The Prince from the Kingdom of Thoide? What’s he speaking to Father about? And why must I dress for his appearance?”

“Because, my darling girl. I have a suspicion that he’s here to ask for your hand. We must get you dressed and looking your finest so if you’re summoned.”

princess2“My hand? As in marriage?” Reanna heaved herself up off the sumptuous bedding and threw her hands on her hips in a flounce. “I told you, Mother. I do not wish to marry any of the simpering fools that have paraded themselves before me. I do not wish to marry at all. I’m happy without a man trying to rule my life. Besides…” she shuddered at the thought, “…they’d want to bed with me and that thought simply revolts me.”

“My dear child, your wants and desires are simply not taken into account. You must marry whomever your Father chooses. You have to. It’s your responsibility to the kingdom.”

“But, Mother…” She started pacing the length of her room, her agitation showing with each stomp of her foot. The peacefulness of a few moments ago was stolen as she fretted about this new turn of events.

“No buts, Reanna. You have no say in the matter. Now…where did that girl disappear to? Nahla?” The Queen’s voice increased in volume as her shoulders stiffened in resolve. “Nahla? Your attendance please!”

Nahla timidly peeked around the hanging tapestry that divided her small sleeping area from Reanna’s grand room. “Yes, maam?” She stepped out, curious as to what had Her Highness in such a snit.

“Hurry, child. You must attend to the Princess and ready her for guests. Gather the emerald gown the seamstress finished last week. I’ll retrieve my emerald choker from my chambers. It will go nicely with the new frock. They’ll set off the color of Reanna’s eyes and will drive Prince Gerard to distraction.”

As the Queen left the room, Nahla stepped to the vanity area and motioned for Princess Reanna to sit at the low seat in front of where she stood. Reanna sighed and plopped down on the walnut stool. Nahla began unbraiding the Princess’ long blond locks, then reached for the horsehair brush to try and tame the curls back into submissiveness.

“What am I to do Nahla? Did you hear what Mother suspects? If the Prince is here to ask Father for my hand in marriage, I shall just die.”

Nahla kept smoothing out the tangles and gently stroking the Princess’s tresses as if caressing them. “There could be worse fates, m’Lady. Prince Gerard is a handsome lad. And at least he’s young. Not like some of them that have come sniffing around the Kingdom.”

Revulsion flitted across Reanna’s face and her mouth turned up in a grimace. “Oh, that’s so true. Did you see the one that came last week? King Ravenot from Lotner? He was uglier than sin and I think older than the Devil himself. I think I would throw myself from the cliff before I let that man touch me.”

“At least he’s so old that he probably can’t…you know…” Nahla giggled at the thought.

The Princess joined Nahla in her in laughter. “Very true, my sweet girl. I doubt he remembers what the word procreate means. I believe he only wanted me to get his hands on our fertile land. Alerald is a desirable kingdom.”

“As are you, my Princess,” Nahla added softly.

Reanna’s shoulders relaxed and her countenance softened. “My sweet Nahla, whatever would I do without you? You’ve been my best friend for forever. You understand me more than anyone in this world. Certainly more than my parents do. You know that…”

The Queen’s arrival back in the bedchamber stopped the girl’s conversation. “That’s the furthest you’ve gotten? Why are you dragging your feet?”