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Author Topic: The Oblique-Chapter Two-April 20  (Read 9383 times)
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Dese
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« on: April 13, 2007, 03:17:18 pm »

This is the continuation of my story The Ordinary Princess from the Miss Fairytale contest that was hosted by Pilotpigen here at Insimenator.
 
As the introduction to The Oblique I give you the four chapters of The Ordinary Princess for anyone who is interested in reading and learning a little bit about some of the characters you will be seeing, and what came before The Oblique.
 
The Ordinary Princess
 
Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
 
The Oblique
 
Chapter One - April 16 / In Tunisia
Chapter Two - April 20 / In Morrisey
« Last Edit: April 20, 2007, 12:16:52 am by Dese » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2007, 03:17:52 pm »

Once upon a time... there was a princess who was not like other princesses. Her name was Amethyst and although she was not born the middle child, that is what she became. Amethyst was a delightful child who found joy in everything in life. One of her favorite things to do was to sing. Her clear young voice could often be heard even at a far distance from the castle as she practised accompanied by her eldest sister Ruby, who played the harp.




That all changed the day that her other elder sister Sapphire became so overwhelmed by her envy of Amethyst's clear and beautiful voice that she destroyed it. In the middle of a lesson Sapphire shrieked at Amethyst.

"Stop it! You sound like a harpy! Nobody likes your voice and nobody likes you! You can't even sing!"

Amethyst gasped, her heart pounding at the fright. Was it true? At Ruby's insistence once Sapphire stormed out of the chamber she returned to the lesson but found her throat was pinched tight, and when she sang she squeaked. Amethyst thought perhaps she had sounded that way all along, and it was only Sapphire saying so that made her hear it also...

As a young Princess Amethyst could not remember ever leaving the Castle. One day she watched as her Father and his men prepared to leave on a hunting trip. She ran down the many flights of stairs to the front of the Castle and was about to cross the bridge that spanned the gorge to the outside world when her Father's harsh voice haltered her.



"Amethyst, stop! Where do you think you're going?"
"I was... I wanted to go with you!"
"You can not leave the castle! Princesses never leave until their wedding day. Don't you know why?"
"No..."
"If a Princess crosses the bridge before her wedding day, it will collapse beneath her and throw her body to the river below... and then the castle will collapse, and everyone within will be killed."

Amethyst's body trembled, her eyes brimming with tears as her Father strode away. She watched him converse with the men, gesturing back to her followed by the distant sound of laughter. Amethyst wondered what they had to laugh about when she had so very nearly been the cause of the death of them all.



She was too young to understand the precious commodity a Princess was to a King. In the battle for land and power, the hand of a Princess can often be the difference between war and peace. If one of his Princesses was taken and used against him, then what would he have to bargain with?

And so Amethyst grew into a young lady, trained in all the ways of a Princess of the Court. When she was not at her lessons all her time was spent in exploration of the Castle that had been her lifetime home. There came the time when she knew each corridor and stairwell, and what lay behind each door. That is all but the door she found at the top of the smallest tower in the west corner of the castle...



It was dark and damp. A heavy mist drifted slowly about the hall and from beyond the door pulsed an unseen energy. Amethyst heard a noise coming from behind it, so quiet she perhaps imagined it. She found she ought to feel frightened, and yet she did not. Walking towards the door Amethyst set aside her book and placed her hands on the heavy handles. She pushed but the door would not shift. Placing her ear against the cold wood she heard not a sound.



Walking away Amethyst puzzled over it. Until that day there had been not a single door in the Castle she could not open, or find that one key that would open it. Although it was distinct and one of the most peculiar moments of her short life, she soon forgot about the door and would not remember it for many years.

In time the young lady became a woman. Amethyst had grown up to be shy and reserved, frightened of the outside world. She was not confident in herself, as her younger years had taught her that self-confidence always proved unwarranted. But she was kind.



Since her birth there had been many other children born to her parents, the King and Queen. With each birth Amethyst felt her importance fade away, less and less attention paid to her and more to the younger siblings. Of all the princesses she alone was plain, cursed with brown hair and peculiar amethyst eyes. These were not the desired traits of a princess, not blond and blue eyes.



Her two elder sisters wed and moved away, but when they would visit Amethyst heard rumors of serf and political discontent from the outside world. As her elder brothers grew into men they were no longer beloved brothers to one another but potential enemies and usurpers to the throne. Two sons and one crown were never a good combination.

The midsummer's banquet drew nigh and the feeling was that troubles could be resolved at that time. The Lords and Ladies of court would gather, with visiting ambassadors from the neighbouring countries. They would join in toasting to the health of the King, then feast together before beginning neogiations for another peaceful and prosperous year for all.

Amethyst was late for the banquet... She was about to fly into the hall and make her apologies when something made her pause. She glimpsed through the curtain and saw her Mother conversing with a Lady of the Court.



"But where is your other daughter? Surely we can not start without her?"
"My other daughter? Surely this is all of them! One, two three..."
"Yes, Amethyst, is it not? Brown hair, peculiar purple eyes."

The Queen laughed.

"Good heavens, Amethyst? I had forgotten all about her. I never see the child, she is always hidden in some distant part of the castle. Do you know, I can't even remember her birth day!"

Their shrill laughter pierced the hall as Amethyst was likewise pierced by a sharp pain. She had been forgotten.



That was when Princess Amethyst, both unnoticed and unwanted, vanished...
« Last Edit: April 21, 2007, 10:40:57 am by Dese » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2007, 03:18:22 pm »

No sooner had Amethyst vanished from outside the banquet hall when she appeared in a hall of a different kind. She gasped, first startled and then from wonderment. She stood in a long hall filled with all kinds of different objects. Amethyst took a few steps into the room as she looked around. She began to hear a soft murmur and frowned as she tried to locate it's source. Then she saw Teddy.



"Teddy!" She cried out. She had forgotten him. Many years ago he had been her most beloved toy, her favorite of them all. During an afternoon's adventures she had misplaced him, and before long he had faded from her memory. Was it just her imagination, or did Teddy seem glad to see her?

Amethyst heard a strange scraping noise, followed by a cough then a rasping voice.

"It's Princess Amethyst! We have a guest!"

She span about as she tried to find who was speaking. Then out of the corner of her eye she saw a drawer opening and closing. She darted towards it and pointed accusingly.

"It was you! You're a magical wardrobe!"

The sound of warm laughter came from all around her, then a number of voices piped up, all excited.

"She can see us!"
"She found us!"
"Balderdash, unwanted things indeed!"
"We're not forgotten!"

Amethyst looked down as she felt a gentle tugging at her skirt. It was Teddy. She scooped him up into her arms then perched him on a small chest as she sat down on a worn but soft cushion in front of the talking wardrobe.

"Where am I?"


Slowly many pieces of furniture crept towards them and gathered in a circle. The wardrobe spoke for them all. He was after all, the senior resident of the hall.

"You are in The Hall of Unwanted Things. We, the all of us, have been misplaced or not wanted, and then simply forgotten. I'm afraid it's happened to you too Princess Amethyst. But you won't be forgotten forever. We want to help you."

Amethyst looked about her with puzzlement.

"Help me? Help me how?"

She heard a faint whisper as something called her name. She repeated her question but all about her seemed to be inanimate objects once again. So she followed the whispering down the hall and was lead to a glowing pool of water. A beautiful scent drifted up from it, and as she went to her knees and dipped her fingers in the warm water, an image shimmered before her eyes. It took a moment to become clear enough to see, and then she not only saw but heard as well.

Then men drew close together. Amethyst recognised the one as her Father, the King. The other's face was concealed by hair.



"To another year of peace."
"To being men of our word."
"I shall not forget, Prince Rafe. My daughter Amethyst shall be yours."

Amethyst drew back with a gasp, and the pool grew dark. She could not remember the last time she had exchanged words with her father, and now she was to be used to his advantage.

Amethyst knew she should have expected this, and yet she had secretly dreamed of something more. As she walked around from the pool the room remained silent. Amethyst considered. A life as wife to a Prince or Lord who was a stranger was what waited for most Princesses. She would be expected to give him an heir, and in return she would be fed and clothed and tended to by many servants. Was that such a terrible life?



It was not the life she wanted. Yes, she would be free of the Castle, but she would become a prisoner in another. She could not dare to hope that she might find kindness and love in an arranged marriage, it was foolish to hope only to be so cruelly disappointed. It was more likely that once she gave her husband a son, they would part ways, each finding romance outside the marriage while still maintaining the facade of husband and wife.

Then Amethyst again heard the words that were spoken earlier.

"We want to help you."
"Help me? How can you help me?"

The room sprang to life, with various objects nudging Amethyst from one item to the other, each dispensing something she needed and bringing about a transformation. Amethyst found herself in a very plain dress, her hair released from it's long ponytail and allowed to flow freely over her shoulders. The wardrobe that seemed to hold every manner of clothing she could think of and had ever seen drew shut.

Amethyst stared into the mirror and grew very angry indeed. Had she not always been a good daughter, and a kind sister?



Perhaps her new enchanted friends were right and she should escape her unpleasant future and make a life of her own.

"How can I leave here?"
"You are still inside the castle. Here, take this key."
 "Inside the castle? But wher-oh!"

Amethyst suddenly remembered the door that she could not open so many years before, and smiled. She felt a cold metal key pressed into her hand then looked around the room before seeing an enormous door materialise where there had been none before.

"Now I see! But I don't know if I can leave you all! You've been so kind and helpful..."

Amethyst once again felt the tug of Teddy pulling on her skirt. She bent down and picked him up. Then she moved through the hall, touching each item that had helped her so. To her amazement some of them shrank after she touched them, becoming so small she could hold them in the palm of her hand. She slipped those into her pocket for safe-keeping.

At last it was time to leave. As Amethyst grew near to the door the small key in her hand grew larger and heavier. At last she had to use all her strength to raise it to the keyhole.

There was a rush of wind as Amethyst opened the door, and for a moment she could not see. When her eyesight cleared she discovered she was outside the castle at the bridge she had been forbidden to cross so many years before. Amethyst's knees threatened to buckle beneath her. How could she possibly cross it?



There was a soft noise of something dropping from her pocket. Amethyst bent down to see what it was when a small fluffy white mouse darted up her arm and into her astonished wide open mouth. It happened at such speed that she was unable to stop herself from swallowing the little creature. She coughed for a few moments before the fluffy lump in her throat cleared, and then as she stood up she felt courage in her heart.

A mouse lives each day of it's life as the smallest of creatures in a giant's world, and yet it does hide forever trembling in a hole, but bravely ventures out in the world. Now Amethyst was infused with the courage of the mouse. Perhaps she was a tiny creature in a world of giant's, but she was unafraid.



Perhaps the world now saw her as a mouse, or her Father had been mislead. For when Amethyst crossed over the bridge it did not collapse beneath her and her heart soared.

As the night passed Amethyst wandered. She traveled very far, with each step her heart grew lighter and her joy became such that at last she could not contain it, and her song that had for so long been silenced was once again heard in the Kingdom.



Throughout the Kingdom the people woke to miracles. A river that had been dry for a decade became swollen with water. A goodwife felt the kick of a babe in her barren womb. The pitiful farmer's harvest became plentiful. And on a hill not far from Amethyst, a shepherd found the courage to fight off a lion that came to prey on his flock.

As Amethyst appeared at the top of the hill, her song drawing to a close, the shepherd looked up at her and knew she was the reason he was alive.



And that is how Dane the Shepherd  met Princess Amethyst.
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Dese
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« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2007, 03:19:06 pm »

As Dane looked up at Amethyst he somehow knew that she was the reason he was still alive. Amethyst carefully took a few steps down the hill, then stood before him.

"I'm tired, could I stay with you a few minutes and rest my feet?"
"Stay as long as you like. You saved me from that lion."
"How did I do that?"
"Your voice is beautiful. Hearing it gave me courage."

The few minutes of rest stretched into hours, then inexplicably into days, and weeks. Amethyst found the company of the shepherd quite agreeable. His life was a simple one, living amongst the hills tending to white four-legged creatures, but something in that simplicity appealed to Amethyst. Out in the open air surrounded by the blue and the green she felt as if she could fly, and in her heart she did.



The days of Amethyst's lifelong imprisonment had faded to distant memories of a previous life. It seemed as if she had always lived within the hills, beside Dane. She saw the growing tenderness in his gaze and knew it for what it was. At night as they lay wrapped in each other's arms, they were sheltered by the warmth of their bodies and the love in their hearts.



Amethyst may have forgotten her previous life, but while she lived blissfully unaware, the world around her had not stopped. One day in the early morning hours as she washed her face in the cool river waters she was seized from behind by a figure from the past. She struggled and screamed Dane's name but the strength of the armored man was too great for her.



He bound her hands and covered her eyes with a blindfold, then threw her up upon his horse, his arm tightly holding her against him. He held on despite all her struggles against him. Amethyst soon lost track of time behind the darkness of the blindfold. Her mind played tricks on her as she thought fearfully of her fate and the unknown identity of her kidnapper.

Finally they reached their destination. Amethyst's body felt broken from all her struggles and the weariness of the journey on horseback. He pulled her from the horse then dragged her by her bound hands. There was a tugging at the cords about her wrists then Amethyst was blinded by sunlight as the blindfold was ripped away and she was roughly pushed to the ground. She looked up into the dark eyes of a stranger.

The stranger spoke.

"Was such roughness really necessary?"
"What does it matter!"



The dark eyed stranger held a hand out to Amethyst, helping her to her feet. She pulled back and trembled as she took in her surroundings. They were in the middle of what could only be described as an army encampment. Her trembling increased as she saw the face of her captor. As he lifted his helm she recognised her eldest brother Zarren, standing beside the stranger.

"Zarren! I don't understand. Why have you brought me here?"
"You have caused a great deal of trouble Ame. Because of you we are at war. Did you think that you, a Princess of the Kingdom of Morrisey could simply disappear and it would have no effect on the world? You were offered as a token of alliance, and your disappearance was taken as a betrayal of that alliance."

Amethyst stammered and struggled to find words as the world she had been so quick to forget came crashing down upon her. The dark stranger standing before her spoke.

"All will be forgiven if you marry me this night. Through our union we can bring an end to this war."
"Marry you? I don't-I don't even know who are you!"
"I am Prince Rafe. I am your betrothed."



There was little she could do. Amethyst stammered her agreement and was shown into a small white tent. She was so exhausted and overwhelmed, she threw herself down upon the well-trodden grass and wept until she was senseless. Hours later she was awoken by the noises of the camp, and realised that sleeping would not take away what lay before her that night.

Amethyst allowed herself to think of Dane for one long moment, then with the pain of her heartbreak gripping her, she reached into her pocket and withdrew the tiny wooden form of the magical wardrobe. She had little choice about her impending wedding, but she could chose how she came to that moment. She placed it upon the ground then stood back as it transformed.

The magical wardrobe remained mercifully silent. Amethyst opened the door and saw hanging within the most beautiful garments she could ever have conjured in her imagination. Drawers slowly slid open and brushes and cloths rose through the air, weaving their way through her long tangled hair and cleaning the dirt from her face and limbs. Finally the bride was prepared.



Moments later Rafe arrived to escort her from the tent. He paused a moment at her change of appearance but remained silent, mercifully not remarking on the tears that flowed unceasingly from her eyes. The world was a blur and soon they were within a small chapel. As the priest droned on the words of the ceremony, Amethyst hands were grasped by Rafe with a gentleness that made her look to his face. The somber mask of his indifference lifted momentarily as he gazed back at her. It made her wonder.



The words that bound them together as man and wife were exchanged, the marks on parchment made. The journey from the chapel was very brief, Rafe explaining that arrangements had been made for them to stay their wedding night away from the army camp. It was a small mercy.

The room was dark but warm, its furnishings as rich as had ever filled a room in the Castle. Rafe moved away from her and tended to the fire, placing an extra log upon it as he gave Amethyst a moment of privacy to collect herself. She wiped away the remnants of her tears then shed her wedding gown until only her undergarments remained. Rafe moved up behind her then gently drew Amethyst into his arms, he too having shed his outer garments. His body was warm and firm, his touch undemanding. He gazed down at her with surprising tenderness.

"This does not have to be what it seems. We can bring great peace to our lands... I can make you love me."

Amethyst met Rafe's gaze and saw the confidence within his eyes. She whispered.

"Show me how."



In the morning Amethyst summoned a smile as Rafe fed her the exotic fruits of his homeland and told her stories of his childhood. He exclaimed with great delight as she revealed the magic wardrobe to him and they dressed in similar garments, Amethyst now wearing the colors of her Husband. They returned to the army encampment.

As they walked amongst the tents, all the men stopped and stared until their commanders snapped at them to return to their duties. Finally they arrived at the center of the camp and entered a large white tent.

"There is someone I would introduce you to, my Uncle, Ahair. Ahair, this is Princess Amethyst of Morrisey... my wife."
"Ah! Princess Amethyst! I was just speaking to your Brother here of our next move in the invasion."
Amethyst looked between the faces of the men surrounding her.
"...Invasion? I imagine you will be moving your troops out of the Kingdom now that Rafe and I..."
Ahair laughed and gestured to Rafe.
"Charming young woman. No no, of course not my dear!"



He leapt up from behind the desk and strode across the tent, roughly pulling Amethyst from Rafe's grasp and out of the tent. He strode purposefully with her still in his grasp, past the remaining rows of tents, until they crested a hill. He gestured to the valley at their feet.

"Even now our second wave is growing prepared and soon we will conquer all of your precious Kingdom's remaining counties, and many more!"

Amethyst struggled within Ahair's grasp, her eyes widening as a shriek of disbelief and terror escaped her. Behind her Rafe rushed towards them, his gaze narrowed, shouting out something she could not comprehend.

Within the valley entangled amidst the crops her joyfilled voice had brought to life were row upon row of creatures. Ahair's reinforcements.



It had all been for naught.

Thanks to Kielen for making Rafe for me!
 
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« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2007, 03:19:36 pm »

A bitter wind cut through the thin fabric of Amethyst's dress. She stumbled and nearly fell, her feet so frozen in the snow she no longer felt them. Rafe was back by her side instantly, steading her.

"It's not much further. Just over that hill, I promise."

Amethyst smiled as she moved shivering into his arms, savouring the brief moment of warmth.

"You said that three hills ago."

Rafe looked back the way they had come, growing still as he strained for any distant noises that would indicate they were being followed.

"We still have a few hours before daybreak, and the snow should help cover our tracks. Come Amethyst."



Rafe had told a small lie, their destination was of course just a few more hills away. As they came closer they were approached by guards who retreated with backwards stares when they recognised Amethyst. One guard ran ahead of them to announce their arrival.

The familiar figures of her Amethyst's parents came out into the snow to greet their long-lost Daughter and her Husband.



It had been five months since Amethyst's midnight wedding to Rafe. His betrayal of her trust had been difficult to overcome. Their union had not prevented or stopped further bloodshed as Amethyst had been led to believe it would. She had become a conquered bride in an enemy camp.

Gradually Amethyst had come to see that the kindness in Rafe's eyes and touch on their wedding night had not been false. He was a good man, he was merely misguided. Amethyst had mourned each victory and used her quietly spoken words to try sway Rafe. It was not until he had walked in on his Uncle Ahair attempting to have his way with Amethyst that Rafe realised that he was fighting on the wrong side of the war. And so they had finally fled the camp together in the middle of the night.



The reunion with her parents was bittersweet. Amethyst discovered that they really did care for her in their own way. Although they were suspicious of Rafe they were overcome by his charm. As he revealed his inside knowledge of the workings of Ahair's army, Rafe became a valued ally.

The following morning a scouting party from Ahair's camp was seen dangerously close by. They stumbled through the snow, their appearances greatly altered from the healthy, green, strong forms that Amethyst had seen so many months before.



Falling down in the snow they shuddered their last, finally succumbing to the cold. They were dying.

Rafe went to his wife to tell her the news. She had been instructed by the physicians to take bed rest after the arduous journey, but Amethyst had never been very good at following orders. He found her already dressed, but sitting on the bed looking at a peculiar object that sat at the foot of the bed.

"I leave you for a few short hours and already you find a new bed companion?" He jested.

Amethyst laughed and shook her head.

"No, it was just there when I woke up. It was... teddy. You know, one of the magical items I brought with me."



Rafe frowned with curiousity. Amethyst's tale of the magical hall had been peculiar to say the least, but the things she had shown him had been convincing. He relayed the news of the scouting party that had been advancing on them, and Amethyst gained clarity.

"I think I know what it's for."

In the enemy camp it had become obvious to Ahair that his troops, although superior in number, were aversely affected by the season. Their cries of torment were haunting him. When the message came that Rafe, representing the opposite side, wanted to meet to talk terms Ahair had no choice but to agree.

Amethyst joined them despite Rafe's protests. She had a gift to deliver to Ahair.



As Rafe spoke his mind Ahair looked at the globe. It miraculously resembled a gift he had been given as a child and lost so long ago. When he had become a man he had fallen from the path he'd first set out on. No longer was he satisfied merely to adventure and discover the world, he had been set on conquering it. He had gone astray.

As Amethyst listened to Rafe's words and saw the change that was being wrought in his Uncle, she had never felt prouder of the man she had married.

She left them there, one task remained. Amethyst walked through the camp, the painfilled cries growing louder as she came to the hoards of Ahair's troops. All pale and contorted, dying in the winter's cold.



Amethyst opened her heart and cried as she sang the bitterest song of rest. The creatures cries gradually softened as they grew upwards, stretching out their limbs and becoming not flesh but wood.

Ahair withdrew the remainder of his human troops, the war was over. Amethyst and Rafe returned to the castle where Rafe pledged alliance before the people, with the promise of peace.

As Amethyst looked out over the gathering crowd she saw a familiar beloved face. She placed a hand on her swelling stomach and smiled at the Shepherd who looked up at her, realising he had loved a Princess. Then something very peculiar happened, Amethyst began to choke.



She coughed into her handkerchief until something small white and fluffy fell unseen from her mouth. It scampered off the balcony and fell far to the snow below, hurrying after the shepherd. Amethyst no longer had need of the mouse's courage and what Dane the Shepherd did with it is a tale for another time.

Amethyst's place was now by Rafe's side, and so they made the long journey back to his homeland, Tunisia. The life and land there was much different than that of Morrisey. Instead of rolling hills of green there were sand dunes, camels instead of horses, and heat unlike Amethyst had ever before experienced.

Life within Rafe's palace was luxurious. Amethyst was attended by servants that followed her every bidding. She was dressed in rich fabrics that kept her cool and while revealing much of her form still made her feel beautiful.



Most precious of all, she loved and was loved in return.



The Ordinary Princess had made an extraordinary difference in the lives of many by following her dreams and having the courage to open her heart and sing when it mattered most, despite all her self-doubt. In the end, Princess Amethyst was not so ordinary after all.
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« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2007, 03:33:08 pm »

Yay Dese! I'm so happy you continue this story!
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« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2007, 03:34:15 pm »

It hooked me! I loved the contest and fell in love with Amethyst and all the other characters. This is a huge undertaking... just you wait and see how many sub-plots there are! :rofl:
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« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2007, 04:52:31 pm »

I just happened to stumble on to this and I couldn't stop reading! I really loved it. I was rooting for the shepherd but Rafe was so sweet he changed my mind.
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« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2007, 05:20:23 pm »

I'm impressed at the levels of production. Great story and settings!!
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« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2007, 05:36:53 pm »

Sweet, I initially felt the exact same way! But Rafe won me over. You'll see more of them both in The Oblique. Cheesy
Thanks Lytough! It was for a 3 star contest, so I did my best. The Oblique pictures won't be quite as good all the time... that means I'll be able to post updates more often without being obsessed about perfect pics. Hopefully.
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« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2007, 03:40:40 pm »

It was a hot summers night in Tunisia. At midnight the children were usually asleep many hours ago, but tonight the entire family was still awake. Rafe played in the pool with the twins Zemnon and Sofia, enjoying the momentary relief from the heat as they chased each other in the water. Their laughter echoed throughout the entire courtyard, and likely into the house overlooking it. The pool was a blessed extravagance most Tunisian’s could not afford. They were carefully watched over by Amethyst’s handmaiden Jasmine who very seldom left her families side.



In seven years Amethyst’s life had become quite different to what she had first expected when marrying Rafe so despairingly in the middle of the night. She had become a wife, a mother, a foreign princess. Now as the lady of the house with many servants at her disposal, she had little to worry about other than would her children grow up well, would she continue to please her husband, would she bear him many more children. It was the life she had come to love, the life she now took for granted.

Zain, Rafe’s brother, had arrived several hours before. He had been filthy with the sand and dust of his journey, but now he had bathed and was enjoying teasing his young niece, Dedi. Amethyst went to his side.

“She is growing up so, isn’t she?”
”Yes she is! And her complexion is more mine than Rafe’s. Are you sure I’m not her father?”

Amethyst laughed, reaching out to join in teasing Dedi.

“You know you are not, but she does look so much like you. When will you find yourself a wife, Zain?”

 


“I’m sure there are dozen of women pining away at the thought of being trapped in an arranged marriage to me. Not all couples are as fortunate as you and Rafe, Ame. No I’m quite resigned. I’ll have to seduce you away from Rafe, and have you bear my sons.”

“Are you making my wife uncomfortable again Zain?”

Rafe joined them beside the pool, dripping with water. The courtyard grew silent as the children were escorted to bed, even Dedi having been fetched from her Uncle’s arms.

“I wouldn’t dream of it.”

Amethyst ran a finger down Rafe’s wet arm.

 


“I hope you’re not intending on coming to my bed in this state.”

Rafe laughed and shared a look with Zain.

“Will you allow me a few minutes to say goodnight to my wife?”
”Naturally, but it’s important we speak.”

Rafe took Amethyst’s hand and lead her through the courtyard. As they reached the stairs he felt her falter and noticed her downcast expression.

 


“What is it Ame?”
”I’m afraid. The way Zain arrived today… you had him looking for something, I’m afraid he found it.”
“Anything I do, I do to protect you and the children. There’s nothing to be afraid of.”
“You’ve only been back for three weeks, and now he’s going to take you off somewhere, and we’ll never know when you will return, or if you will at all.”
”I’m a prince, I cannot pretend to be otherwise. I have responsibilities, and these responsibilities extend to more than the welfare of my household. You know this Ame.”

Amethyst nodded with resignation, and lifted a hand to his face.

”I know, I know. Now kiss your wife and go speak with your brother.”
 


Rafe wrapped his arms around Amethyst, always treasuring how blessed he was to have her love.

Across the courtyard someone watched.
 


Rafe joined Zain in his chamber, no longer dripping water and changed into his usual clothing.

“What news?”
“Her brothers are at war again.”
“Can nothing be done?”
“Zarren has no wish to share the throne with a younger brother, and Gareth knows his brother will destroy Morrisey if he is allowed to take the throne.”

 


“And the King?”
”He loves his sons. There are rumours he is on his deathbed, but he’s a King. There are always such rumours. At any length I don’t think he can be relied upon to do anything.”
“It doesn’t have to be our war.”
”Our lands border theirs, and is it did nearly a decade ago, their war will spill over and draw us all in.”

 


“Zain, they are brothers. Surely their blood will keep them from destroying each other?”
”Not all brothers are like us, their traditions are not ours. I think it's highly unlikely another woman like yours will come along and stop them before more people suffer."
"You always were a pessimist."
"I haven't had the good fortune you have."
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Still a simmer at heart, just too busy with my baby to play!
Dinki
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« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2007, 04:19:12 pm »

Yay, awesome start! not that I push you, but I can`t wait to see more Cheesy
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Won't you come into the garden?
I would like my roses to see you.

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DLMulsow
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« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2007, 04:26:40 pm »

Hey, Dese, this is a great story and such beautiful pictures!!  Wow!  Is this the story you wanted to put Jake into??  Wink
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Dese
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« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2007, 04:38:05 pm »

Thanks Dink. Cheesy
Yes it is, DLM. He may be making an appearance in the next chapter, although his personality probably won't be quite the same as yours. Wink
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Still a simmer at heart, just too busy with my baby to play!
Sweetdey26
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« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2007, 09:30:30 pm »

Wow, I do love where this story is going. More, More, More!
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