Stars Over Llorleya- Chapter Three

Fiction By Anna // 12/3/2007

Chapter the Third

Let me now paint for you a picture of the king and queen, as they appear before us now.

The queen is tall and slender, with pale blond hair falling just past her shoulders. She is soft-spoken and gentle, ladylike and graceful, willowy and patient- Aria’s model of what she hopes to be as Queen in the far-off future. The people love her, and she is renowned far and wide for her beauty and gentleness.
Interestingly, the king is a stark contrast. He too, is loved by his subjects, but in a different way. Though he looks rough, short-tempered, and intimidating, he is really quite gentle, patient, and merry (though stern by times). He is a big, tall man, with a bony, beak-like nose, and "The muscles of his brawny arms are strong as iron bands", to quote Longfellow.
He is the sort of king who helps his people aside from just advice and hearings. He is a king who works alongside his people, royalty and peasant alike, side by side, working together. He helps the blacksmith to pound iron and the stable hands to shoe horses. He is a king who hauls wood from the forests or stone blocks from a quarry. He is a king who can lead a charge or combat man-to-man.
And this is how the pair looks. In the time it took to read that, Aria is almost entering the throne room. But we have not quite come to this yet. We have, perhaps, a paragraph or so before we meet the royalty of Llorleya. For now, let us move on.

Aria rushed to the throne room hurriedly, but skidded to an abrupt halt in front of the closed doors, brushing and smoothing herself out. Then she nodded to the soldiers posted on either side of the doors, signaling them to open them. She stepped lightly through the room, slowly and regally to gain a good impression, not only on the travelers but also the king and queen.
As she took her seat- a smaller throne than the king and queen’s, and a little less grand- she realized she had forgotten something- or someone- out in the garden. She leaned to one of the messengers at her side, quietly saying, "Notify Gilligan that the Princess requests his presence for the nomad’s stories, please."
Gilligan was summoned, looking very happy to be included. He sat cross-legged on the floor next to Aria’s throne, and the king and queen took their leave.
And so, the stories began.

Aria leaned forward on the edge of her throne, ready to catch and absorb every word, quite the captivated listener. Gilligan, likewise, was entranced by the colorful threads of the tapestry of tales the wanderers wove. I’m sorry that I cannot recount them here, but I know very little of what they told, and what I do know is only what Aria will tell the king and queen, which you will hear anyway. But they were wonderful, and Aria still remembers them.
After the stories, Aria was very polite, of course, once again the hospitable hostess, giving the guests tea and nuts and bread and suchlike. But there is not very much to tell about that. So I shall move on again. I am sorry to be going through so quickly, but that’s just the way I am sometimes. When there is not much to tell, I tell very little. It may seem choppy or rushed, but when you don’t know a lot of what happens you are forced to be that way.

It was later that day when Aria met her aunt and uncle again.
"So what were the stories about, Aria?" Queen Eirae inquired softly.
"Oh, a lot of things," said Aria dreamily.
"Well, tell me the one that interested you the most," King Marcus laughed.
"Well, they told us about the old castle…" She considered. "It’s quite mysterious, they say. And still whole."
The king and queen exchanged glances. After Aria left, they sent a summons for the nomads.
**********
Rayne had expressed a wish to see the new castle, the abandoned one having roused her curiosity. Josh, also curious, had agreed, and the two had set out.
Rayne’s impression of the new castle was somewhat confused- it was more cheerful then the old castle and not fraught with magic, but bewildering in size, an even more complicated labyrinth than the old castle. A myriad passages wound around and through it, yet the servants and inhabitants knew exactly where they were going, in the complicated whirl and bustle of court life. The old castle, though formidable and intimidating with it’s own fair share of mazes and gauntlets, was nothing to this- this puzzle. Afraid that they would be unable to navigate properly, she and Josh had mostly stayed outdoors, enjoying the gardens and open-air courtyards.
Upon first arriving, they had been allowed to cross over the moat by the guards. After being thoroughly searched, they were found to carry no dangerous weapons or threatening items- except of course their staves and Josh’s bow and quiver full of arrows, which the knights seemed rather wary about before they could let Rayne and Josh in. But once Rayne and Josh had offered to leave their weapons in the knight’s safe-keeping, the two were readily admitted. Rayne only wished that she could have traded her staff for a sword- now that would have been exciting! Even if she didn’t really know how to wield one well.
(Fencing, archery, and throwing things such as spears or javelins were perhaps unladylike, but necessary to learn in that country, like horse riding. Though they were not really a warlike people, as a result, almost the entire population of Lloyleya knew some sort of defense in weaponry. This included everyone, from Aria to Rayne, for everyone had to have an understanding of defending themselves with a weapon, however meager.)
But now they were leaving the castle, to explore the world yet more. Rayne wished they could have stayed longer.
As they left, Rayne felt the need to comment on their visit. "Well, that was odd," she began, pausing for Josh to reply.
"What was odd?" asked Josh absent-mindedly.
"Well, first of all, they just confronted us and asked us outright if we were wanderers and could tell stories- strange. Why do people instantly suppose the all travelers are storytellers? Good thing we are, but if we hadn’t been, the suggestion could even have been offensive. Oh, and you paid me a nice compliment, saying I was the best storyteller of the two of us. Then they asked us to tell stories to their niece, the princess- just think!"
"She was a pretty little thing; petite, small, polite, but intent and intelligent. And did you see the way her eyes sparkled?" he said excitedly.
Rayne could see he was slightly taken by the little princess, for she had seen him rave over things and people before. She knew somewhat how he felt. In the presence of the small maiden (What was the Princess’s name?- Aria-, she thought), she had not felt so acutely that her clothes were rent and frayed, that her hair was dirty, tangled, and sloppily tied, or that she smelled very strongly of last night’s campfire. But nevertheless, she continued impatiently, "Yes, but then-"
"Wait, travelers!" A young manservant strode up to them hastily, waving an arm to hail them.
Rayne spun around, but Josh stopped short, as though he had run into a tree, and turned slowly, annoyed.
"The king and queen would like a word with you!" the young man announced.
"What about?" asked Rayne, somewhat worried, because she thought they might be suspected of fraud.
"None of my business. I am not a prying servant," said the young man rather snottily, turning his nose up in disdain for the ignorant nomads who had dared suggest he was a nosy person.
"We didn’t mean to imply-" began Rayne, but Josh cut her off.
"Lead us to them," he said, straightforward as always.
And they were off.

Rayne, clutching Josh’s arm nervously, stepped beside him into the throne room.
"Tell us about the old castle," the king said after a moment.
************
Gilligan was practicing swordplay alone on the Great Lawn when Aria ran toward him. She charged at a great speed, much faster than the race of only a few days earlier. She looked gloomy and grouchy and horribly sad, even from the distance. "Well, you look optimistic," he said, almost laughingly. Then he noticed that faintly wet lines that might have been the traces of recent tears ran down her face. "Aria? You’ve been crying!" he exclaimed, alarmed and surprised, throwing his sword down and running forward to meet her.
"Thank you, Sir Obvious. As though I didn’t already know!" she snapped at him, scowling.
She usually is rather testy when she’s upset, and she hates people to know when she’s been crying, recalled Gilligan with a step backward. It won’t hurt to be a bit cautious. Aloud, he only said, "But why have you been crying?"
"Because of my uncle and aunt, the king and queen," she said unhappily; the bite, now gone from her voice, had been replaced by a new undercurrent, something like a sad song she was singing beneath her words, one that Gilligan couldn’t quite pinpoint- and didn’t quite like. "You already know that I’m the heir to throne unless they have a child, correct?"
Gilligan nodded.
"Well, they’ve cast it up to me again," she said, scowling even more darkly.
Gilligan knew that "casting it up to her" meant that they reprimanded her for some horseplay, and it usually went along with a restriction on that thing. "Nothing out of the usual. But what have they done this time? There’s not much else they can ban. They’ve already forbidden boyish things like climbing trees and banister sliding. How much worse can this be? We only raced."
Much, much worse, Gill, thought Aria. She sighed, then answered, "Oh, Gilligan, it’s not fair."
"What’s not fair?"
"To make sure I can get ‘proper training’ for my position as royalty, they’re making me live in the old castle. Apparently they planned to do it for some time, and after they asked the travelers- what were their names? Rayne and Josh- about the old castle, they decided it would be a good place."
"!!!" was Giligan’s expression. Disbelief seemed to seep even from his blade lying forgotten on the ground. "Why are they doing it?!"
"Because they want me to grow up to be a young lady. And apparently racing was the last straw to them." Aria spat out the words "young lady", the two words she had come to hate after hearing it repeated so often in her latest conversation with her relatives. "And until the time comes when I can show myself to be one, I’m forbidden to spend time with you."
Gilligan groaned. "Why?" He hardly dared to ask.
"They said something or other about you going into ‘more intense training’ soon, and something about not disturbing you, and of course they also talked a great deal about my responsibility as future queen, as usual. I suppose it’s so that you and I will both be able to continue in our separate studies, each undisturbed by the other. And of course I realize this training is important, but I don’t know why racing would push them so- climbing trees was much more unladylike than that. I’m wondering if they could have another motive for moving me, one they didn’t want to tell me of for some reason."
"Nothing about not associating and mingling with lower classes?" asked Gilligan, deflecting her thoughts momentarily.
"Oh, no, Gilligan!" Horrified tones. "They aren’t conceited, whatever else they may be."
"Then I wouldn’t be worried," said Gilligan calmly. "I’m nearly certain they’ll let you visit, and at least lark with me a little, though I’ll miss your constant companionship."
I almost wished he was a little more panicked instead of brushing it off so, for then I would have had someone to relate to, thought Aria. But she was also breaking down. So far she had managed without tears, but she couldn’t hold out much longer, she knew. She was glad for the interruption Becky made.
"The queen would like to see you in her chamber." Becky looked nervous, not sure how Aria would react, knowing how she had reacted earlier when told about "the move".
Aria just nodded wearily, bitterly.
As she left, Gilligan murmured fondly, "There’s no catching a moonbeam like that pinning it down."
****
The queen’s chamber was beautiful, all in lavender and pale greens and blues. The queen sat on her bed, a tall, soft bed with a frosty white canopy like misty cobwebs. Aria came in cautiously, biting her upper lip to hold back her tears.
"Come, dear, sit beside me," Eirae said softly, beckoning her with a wave of her hand.
Aria did so, obediently if reluctantly and unhappily.
The queen’s gentle, pale hands stroked Aria’s smooth, glossy hair. They were both silent for a time. Aria gazed up at her aunt, then quickly looked down again. Grabbing the queen around the waist, very suddenly, Aria buried her face in Queen Eirae’s side. She wept and sobbed brokenly, her small frame trembling and heaving as she poured out everything, her voice choked by the relentless torrent of tears. She poured out her feelings, but more praying to God than confiding in the queen. Eirae murmured and cooed and crooned soothingly to Aria, as she had done to her when Aria had been younger, a little child upset over less troubling things than this.
They went on this way for awhile, until Aria calmed and left, retiring to her room for quiet and contemplation. There, she remembered how the horrid news had been delivered. It was distinctly and vividly embedded in her memory, try as she might to erase all traces of it. It had been a few days after Rayne’s fables, but that short period of time had not been enough to remove them from thought. (Little had she known that their presence would very soon vanish and not return for quite some time.) She had, in fact, been walking in that direction with the precise intention of finding the wanderers so that she could record their tales in her neat, tidy script.
The bright smile had immediately deserted her face, like a crowd fleeing a wildfire, leaving her desolate and crestfallen. As she was told, her expression had changed from astonishment to disbelief. Looking as though she had been slapped or had walked straight into a tree- hard- while daydreaming. Then as though they had betrayed her.
Then she had lost control, trembling. She had screamed shrilly, "I won’t go! I won’t! You can’t make me!" She had burst into a flood of tears. "I hate you, I hate you!" she had shrieked hysterically, running off, her hands over her face, crying as stormily as she knew how.
And now I shall recount what she does not know.
The king had stared for a moment, then rose angrily as though to pursue her. But it was the gentle queen who stayed his hand. "Marcus, if you go after her now she will never listen. To be sure, she must be punished for such an outburst, but wait until she has cooled off a little. Think of how she must feel. This will be hard. Once you know and can deal with her in a way according to it, you may punish her however you deem worthy."
The king sat down again, and buried his head in his hands.

And now Aria reflected on these things, and she knew now that what she had done was wrong and unbecoming in her. And she knew now who she should have gone to all along, as she had done once before with her Aunt, but she now wanted to do more specifically and orderly.
"God," began Aria, slowly, "You know that I don’t want to go through with this and that I like the way my life is now. I know it’s only natural I shouldn’t want to leave everything behind. But I also know the attitude I’ve been having is not glorifying to You. I’ve been disrespectful and stubborn, no way at all to repay my aunt and uncle… or You… for all they… and You… have done for me. I was also rude to Gilligan. I know that because you saved me this is not an acceptable way to act, and that because I am a Christian, part of your family and one of Your own children, I should be a light, not an ungrateful wretch. I don’t want You to be ashamed any longer of me. Please forgive me, God. Please cause me to honor my aunt and uncle and not exasperate them. They’re working so hard to give me a life worth having and I want to repay them by obeying cheerfully and uncomplainingly. I know that they… and You… must have a plan for this. Thank you for causing Gill to help me realize this, and thank You so much for sending my aunt to comfort me. Amen."
And she was calm and serene again, and apologized to her relatives, her eyes shining with shame and sincerity.

I’m afraid Aria was rather spoiled when the castlefolk heard she was leaving, for while they thought her rather odd ("Our princess," they would say, with a measure of pride, "a little queer by times…"), they adored her. Cooks baked her special treats and tidbits, servants dropped little surprises around for her to discover, and maids cleaned her room doubly well. Even the knights, gardeners, blacksmiths, and stablehands pitched in to make the rest of her time memorable and cheerful. Aria appreciated it all very much, and told them so on several occasions.
Otherwise, there is not much to say about the rest of Aria’s time, except that she almost immediately began visiting her old haunts and favorite places, sometimes with Rayne or Josh (who had stayed at the castle after all, which I will expand on later) and Gilligan, but mostly alone.
First was the Rose Grove.
The Rose Grove was in existence expressly because Aria had desired it (see how spoiled she is). And, oh, it was beautiful. Rose hung around and draped from trees, swaying in the breeze, entwining fences and poles, making them blossom, enclosing off tiny nooks for reading or dreaming. (Only, if you visited, you must be careful of the thorns. More than once Aria had pricked herself painfully.)
Aria delighted in roses. Snow-bright white, crimson and scarlet and cherry and wine-red, bright as pomegranate seeds or sour cherries, deep, blood-red maroon, sunny yellow, blush-like pink, peach-veined cream; all of them, beautiful favorites. Roses were her favorite flowers. Oh, she would miss the gardens and the flowers, but she would miss the roses most of all.
And the Rose Grove was not all she would miss.
After that, there were the trees. She loved trees. There was a little tree garden, planted for her grandmother’s pleasure fifty to sixty years ago, that Aria loved. She and Gilligan had, up to a recent point, climbed trees there quite often. The garden was filled with rings of birches, oaks, rowans, maples, and all sorts of other trees. Once Aria had found a forgotten fairy ring, and once a small sunken pool.
There were so many places and people she wanted to remember- she memorized the way they looked, sounded, felt. But somehow, inside, she knew it would never be enough. She would always miss them.

Comments

Just to foreworn- or,

Just to foreworn- or, postwarn, I guess- you all, if this chapter seems skip-around or rushed, it's because I was kind of in a hurry to finish.

Anna | Tue, 12/04/2007

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

Oh, and I've decided to name

Oh, and I've decided to name this The Stargazer, at least temporarily, so next it will be under "The Stargazer- Chapter 4" or something related.

Anna | Tue, 12/04/2007

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

I'm the only one who's

I'm the only one who's commented. That's sad. =(

Anna | Tue, 12/04/2007

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

i noticed that.......... i

i noticed that.......... i liked it though, anyway. :D

Sarah | Tue, 12/04/2007

"Sometimes even to live is courage."
-Seneca

Blogging away!
busyscribbler.wordpress.com

The next ones are better, I

The next ones are better, I promise. Chapter six is where the real excitement comes in, though. It's also where (if you like the book) you'll come after be with a pitchfork yelling out threats unless I rewrite it, unless I mistake my guess...

Anna | Wed, 12/05/2007

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

:D I already like it!! If

:D

I already like it!!
If you're up to chap 4,
where is it?!?!?!?!?!?

Sarah | Wed, 12/05/2007

"Sometimes even to live is courage."
-Seneca

Blogging away!
busyscribbler.wordpress.com

I only post stuff once a

I only post stuff once a week. And actually I'm up to chap. 7

Anna | Thu, 12/06/2007

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

:D

ahh man!!!
post more more more more more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111

Sarah | Thu, 12/06/2007

"Sometimes even to live is courage."
-Seneca

Blogging away!
busyscribbler.wordpress.com

:D

ahh man!!!
post more more more more more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111

Sarah | Thu, 12/06/2007

"Sometimes even to live is courage."
-Seneca

Blogging away!
busyscribbler.wordpress.com

Out of curiosity, who's

Out of curiosity, who's you're favorite(s) characters so far? (Note: whoever you say, I'll probably say something like "Too bad" or "I feel sorry for you". I'm like that.)

Anna | Fri, 12/07/2007

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

I know the question wasn't

I know the question wasn't directed at me, but I like Rayne. She's interesting and unusual....Which is a good thing.
-----------------
|Live,Laugh,Love|

Megan | Sat, 01/05/2008

-----------------
|Live,Laugh,Love|

Hmmm

My favorite character is Gillagin.

How do they think sending her to the old castle will make her a better lady? Or is that explained later...

I felt bad for Aria, even though I don't like her a lot, because I would probably be waaay worse if I had to leave my home and my friends. (I'm waaay more dramatic than most of these characters)

Y'know Rayne really has a point there, I always reek of campfire after I go to Camp.

I wonder what happened to Aria's parents.... Or Josh and Rayne's for that matter...

How old are the king and queen, like are they old or relatively young?

Anonymous | Wed, 07/09/2008

It did seem a little rushed,

It did seem a little rushed, but not too bad. Still great!

This comment was made by Erin!

"Never, never give up. Unless you get really tired." -Ellen Degenres

Erin | Sat, 03/28/2009

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

I feel so horible for not

I feel so horible for not reading SOL yet but I'm gonna catch up now!
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
I personally predict that the world will come crashing to a halt if you don't forward this to 50 Gazillion people by noon tomorow!!
-me (in parody of a chain e-mail)

Keri | Fri, 04/03/2009

Well, don't! It's okay.

Well, don't! It's okay. :)
*************************************************
Chaos.
Panic.
Disorder.
My work here is done.

Anna | Sun, 04/05/2009

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

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