Queen Marissa opened her eyes in the middle of the night for she heard many voices. Her bed was shaking and she felt a little dizzy. For a moment the Queen couldn't remember where she was. Of course! She was on a ship sailing home, to the kingdom of Paladia. But why was it shaking so much? The evening had been beautiful. Marissa, her husband and their six-year-old daughter had watched the stars and looked for patterns in the sky.
"That's your star," Marissa
had said pointing at a shining big star in the sky. She had caressed her
daughter's head when the little Princess looked up at the stars.
"This is your father's," Marissa had added about another star next to the first one. "And that's mine." The three stars were very close and made a small triangle in the sky. "That's our family. We are all up there together."
Marissa sat up in her small bed. It had moved a few feet from the place it was supposed to be. Everything else in the cabin was thrown around the room. One of the curtains had fallen on the ground and the little Princess's bed had slid on it. Cloths had fallen out of the wardrobe, books out of bookshelves. A book hit the Queen's head as she sat up. "Now that was painful," Marissa thought as she rubbed her forehead where the book had hit her.
"It's a storm." A familiar but nervous voice startled the Queen. She looked around to spot her husband. He stood by the window. Unlike Marissa, he was fully dressed. Marissa wore only her slight nightgown. She noticed her light green dressing gown at the foot of her bed. She streched out for it and pulled it on. The Queen didn't seem to take notice of the robe being a little wet, and tied its golden belt. She wanted to slip her feet into her small shoes, but noticed with fright that she touched water instead of her shoes. There was foot deep water in the cabin.
A sailor ran past their cabin. "Everyone on the deck!" Marissa heard him shout to the rest of the crew. King Reginald reacted quickly. "I must help," he said to his wife and ran to the cabin door.
"Rosella and I can't stay here," Marissa argued when Reginald pulled the door open. The Princess had just awaken. She now looked around with the same fear as her mother. Her small bed was wet with ocean water and moved around in the room slowly. More water came in from the open door.
"Just keep yourselves safe," the King said and rushed out of the cabin onto the ship deck. The water brought Marissa's shoes to her. "Come, Rosella," she called as she put on her shoes. "We must get out of here."
Rosella climbed out of her bed and hurried to her mother. The cold ocean water wet her dress and feet, but she rushed bravely to the Queen. Once she took her hand they both felt safer and braver.
The water was now to the little girl's chest. The mother and daughter started hurrying out of the cabin for soon Rosella wouldn't be able to stay there. They rushed out of the room, upstairs and through a hallway. Two sailors rushed past them onto the deck.When Marissa and Rosella reached the ship deck all the little bits of them that were dry still got totally wet. It was raining worse than Marissa had ever seen. Not to talk about the little Rosella. Both of them shrieked when the thunder roared and a thunderbolt hit the water somewhere. The sky was dark black and menacing. The ocean was even scarier. The waves hit the ship like a little ball. Some bigger ones buried the whole ship under themselves for a moment. The sea seemed very angry at them.
The whole crew rushed in different directions on the deck. Many men tied the sails, others tried to take control of the ship, but the ocean didn't want to give this ship back to its owners. It played with the ship, shook it in every way, and threw bigger and bigger waves at it.
Marissa felt her daughter's hand slip out of hers, and heard a small shriek. The Queen looked around with fright to spot her daughter. A cold shiver went through her when she thought for a moment that she won't find the little girl in the storm and confusion.
To Marissa's great relief she saw Rosella at the next moment. The Princess had fallen on the floor and the new wave had washed her to the border of the ship deck. Marissa wanted to rush to her, but the floor was wet and slippery. She slid and fell down next to her daughter. She knew that she had wrung her leg and her hands were probably barked, but that was the least important thing at the moment.
Marissa stood up with a bit of difficulty for her leg was hurt and the ship shook madly. She gave a hand to Rosella who took it gladly and got up as well.For a short moment, a moment not even long enough to count it, it seemed as everything was going to turn out well. The mother and daughter were together again, they held each other's hands. It seemed like despite the storm they were happy to be together. Happy to stand there by each other's side, happy to look in each other's eyes. Green met blue. They shared the most loving look imaginable, the look only they were able to share. The look that showed how much they meant for each other. The look full of love, encouragement, gentleness, hope, and kindness.
And then that short moment ended.
It all happened so quickly. The ship hit something and shook more than ever. The little Princess's hands slipped out of Marissa's grasp. Her tiny feet slipped on the floor and she fell over the edge of the ship. As fast as lightning, Marissa reached out to her daughter but a new wave washed her on the floor of the ship again.
"Mummy!" Rosella's shriek sounded loudly in the storm.
Marissa jumped up on her feet again. Her hurting leg and now hurting head didn't mean anything to her. She couldn't see much in the storm and rain, but she knew that somewhere in that scary ocean, her daughter fought for her life. The thought of Rosella being in danger hurried her up and Marissa rushed to the verge of the ship. "Rosella!" she cried into the darkness where furious thunder and strong wind played with the mad sea. Somewhere behind these high waves the little Princess had to be. She just had to still be there.Not knowing what she is doing, Marissa reached forward over the edge. Something inside her told her to follow her daughter, but she was sane enough to stay on the ship. The desperate thought of her daughter in the cold ocean water, alone and helpless, hurt the Queen so bad.
Another huge shake took the ship and Marissa lost her balance. She was about to fall into the water as well when two strong arms wrapped around her waist and pulled her back. Marissa turned around. She had never seen her husband that frightened. King Reginald held her tight as if he had feared that she will fly away otherwise. He looked at her with both concern and fear."We must do something!" Marissa said desperately pointing at the raging sea. "Rosella! She can't swim!"
Reginald tightened his grip to make sure that his wife won't try anything unnecessary. "We can't do anything," he said trying to sound reasonable but he couldn't hide his own fear. He loved his daughter as much as Marissa but it seemed that there's nothing they can do to help her survive.
Two waves swashed into each other and a small blonde head appeared from one of them. "Rosella!" Marissa cried and rushed against the verge pulling her husband with her. The girl was waving her hands in every direction. For she couldn't swim she was surely going to drown."Hold on!" King Reginald shouted over the thunder to his daughter. "Hold on! Hold on, Rosella!" Marissa had lost her sane thinking and wanted more than anything to help her daughter. But her husband held her tight for he probably knew what Marissa was thinking. "There's no point in getting ourselves killed as well," he told her when she struggled to get out of his grasp. "We must stay on the-"
"Hole in the ship!" A crew member ran onto the deck and shouted what he had discovered inside the ship. "Everybody prepare to swim!" The panic in the crew grew even bigger because of that news.
Marissa looked over the edge of the ship. The ship had indeed sank. The surface of water was much closer now. If there even was a surface, for the water was everything except smooth.
"We have two lifeboats!" the captain shouted over the commotion. "The King and Queen into one! The youngest men into the other! Hurry!" That didn't need to be repeated. Marissa and Reginald rushed towards one of the lifeboats, three young sailors to the other. They had almost reached the boats when...
One of the three masts had broken.
Reginald pulled Marissa out of the way just as the mast fell on the lifeboats with a loud crash which sounded over the storm louder than any of the crew members' shouts. The lifeboats were hopelessly broken. "What are we going to do now?" Marissa asked before noticing what others had seen. The lifeboats were not the only things that had been broken. The whole ship was broken into half.Before Marissa could even make another movement the ship had sank under the water. The ocean water and panicking crew members everywhere made focusing on swimming hard.
Marissa rose to the surface and looked around desperately to spot her husband. But she didn't see any of the crew members' faces, they were all busy with surviving in the sea. The parts of the wrecked ship floated around her everywhere.
The hull had sank but the two masts were slowly sinking. One more mast broke off from the rest of the ship. This time it fell directly at Marissa. Having no one to pull her out of the way of the mast, Marissa swam as fast as she could at the moment. But she wasn't fast enough.
The mast fell on her and pulled her under the water. Marissa managed to take a small breath before she was drawn down into the cold ocean water. As she sank deeper she looked at the surface where she wished to be. It was ten feet away. Now twenty. With every passing moment her chances of surviving got worse.Marissa struggled in the water to get away from the mast but it was no use. She was stuck. Looking around she saw why. Her dressing gown had got stuck behind a nail in the mast.
Marissa tried not to panic for she was nearly out of breath, and started untying her robe's belt. Damning her good binding skills she untied one of the loops. Now she started to breath out, so the bubbles in front of her face didn't let her see what she was doing. But the next moment her dressing gown's belt was untied and she slipped out of it. She was free.
Marissa swam towards the surface where the waves still played madly. "I must get up there," she thought when she felt her parts tire. "Think about Reginald," she told herself in her mind. "And Rosella. When they survive they'll wish me to survive as well." But the thoughts didn't help her. They made her mind stronger but in reality she was in grave danger.She had no air, no more air was left in her lungs. She felt dizzy. The picture in front of her turned foggy, her eyes began to close. "I must get to the surface," she thought. "I must."
But her parts didn't bow to her will anymore. Marissa didn't feel her arms and legs. Her eyes closed and she stopped moving. The flow now carried her with itself. Marissa knew that she was sinking deeper into the ocean but there was nothing she could do now.Darkness and cold. That was what surrounded the Queen. But inside... Inside was pain. Burning pain of not losing only her own life, but losing the lives of innocent young people. The people she loved, her husband and her daughter, they were all in the same condition as she was. Helpless and desperate. If they even were able to feel it still. For Marissa's feelings started to fade away. Instead was a huge nothing. Just nothing. No feelings, no emotions, only a hole in a soul.
"Your Highness?" Someone called Marissa.
"Queen Marissa!" There it was again.
Marissa heard the voice but didn't recognize it. Nor could she see anything.
"Do you think she's alive?" the voice asked quietly.
"It's hard to tell," a lower voice replied.
Then, Marissa felt someone press on her chest in a fast rhythm. A little bit of water spurted out of her lungs and she found that she can breathe again. It took a few moments for her to catch her breath.
"Your Majesty, are you alright?" the man with lower voice asked in a worried tone.
Marissa nodded as she started to breathe normally again. She opened her eyes and the foggy picture started to clear. She recognized the older man who was the captain of the ship she had sailed on. The other man was much younger, a simple sailor.
"Who else survived?" Marissa asked quietly, her voice not strong yet.
The men looked at each other and the captain dared to say, "We were the only ones to wash ashore alive."
"But- But that means-" Marissa said, her voice trembling. "Reginald..." Her voice trailed off when she realized the truth. Tears started to form in her eyes and the pain inside of her heart was worse than ever. Her family was no more.
The two men watched the Queen sadly, not knowing what to say or do. Until Marissa sneezed and they remembered that they were wet, and the morning wind was cooler than it seemed.The young sailor looked up at the castle on the seashore. A couple of minutes of walking and they would be there.
"Come, Your Highness, we must get you inside or you'll catch cold," he said, hoping not to sound rude.
Catching cold was the least Marissa cared about at the moment, but she quietly agreed to go. The captain helped her up from the sand. The Queen needed a moment to poise, and then started to slowly walk towards her castle. She was weak and hardly stayed on her feet but she stepped forward bravely.
Marissa looked over her shoulder at the sea. It looked so beautiful, light blue as the sky and smooth as a mirror. How could have that beautiful sea just taken so many lives? Marissa's tears clouded her view, and she turned to look back towards the castle she was heading to.
Oh, how much she wished for her little Rosella to walk by her side! To hold her hand. To laugh with her when they race to the castle.
And her husband Reginald. They would all walk to the castle together. His arm would be around Marissa as they walk side by side.
But now, Marissa was alone. The sailors didn't matter. She was alone in her heart.
The captain opened the castle doors and the Queen walked in slowly, followed by the captain and the sailor.
"Oh dear!" an older maid called and rushed to the three. Melanie was her name. She was the closest thing to family to Marissa.
Two servants came to take care of the exhausted men.
"Darling, what happened?" Melanie asked when she wrapped a blanket around Marissa who trembled from cold and who’s face was wet with tears. Marissa didn't answer, she couldn't say anything.
"A shipwreck," replied the captain before he and the other sailor were led out of the room.
"Oh my... That's horrible!" Melanie was shocked. "But where are Reginald and Rosella then?" she asked before she realized what the Queen was too scared to admit. "Oh, I'm so sorry, sweetheart!" Melanie said and embraced Marissa. The Queen was as a daughter for Melanie, and her family was her family also.
Marissa set her arms around the sweet maid and knew that she was on the edge of weeping as well.
A minute later when they let go of each other, Melanie led the Queen toward another room, but before she entered, Marissa turned around to look at the center of the big hall she was in. Melanie knew that she was dreaming of the Princess again, and so she waited.
Marissa indeed imagined her daughter. If the storm hadn't happened then the little Princess would have ran into the castle, laughing, happy to be home again. Her laughter would have echoed in the hall. She would have called her mother to play with her. They would have tagged each other until they tired. Then Rosella would have sat down on the floor and invited her mother with. It would not be a right thing to do for a queen, but for a mother it would be natural. So, they would have sat there and Marissa would have told Rosella her favorite fairy tale of a princess who lived in an enchanted forest. Later, Marissa would have put her to sleep, singing her lullaby "Right here in my arms". And then the day would peacefully end and turn into another dawn.
But none of that was possible now. The hall was silent, no happy girl played in it. Marissa was not a mother anymore, now she was just a queen.But she was certain that the memories would never go away. All the memories that used to be happy now seemed hopelessly sad.
new cry took hold of the Queen. She collapsed on the floor and surrendered to her sadness. This was a weeping much different from the ones before, this was
heartbreaking. Not even Melanie could help her sadness go away. It was sure to