Sounds of crashing woke me from my slumber. I rubbed my eyes and started to panic. Why can I not see anything? What is going on? I call on my power and bring a shell of light into my bedroom. There was no light anywhere except my power. Darkness? In our kingdom? How is this possible? Curiously, I walked towards my door and opened it slightly. People were shouting and running through the halls. I stared in horror as a woman’s head was cut clean off by a man in dark armor. I watched silently as the man wiped the blood off his sword and kept walking. A servant boy raced to the woman and fell to the ground in grief. I slipped out of my bedroom and tried to get a better look as to what was going on.
As I walked, members of my kingdom were fighting members of a darker one. I looked to see on the chest of each dark soldier was a half crescent moon with a wolf howling beside it. The Night kingdom. I thought that we had peace with each other, but I guess I was wrong. I walked slowly and steadily through the hall as people dashed past me. I tried to make out what people were saying, but the cries were incoherent. Suddenly, I heard someone as clear as crystal.
“Help! Help! The King and Queen have been killed!” The person screeched. The whole world went still as I tried to process what they said. A sudden coldness slammed into my core. Mother. Father. I picked up my bedgown and started running.
My mind raced as I fled through the halls. People were screaming all around me, but I did not help them. This cannot be true. They cannot be dead! I turned corner after corner, ran through hallway after hallway. My lungs were burning as I pushed forward. I finally got to my mother and father’s bedroom. My body started to shake as I raised a hand to the door and pulled the handle. All I saw was an abyss of darkness. I looked at my hand and brought my light back, which poured into the room. I took a deep breath and looked into the room.
“Mother? Father?” my lips started to quiver as my light glistened on the blood that was dripping on the floor. Tears clouded my vision as I slumped to the floor. My mother and father laid in the bed, eyes wide open, lifeless. My mother’s neck was a deep red, and my father had his dagger stuck in his chest. My voice croaked out of my body as I wept on the floor. The question kept floating in my head. Why? Why? Why? I stayed on the ground for a while. I heard footsteps behind me. I turned around, expecting to see a servant, but a figure cloaked in darkness stood in the doorway.
“Who are you?” I asked the figure.
“You know who I am, little one.” The figure said. Fear rushed through my body as I recognized the voice. No. Not him. Not my uncle.
“Did you know who killed them?” My voice wavered as I clenched the fabric on my knees.
“Yes,” he said, “I did.” Fear fled from my body as anger took its place.
“You monster!” I pulled my dagger from its hilt on my thigh. I ran at him with the blade held high. He kicked me in the chest, hurling me backward.
“What’s wrong? Do you not like my handiwork?” He crouched down, tilting his head to look at me.
“Why? They did nothing to you.” I struggled to say, coughing from the hit to the chest.
“Oh, little one. You have so much to learn. Sometimes innocents have to die for the sake of power.” He smiled at me.
I looked at where I dropped my dagger. In a swift move, I grabbed the hilt and stabbed him straight in his chest. I winced from the sudden movement to my chest. My hand stayed on the hilt as he fell to the ground. He grabbed my hand as he started to cough blood.
“You are strong, little one. But my daughter will take my place. You will be conquered.” He chuckled, taking deep, ragged breaths.
I shivered from the sudden chills that went down my spine. I quickly pulled my hand away from the hilt. I watched as his eyes suddenly turned glossy, and his breaths faltered. I turned, in a daze, and walked out the door. I wrapped my arms around my chest, still hurting from the blow. I walked to my room and sat on my bed. I looked at the wall and started to cry. I sobbed and screamed until I finally collapsed out of exhaustion.
I woke to someone putting a wet rag on my head. The light filled the room, somewhat sickening to me. Was all that a dream? I looked to see it was my nursemaid, Kalinda.
“Kalinda, please tell me it was a dream.” My voice wavered as tears ran down my face once again.
“Unfortunately, it wasn’t. I’m sorry.” She patted my hand, sympathy written all over her face. She used my nickname, which I haven’t heard from her in years.
“You’re going to have to eat.” She said as she put a bowl of soup in front of me.
I looked up to her and then back at the soup. I reluctantly raised the spoon to my mouth and ate it. It wasn’t long before I ate the whole thing. Kalinda smiled at me and put the bowl aside.
“What’s wrong with me, Kalinda?” I asked, tears streaming down my face again. She took my hand and squeezed it.
“Oh, Orie. Grief has always been hard to deal with, ever since the beginning of time. We hold each other so dearly that it is so hard to let go. We just have to learn that from grief, there is hope. Hope that even though it is hard, it can get better.”
“I don’t know if I have the strength to hope.”
“You do have it. It’s just going to take time to build it up.”
“If you say so.”
“You should go back to sleep, Orie.”
“I don’t want to.” I whimpered, scared at where my dreams might take me.
“It’s ok. I put some sleep medicine in the soup. You won’t dream.” She kissed me on the forehead and left the room.
I watched the ceiling and felt the medicine kick in. My eyes got heavier and heavier, and then I finally went to sleep.
A week went by with me bedridden and Kalinda; you supplying me with a sleep aid. She was careful with the dosage to make sure I wouldn’t get addicted. I woke up and listened at the door opened. I looked up, expecting it to be Kalinda, but it was Elio, my father’s advisor.
“Princess Oriana, how are you doing?”
“Not well,” I said simply.
“Do you have any idea as to why I’m here?”
“This kingdom is without a ruler. The people are growing restless.”
“They’ll have to wait.”
“Princess Oriana. This is not something you can just put off.”
Anger boiled in my blood, and I whipped up in bed.
“I am mourning!” I yelled, struggling to keep the tears in.
“I see. I will try again when the people start to riot.” He said sarcastically before leaving.
I rolled my eyes and fell back on my pillow. Could a riot really start? It’s only been a week. I turned on my side, looking out my window. I watched the trees blow in the wind. The leaves could go untended if I wait. The people haven’t had orders for a week. They need someone right now. I sighed and got out of bed. My legs ached from not being used frequently. I walked to my door and opened it. I looked over at the guard.
“Call for Kalinda immediately.” I ordered and walked back into my room and into my bathing room. I prepared the bath and got in.
By the time I was done washing the weeks worth grime off of me, Kalinda was already in my room, preparing outfits. I chose my outfit, put it on, and walked out of my room. Elio was standing by the wall smirking at me.
“Did you change your mind, Princess?”
“Yes. But it had nothing to do with you.”
“Well, if that’s what you want to go with. The people are waiting.” He offered his arm to me. I took it and walked with him down the hallway. The voices got louder as we got closer towards the balcony. I walked through the doorway and rested my hands on the edge of the stone and took a deep breath.
“My people.” I greeted them. My eyes glanced from face to face, people were scared and crying.
“King Altair swept into our Kingdom and slaughtered my mother and father, your King and Queen. I know you feel angry, you want to march troops into the Night kingdom and declare war. We cannot think that way. Right now is a time for healing, we are weak, and we must strengthen ourselves. We must fix the damage and mourn our losses. I will do my best as your new queen to do these very things. Then, when we are at our peak, we will strike. So, allow me to mend our kingdom.” I lifted my chin in pride as the applause thundered throughout the room.
“The people of the day kingdom, I present to you, our new queen. Queen Oriana.” Elio bellowed to the audience. People stood up as I was presented. The edge of my lips turned upwards a little. Strength will take time. I chuckled to myself as I remembered what Kalinda said. I looked back down at my people.
Now there is a young queen, a healing kingdom, and a new day.
This is my kingdom, and my people.
I will not fail them.