The sun was shining over the whole castle. Spring was in the air. The trees were starting to bloom and the grass swished as the wind brushed past it. Eveline raced through the meadow, soaking it all in. She threw her arms out and spun around, letting her skirts flare around her.
“Eveline, Eveline!” Eveline heard her name called.
She stopped spinning and let her arms drop to her sides and looked at where the sound was coming from. She saw her lady-in-waiting running down the incline towards her. She was waving something in the air.
“What is it?” she asked once Harper reached her.
“It’s a letter” she said breathlessly.
“From whom?” she asked, grabbing the letter from Harper’s hands.
Eveline fumbled to open the letter. Her hands were trembling. She hardly got any letters from her parents. She skimmed through the note, her heart racing and her head spinning.
“They,” she started, “They want me to come back.”
“What? Really?” Harper asked.
“Yes,” she said numbly.
Harper carefully led Eveline up the incline and into the castle. Harper led Eveline into her chambers so she could reason things out. Harper had been Eveline’s lady-in-waiting for years and knew when she needed to be left alone.
Harper was on the bench swing when Eveline had finished sorting things out and came back outside.
“Wow, what a day,” Eveline sighed, sinking down next to Harper.
“I can imagine,” Harper said, taking hold of Eveline’s hand.
“Well, I guess there is nothing else to do,” Eveline said, “I guess I’m going to go home.”
“Did they tell you why they were summoning you?” Harper asked.
“No,” Eveline shook her head and looked down at her hands, “They just told me that they requested my presence at the castle.”
“When do you leave?”
“They want me there as soon as possible, so as soon as we can get packed.”
The next couple of hours didn’t leave a lot of time to do anything else. Everyone in the castle helped with the packing, cleaning and getting ready to depart the castle. Early the next morning they departed.
With each turn of the wagon wheel, Eveline could feel her stomach sinking. In her mind she hoped fervently that the carriage would break down, or the horses would stop. As the carriage got closer and closer, she could feel her head spinning. She was shaking, and nauseated. She didn’t think she’d be able to go through with this.
She hadn’t been to the castle she had been born in since she had been sent away when she was five. Occasionally she’d get invited to go on a vacation to one of the other castles with the rest of the family, or one of her sisters would decide to visit her, but her parent had never once requested her presence at the big castle. She didn’t know what to think.
Before she knew it the carriage came to a stop. Eveline took a deep breath as the footman helped her down. She was led through the castle and into her parent’s chamber. Her mother was gracefully doing some needlework while her father was looking through some papers.
“Your Royal Highnesses,” the page said, “Your daughter has arrived.”
Eveline stepped meekly into the room.
“Your Majesties,” she said quietly as she gave a deep, although fairly clumsy curtsy.
“It is good to see you,” the queen said, rising and floating over.
“Thank you your Majesty,” Eveline said, giving another curtsy.
“Well, you must be tired from the long journey,” the king said, coming and towering over Eveline.
He was a tall and muscular man. He had a thick head of brown hair with a short, clean beard. His stormy grey eyes were worn down from responsibility. The queen looked small compared to him. She was a petite woman with sparkling blue eyes and golden hair.
“Yes sir,” Eveline nodded.
“Well then,” the king said, “We won’t keep you any longer.”
“Thank you sir,” she curtsied again, “Ma’am,” she headed out the door.
She managed to make it to her chambers before her knees gave way and she collapsed onto the bed. She felt drained. Talking with her parents, being around so many people, and the stress of not knowing what was going on was starting to take its toll on her. All she wanted to do was curl up on her bed and sleep, but alas that was not to be.
A knock on the door sent Eveline shooting up into a sitting position. Without waiting for an answer, the person came into the room.
“Eveline! You’re here!” Elaine screamed, rushing into Eveline’s chambers.
“Elaine!” Eveline called back, giving her a big hug, “It’s so good to see you again.”
“Oh am I glad to see you.”
“What do you mean? What happened?”
“Something’s going on. I’m not exactly sure what, but something. Rosemary has gone crazy. She acts like a three year old. Penelope’s extremely ill. Serephina acts like Rosemary, and Margret acts strange. We are worried Lauralie is next.”
“Strange? What do you mean strange?” Eveline, butted in.
She loved Elaine to death, but Elaine had a frequency to just ramble on and on about things. Always ready to go on an adventure, and always finding hidden meanings in the most ordinary of circumstances. Still she was a very pretty girl. Although two years older than Eveline, she was at least five inches shorter, and acted three years younger. She had a childlike zeal for life. Her smile would light up her face, and make her blue eyes sparkle like they were made of diamonds. Her blond curls would often dance around her face, after escaping from whatever hairstyle it had been trapped in that day.
“Well, sometimes she’s just normal Margret. You know, down to earth Margret. Always do what mother and father want her to do, kind of thing,” Elaine started.
“Yeah,” Eveline nodded, silently urging Elaine to continue.
“Well anyway, then there are times when she acts like a totally different person. She acts like a child and will go into horrible tantrums. Those times are the worst, I hate them. It scares me. But anyway, that’s not all. If she’s not throwing tantrums or being normal Margret she is spacey. She’ll wander around for hours, not doing anything. Her head will be up in the clouds and nobody can reach her.” Elaine breathed, “There’s something going on for sure.”
“Well then, why would the need me?” Eveline asked, still unsure as to what her purpose here was.
“Oh, they don’t,” Elaine said, “I asked them to send for you.”
“Why?” Eveline was puzzled.
“To help me get to the bottom of this, of course,” Elaine said, like Eveline should have known this, “Mom and Dad were going to just send them away for a while, but I knew that with them gone we’d never get to investigate and figure out what’s going on. So I told them that they should request your presence, because after all you are their sister and deserve to know what’s happening.”
“And they agreed?”
“Oh yes, I made a very convincing argument,” Elaine smiled.
“Penelope is incapacitated and can’t help and Helena and Lauralie aren’t into this kind of thing, and I need someone to help me.”
Eveline listened to Elaine ramble on for a while longer before pleading exhaustion and asking for some time to rest before supper.
Once Elaine left, Eveline threw herself backwards onto the bed. It was going to be an exhausting visit, she thought, as she left herself drift into sleep.