Skip to main content

An Arranged Marriage - 12

    Twenty minutes later, Detlef clasped his hands behind his back and gazed up the grand staircase.  Ilona would be coming down those stairs any minute.  And she would likely dance the first dance with Emil, since he won the fencing.  Emil was right – any attempts to expose him would be dismissed.  But with his smooth, practiced flattery, would Ilona be able to see through him for herself?

    “I should have known I would find my little brother mooning about for the princess.”  The voice of his older brother, Matthias, was fondly mocking.  “You were always sentimental about her.”

    “As opposed to you, who thinks a king should have no heart.”  Detlef’s voice was tinged with bitterness.  This was a long-standing argument between them.

    “It’s not that a king has no heart.  It’s that he cannot listen to it.  If I were as sentimental as you, it would throw the entire kingdom into disarray.”

    Detlef swung his leg, banging his foot against the bottom step of the staircase in a mournful rhythm.  “Really?  How?”

     Matthias shifted his weight uneasily.  “If you will keep your mouth shut, I shall tell you a secret that no man knows.”

    Detlef paused his rhythm and turned his head to read his brother’s face.

    Weariness covered Matthias and he sighed.  “There’s a girl I like.  Back home.  Her name is Gretal.”  He caught Detlef’s expression and shook his head.  “No you don’t know her.”  He sucked air between his teeth.  “She’s a…peasant.”  He rubbed his hand vigorously across the top of his head, rumpling his hair.  “You know Father wouldn’t accept her, and neither would the people.  If I marry her, the kingdom will be in uproar.”  He smiled, but it was a sad smile.  “So you see why princes cannot have hearts.  And why I am here to woo a girl of royal blood.”

    Detlef beat his foot against the steps again, thinking over his brother’s words.  “That’s not the kind of prince I want to be.”  He clenched his jaw as if taking a vow.  “It’s not that I want my kingdom in uproar…but if a king cannot set a precedent of integrity, justice, mercy, and true love, then from where can we expect the change to come?”

     A piercing scream filled the air.  And another.  And another.

     “Danger is in the air, little brother!” Matthias pulled a sword from his belt.

    Detlef’s heart leapt into his throat.  “Ilona!”  He raced up the stairs and through the halls, bursting into Ilona’s room.  “Ilona!”

    But Ilona wasn’t there.  The room was empty except for one crumpled woman in the middle of the floor.  Her elegant robes billowed around her, mocking her sorrow.  The woman screamed again – a horrifyingly agonized sound – and looked up at Detlef.  It was Queen Amalia, her face marred with tears.

    And she was clutching a small wooden spindle.
(by Esther Brooksmith)


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Guest Post by Emily!

Character Creation by Emily Ann Putzke
My character in Ain’t We Got Fun is Georgiana (Gi) Rowland, the older sister of Bess. Their family is struggling during the Great Depression, so Gi takes off for NYC to make a fortune and help them out. The sisters recount their adventures, joys and heartaches to each other. My co-author, Emily Chapman, and I wrote this story in letter form in January. Our characters are very different people! Here are a 5 things that helped me bring Gi to life, and give her a personality that’s all her own.
1.  Give Your Characters Flaws None of us are perfect, so our characters shouldn't be either. Gi is a fun, loyal, light hearted girl with big dreams. But she has a flaw that she struggles with throughout the entire story. Pride. She’s very stubborn, independent, and doesn’t want anything from anybody.
2. Use That Flaw to Stretch and Change Your Character Pride gets Gi in quite a few scrapes. Throughout AWGF, she’s constantly battling with it. Everytime she thi…

Anti-Hope: A very real emotion

Have you ever wanted something?  And you've wanted it so deeply and for so long?

    And then, against all odds, there is a whisper that it could happen this time?  Maybe instead of the expected rejection letter, you got a "we've taken your submission for further review."  Maybe a sudden source of income appears that may allow you to earn enough for horseriding lessons.  Maybe you find a nebulous symptom in your own body that hints at the possibility of a long-awaited pregnancy.  Whatever the case, you have that realization that your dreams COULD come true.

    And, instantly, anti-hope appears.

     What is anti-hope?  It is that emotion that springs up as a counter-balance to keep you from being too disappointed if your hopes are dashed again.

     Anti-hope says, "Don't get too excited.  'Further review' isn't the same as an acceptance.  They could still reject your story."  Anti-hope says, "You still might not earn quite enough …

First Snippets from 12 Dancing Princesses

I haven't settled on a title for my Twelve Dancing Princesses story.  But I've written about 4500 words so far.  Here are a few snippets for you to enjoy.

I chose my words slowly and carefully.“I think it’s important for you to do what you feel like you were meant to do.I’ll always support you in that.” ***
I released my nose, confident that it would now stay on my face...
I broke into a run and reached my yard in time to see a dozen soldiers on horseback.One of them had pulled Hope into his saddle with him.My papa was lying on the ground, and a mounted soldier held a spear aimed at his chest. “Hey!” I shouted.“Leave them alone!” *** The General and our captain bowed. “We honor you on the beginning of your new life,” murmured the captain. *** King Howenth sat on the throne, looking rather like a pudding that has fallen over against the side of its pan.“Come, my daughters!” *** “As you know, I am never one to accept any lie fed to me.Nor am I one that simply sits around and waits f…