And So It Begins
Once Upon A Time...
Once upon a fairy tale, in an imagination over fueled, lived Prince Ashing and his subjects in a land dubbed Dovelle. Dovelle was a sleepy place, where little happened, and when it did, little or nothing was done about it. The citizens of said kingdom were content with their easy lives never minding the lack of accomplishments, oppertunity or self fulfillment...until a girl, yes a mere girl, took the fate of the kingdom into her hands by boldly beginning an adventure that would change life as the Dovellians knew it ...forever.
Zinia leaned upon her crooked staff, watching the sea of white wool mill about in front of her tired green eyes. "Forty three...Forty four...Forty five," Mumbled she to herself, counting the sheep as best she could as they churned like eddies in a river upon the lush green pasture. When she was half-satisfied that all of her animal charges were accounted for, Zinia shook her shaggy red hair from her severely freckled face, and attempted to herd the flock toward the kingdom. As it happened each day, a few sheep would lag behind or wander off, and in attempt to collect them, Zinia would lose control of the rest of the flock and they would flood in a mob back toward the grazing pasture. Returning the sheep to the Royal farm was tedious and tiring, but the job paid well, and Zinia's poor family prospered greatly from her hard work.
The sun was brighter and the sky bluer that fateful day, as Zinia locked the paddock door and bid a friendly adieu to her sheep. She shuffled along the cobblestone pathway and knocked gingerly on the farm attendant's door, before stepping back and straightening her tattered skirts. When the door swung open, Zinia gasped in surprise for standing before her was a small, stout little woman with white curly locks and a gown of hot pink. This was not Mr. Pompenry, the elderly, hunch backed old man who looked after the Royal farm and paid the hands their wages, but someone entirely new.
Sitting upon his throne and watching his servants scurry about before him, was Prince Ashing. He would have been handsome, except for the greedy scowl plastered to his mug and the pale, sickly state of his face. He sat ramrod straight, as a prince should, pointing and shouting almost incoherently at those who served him.
"And a forty seven layer cake...and a green unicorn...and a field of four leafed clovers...and..." He spat his wishes out at top speed, his scowl twisting into a menacing grin. Just when his tired, bedraggled servants had thought their job was done, just when it seemed the prince had everything anyone could ever wish for...the greedy monarch let loose the flood gates on his newest stock of un-grantable wants and spewed them at the cowering workers until his throat was sore. When he had injured his vocal chords too severely for speech, he would simply croak out an order for parchment and quills, and continue his lists in writing.
The Prince was feeling more ornery that day that usual and he wasn't finding pleasure in his usual hobbies, such as asking for presents and ordering arrests on innocent citizens, just so that he could attend the trial. Ashing's parents had died when he was just three, and servants were no replacement for one's own mother and father, so years of loneliness and boredom had granted him with a brilliant, if not vile, imagination.
It was only noon and he was running out of ideas, which only made him more irritable and unreasonable. 'What,' he thought, 'is left to want?' Just then, a young, fairly good looking woman who, he guessed, worked in the kitchens inched her way towards him meekly.
"S'cuse me, Yer Highness," She began quietly, studying her shoes with what seemed like intense interest. "My husband is returning today and has been gone for a year on business that was your own. Would you be kind enough, Dear Prince, to allow me a day's leave to spend time with my dear Robert?"
Looking down his nose at her, the Prince nodded with a snort and a shrug. What, after all, did a kitchen maid matter to him? There were dozens employed in the castle, and he wasn't about to cause an argument that would cost him valuable wish-making energy.
With a squeal of delight, the kitchen maid curtsied low and skipped out of the court room brightly to reunite with her husband.
"That's one thing I haven't got..." Began the prince, a look of glee in his eyes as he thought of the possibilities this new wish might bring. "A wife!"
"This is some sort of cruel farce, is it not?" Zinia demanded, staring with bewilderment at the plump little woman in gay attire who sat across the table from her. She had been invited in by the stranger, fed cookies and tea, and then, when she was most comfortable and least prepared, she was told the most absurd lie: that the woman was, in fact, her Fairy Godmother.
"No, no, my dear," Chuckled the little woman, her voice tinkling like an enchanted wind chime, "Every one has a Fairy Godmother!" The Fairy merrily grinned at Zinia, and hummed a honey sweet tune.
"If what you say is so, why haven't you shown yourself until now?" Mumbled Zinia quietly, studying the dusty cabin floor and wondering what had become of Mr. Pompenry. She raised her gaze and peered into the violet eyes of the happy little woman with increasing anger. "Why haven't you helped me or my family? We have struggled to make ends meet for as long as I can remember. My siblings and I must work to keep food on the table and pay our taxes to that bratty prince. Why haven't you seen what distress we are in?"
"I have! Oh surely, you don't think I haven't seen? I was simply away...on...business."
"Business?" Snorted Zinia, freckled face pink with anger, "What other business do you have? Or do you herd sheep for a living as well?"
"My last charge was a monster, dear." The fairy explained with shuddering voice, "I couldn't grant her first wish before she had made a second and a third! And so, I treated myself to a well deserved vacation."
"Well, then, thank you for nothing Ms. Absentee Godmother." Zinia stood and grabbed her staff where it rested by the table, making her way to the creaky cabin's door. Placing a strong, work hardened hand on the knob she pulled hard, but the door stayed shut fast.
"I can't let you leave," came the fairy's voice wearily from behind her. "Since I haven't done my job thus far, I wish to grant you an un-grantable wish of your choice."
Seeing loopholes and tricks laced into this fairy's proposal, Zinia could just barely will herself to turn around and face her once more. "Un-grantable?"
"Y-yes," Stuttered the fairy, beginning to regret her words, "For example, wishing for love or adventure." The stout fairy began to fidget, playing with the tassels on her bright pink gown.
"Why are they un-grantable?" Zinia questioned further, becoming more intrigued than upset. She slowly crossed the floor and retook her seat across the table from her fairy.
"Because they affect others...negatively, most often than not. You see, if you wished for a good milk cow to help your family gain some profit, there is no harm to anyone at all. But if one wishes for adventure...one can't very well go on an adventure alone, can they? Why, you would need a foe, and comrades! Injuries and death would ensue...and your Fairy Godmother, me in this instance, would be in unimaginable trouble." The fairy folded her hands in her lap and glanced at the child who she had neglected so long with worry clouding her purple eyes.
"Well, may I wish for a small adventure, please? I won't allow harm to befall anyone...I promise!" Zinia looked at the fairy hopefully, eyes shining brightly with innocent hope and building excitement. An adventure would give her a chance to be whom and what she wanted to be. Goodbye to Zinia the Shepherdess; when her adventure was over she would be Zinia the Dragon Slayer or Zinia the Spell Breaker! 'Or Zinia the Failure,' her conscious added, but she pushed the thought away.
"You cannot swear to that, dear Zinia," murmured the fairy, her glowing face falling into a dusty frown. Standing to straighten her glittering, puffy dress comically before clearing her throat, the fairy closed her violet eyes tight and plucked a wand from her hair. "Here goes...everything." With a crash and a tinkle which reminded Zinia of glass breaking, a flash of pink light engulfed the small cabin. A shudder rocked the floorboards that sent Zinia and her chair crashing onto the un-sanded wood painfully.
After recovering from minor shock and checking her now scabbed and splintered elbows, Zinia climbed up from the floor and glanced around the unchanged cabin. The fairy was gone, but a small piece of parchment -dyed a bright shade of pink- lay fluttering in the draft on the creaking table. The scrawling letters were written in gilded gold, and the paper smelled of rain and green tea.
My Darling Zinia,
For heaven's sake, Zinia dear, please try to keep your promise. The ones
who end up hurting may be those you most hoped to protect.
Adventures are unpredictable...what you are about to endure may be
different than you've imagined.
Regards and Rose petals.