Hello, it's KikaLee here! Just letting you know this isn't a story, per se. It won't really have a plot/ending/climax. It's just an inner look at one of the characters for my real story. I just needed an online place where it could be stored where I know it won't be tampered with. Still, read and review. Enjoy!
Milana: Queen of the Forest
When most children become adults, they experience an awakening within themselves. They realize that there is more to this world than just games and playing. There is responsibilities to be held and rights to be protected. That is the coming of age.
However, when I became an adult, I did not only experience an awakening within myself. I awakened my kingdom. Father says that kingdom has been flourishing ever since it was under my rule. These events, unlike most children, came at a very high price.
For one, the moment I realized I was no longer a child was when I held an arrow to a child, 10 years my junior. The moment I realized that I was an adult was when I killed a man close to my heart with my bare hands.
If I had a chance to do things over again, I would not have changed anything. These things happen for a reason. They made me who I am, what I live for, why I exist. Looking back on it, I could say that a chain of events caused this tragedy among the Forest Kingdom and the Jungle Kingdom.
Mother argues that the reason this happened was because of the way the Jungle People's principles have shaped their society. The annual Hunt was a tradition amongst the Jungle. They stole the most influential people, be it child, warrior, maiden, or royal, and hunted them down. It proved to the world how dangerous they were. It proved that the Jungle was not a kingdom to provoke. If the Hunt hadn't taken place, this would have never happened.
Father says that the ruthless blood of our family had done this. He says that if I weren't of the Royal Forest bloodline, I would've died. I wouldn't have killed, I wouldn't hunt the Hunters. However, I was of royal blood. I had the ability to kill since I was born. I had the ability to deceive my way through people's hearts since I could talk. I had the ability to hunt since I could walk. This was the reason why the feud between the kingdom started.
Despite what my parents say, I believe it was something much more universal. I think that the very nature of humanity caused this. The reason why we cry when we're sad, we laugh when we're happy, we yell when we're angry. The rawest of humans will do anything to survive. I was an example of this. In my teenage years, I was raw and untainted. I knew nothing about the world and when it suddenly washed upon me like an infuriated tide, I did what the most primitive beast would do. I fought back. I bared my teeth and sharpened my claws. That is why this happened.
My 16th birthday was nearing. I was excited. Uncle had promised me he'd renounce the throne on that day. He wanted to marry and start a family. He wanted what his sister, and my mother, had.
The royal bloodline has a way of making sure there will be rightful heirs. It has a way to also make sure a jealous family member won't kill for the throne. All family members of the royal bloodline will become ruler of the kingdom at some point.
The first King of the Forest was a wise man. He had two sons that were 12 years apart. He told them that the oldest will be king first. The youngest son was angry at first but the King explained himself. In order for the oldest son to bear children, he needed to renounce the throne and give it to his brother. When the youngest son wanted a family, he gave the crown to one of his brother's daughters.
100 years it went on like this. It seemed as though it was an unspoken rule that the royal family only have one or two children. Any of the royal bloodline could trace himself back to the original King of the Forest. I knew I could.
My ancestor was the youngest son of the King. He had a son, who then in turn had two daughters. The elder daughter was my grandmother. She had two children, Mother and Uncle. Uncle has no children and doesn't plan on having any. I am a direct heir and therefore will have the first crowning of our generation. Then it will past onto my brother. After that, it will go to my grandmother's sister's brethren and any of whom comes after.
Because my crowning was drawing closer and closer, Mother was becoming hectic with plans. She needed an extravagant ceremony with more than a thousand guests. She needed fine music, elegant music, and gowns. Hundreds and hundreds of gowns she needed. I tried on at least 30 in a day. They never held Mother's fancy.
At that time, I never minded it. If she were to try that on me now, I'd have the head of the seamstress on a platter. Back then, it was something to do. Being a royal, especially one who had no title yet, was boring. There were countless conferences, parties and lessons. They never caught my attention, being an overgrown child and all.
There was one day, I remember, that I couldn't handle the constant dressing and undressing. I needed a break. I had done nothing but try on gowns for 10 consecutive days. It was then that I decided that I hated wearing a corset. I hid from the seamstresses and the ladies-in-waiting. I hid from the guards. Most of all, I hid from Mother.
Mother's a sweet lady. She never knew how to cook or clean. She could, however, make the meanest of nobles smile and laugh. She could curtsy and stand straight. She walked with grace and had the most proper manners I have ever seen. She had the kindness of a mother lion to her cubs. She also had the ferocity of one.
Despite being a socialite, Mother was also once a Queen. She ruled with an iron fist. She made the other Kings and Queens tremble in fear. The military of the kingdom exponentially expanded under her rule. Our warriors were a brute force. Mother was once dubbed the 'Crimson Queen'. It symbolized all the enemy blood she spilt and the red-hot fear she struck in anyone who opposed her.
Of course, I was going to be afraid of her. There wasn't a place where she wouldn't look for me. I knew the first place she would check would be in the kitchen, where I spent my spare time talking to the cook who reminded me of a round tomato. She would also check in the gardens, where the gardener taught me everything he knew about plants. She would check my chambers, my brother's chambers, every place that I could possibly fit into.
The one place that she didn't look for me was the edge of the palace. Where the huge stone wall was met with a wall of wood and leaves. The royal forest surrounded the palace in all directions. Beyond the forest lies a village and my destination.
I was planning on going through the forest and into the village. There, I could spend my day free of any royal duties.
I hesitated to step out of the palace. I stood in a withered doorway. The door was rotten oak. Mould had consumed it and it looked as if it could break if the slightest notion of pressure came into contact with it. No one ever bothered to close or lock it. No one comes through these parts.
This part of the forest was uncharted and impossible to navigate through. I was certain that I could make it through. No one had tried. No one came up to me and told me, 'I lost my way through that part of the forest. Do not go through there'. It was simply superstition that made this forest impossible to navigate through.
Now, if I remembered the exact superstition of why it was considered uncharted, I probably wouldn't have gone through. The first King had placed the palace right on the edge of the kingdom. He wanted to keep a close eye on the neighbouring kingdom. The Jungle Kingdom.
The forest that I was so nervous to step into was the stepping stone between the two kingdoms. This part of the forest was neither Forest or Jungle. People named it the 'Bridge'. It was hostile and dangerous. I had just stepped into it.
For an incredible moment, I felt free. I didn't have to go try on gowns or take part in lessons. I didn't have to restlessly sit through a Council conference or endure a dull and adult party. I could be myself, or what I thought was myself.
Absolutely thrilled, I ran farther into the forest. The deeper I went, the stronger the feeling. I laughed and skipped. I danced to no music and sang my heart out. I felt like nothing could touch me. That the world had no pull on me.
I was making a lot of noise. People at the palace could hear me. Their own fears made them stay put at the palace. They didn't dare enter the Bridge. Once you're in there, you were game for Jungle warriors.
I was no better than the superstition. For a moment, I thought that I had defeated a petty rule. I thought I had proved that fear had no grip on me or what I do. I had defeated the superstition for a brief flash.
In that same brief flash, I was in a net. It surrounded me. It wrapped around me and made my limbs unresponsive. My breathing came in quick, uneven gulps. Fear shot through me, like the piercing wind during a thunderstorm. I was shattered on the inside and no better on the out.
The net was made out of animal guts. I could smell the stench of it decaying. They hadn't washed it good enough. It smelled to me like deer or some other hoofed animal. Animal-gut nets were good for one thing: to keep the captives immobile by their constant puking. No one could run while their vomiting their stomachs out.
Two men carried me. They held a pole that supported me and the net. It rested on their shoulders and they actually looked quite at ease.
I wasn't. I was vomiting the contents of my stomach. It tasted vaguely of mushrooms, a prominent ingredient in my lunch soup. It also tasted sour, like that of a strong acid. It burned my throat as it came and shot through my mouth.
When there was no more in my stomach, I gagged. I gagged and I cried, begging my capturers to let me out of this net. I couldn't stand the stench of the animal guts. I wanted to vomit, more than anything. It was certainly better than gagging in this toxic air.
Finally, they dropped me out of the net. I rolled onto the ground and grunted at first impact. My mouth dry and my eyes blurry, I checked my surroundings. The forest looked different. It looked alien. The trees had huge leaves that shone an iridescent green. Vibrant flowers were everywhere I looked. On the ground, in the trees, even on the people.
The people. There were many of them and they surrounded me like a pack of wolves surrounding their prey. They slowly circled me, boxing me in. I had no way to escape. I got on my knees. Using them as pivots, I turned around to look at each person in the eye. There was fear in some, hatred in others. One man, I noticed, had pity written across both his eyes and his face. I stared at him the longest.
Before he even opened his mouth, I knew what he was going to say. He was the King of the Jungle. I was picked for a glorious event. An event that has been going on for more than a thousand years. The Jungle Kingdom was a lot older than the Forest but that didn't matter to me.
The only thing that mattered was that I was in the Hunt.