The Grandmothers' Fairy Story

Patricia Ward and Linda Sarin

Prologue

Queen Rose stood before the west window of the castle's tower room; her head bent and shoulders slumped. Through teary eyes she watched the big bird wing its way into the setting sun. The bird's path through the evening sky was straight and true, and the queen watched until it disappeared into the horizon. "God speed my sweet loves," she whispered and dabbed the tears that streaked her cheeks.

Patrina, court mystic and loyal friend to the queen, gently lead Rose to a small table in the center of the room. "Look here my queen," she said and removed the black velvet cloth from her crystal ball. "Here." Patrina pointed to a figure in the very center of the crystal. The queen bent close and stared into its depth. In its very center was a tiny image of the bird. Patrina waved her wand above the crystal until the image focused.

The bird, at times flapping its wings and at times gliding on air currents, moved steadily toward the southwest. Around its neck hung a scarlet ribbon, the noble color of the royal family. Suspended from the ribbon a basket lined with the soft silk of milkweed pods and fragrant blossoms of water lilies swayed rhythmically with the bird's movements. A gasp escaped the queen's lips as she saw her twin children, still babies, nestled among the lilies. Sitting between the infants, with an arm around each, was her niece, still just a child herself.

"Will they be safe?" the queen beseeched, her voice cracked with grief.

"Captain O'Sullivan is a clever bird. General Oaks would not have chosen him for this critical mission if he did not have the utmost trust in him," Patrina soothed.

"Will I see my children again?" Queen Rose asked her friend.

"I cannot answer that," Patrina replied softly. "Perhaps, when wicked Queen Ravenloch has been captured and her evil forces driven from our lands, it will be safe for the children to return."

"Where will Captain O'Sullivan take my children?" asked the Queen.

"Only Captain O'Sullivan and General Oaks know the location," answered Patrina. "It's a secret to ensure the children's safety and the safety of our kingdom. If Queen Ravenloch finds the children she would - Patrina shuddered - I fear to think what she would do to them. Then, as the only living heir to the throne, she would claim her right. I dread to think what our kingdom would be like with her as our ruler!"

"I know you are right," said the queen. "But I miss my children." She began again to cry. Patrina placed her arms around the queen and hugged her friend. Although neither the queen nor the mystic could have guessed on that dark night, twelve long years would pass before the children would return to their tiny kingdom.