Author Note & Disclaimer: This is an original piece of writing written by me Joey-Susan. It’s a first part of a short story I had been writing and I wanted to share it with you all. I don’t share my writing to many people but need to start, this is one of many pieces of writing I’ve done. I hope you like it and if you don’t that’s okay too.
Once Upon A Time in a royal palace that was busy and full each and everyday. A family not of royal status lived in a small tiny home just placed at the outskirts of the palace. There was a mother named Mary who worked as a maid for a lady in waiting; a father named Jack who was a woodsman and their little girl Arraya who was 5 years old and not yet given a place to work. The family though had nothing were all so very happy together living and working for such high royals each and everyday. Not a day went by in their lives where they were not grateful for what had been given to them.
One day a royal guard showed up in the middle of the night knocking loudly waking all 3 of them from the deep slumbers they were peacefully in. This knock would be the start of their lives changing forever.
“What can we do for you at this hour?” Jack asked answering the door,his face was fully confused and he didn’t even have an idea what it might be the guard wanted from him at this hour.
“King Henry has requested your entire family in the palace hall in one hour.” The guard stated sternly. He left the second he finished speaking, not waiting for a reply.
The family all got dressed and ready in their Sunday best clothing as a meeting with the king was of highest importance. Then they started the walk and headed for the palace for the royal appointment. None of them spoke much to each other all confused as to what they were being summoned for, ideas flooding their minds but none dare share the thoughts aloud.
When they reached the palace they were ushered into the big hall. All of the royals were sitting on their appointed thrones watching the sea of people before them. The hall floor was spit into two sections staff of all kinds split up onto both sides and a line in the middle leading up to the kings throne.
“Woodsman and family step forward.” The King said seeing them enter the room and having not yet chosen their side to stand on. At the front and centre placed were other woodsman and their families all stood before the king.
Jack bowed and Mary curtsied before them all as they stepped forward to the small crowd of staff. Both of them growing completely nervous neither knowing what was ahead.
“You woodsman are all of no use to us here in the palace anymore, so we terminate your right to be here and from living on our grounds. You maids and seamstresses have done your duty and are also of no use to us any longer you have been terminated and are no longer aloud to live on our grounds.” Jack, Mary and Arraya stood there unsure what that meant. They have lived in the palace or on the grounds since they were teenagers where they first met each other and had now started a family knowing they had a place to work and live. The king was terminating the use of them and there was nothing they could do about it.
“Guards will you take the men to the towers, the women to the outdoor grounds. Hold them there for execution and the processing’s will take place once this service is completed.” The King said to his guards, who step forward right away and separate the families. Jack and Mary were taken away but hadn’t known what was to come of Arraya their beautiful child. They were worried for what fate she would be given, would she get a place to work being so young or would she be sent out on her own in the world, or was her fate the same as theirs to be executed.
“Take the girls to cells, they may be useful in the future when they are adults.” The King said summoning another guard to round up the few small girls that had been left standing whilst their parents had been taken away. Jack and Mary’s little Arraya was sent away, escorted down and down the stairs to a cell that got closed behind her.
10 Years went by and she grew older living each and everyday in a small secluded dark cell with only stones to play with, she drew all over the dark walls images she remembered from when she was little, things she wished she could see one more time. The guards came by every day and dropped in dry bread and water sometimes some fruit or scraps of meat if a special occasion was going on within the palace. Not once would the guards speak to her and so she grew to be mute unable to speak any longer for how long she’d had no one to interact with.
One day the castle was under siege; she could always hear the fights within the grounds but nobody ever knew she was there nor came to save her. Until this day upon her fifteenth year in the world and her tenth within these walls the attackers finally came close enough to know she was within the grounds.
She could hear clattering on the floors and the sounds of hooves on cobbles a sound she remembered from being a child.
“Stand far back from the door.” A male voice said, she was already huddled in her worn out corner but felt relief hearing another voice for the first time in years.
Within a few moments her door was completely ripped off it’s hinges pulling down parts of her wall around her. She could feel air around her face something she hadn’t remembered the feel of. It was a wonderful gift.
She turned to look at the man in front of her, he was tall and had almost black hair and matched the horse he had with him. She hadn’t seen anyone new in so long she couldn’t help but stare at this stranger before her.
“Get going now. There’s enough space for you to fit through and escape.” He said to her watching her watching him. She wasn’t moving just staring curiously at him. He walked into her small broken down cell so he was closer to her, unsure why she was staring and taking taking flight for her freedom now being granted to her.
“I’m being nice, if anyone else finds you they won’t be this kind. I suggest you take my advise and run, run far far far away and don’t look back again. There will be no one left here after tonight. GO.” He said just to her waiting until her feet finally started moving. She escaped through the small gap that was made when the door ripped off.
“Marcus lad, found anyone down here?” He heard as he walked back to his horse.
“Nothing sir, just empty rooms.” He said sitting back on his horse and clomping off down the corridor until he reached the next room. Continuing the invasion of the palace, his plan to free as many as he could before those trapped in the cells are killed by the soldiers he was with.
Arraya ran and ran and ran. Her feet hadn’t been used to being this much for so long she was getting tired and fast. She stopped and looked around, all she could see was a long green path and many tall trees. She chose a tree at random and slowly climbed it getting as high as her legs would take her. She looked down from it and could still see the palace far in the distance; walls coming down, men fighting each other and women and children running for their lives. She didn’t understand what was going on or why this man saved her, let her escape or what was happening. But he must have had a reason she thought otherwise she would have been a victim to him, a victory.
She felt really exhausted and eventually gave in falling asleep up high in the tree, the wind washing over her, the leaves rustling it was peaceful but a nice kind of peaceful one she was finally able to relax in.
The next morning she awoke needing a drink, she always woke up with water provided for her, today she had to find it on her own. She decided to follow the green path she was on yesterday and hoped it would take her where she needed to be.
The walk was long and the air got hot. The longer she was walking the harder it all became. She finally found a small river on a bend with fresh water. It twinkled before her she drank from it and cleaned herself with it, wanting some of the dirt her body had built up over ten years to go away.
After a while she decided she wanted to stay there for a while, it felt safe and comfortable being out in the open air, with fresh water and trees around her.
Later that day in the corner of her eye she saw something moving, she didn’t know what or if it was a who but something moved. It looked at her and then moved. She ignored her fears as much as she could but the more she saw things moving the more her fear grew.
As the day got darker and slowly turned to night she wasn’t sure where she was going to sleep. The grass was soft but she was out in the open. She looked at the trees and decided that it would be safer to be up there again just one more night.
As she climbed up the tree she felt like she was standing on something, it felt strange under her bare feet and wasn’t the texture the tree was to her hands.
“Get off me pwease” a small voice said, she first thought it was in her mind the five year old self she once was. Then her foot was pushed and she knew it wasn’t her imagination any longer.
“I said get off me, you giant clam.” The small voice said again only more irritated this time.
Arraya had to find her footing on the tree now her foot had been pushed off. She was confused what was speaking to her and why it pushed her. But had no voice to ask.
“Pwincess, I apologise.” Arraya shook her head she wasn’t a princess but somehow this thing before her thought she was. She came down from the tree and looked at what was before her, it looked like a girl only her skin was green and mossy, her face was round and hard or so it looked. Not one part of the girl wasn’t covered in green moss.
“Hurry to sleep now Gatlin.” A male voice said coming towards the mossy girl and Arraya. He was covered in even more moss and was giant and thick like a tall tree. Arraya was starting to think she really must be asleep, there was no way this was real.
“The pwincess has arrived, and early.” The girl says running up towards him so excited to be in the presence of the princess.
“The princess, well I… It’s an honor your highness.” He says as he looks over at Arraya, he bows down to the ground making everything around her shake. More trees move and soon there are thousands of these green mossy human like beings crouching down to the ground before Arraya.
“We’ve been waiting a long time for you princess.” The mossy man says as he stands up again and takes her tiny hand in his giant hand.