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Black ink on white parchment is truly as magnificent as a red rose on a green stem. In fact, the resemblance between the two is quite remarkable, for words - if written with great care - can also make anyone feel just as extraordinary as a rose can.
Fiddling with the embroidery of her mother’s white gown as her head was rested in her lap, she wondered if the Queen herself ever felt the longing to escape from the golden walls of the castle. She wondered if her mother ever wished to taste freedom outside the palace walls.
For you see, the princess of Anarcha was never permitted to go outside the castle walls, however urgent the matter. And that so-called rule made Reissa fume with anger, every time she heard it. She claimed that it was utterly barbaric to think that a man could ride outside the castle walls to hunt and slaughter such magnificent and innocent creatures day by day, while a woman couldn’t even step out of palace boundaries, even if it was to simply glimpse at the life of her subjects. Yes, that is exactly what she wished to do. Look into the lives of the people of Anarcha, people that looked up to her and her parents.
Her hand caressed the gorgeous carvings on the wall, feeling the small creatures that were brought to life with simply a few carving tools. She wondered, how was it possible for such remarkably embellished walls to hold a person - a princess, at that - captive? How could such an immense and beautiful palace, someone’s home, be a prison?
Just as a single tear dropped from her eye, Reissa turned her head to find her mother - Queen Erica - watching her, her expression dripping with anxiety for her daughter. Reissa longed to tell her that she wished to become an author, that she thought it absolutely barbaric for men of higher rank to be given so many more privileges and rights than women, just because of the difference between gender, and that she felt as though she was a prisoner in her own home. But of course, she didn’t, for that would just bring disgrace to the family.
Reissa admired her work once more before placing it gently into the chest beside her bed. She ran her fingers over the small carvings of silver and gold on the trunk. Her fingers felt the carvings of small fire-breathing dragons and nightingales that were frozen mid-song. How stunning they looked, for one could almost feel the nightingale’s beautiful melody escaping from its little beak, and the warmth of the fire that fled from the dragon’s sharp-toothed mouth, which a mere touch. Tenderly locking the clasp of the chest, Reissa stood up, straightening her dress. Candle in hand, she walked around her room, gazing at the golden-clad walls with her large hazel eyes, loathing yet admiring them at the same time.
Reissa loved her mother more than anything in the entire world. And not only was she a loving mother, but she was also a wonderful ruler of Anarcha. Ever since the illness slowly began to obliterate her father’s life, Reissa - and the entire kingdom of Anarcha - began to depend on the Queen to fulfill all of the duties that the King would not be able to. Grief-stricken as she was, Queen Erica dutifully completed these tasks, which included acting as the mother and father to her only child, and acting as the King and Queen to her subjects.
Reissa paused to dip her golden pen in the ink once again. The words flowed out of her like water out of a waterfall, dropping onto the parchment. How amazing written words made her feel. It filled her heart with joy to know that words were there for her when she needed them, and that she could mould them into any shape she wished.
Reissa quickly dabbed at the dampness on her cheeks, and cracked a smile for her mother’s sake. Usually, it was easy to disguise her bad mood in front of her mother, but this time, she seemed to gaze through her and sense her grief. Next thing she knew, her mother’s arms were wound around her body, as her head comfortably nestled on her chest. The Queen’s white gown was nearly drenched with Reissa’s tears.
Releasing her mother’s grip on her, Reissa rose from the floor and walked over to the window. The picturesque view captured everything her parents had reign over. Pushing her hair out of her eyes, Reissa rested her chin in her hands, her elbows propped up on the windowsill. She gazed at the sunset as the sun leisurely sank lower and lower, hiding from the world yet again. It descended behind the distant hills that lay beyond the village. She watched as a small florescent fairy fluttered its wings, flying towards the sun. Her eyes traveled from the sunset to the small town below and they hesitated at the sight of a family of peasants - a mother and two young children. A pang of sympathy struck her heart at the sight of the mother, who was dividing a mere slice of bread into three pieces. But what sprung tears of pity to Reissa’s eyes was the fact that she smiled as she did this, as if her smile would fill her and her children’s hearts with optimism.
A shrill bell for dinner rang that snapped Reissa out of her reverie. As she turned around, she noticed that her mother had been sitting on her bed gazing at Reissa, her brows furrowed and her head cocked as if she had been trying to make sense of a difficult question. As soon as she noticed Reissa’s confused expression, the Queen smiled warmly at her. She stood up with a deep sigh and walked over to where her daughter was standing. Softly caressing Reissa’s hair, Queen Erica spoke so softly, as if her daughter’s heart would shatter if she spoke any louder.
“All will end well.”
Reissa knew in her heart that it would not, but her mother’s words of sweet optimism made her feel safe - for just one moment.