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Thursday, 16 June 2011

Incasta Chapter 2

Chapter 2

Princess Abigail awoke to the sweet songs of birds singing from outside her bedroom window, the sun shining through brilliantly. She brushed stray strands of blonde hair away from her blue eyes as she left the comfort and warmth of her queen-size bed to change clothes.

Her eyes still heavy, she began searching through the walk-in wardrobe for something presentable to wear and ended up choosing a navy blue gown that complimented her tall lanky frame.

After quickly brushing her hair, she left for the kitchen, walking through the great halls of the palace on her way. Adorning the walls were pictures of kings and queens past, many of whom had been beloved by the commoners. The floors were among the best oaks in the country, and were polished daily.

As she made her way, attendants doing some morning cleaning bowed and said “Good morning,” to which Abigail nodded with a tired smile in reply.

Finally, she reached the dining hall, where a great glass chandelier hung above, glistening from the sunlight. In the centre of the room was a long table, covered in a pure white tablecloth and already being set up for today’s breakfast.

Abigail passed this and headed for the two doors from where the kitchen attendants were entering and exiting. Walking through, she entered the kitchen, a vast expanse of white walls, silver utensils and chefs readying breakfast, which appeared to be pancakes. A smile played on Abigail’s face at the thought and her mouth watered slightly.

“You won’t have any if you stand in the way,” A cheerful voice spoke out from across the kitchen, and Abigail turned to see her sister Straw helping the chefs. Nicknamed Princess Strawberries for her love of said food, she had a healthy interest in baking, and it was quite usual to find her helping out. Only when the palace was host to other royal families would Straw not participate.

Abigail smiled as she made her way over to Strawberries, who had an apron covering the front of her sandy brown gown and her sleeves scrunched up.

“You know I’d never pass up on the chance to try your cooking, Straw,” Abigail responded as she sat on the bench top, making sure not to sit on any food or anything that could cause a stain on her dress.

“So I’ve heard,” Strawberries retorted with a smile. A chef came up to her for advice and with one glance, Straw told the chef in a kind tone what should be done to maximise the flavour. The chef bowed with a smile and returned to his station.

“How long will it be until breakfast is ready?” Abigail asked, drawing a look from Strawberries.

“I know you are hungry, but I will be done in a little while. In the meantime, I think Lady Angel requires you to help her with the wedding preparations. It is your wedding, after all.” Abigail sighed as she slid off the counter, heading back towards the dining hall.

“I’ll send someone for you once breakfast’s ready,” Strawberries called as Abigail passed through the doors. After exiting the dining hall, Abigail turned left and headed for one of the ballrooms.

Entering the ballroom, Abigail immediately noticed the white ribbons hanging from the ceiling and vases of white roses lined the walls in-between the windows on the side.

In the centre, calmly directing the preparations was Lady Angel; the tall eighteen year old stood wearing a black gown that faded to white as it frilled out near the floor. As Angel surveyed the arrangement of the hall, her eyes fell upon Princess Abigail, smiling sweetly as she approached.

“Good morning, Princess,” Angel said, giving a brief curtsey.

“You don’t have to be so formal, Angel,” Abigail replied. “So, how are the preparations coming? Strawberries said I could assist you.”

“Ah yes,” Angel looked up at the assistants on tall ladders, fixing the last of the hanging ribbons. “We should be ready soon, but I was wondering whether or not we should have the dinner tables spaced out evenly or all lined up along the walls. What do you think, Abigail?”

Abigail rested her hand on her chin, thinking this over. “I guess I would have them against the walls. That way there’s a lot more room for the dancing.” Angel nodded, looking back at the stage, assistants setting up a very important table. On the stage would be where the Royal Family would sit for the reception.

“So, I take it Prince Romeo is in his room?” Angel asked.

“No,” Abigail shook her head. “He has gone out on a morning hunt. He should be returning soon.”

“Very well,” Angel replied, flicking her side fringe of blonde hair away from her eyes. “I’m so happy for you Abigail. Looks like you will definitely be one of the next Queens now.”

Abigail shook her head. “No, I’m not looking at the throne just yet. Besides, Katherine, Terrya and Emerald are handling the task flawlessly.” Abigail’s gaze shifted to the two rings – one was made gold and the other silver – then to her engagement ring Romeo had presented to her. It was made of silver, with a small ruby in the centre of a silver rosebud.

“Excuse me My Lady, Your Highness?” The two girls turned to see one of the chefs bowing in the doorway. “If you would follow me, breakfast is served.”

“Excellent,” Angel said before turning to her staff. “Alright everyone, it is time for breakfast. We shall continue in an hour.”

The workers put down what they were doing and started heading for the attendants’ quarters. Angel, meanwhile, linked her arm with Abigail as they headed back towards the dining hall.

The fields around the Palace were large enough to include a small woodland area, in which Queen Katherine now walked through. Strawberries had once again outdone herself with breakfast, as she did almost every single morning.

The sunlight filtered down through the branches of the tall trees the Queen now walked under, sometimes falling upon her brown hair, streaked with auburn, blonde and gold. The tranquillity of the woods was something to behold. The small birds fluttered from one branch to the next, their songs filling her ears.

She was glad to have made this walk alone. Had Riku had his way, every member of the Royal Family would have a bodyguard following them everywhere they went, even when inside the Palace walls. Riku’s heart was in the right place, but Katherine thought him to be a little too overzealous in his duty.

Arriving at the edge of the woods, Katherine could see the Palace itself in the distance, picturesque and peaceful. But Katherine saw something else. Sitting under the shade of a tree close by was Princess Midnight, a canvas erected and a paintbrush in hand.

“How goes your painting?” Katherine asked, taking care not to scare Midnight as she approached.

“Quite well,” Midnight replied, her brown eyes casting a friendly look back at the Queen. “I’m almost finished, just need to perfect the colour of the sky and then work on the shadows.”

Katherine nodded as she silently watched Midnight paint, witnessing the painting come ever closer towards being complete. Midnight certainly was a natural; the painting almost acted as a mirror image of the far away Palace and its surrounds.

“You know,” Katherine finally spoke up. “You missed breakfast. Straw was a little bit disappointed.”

“She was,” Midnight asked as she washed the paint from her brush and placed it in its container. “I’ll go apologise to her. I guess I just lost track of time while out here.”

“I can understand,” Katherine said as she stood. “It certainly is beautiful.”

“Yes, it is.” Midnight agreed as she stood, her curly locks of black and brown hair falling to meet the ground. And Katherine spied Midnight still wearing her crown, made of leaves and vines cast in silver, intertwining around her head.

To Katherine’s best recollection, Midnight was the only Royal Family member that wore their crown all day every day of their own free will. But, it was a magnificent looking crown, and Midnight liked it, so that was good enough for Katherine.

“Katherine,” Midnight spoke up, pointing further up the cobblestone path leading back to the Palace. “Who is that?”

Katherine focused her gaze on the figure approaching them. He looked to be a member of the Royal Guard, based on uniform. Either Riku had become paranoid at Katherine’s absence from the Palace, or something had happened.

“Your Majesty,” The guard announced, kneeling before Katherine and Midnight. “You must return to the Palace at once. Duke Riku has received important information that all members of the Royal family should hear.”

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