Thursday, August 6, 2009

Sleeping Beauty, By Juliette Bowers

Note: This story had some intriguingly written sisters and an excellent hero, both qualities draw the reader in.

For twelve generations the house of Skye had named their first born daughter after morning light, for it was she who would one day lead their country into a new era. The royal family had passed the crown down to the eldest daughter since they had claimed the throne. The system was fine, the kingdom happy, until the birth of the thirteenth generation. You see, magic ruled the land and everyone who knows magic, knows that thirteen is an unlucky number and so it was for the thirteenth daughter eldest daughter of the house of Skye.

The problems started in the twelfth generation, not with the birth of Dawn, but of her younger sister, Rose. Rose, not being the future queen of the land, was sent to a highly specialized school, along with the youngest of the three, Violet, a school of magic. Their role in the family was to learn all that they could about the art of sorcery and use it to help their sister. Violet loved learning magic; she worked hard and absorbed all that she could. Rose, though, she was jealous that Dawn was so easily handed the title of heir; she made problems at school while quickly understanding how to manipulate the magic around her.

On the birth of Dawn’s first child, a baby girl, her sisters returned from school to aid in the traditional blessings to be bestowed on her. The child’s name was Aurora and she had a smile that could captivate the court and her laughter was filling the hall when her Aunties entered. Dawn started the proceedings:

“The morning light has again returned, to help our land anew. Our precious Aurora now we send our blessings onto you.”

The people looked on in happiness, which immediately turned to fear as Rose, stepped up to deliver her blessing. The air around her swirled cold and her words were spoken with ice:

“Baby Aurora you won’t be given the kingdom because you’re first born. Instead you won’t live, your life you will give when your finger pricks on a thorn.”

Shocked into silence it was too late to stop Rose as she swiftly walked out the door. Dawn looked to Violet with pleading eyes, while her sister sadly shook her head.

“I can’t undo the magic that has been done but I can try to give another that chance. Dearest Aurora the crown you will hold, despite what’s gone amiss, you’ll enter a deep and endless sleep until your love’s true kiss.”

The king and queen had grounds cleared of thorns from the day of the curse onward, but Aurora was not allowed on the grounds, she saw outdoors from her balcony and nothing more. Flowers without thorns were permitted to grow on the edge, the floral scent just making her want more. It was on her balcony though that Aurora met, Philip, the rambunctious son of the housekeeper, when they were both seven. He entered by sliding down the stone that covered the roof and plopping unceremoniously in front of her.

“Whoops,” he flashed Aurora his guilty smile.

“ Whoops is not what you say to a princess,” Aurora looked around to see who might be watching them.

“It is if I think you’re gonna tell my momma!”

“I won’t tell yours if you don’t tell mine.” From then on they were partners in crime. Philip would hide away in her rooms and they would play for hours on end. She would give him reprieve from his chores and he would tell her of the great outdoors. They told no one of their acquaintance for fear of what their mothers might say, thinking that a mother’s wrath was the worst thing that could happen. It was this secret that may have been Aurora’s downfall.

A gorgeous plant arrived for Aurora on the day of her seventeenth birthday. The card was signed from her secret friend. Having been warned about the dangers of her curse, Aurora should have been afraid, but her thoughts immediately went to Philip and his adventures on the outside. She brought it into her room without telling a soul, putting it to her nose to smell it. As she slowly placed it by her bedside table, her finger slipped slicing on an unexpected thorn. Time slowed as she fell to the ground, asleep.

Dawn was devastated when she heard the news of her daughter and called to the couriers to send out a message to the people all male nobles with true love in their hearts may try their hand at awakening the princess. Weeks went by and noble after noble attempted to kiss the princess to life again. With each successive failure, the hope of the land dwindled and whispers of who the next in line would be. For Aurora had no sisters and this left the slate to the next female in line: Rose.

It was not until seven weeks after Aurora’s seventeenth birthday that Philip did what no peasant should have done and asked the queen for permission to kiss her daughter. She laughed in his face for she believed that Aurora’s love could never come from anything but a noble. He asked two more times before attempting once more the climb he had taken when they were seven.

His land was graceful as he swung from the roof and through her balcony window. The sight of Aurora was breathtaking as she laid, a sleeping beauty, among her things. So Philip did what so many else had tried and kissed her across her red lips. Unlike her slow motion descent into sleep, her awakening was instantaneous. Aurora’s eyelashes fluttered open to reveal her savior.

“I hoped it would be you,” was all she said.

And so there was a wedding, with gifts and presents and oh so many flowers, for Aurora’s parents knew that there was no changing one’s true love, once he had been found, he would never turn away.

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