Eleanor S

Schlick,Eleanor6--7Hemlock

In the middle of the night, a 16 year old girl with blonde, brown streaked hair and midnight blue eyes named Elaine Dalton, crept down a gravel pathway that would eventually lead her to a little, stone bridge. There would be two girls the same age waiting, whom Elaine hasn’t seen since Queen Xayleen came to power one year ago.

The land which Elaine lives in is called the Kingdom of Tyvola, but just one year ago it was called the Kingdom of Witherow. Despite the land being the same for both kingdoms, they are and were vastly different. The Kingdom of Witherow was in theory perfect. There was only peace not war. The law was fair and just. There was enough wealth to make sure hunger was not apparent. Democracy reigned free so all citizens had a voice. Magic was welcomed into the kingdom as friend not foe. Anyone was considered lucky to live in this utopian society.

The prosperity of the kingdom was mostly owed to King William the Good, who ruled without flaw. He was young, clever, and charming, but he also had most of his success due to the fact that he was the happiest man alive in the strongly fortified kingdom walls. The King had an incredible wife and three amazing daughters. The four woman brought him so much joy and the support needed when ruling a kingdom. King William’s life was perfect which in turn made the Kingdom of Witherow perfect.

Unfortunately, we all know one can’t solely rely on happiness to sustain oneself, and so one day the fantasy that the King himself, and the Kingdom of Witherow, lived in ended and reality struck. The troubles began one fateful evening when the royal family sat down to feast with only each others’ company. Before they began to eat, King William raised a glass to another great day, everyone cheered and took a sip of the Crimson red liquid. Moments later, hauntingly all at the same time, the wife and the three daughters lost the grip of their wine glasses and fell to the floor. The glass shattered, the wine spilled and even though it was the only red there that did not mean there was no death.

The King though was still alive. He witnessed everything that happened with no reaction whatsoever. It was shocking, terrifying, and paralyzing, everything that happened was beyond King William’s imagination. He always believed that whatever happened, he would have his wife and daughters, but they were gone now. The King after the tragedy lost himself and became deathly ill from grief.

At his deathbed many people came to visit the dying King William with true ambitions, though some did not. Some came only for the purpose of making their own lives better. One of those few people was Queen Xayleen, Queen Xayleen was and is a wicked, horrible, malicious, and cunning person. She severely attacks anyone who stands in the way of getting what she wants and King William was standing in the way.

Queen Xayleen had lost control of her original kingdom, two years ago after she was defeated in a land war. Afterwards her citizens left to join the winning side to escape their ruthless Queen. Queen Xayleen wanted to make the Kingdom of Witherow her own and the plan that was supposed to achieve exactly that was unfolding perfectly. Rumors were spread that one of Queen Xayleen’s private spies laced the wife and daughters wine with hemlock. Hemlock is a deadly poison that paralyzes you and makes you suffocate, it takes the form of a delicate white flower that grows on the forest floor.

 

Queen Xayleen’s greed and cruelty makes living under her rule insufferable and now the citizens of the Kingdom of Witherow would have to endure it. During the King’s last days, Queen Xayleen made constant visits to the castle, convincing him that she should be the one to take control of the kingdom once he passed. King William, to weak to disagree, signed a contract giving Queen Xayleen the Kingdom of Witherow after death took him.

The day then finally came when the King died and Queen Xayleen’s harsh rule began and everything started changing for the worse. At the beginning the changes were minor and nondestructive. The Kingdom of Witherow became the kingdom of Tyvola in honor of Queen Xayleen’s last name, and trade routes were changed to reach different kingdoms than before. Then the changes became more negative. A small rise in taxes, more tribute having to be paid to the upper class through food and goods, and a loose curfew being enforced. These changes gradually became worse and worse and suddenly the perfect Kingdom of Witherow turned into the corrupt Kingdom of Tyvola.

Now in the kingdom, taxes are extremely high and the poor have to pay tribute weekly. This leaves anyone who is not in the upper class and friends with Queen Xayleen, poor and desolate. Spending everyday finding a way to put food on the table and trying to keep your family healthy is the sole purpose of many.

Not only is the maldistribution of wealth causing trouble, but also the strict and unfair laws being enforced. If your taxes or tributes are not paid, you’re either sent to jail or executed, depending on how many payments you miss. There is a curfew where you can’t stay out after nightfall or else you’re shot silently by a group of extremely skilled archers. Queen Xayleen does this just to feel like she controls her citizens, even when it comes to the smallest details. If you insult the Queen in public it’s considered high treason and you will be put to death in the most cruel fashion.

Overall, everything in the kingdom headed downhill only one year ago and it’s affecting everyone in it, including Elaine Dalton, who is still walking to the little, stone bridge.

Elaine heard the snapping of a twig under her foot and winced. She did not want to be caught sneaking out of the mansion. Of course, she took the back route to avoid the guards stationed around the estate so that only one was in eyesight of Elaine. And that one guard was sleeping soundly against the red, stone wall with his rifle in hand, but still….. Oh, stop being so paranoid Elaine, you’re not going to be caught. Why do you have to be so nervous all the time? Said the critical little voice in Elaine’s head that always pointed out what was wrong with her. Elaine guessed that voice was just something that came with constant self doubt.

After much tip toeing and crawling, Elaine was far enough from the estate so that she could see the whole building in it’s glory. The cubic structure was made of a strange red stone whose grains glitter when the moonlight shines upon them. Rectangular towers of varying sizes made from marble were spread across the level roof. The perfectly manicured lawn was covered with trees, flowers, and bushes that were not at all eye catching in the darkness.

Elaine often forgot how grand the estate was, since it was where she grew up in and currently lives in. The estate and others like it have been the only places Elaine has been exposed to, being part of a very prestigious family. Though being part of the upper class does not mean Elaine agrees with them. In fact, Elaine feels quite lost in her family and in the upper class. Elaine hates the cruelness that Queen Xayleen encourages in the upper class, to take from the poor, to be unjust. Of course Elaine’s family did not need encouragement to commit these acts. They were already cruel, especially to Elaine herself.

Turning away from the magnificent, but almost sorrowful estate, Elaine looked toward a collection of vast meadows dotted with wildflowers. Those meadows would lead Elaine to the little bridge where she could enjoy one full night of freedom, away from all the danger and stress. Elaine walked through the tall grass feeling alive. The night air bustled around her, slightly lifting the skirt of her nightgown (which was the only garment she had that wasn’t floor length). The wind’s sting against Elaine’s bare legs and arms was refreshingly cool. Taking a deep breath in with her nose, she felt happy. Elaine could stand here forever, just the swaying of the wildflowers, the rush of the breeze, the tickling sensation of the grass. It was wonderful, though Elaine knew that two girls were waiting for her and those two girls were very important.

The two girls currently waiting on the little bridge are named Brynn and Jennette. Both of them are in the upper class and Elaine’s best friends. Brynn and Jennette have the same opinion of Queen Xayleen as Elaine and that’s why they have not met with each other for a whole year. At the beginning Queen Xayleen watched everyone like a hawk. She scouted out who she thought would be most loyal to her and who had immediately come to her allegiance. Others would be sent to the farms, dungeons, or gallows. If Queen Xayleen saw that Elaine, Brynn, and Jennette had a connection, they’d be on her radar. Being on Queen Xayleen’s radar meant they would be in constant danger, for if anyone of them made a slip up the Queen and she would not be at all forgiving. Now everything has died down and the three girls can risk to sneak out and meet each other at a little bridge which they also met at as children, except then it was much more light hearted.

Elaine had been walking for thirty minutes thinking about what to say to the most important people in her life, but when she suddenly saw the bridge in the distance she forgot because of the excitement that immediately filled her. Being under Queen Xayleen’s constant watch made her cautious so Elaine checked to make sure it was her best friends there before running over. Elaine, narrowing her eyes, luckily saw two familiar faces waving to her from the bridge.

The only action Elaine was thinking of taking was to run at full speed at them, so she did. The wind whistled passed Elaine as she felt the long grass decompress under her foot. Then suddenly the ground changed and Elaine felt and heard the thump of cobblestones where she stepped. Though soon enough Elaine only felt and heard the warm hugs and greeting of her friends.

Brynn and Jennette beamed at Elaine after they had hugged each other and enjoyed a simple moment of bliss. It had been a long time coming, this meeting. The three girls were like family because the group of people each of them were born into didn’t treat them like a real family should.

Elaine, wanting to talk about everything that happened in her friends’ lives over the past year had started off the conversation. “Tell me how things have been? I know it’s probably bad, considering everything  that has happened, but you have to tell me about it.”

Brynn’s and Jennette’s faces suddenly turned dark and Jennette spoke. “It’s worse than bad, much worse.


 

War

Bitter rift between allies.

Ties broken.

Constant turmoil confirmed.

Breakdown of agreements and deals.

Expected to take sides.

Families killed.

Two-Hundred bed hospital full.

Food and water scarce.

Militant groups far and near.

Discrimination apparent.

Mutual sadness.

More killed.

The consequences of war.

 

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