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Birthday Surprises By Constance De'Beir

 

 

 

      Connie stood in front of the mirror and brushed her long brown hair.  Tonight, she was going to go to her first ball. It wasnt any ball but a ball in her honor.  Today she turned 160 (16 in human years).  She hoped her looked all right. She wasnt a little girl anymore but a young woman. She was going to be presented to the court and all the other nobility. Not only was it her birthday but the king, her father was going to announce her as the next in line for the throne! A female heir was unheard of in these times. The princess felt some trepidation as she dressed for her ball. She heard a knock on the door. Princess, it is time. called a page. Connie took a deep breath and left her suite to the biggest night of her life.

      The ballroom shined with decorations.  Candlelight shone from the ceiling. Musicians played in the corner of the room. Every member of the elite was present. A murmur rose about the room. Tonight the princess was being presented.  A drum roll sounded and the crowd hushed. In the doorway stood Constance dressed in all white from dress  to her shoes. It felt like every eye was on her. Then the crowd clapped and cheered for their new heir.  The king and queen stood on each side of their daughter. The nobility stood in line to send the princess their well wishes. The first was a noble in the western lands. He kissed her hand and wished her a happy life. Then the next one in line was a princess from a far away land curtsied and said her well wishes. As the foreign princess passed, Connie heard a voice inside her head say, She is so beautiful.  She blinked her eyes in shock. Excuse me, did you say something? The foreign princess gave Connie a strange look. No, your highness. She walked on and Connie gave her attention to the next person in line.  The voices in her head continued from praising her to chastising her. The ones that were against her reign seemed to be the higher ranking nobles were gained massive amounts of land. The other half just didnt feel women should not be in power.  With the procession over, the music began. According to tradition, the members of the royal family started the first dance. Her father bowed towards her, Shall we dance? The brown haired princess told her fathers hand and the dancing began. Soon the other members of the party started to dance. She thought this would be a good time to see if she could hear the other voices again. She opened her mind and listened. One, two, three, one two, three...  Connie looked and saw a couple her age dancing.  The boy kept the time while they danced. She saw the girl grimace as the boy stepped on her toes while they danced. The princess laughed to herself. Another voice broke into her thoughts. This voice sounded familiar. I hope she does all right. All eyes will be watching her. Am I doing the right thing? We need a heir. I cant leave the kingdom heirless.... The princess mentally shook her head. Poor daddy. He is under so much stress over me. At that moment, the music stopped, the crowd clapped and another drumroll began. This was it, the big announcement was going to take place.

      The crowd hushed as the king signaled for silence. He cleared his throat and began: My lords and ladies, I stand before you to announce the one next in line to the throne. I hope all of you give allegiance to her as you have done to me..... As her father talked, the princess grew more and more nervous. What if they didnt like her? What if they thought she was unfit to be heir? How would they respond to one day the kingdom being ruled by a woman? Her eyes wandered as she listened to the speech. She looked about the room for nothing in particular until she caught sight of herself. Well, an image of herself standing beside her. She was so shocked and surprised, she didnt know what to do. Could anyone else see this image? She reached out to touch it and her hand went right through it! What could this mean? She was alive or she was pretty sure she was alive. Could this be a dream? She pinched herself. Ouch! Definitely not a dream. Then she heard her father announce her as heir. It was time to say a few words. She glanced over and her image had gone. She couldnt worry about that now. Her public awaited her speech. She was no good at this. She had to say a few words. She took a deep breath. Thank you all for honoring me tonight. I will do my best to be a good, fair queen when my time comes to rule as my father has done before me. I am sure your kingdom will continue to prosper under my reign as well as it has done under my fathers. I know a am a mere woman but I hope to prove myself as your queen in the years to come. Thank you. The crowd applauded at the end of her address. She stepped back in stood with her parents. She whispered, Did I do okay? Her parents nodded their approval and her father gave her an encouraging smile.

      After the ceremony was over, it was time for the feasting to begin. Long rows of tables were set out along the ballroom floor. The royal family sat at the center table. The princess sat down in her place and noticed candles set in the center of each table. For some reason, the candles on her table werent lit. The servant must have forgot ours. I will light them. No sooner had she thought it, she reached out and a tiny flame escaped from her fingertip and lit the candles. Now she really didnt know what to think. The voices and seeing her own image were explained away by being just her imagination. Could she have imagined what she just saw? No one else seemed to notice what she did. For the rest of the meal, she tried not to think of anything else. Maybe the strange happenings went away if she didnt think of them. To her relief, nothing happened for the rest of the meal.

      After the meal, a procession of people presented their gifts to the princess. Each noble and lady said their birthday greetings and handed Connie the present. She decided to open them later after the evening was over. The next person in line was a lady with long brown hair dressed in a silver, long, flowing robe with matching sandals. Connie had never seen her before. The strange lady presented the princess with her gift. Happy birthday, your highness, she replied in a soft, melodic voice. The princess took the present from the woman and thanked her. Thank you, kind woman. The box was wrapped in a green, forest colored paper. As the brown-haired princess touched the box, she felt an unusual sensation move through her body. She didnt understand how but she felt the gift was magical. The strange woman stood in front of the princess waiting patiently. If you dont mind kind woman, I would like to open your present now.  The woman smiled. As you wish, your highness. The princess opened the box carefully as not to rip the paper too much. Inside was an amulet on a gold chain. On the amulet was a design of a great oak tree. The girl stared at it for a long minute. Thank you, it is beautiful. The princess looked up but the strange brown haired woman had disappeared. The princess put the amulet around her neck.

      After the procession, the princess left the ballroom and now sat on the couch in her suite. She has went over everything that happened tonight and none of it made sense. Then that familiar voice broke her thoughts. -A copper for your thoughts?-

-Sapphire?-

-Yes, its me. How was the ball?-

-It was okay. Strange things happened to me tonight.-

-What kinds of strange things?-

-I was able to read peoples minds. During dinner, I lit a candles without a match. The flame came from my fingertips. I saw my own image and I could tell this amulet was magical. Plus, I dont even know how I can talk to you through our minds.-

-What does the amulet look like?-

-Why?-

-I like to know what it looks like.- Connie  looked at the amulet. -It has a green oak tree design and its on a gold chain.-

-Who gave it to you?-

-A woman with long brown hair and she wore a silver robe with slippers.-

-A brown haired woman with silver robe and slippers gave you a amulet with a green oak on it?-

-Yes.-

-Connie, that woman was Lyndra, goddess of Nature. The great oak is her symbol.-

-What? How?-

-I cant begin to understand gods but I am absolutely sure that was Lyndra just as I am sure the things that have happened to you tonight happened because you are a mage, Connie. Not just any mage but a Chosen One.-

-I am a mage and a Chosen One? This is too weird.-

-Why do I think I am here Connie?-

-To keep me company?-

-Well, yes but I wouldnt be here if you didnt show magical abilities and you were just an ordinary girl. You arent just ordinary. You are a princess and a mage and a Chosen One.-

-So what happens now Sapphire?-

-Now, you get training at the Clearwater School of Magic. I been sent to get you.-

-What about my parents and I need to pack.-

-I already told your parents and they are very excited for you. As to packing, everything will be provided for you. We must be off. Are you ready?

-Yes, where are you?-

-I am at your window. Open the window and climb on my back.-

The princess walked over to the window and opened it. As Sapphire promised, there she stood. Or, it was more like flew. You can fly?? Sapphire smiled at her friend. Yes, I can fly. Now lets go. The princess hopped on Sapphires back and flew off in the direction of the mage school. 

 

 

Avalon

Avalon Publication (April 2002)

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