Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Fate of a Prince

Just playing around and I wrote this short scene. Hope you enjoy it!

Prince Phillip always loved the sound of the trumpet that signaled his arrival to those in the courtyard of the castle. But today he barely heard them. He only had a few precious moments until he changed the fate of the entire kingdom, and more importantly, his own fate.
Letting his horse, Samson, guide the way toward the stables, Phillip closed his eyes and allowed the images of her to flood his already overloaded mind. She was the most beautiful creature he’d ever laid eyes on. In fact, he was quite certain he would never behold anyone or anything else that came even close to her beauty.
With hair the shade of gold and lips as red as the rose, she was absolutely striking. And he was certain he’d imagined the sound of her voice when he heard it earlier in the forest, because nothing could sound that angelic and be real. But when he found her dancing barefoot in the forest and singing that hauntingly beautiful song, he was immediately enraptured.
Clearly a peasant girl, Philip knew he should leave and forget about her. He was already engaged to the Princess Aurora and their wedding day was just around the corner. But the need to know this incredible young woman was overwhelming and he found himself stepping from the cover of the trees to join in her daydream of finding her true love. Except it wasn’t a daydream for him; he knew he was in love. Phillip had always been like that. He knew what he wanted and he went for it.
All thoughts of his betrothal and disappointing his father to the point of disownment disappeared when he took her hand and placed his other one on her waist.  She was so caught up in her own mind that it took her several moments to realize that he was truly there and not a figment of her imagination.
“Oh,” she murmured surprised. “Oh!” She stepped out of his arms but he immediately took her hand in his.
“I’m awfully sorry, I didn’t mean to frighten you,” he told her as she pulled her hand away once more. Philip knew he should take a hint, but the loss of contact was already too much for him and he once again snatched it in his own.
“It’s not that, it’s just that...that—”
“That I’m a stranger?” he supplied for her.
She nodded her head. “Mmmhmm.”
“But don’t you remember? We’ve met before.” She had started to pull her hand away again, but stopped at his words and looked up at him.
“We have?” Heavens, that voice. Looking deep into her eyes, confusion plain on her face, Philip knew he was lost forever.
“You said so yourself. Once upon a dream,” he replied coyly. She gave him half a smile before slipping her hand free and backing away. Philip couldn’t help himself though and he followed her through the woods, undeterred by her continued rejection.
Suddenly an idea came to him and he began to sing the same song she had been singing before he interrupted her fantasy.
“I know you, I’ve walked with you once upon a dream,” he sang. The girl had ducked behind a tree and was peering around the side, but Philip surprised her when he took her hand on the other side of the tree.
This time she didn’t pull away and Philip decided to push his luck when he once again put his arms around her and led her in a dance that only two people, truly in love, could share.
After a while Philip worried she would get dizzy so he stopped dancing and pulled her close to his side, leaning against a tree and looking out over the forest valley. He could have stayed in that blissful peace until the earth ended and everything around them turned to ash.
“What’s your name?” he asked her softly. Unable to resist, he pressed a light kiss to the top of her head and was pleased when she sighed deeply. Perhaps she was just as taken with him as he was with her.
“Hmm? My name?” she murmured absently. Philip chuckled and was about to inquire again when she spoke. “Oh, it’s…it’s…oh no, no, no. I can’t!” She pulled out of his arms so quickly that he had to catch his balance before he fell.
“I’m sorry, goodbye!” She called over her shoulder as she scurried through the trees. Desperate, Philip ran after her, heart pounding loudly in his ears.
“Wait, when will I see you again?”
“Oh never, never!”
“Never?” Philip chocked on the word. She must have recognized the plea in his voice because she paused in her flight and thought for a moment.
“Well, maybe someday.” She threw over her shoulder before she started her escape once more.
But Philip was not satisfied with that answer. He picked up his pace, but she was navigating the woods as if she were a part of them. He couldn’t help but picture a small girl chasing animals around the giant redwoods on a summer day.
“When?” he called out.
“Tonight! At the cottage. In the glen.” Her voice came floating through the trees as her form disappeared completely.
Philip would have continued after her had she not promised a time and location he could see her again. He almost followed her anyway but decided that tonight would be soon enough. He turned back in search of his horse, grinning like a fool the entire way.
“Philip! Oh, Philip!” His father’s voice brought him back to the present and he slowed his horse before turning around and heading back the way he’d come. Still feeling as though he were floating on air he jumped lightly to his feet and greeted his father.
“Hurry, boy! You must change into something presentable to meet your future wife!” Philip smiled at his father like only a man in love could.
“But I have met her!”
“What? When? Where?” his father sputtered in shock.
“Once upon a dream,” he sighed happily as he began to sing once more. Caught up in the moment he picked his father, who was quite a bit smaller than Philip, up and began dancing around. The King was so shocked, it took him a moment to form his next words.
“Princess Aurora! Quick, we must tell King Stephan!” The King was already rushing away when Philips next words froze him in place.
“I never said it was Princess Aurora.” His father spun around, face pale as death as he searched Philips eyes.
“You most certainly did, you said—”
“I said I had met the girl I was going to marry.”
“But…but…” he sputtered. “Who is she?” This was the moment Philip thought he would dread the most, but to his surprise he felt no shame at relaying his beloved’s upbringing. What did it really matter where she was born when he knew he was in love?  
“I don’t know, some peasant girl I suppose.” Now instead of a white color his father’s face turned an alarming shade of red.
“P-p-peasant girl? You must be joking!” The King searched his face for any signs that he was joking, but Philip simply shook his head. “Isn’t he?” his father asked his horse as if he would have the answers.
“But, but, you can’t do this! You have to marry a princess!”
“Come now, father, it’s the 16th century!”
“I order you to come to your senses!”
“And marry the woman I love.” Philip stated adamantly.
“Yes, and marry the woman you love.” Philip laughed and his father quickly recanted. “Wait, no!”
But it was too late. Philip had already wasted too much time and he was desperate to see her again. Mounting his horse again Philip said, “Goodbye Father.”
Philip heard his father call after him, but he was already racing away toward a new future. He understood why his father was so desperate for him to change his mind. Philip knew what he was giving up for this woman he’d barely met, and yet he’d never felt more right about a decision in all his life. And there was something else, a sort of freedom that came with knowing he was taking charge of his own destiny.
His entire life he’d been told what to do, where to go, how to dress and act. He’d even been told whom he was going to marry and where they would live as King and Queen. But with one dance all that changed. He would no longer be King, no longer rule a kingdom and marry a princess.
             The weight of that decision should be heavier than it felt, but it was lighter than air when he saw her face in his mind’s eye. She had changed everything. She had changed his fate.

*Copyright Jayne L. Bowden*