Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Works-in-Progress Wednesday: "Princess of Undersea" Excerpt--Enter The Queen

Ylaine stood very still at Nathan's side as the royal schooner pulled into the harbor. The only people visible on-board were the crew at this point--but she knew the Queen and Princess would be emerging once everything was ready. She would not have to wait much longer, and for that Ylaine was glad. She had never had to stand in one place for this long, and her legs were getting tired. Besides, Nathan still had not made any kind of profession of love, and that meant that tomorrow would be her last day as a human. Did she really want to spend most of it just standing in one place? Finally, the crew members began casting out lines from the side of the ship to tether it to the dock. Ylaine spotted the old man who had pulled her out of the water, directing them. In the midst of giving directions, the man happened to turn in her direction. Seeing her standing with the king and prince, he was slightly taken aback, but their previous acquaintance earned him the right to at least give a small, furtive wave. Ylaine smiled and nodded back just as covertly.

Finally, the boat was moored, but still the crew members flocked about, with no sign of the royal guests. Ylaine let her mind wander--as soon as the guests had been duly escorted to the palace, as etiquette demanded, he had promised they could sneak out and perhaps ride horses. Ylaine had never ridden a horse before; she wondered how it would feel to mount another animal and ride upon its power. It must be very agile indeed, managing four legs when she had such trouble with only two! Ylaine quivered with excitement at the thought of just her and Nathan alone, as it was at the beginning. Perhaps then he might...

A loud trumpet fanfare interrupted her thoughts. A page in a frilly collar stood at the top of the gangplank and shouted, "Your Majesties, King Theodore and Prince Nathan, our most distinguished hosts, please may I present to you Queen Devaine and Princess Melinda of Crossway!"

In a fluffy cloud of silk and a resplendence of diamonds, Their Majesties disembarked.

Queen Devaine was indeed a rather plump sort of woman, and not very graceful. She bore herself with unwavering dignity however, and led her daughter right to dais before the King and Prince.

When she curtsied deeply, King Theodore said, "Your Majesty, thank you for gracing our humble kingdom with your presence."
Princess Melinda
"It is an honor," Queen Devaine replied, "to count Overcliff among the allies of our fair kingdom." She nudged her daughter forward. "And may I present to you my daughter, Melinda?"

Ylaine felt the hot blood rushing through her suddenly freeze in her veins, and she felt as if someone had thrust her back under the water again. Melinda was not just pretty--she was by far the most beautiful human being Ylaine had ever seen. Her clear blue eyes outshone Ylaine's, and her golden hair gleamed brighter than the necklaces she wore. She curtsied as if her body had been made of fine glass, and said to Nathan, "It is an honor to make your acquaintance."

At the sound of her voice, Ylaine felt the same tearing feeling the potion had given her seem to rip through her heart all over again. Not just the simple words she spoke, but the clear, lilting music in them! Ylaine realized then how accustomed she had been to her new, dead voice. Now, after hearing the Princess, she was filled with the longing to forgo it all and jump back into the sea and reclaim her gift from Nayidia, if just for the sake of hearing it again.
Ylaine felt Nathan release her hand, and he took those of Melinda instead. "Princess Melinda," he said, glancing over his shoulder at Ylaine, "May I present Lady Illeinina, a visitor, I think, from Crossway--and my dear friend."
His assertion filled Ylaine with warmth once more, and she smiled at Nathan--but he still held Melinda's hand. She nodded curtly to the tormented young woman.
"How delightful!" she trilled again, sending another pang through Ylaine's chest.

Queen Devaine already hung on King Theodore's arm, chatting way animatedly as the king nodded and muttered and tried his best to keep up. Smoothly, Nathan fell into step next to Melinda.
"Shall we?" he invited her.
"Indeed," Melinda murmured coyly, and no one gave Ylaine even a second glance as she stood there upon the dais, alone.

Her vision blurred, and suddenly, Ylaine felt a wetness in her eyes and she could no longer see or breathe easily. It was as if her gills had opened--but they had not, and the water seemed to spring from within her eyes and trickle down her cheeks.
The soft press of fabric on her cheek caused her to blink, and her vision cleared somewhat. A man stood before her, offering his handkerchief--Ylaine recognized him as Giles, the man who had called her Princess. He said nothing as she scrubbed the wetness from her face, only offered his arm as Nathan once had. Ylaine took it, and Giles escorted her to the palace behind the rulers of Crossway and Overcliff.

Excerpts from "Princess of Undersea":
-"Undersea and Overcliff" 
-"The Wish" 
-"The Witch and The Storm" 
-"The Bargain" 
-"Fish Out of Water" 
-"Walking Through Overcliff" 
-"Dining With The King" 
-"Exposed" 
-"The Exchange" 
-"Carnival Showdown"