Thursday, February 2, 2017

Love Conquers All

Hey! So I am a writer. I love you write stories and am embarking on a journey towards what i hope will be a book deal. Below is a story I had to write for school. I had to 'borrow a conflict' and I chose Rumplestiltskin. Hope you enjoy!

 Love Conquers All~ A Rumplestiltskin Story
Once upon a time, a very long time ago, in the year 931 A.D, in a land quite far and different from our own, there lived a young prince by the name of Estevan. Estevan was a very handsome young man with an unswerving sense of duty and loyalty. His love for his father, King Lancelyon, was so devoted that he would hardly leave his side. For Estevan, however, the past fortnight had been one of great sorrow and despair, for is beloved father’s health was failing quickly. He knew that when his father passed, he would be the king of the realm, but instead of excited, because he was wise, lad was hesitant. He knew not how to rule a kingdom. His father assured him time and time again that he would make a fine leader, but he battled most strenuously to accept his father’s words. 
The kingdom, which was called Rivalon, was a place of immense beauty and grandeur. Towering mountains shielded the lush valleys from the glorious rays of sunshine. Streams as clear as crystal laughed and babbled through the fertile valleys and tranquil meadows. The forests were perpetually aglow with the sunlight of a never-ending golden hour. Birds sang the sweetest songs as deer frolicked over the velvety forrest floor and wild boars scuffled through the undergrowth. Even the villages were places of peace and merriment. Soaring castles dotted the serene countryside. It was a place of beauty and the inhabitants adored their peaceful land.
Life, however, even in a land such as this, has a way of casting a shadow over gaiety and this shadow soon came to Rivalon. It was a morning such as the land had seldom seen. The sun seemed to have been dulled by some unseen hand. The birds replaced their joyous sonnets with doleful ballads. The brooks slowed and seemed to be flowing with the tears of the whole kingdom, for her king had just left the land of the living and passed beyond the clouds. Prince Estevan mourned the lost with the utmost heartache. His tears didn't cease to fall for days. Yet, buried beneath his grief, his honor and loyalty were surging and frothing towards the surface. After the time of mourning was completed, Estevan rose, washed his face and embraced his new duties as King of Rivalon. 
One day, several fortnights later, the most disturbing news came to the young king.  Krenelim, who was the King of Texeniastia, was fast approaching with a massive army to take over Rivalon. Now Krenelim was a ruthless man. All he ever entertained in his jaded, fetid mind were plots of treachery and greed. He was feared through all the realm and it was widely known that, when he determined to to do a deed, it would be done to the cruelest extremities. The fearless young king was quite suddenly afraid. How could he save his kingdom from such destruction?  Oh, how he wished his father still lived! After speaking for long hours with his royal advisers, he reached the conclusion that he ought to leave the land under the rule of the queen and go to meet the sadistic king. There was one small problem, however, for the land had no queen. The counsel hastily resolved to fix this problem by inviting all the eligible princesses in the land to a regal ball. The young king could select a queen, and then ride to war. Estevan, although he did not totally adore the plan, thought it to be the best option and agreed. 
The day of the ball arrived and the palace was prepared for the royal event. Regal banners streamed from the ornate ceiling of the ballroom. Servants scurried about placing the finishing touches on each detail. Before Estevan knew it, the princesses began to arrive. 
Prior to the commencement of the festivities, all of the princesses were introduced. There was Her Highness Brunhild of Treacharia and Her Imminence Gertrude of Hammonds. Princess Amelia of Bartorea seemed to be a promising prospect, but her fiancé appeared as her name was called and she fled in embarrassment. 
Estevan was becoming increasingly bored by the pompous parade and was about to simply begin the ball without selecting a queen, when Princess Avonlea Quinn Elowen of Baritania glided into the room. Her beauty immediately took his breath away and he found himself transfixed by her subtle mannerisms. She was dressed in a stunning gown of pale periwinkle with a full skirt reaching to the ground, spreading about her like the ripples from a rock tossed into a pond. Her blue eyes held intense mystery as they stared from her comely features framed by cascading golden locks. Estevan stared after her as she proceeded down the ornate staircase to the dance floor. He mindlessly watched the rest of the royal guests as they were introduced, all hoping to be the queen, and then rose to make an announcement. 
“Ladies and Gentlemen! Today is the day upon which I shall select a queen. Though many a worthy princess is present today, I can only choose one,” he paused while a titter stole through the waiting throng. “I hereby decree, that I would be most honored if Her Highness Avonlea Quinn Elowen Princess of Baritania would be so kind as to join me.” He motioned towards the platform on which his throne sat and then took his seat dutifully.
Princess Avonlea looked stunned as she regally ascended the stairs. She approached the throne and curtsied low before the young monarch. 
“Your Imminence,” Estevan began, “Thou hast caught my eye more that any other maiden and I would be most honored if you would be my queen. There is one stipulation, however, with which you must comply. The queen of this land must possess some special talent or power. Do you possess such an attribute?” His eyes searched hers for hope of a hidden brilliance that would render her eligible to be his bride. 
“You Honor, I am but a lowly princess of a minute kingdom, but I do possess a very special skill. It is no secret as to why you are so hurried in the selecting of a queen. By various arts and means, I can annihilate your enemies in the blink of an eye. Marry me, and you shall be invincible.” Her sweet voice declared with confidence. 
Estevan was indeed impressed and, because he loved her immensely, he announced her to be his royal choice without even making her prove her sayings. 
The day of the wedding arrived and the two were wed most happily. The festivities wore on into the evening and were preparing to cease when a shrill trumpet blast was heard. 
“Enemy approaching!” Called the watchmen. 
Estevan quickly summoned his generals and they summoned their men. The whole castle was astir as preparations to protect it were hurriedly carried out. Suddenly, a small boy called out:
“Can’t the queen kill them all?” 
Silence blanketed the courtyard like a dense fog on a autumn morn as all eyes turned to the new queen. Avonlea was quite obviously flustered and did not wish to answer. She drew a sharp breath and painted on a smile before saying:
“Of course! Fear not, dear people, for I shall slay them all! First, however, I must retire to my chamber for a brief rest, for undertaking this feat shall require my full attention.” 
With this, she bolted to her solar and fell face-down upon her couch. You see, she had done a most horrible thing and lied about her powers, fearing that the king would not want her if she possessed no special talent. Now she was required to use a talent which she did not have and the whole kingdom was relying on her. 
“I would give anything to be able to fulfill my promise!” she lamented loudly. “Would that I had simply told the truth, I wouldn't find myself in this predicament!”
Abruptly, she heard a soft tapping on her door. She dried her tears and opened the door to see an attractive man with a most cunning appearance standing outside. His clothes were an odd mix. He wore a brightly-colored doublet, but his jerkin and leggings were of a drab brown. His unkempt hair covered his head like a living creature. 
“Did I hear you say that you would give anything?” He asked, his tone as smooth as oil. “My name is Alistair Florian and I am in the business of granting, shall we say, wishes. For a fee, I will gladly give you the power to fulfill your promise!”
Avonlea knew she had no other option, so she bade the gentleman enter her chamber. She considered his sayings and decided that there could be little harm in taking this word. She stood less than no chance at this point already. 
“What is this fee of which you speak?” She asked.
  “Not that much, really. You see, I am a knight form a distant land and find myself in desperate need of squire. When your firstborn son turns twelve years of age, I shall come for him and he shall serve as my squire. That is all that I require.”
Avonlea thought it a good exchange, especially since she had no child. She readily consented and the man endowed her with a special horn that he claimed would summon a large dragon to decimate the approaching army. The queen took the article and ran from the room without any further correspondence with the strange man. 
She quickly scaled the battlements and held to horn to her mouth. A hush swept over the busy fortress as she blew a long, low call. From seemingly nowhere, a massive dragon appeared! The watching mass cried out in fear. The dragon let out a furious scream and descended upon the encroaching doom. In a matter of minutes, there was nothing left of the attacking army. The dragon vanished as abruptly as he had come. 
The people raised a shout of praise to the queen, who stood breathless atop the castle wall. Estevan rushed up the stone staircase and embraced his wife. Tears of joy and relief streamed down his cheeks as he held her close. 
“My dearest Avonlea! When you ran to your chamber I thought for sure that you were overcome with fear and when I saw you run to the battlements, I thought that you had lost your mind! But, ho! you saved the kingdom!” Estevan exclaimed most passionately
Avonlea Quinn Elowen, once a regal princess, hung her head in shame and sobbed into her husband’s shoulder. He knew not what had transpired and she felt as if she were a traitor. 
Several years passed and, one day, the glad news went forth from the palace that a young boy had been born to the king and queen. Great joy filled the kingdom and a gigantic soirée was thrown to welcome the new prince. Queen Avonlea was sitting under a laurel and rose arbor while her subjects passed by to see the lad, when she looked up and saw the beady eyes of Sir Alistair Florian. He smiled patronizingly down at the child and reached out to stroke its soft cheeks. 
“What’s his name?” he asked smoothly
Struggling to speak, the queen stuttered out, “his name? Estevan and I have called him Bayard Sterling. Bayard, for my father and Sterling, for his.”
“A strong name for a strong lad.” he coyly stated. Then, bending down to Bayard’s ear he said, “You are mine, wee lad. All mine! You mother played most fouly for my services.” A devious smile slipped across his crooked face, and with a disturbing wink, he slipped into the crowd and out of view. 
Avonlea was pained deeply over the exchange, but decided to put it behind and focus on the present. 
Many a happy year slipped by. The royal family lived in peace and tranquility. The glades and streams were as joyous as ever and the forests glowed again with a fervor all their own. 
Eventually, Bayard Sterling, who was the young prince, turned twelve. The party was grand and all of the participants enjoyed it immensely. As the night drew to a close,  Queen Avonlea and her son strode out not the night air for a stroll through the garden. They talked of many things. As they neared a large rosebush, Avonlea saw a figure standing in the shadows. She recognized Alistair Florian immediately and a dreadful panic rose up within her. He stepped from the shadows and spoke to her. 
“We meet again, my lady!” he bowed low and kissed her hand, “’Tis time to fulfill your promise. The lad is mine. Don't think of backing out, my dear, for it shall do no good. I shall have my promised payment this moment. Now, hand him over.”
The distraught queen feel to her knees and begged, “No! Please! My life shall be for nought if you take him! I will pay you, make you a lord! Anything! Just please don't take my son!”
Bayard was most confounded by the exchange. Alistair refused to be cajoled and took the lad’s hand to pull him from his mother. 
“Mother! Who is this man? Why does he treat me so? Please! save me from the fate!” the lad screamed. 
“My boy, I can do nothing! For before you were born, I promised you to this man in exchange for the safety of the kingdom. I lied to your dear father and told him i could defeat all of his enemies and now my foul play is catching up to me! I thought that since I had no child it would be of no consequence, but I looked only at the present and refused to look ahead. Now you must pay the price of my foolishness. Go with him, my son, and I shall find a way to come to your aid! Forgive me, I beg you, my child!” This the anguished Avonlea cried out as Alistair cruelly pulled Bayard away and melted into the night. She let out a despairing sob before crumpling to the ground in a depressed heap. 
Estevan heard her cries from his study and hurried to the garden. There he found his wife weeping on the cobblestones. He scooped her up in his arms and held her close till she could speak. Then they sat on the cold ground as she told him all. 
“Estevan, I do not deserve your love, for I sold our son’s life for the sake of my pride. So many long years ago I told you I could defeat your enemies, but I lied! I thought you wouldn't love me for the timid girl I was, so I sought to embellish myself to you. When the army attacked, I ran to my chamber in fear and embarrassment as I had no way of fulfilling my promise. Then a man, Alistair Florian, appeared at my door. He said that if I would give him my firstborn son to be his squire, for he claimed he was a knight from a distant land, but I don’t believe him, he would defeat the enemy for me. I had no child and didn't dare to disappoint you, so I agreed.” Her voice broke and she crumpled not his shoulder, having told all. 
“I see.” Estevan replied deliberately, “My beautiful darling, I didn't love you for your talents. I loved, and still love you, for you. I love the Princess Avonlea Quinn Elowen for herself. It is true that you lied to me and that breaks my heart, but I should have known he would do it.”
He stroked her hair lovingly and a little sadly. 
“Known who would do what?” Avonlea asked.
“Alistair Florian is my brother. He thought that he had a right to the throne, but he left when I was a young boy and news reached my father that he had joined forces with the cruel king who was coming to attack us that evening. My father, therefore, decided that Alistair was not worthy of the crown and so he made me the crown prince instead. He vowed that he would come and take back the throne. Alistair was always a crafty and cunning individual. He took our dear Bayard to eliminate the heir so he could take my place. Bayard hasn't much time. I will ride immediately to his aid!” Estevan recounted this tale with great emotion and then stood quickly and sounded the alarm.
Knights, guards and generals alike poured out of the woodwork at his summons. He barked several orders and, within the hour, a cavalcade of rescuers had pounded over the drawbridge and out into the night. Queen Avonlea waited with her ladies-in-waiting, most anxiously, for news. 
King Estevan led his company through the deep, dark night towards the far reaches of his kingdom. He knew that Alistair couldn't have gotten far, but he would take no chances with his son’s life. They rode for hours. Finally, towards the wee hours of the morning, they saw a lone horseman ahead with an extra rider, who appeared to be bound, behind him. They gave chase and finally caught him just as the sleepy sun slowly peeked over the horizon. One of the knights took hold of the horse’s bridal and several others forcibly removed Alistair from his saddle. Estevan rushed to his son and unbound him. Gently helping him to the ground, he held him close. His men bound the kidnapper and held him captive. 
The noble king strode over to his brother and embraced him. Estevan, despite the pain his brother had caused, still loved Alistair immensely. He held him tightly for a moment and then released him, speaking to him in soft tones. 
“My brother, why would you do this? Do you not know how many times I have sent messengers in search of you that you might come home? Ali, I still love you and I find my heart throbbing with the desire for us to be reunited! Can we not leave our differences behind and move on? I do not desire to gain a kingdom and lose my brother.”
“Don't you think it’s a little late for all that? You are king and I should be.  Need I really say more?” Alistair’s eyes flashed with a deep pain and anger. “You were always father’s favorite and I have no desire to live in your shadow, little brother!  You are the root of my pain and I refuse to bow at your filthy feet.” He spat upon the ground. 
“Alistair, father’s dying words spoke only of you! His deepest desire was to see you before he died. He loved you and I still love you. It matters not your past crimes, for you are my brother.” 
Alistair seemed deeply move by the tidings of his father’s dying remarks. Then, as all looked on, he crumbled into his brothers waiting arms. He heaved heavy sobs as the brother embraced. Estevan fought desperately to keep his emotions intact, but lost all control and a flood of tears, many years old, flowed down his cheeks. The brothers held one another for a long time, for they making up for years of separation. Estevan then turned to his waiting companions and proclaimed:
“My brother is coming home today! My joy is full and the kingdom is now fully restored to peace, for brothers are again brothers!”
A loud ‘Huzzah!’ rose from the soldiers as they all mounted their steeds and headed back to the castle. As they rode, the brothers talked of Alistair’s wrongs and how he could repay the land. Estevan loved his brother and refused to allow him to be brought to ruin. He purposed in his heart to take any punishment the counsel might place on is brother, upon himself. 
They arrived at the castle and called an impromptu meeting of the advisory council. Estevan laid the case before them and they deliberated for quite some time. Finally they had decided upon a punishment. Alistair would be hung for his crimes. He could be released for a bail of two million pounds, but would forever be a marked man. Only a full payment and a pardon from the king could erase his wrongs. 
Estevan could not allow his brother to die. He knew that he could not take from the royal treasury for personal purposes or gain, for he was a just ruler. He went to his personal stores but found only one million pounds. He hadn't the funds to save his brother. He knew what he had to do. He took all of his beautiful furnishings and frills and sold them. When that did not bring in enough, he sold his servants. Finally, He sold his Palace and moved into one of his outpost castles. His brother was far more important. 
Alistair was moved by this generous act. Once free, he attempted to work and pay off his debts, but Estevan would have nothing of it. 
Avonlea was quite elated to have her son back and cared not a button that she had fewer waiting maids and a smaller, less ornate estate. She and Estevan had two more children, another prince and a princess. She taught them the importance of always telling the truth, regardless of how colorless it might be. 

The kingdom grew and flourished and some say that it still exists. Many have searched, but none have found the land. But now you know the story. The whole story of how love conquers all. 

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