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Dream Quest One First Writing Prize Winner
Winter 2008-2009
J. Renae Conlee
Lubbock, Texas, USA


The Alavarian Princess


The scars on her face were evident, a blatant reminder of the scalding water Master had thrown on her a week ago in a fit of fury, when she had not gotten all of the stains out of his garments on laundry day.

Oh no. Those stains, those that spoke volumes of his affair, were not leaving his silk shirt, and it was her fault, for her inadequacy.

She could only hope that the scars, which, thank the heavens, were only skin deep, would fade in time and her lovely face, her biggest pride, would be restored to its former beauty. She had never seen her face in a mirror, because a mirror was something a servant girl such as she could never afford, but she had caught glimpses of it in still water, the pale skin, the violet eyes, and she had seen the men and the boys in town staring at her unabashedly on market day.

Kiara had been born to this life. Mistress told her often, in her haughty manner, that she had been found, a frail, pink baby in a blanket, under a tree one fall night, a week after All Hallow’s Eve.

Master and Mistress Koch had taken her to the local orphanage to be brought up, but soon after her fifth year, they brought her home, telling the nuns that they wanted a child of their own. In reality, they wanted someone to do the work of the servants, someone they didn’t have to pay.

But she would soon be 18, and would be able to leave this place, if she only had a place to go. She could have been married, but who would want her now, a poor servant girl with scars on her face?

But she knew she would be going somewhere, for she had felt the pull, like a force that called her home, wherever home was. She had felt it since she was a child, and the feeling that she did indeed have a home, a family that must love her, somewhere, was the one thing that kept her from feeling sorry for herself.

The day of her birth arrived; or, rather, All Hallow’s Eve, the day she fancied she was born on, for no one knew for certain. For her, the day was filled with magic, but she couldn’t reveal her feelings. Master and Mistress had raised her to be practical. There was no magic; there were no faeries or witches. There was one God, and that was that.

So this All Hallow’s Eve was just like any other day. She scrubbed the floors and the dishes, washed the windows and the bed linens, dusted the furniture.

But as she crawled into her bed in the cold loft of the wooden house, she saw the full silver moon out the small window, and she felt that things would soon change.

She was right.

Just before midnight, two spritely men, both no more than three feet high with gray hair and pointed ears, little gnomes, danced outside the girl’s window.

“Can we call her yet?” asked the younger one, excitedly.

“Peace, Sheldon, we can’t call her until midnight. You know this. Now hold your tongue, lest you wake the master and mistress.” The older gnome spit the last words out of his mouth, as if they were bitter herbs he couldn’t bare to swallow.

“Imagine, all of these years, our future queen a servant girl. I still don’t understand why we had to leave her with these nasty people rather than in a city somewhere,” Quartz had said, years ago after their yearly observance of the girl, when he viewed her being beaten for missing a spot on the floor.

But he knew, as well as everyone else in the kingdom, that she would have to be


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kept as obscure as possible for protection, and growing up in a city was not the best way to do so. So they had left her, in this primitive village in the middle of Romania, rather than in one of the ever-advancing cities.

Finally, midnight arrived, and as planned, the two little men began their call, in sweet, melodic voices that only Kiara could hear.

In her loft, the girl opened her eyes, and listened to the most beautiful song she had ever heard. It seemed to be coming from right outside the house.

Drawn to the sound, Kiara climbed down from the loft, quietly crept across the house, and opening the door, stepped out into the most beautiful scene she had ever witnessed.

The yard was still the same place she had kept for years, yet it was changed. The moon cast a silver glow over everything in her sight. Flowers bloomed everywhere; flowers she had never seen before in her life. From the woods, little creatures, deer and mice and rabbits and squirrels, crept out and appeared to be dancing. In the middle of it all, staring straight at her stood the queerest little men she had ever laid eyes upon. And they were singing at the top of their lungs.

The singing came to an end, and the older man came forward.

“Your highness Kiara, it is a great pleasure to make your acquaintance. I am Quartz, high adviser to the Faerie Queen Keliana of Alavaria. My apprentice Sheldon and I are come to escort you home, so that you may be seated on your rightful throne at last.”

“What do you mean, my rightful throne?”

“You are not an heir of earth, dear one. You belong in Alavaria. We shall explain everything on the other side, but you must come with us now, before the portal closes.”

Kiara, deciding that wherever they would take her couldn’t be near as bad as where she was now, followed the intriguing men through the once dark woods that now shimmered in the moonlight. She had never been in these woods before. The people in the town spoke of ghosts and ogres, and children weren’t allowed anywhere near the dark woods in the day, let alone in the middle of the night. Now, however, the trees held no frightening shadows, only glimmers of something much more powerful than evil spirits.

They came to a tree, and with a touch, Quarts opened the tree, creating a hole big enough for Kiara to walk through.

“Come on, we must go through. We’ve only minutes to spare.”

She followed the men through the hole in the tree, which closed as soon as she was through. She gazed in amazement at the site that met her eyes; for here, it was not midnight. The sun shone brightly in the most brilliantly blue sky, and buildings of every color imaginable rose around her. Kiara had never seen such colors, such tall buildings. In her tiny village, every building was brown, and the tallest was the town gaol.

“Welcome to Rainbow City. Come with us; it is time to meet your mother.”

“My mother? My mother is alive?”

“Of course she’s alive. She’s our queen.”

Stunned into silence, Kiara followed the men down the yellow paved road until they came to the castle in the middle of the city. It raised silver and golden, high above every other building; no fence blocked the view.

“You may notice there is no fence around our castle. Queen Keliana had it torn


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down when she took the throne. She said that she wanted all the people in the land to have easy access to the castle.”

Inside the castle, Kiara saw all the people staring at her, no doubt seeing the fresh scars on her face. But she could hear them whispering, amazement in their voices.

“That’s Princess Kiara. She’s home!”

“She’s back, the lovely princess. And here for good.”

“I’m glad I lived to see her return.”

“Kiara! My Kiara!” The last was not a whisper, but a yell, as the most beautiful woman Kiara had ever seen came sweeping into the hallway and wrapped her in a warm embrace.

“My baby, my baby is home!” The woman sobbed. And Kiara knew, with no explanation, that this woman was her mother and that she was, in fact, where she belonged.

Many hours later, after Kiara had bathed in the warmest water she’d ever experienced, and had dressed in luxurious robes; she and her mother sat talking over tea.

Her mother explained Alavaria to her, how the land was a faerie land, ruled by women who had powers.

“You, too, have these powers, more so, because of your birthday, and you will learn how to use them as time goes by.”

She learned that the day she was born was indeed All Hallow’s Eve, a day that was most sacred here, causing the princess infant to be doubly blessed and more powerful than any ruler had ever been.

“At the time of your birth, a black faerie, a relative of Ruja, the dark faerie I had defeated only years before, started to gain power. Because of the war she was sure to create, I had to do something to protect you. Everyone, good and evil, knew of your coming, for it had been prophesied that the next ruler of Alavaria would be more powerful than any before her. The dominion of the black faeries would do anything to rid themselves of you, even killing a baby, because the prophecy foretold that this child would defeat the black faeries once and for all.”

Keliana explained that she sent the child to Earth, a place where the royal faeries were always protected from black faeries. Because of the methods used, she was unable to be returned to Alavaria until midnight on her eighteenth birthday.

“And darling, I am so sorry that you had to grow up in the place you did, when there are such fantastic cities with cars and universities and libraries, but we had to make sure you didn’t draw attention to yourself, and you were in a place you couldn’t leave. If you had been in a city, you might have gone anywhere, making it impossible for us to find you later.”

But she was here now, and she was certain that her life would begin to improve. In the following weeks, she met her older brothers, Klein and Kristian, and learned that male faeries were never as powerful as females. Klein, her oldest brother, was studying religion, and Kristian was going to be a mentor, teaching young faeries their powers.

And she quickly learned her powers, taking to sword fighting as quickly as her mother had.

“It’s in your blood,” said her trainer. “Your mother was, and still is, the best

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swordswoman in the land.”

It was on her 2lst birthday, now fully in the knowledge of her powers and history, that Kiara ascended the faerie throne. She was radiant. The scars from years ago were gone and forgotten.

But as she took the throne, as the faeries cheered their new queen, a dark force was preparing itself for battle.

“She thinks she will fulfill the prophecy, but she will not,” proclaimed Lura, addressing her minions who filled the caverns deep below the dark mountains. “No.. .we are much stronger than she is, and we are ready! It is our time! Our time to conquer. And my mother will be avenged!”
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By J. Renae Conlee