I’m thinking it’s about time I shared with you a little of my current work in progress.  It’s pure fantasy, likely more suitable for the Young Adult genre.  Please let me know what you think, and more importantly if it’s worth putting more on the blog.

john_collier_allart_biz_3_sleeping_beauty

He didn’t run.  Running was what he would have done five years ago or more.  But running didn’t befit a prince of the blood, nor the future king of Tyernas.  Neither did sulking—the fleeting thought, voiced in his father’s deep tones, bounced around his mind.  Instead, he stalked.  Head held high, thin shoulders back and square, as broad as he could make them, pace measured and strides firm and long.  Fists clenched at his side and jaw muscles bunched.  Hot tears burned in his throat like whitefire but didn’t dare trespass into his eyes.

He went where he always went, through the winter-bare gardens, his footsteps crunching on the fine gravel of the walk, a lone scrap of scarlet adrift in a world of steel grey.  The queen’s pavilion loomed up, white-domed and cold amid the bones of leafless trees.  As he passed the guards flanking the door they moved in salute, but he paid them no more heed than if they were motionless statues.  One of them opened the door at his approach, and the cold wintry light played over the polished silver trees inlaid in the smooth wood, flashing on rose quartz blossom and jade leaf that made a cheerful mockery of winter’s desolation of the real gardens.  

The cold air had cooled his fire somewhat.  Now he realized how cold it had been as the warmth of the pavilion embraced him.  The door fell shut behind him and he stood for a moment, all his rage melting away in a pool of sadness.

Inside all was quiet and still, but the stillness was not calm.  It was alive with grief, with loneliness as heavy as the massive stones that formed the castle walls.  And Kynan had brought it all here.

“Leave us.”  His voice echoed rasping against the rotunda’s smooth walls and returned.  Smoothly, the four ladies in waiting left their chairs at the four compass points of the room and vanished into the side rooms, their slippered feet shuffling on the stone floor.  The echo of the door’s thump and latch told him he was alone now.  

Kynan moved forward into the rotunda, the ceiling opening out in a wealth of white light pouring in through the oculus window, illuminating the pastoral scenes painted on the inside of the dome and embroidered in the tapestries hanging on the walls, and falling in a blinding shaft on the great bed in the centre of the room.  It should have felt light and airy, but the grand chamber felt oppressive instead, like a tomb.  The soft fragrance borne on the smoke of the braziers smelled to him as cloying as funeral incense.  

It was a fitting comparison.  This was as good as a tomb.  The perfume might as well be incense.  And the body laid out on the grand bed, veiled by gauzy white curtains embroidered in flowers, was little better than a corpse.  A corpse that never decayed, but just as vacant.  Just as useless.

He moved closer, to get a better view, though nothing would have changed since yesterday.  Nothing had changed in the past ten years in this room.  She still lay as she had when he’d found her asleep beyond all hope of wakening.  Ageless, her young face was still barely lined, her light brown hair untouched by grey.  Like a flower encased in ice, she was frozen in time.  He drew aside the curtain and sat on the edge of the bed.  Her arm dipped slightly with the motion, limp as a doll’s.  She breathed.  Her eyes moved beneath the lids.  Someone had washed her and dressed her in a clean gown of white silk that morning, had laid her silver crown on her belly in the likeness of a tomb effigy.

The Eversleep, Lyr had called it, when they’d first found her like this.  The old knight had pulled Kynan away, then only a boy of five and uncomprehending, while Father had leaned over the bed and tried to waken her.  The queen had gone to Everdream—a wild and beautiful place of endless dreaming—and when she might return, none could say.

The king had commanded her to be watched day and night, a ceaseless vigil lest she waken and find herself alone.  But though the vigil continued for ten long years, the king had turned to the rule of his kingdom and left the queen to slumber on, changeless as he changed.  Father had forgotten her, it seemed.  But Kynan had not.

“Mother,” he whispered.  His voice echoed back in a wordless rustle. 

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