Sunday, March 25, 2012


Princess Esmeralda was walking in the woods, far beyond the borders of her kingdom, the first time she saw him. He sat in a rainbow field of wildflowers, scribbling in a journal. His tawny skin told her that he was an animal fairy from the Kingdom of Fauna, sworn enemy to her Kingdom of Flora. She had spent all day in battle meetings, biding her time, listening while her father consulted with heads of the Floran military. She waited patiently for her escape from their barbaric discussions of how to force the Faunans into submission. She wanted no part of that silly war. She had never even seen a Faunan before that day. She watched through the navy branches of a singing tree while he wrote. He was clearly unarmed, and seemingly unaware of her presence. As she spied, he closed his book and fell back in the cerulean blades of grass and closed his eyes.
A few minutes passed, and Esmeralda gathered the courage to approach, after checking for a third time that no one would see. Even as she came within a few feet, he continued to bathe in the white sunlight pouring down from the soft pink sky.
“Hello.” The music of his voice floated in the air although his eyes remained closed.
“What are you doing?” She reinforced her words with a steely resolve to cover her genuine curiosity. She looked around nervously, not wanting to be seen with a Faunan.
His long, black lashes fluttered open, revealing the lightest green eyes she had ever seen. Blocking the suns with one hand, he smiled up at her. Esmeralda’s heart took off like a rocket, and, simultaneously, her breath stopped.
“I’m resting in a field,” he replied rather obviously, propped up on one elbow. “Has it offended you, Princess?”
“Don’t be ridiculous. I was referring to what you were writing.” His use of her title reinforced her confidence.
“Well, you are welcome to sit and have a look.” He pulled the brown leather-bound book from the tall grass as he drew himself up to sitting, looking at her expectantly.
She glanced around one last time, making sure no one would see her, before folding her long legs beneath her on the ground and reaching for the book. His poetry captivated her instantly. She had never been a fan of art, any of the arts, really. Her father had always laughed at such nonsense, with a stern reminder that expanding the kingdom was all that was important.
“This is really beautiful,” the words sprung from her lips without permission. “For poetry, of course.” She covered her awe with a casual shrug. A smirk flitted across his face so quickly that she wasn't entirely sure it had been there at all.
“Thank you,” his low whisper hummed through her. She could feel its vibration deep in her gut giving birth to waves of tingles that shot out to her fingers and toes. She glanced at him and saw a faint blush fade from his dark cheeks. “I get a little caught up in the beauty of nature. The wildflower’s sway, the jingling song of the rock birds. Even the the crisp blades of grass can be endlessly inspiring.”
“The grass?” Esmeralda laughed at the thought.
“Yes!” His enthusiasm bubbled over. “Watch how each blade seems to darken as it bends toward you, but then lightens as it bends away.” His rough hands caressed the grass with such tenderness, she couldn't help but imitate. “See?”
A laugh slipped from her throat before she could stop it, but she was glad. She felt at ease here, surrounded by nature. She needn't put on airs of callousness to show her capability to lead her kingdom. She relaxed as she petted the grass and felt truly at ease for the first time in years. Hours passed as they spoke of the wonders of the wilderness. Esmeralda was reluctant to let it end, but as the suns began to set, they stood to depart.
“Will you return?” she asked hesitantly, ashamed to let hope shade her words.
“Everyday, Princess,” he bent and kissed her hand, his touch lingering. She felt the heat of the blush on her cheeks and her lips spread into a smile. “And you?”
She repeated, “Everyday.” He slipped his hand from hers and turned to walk away. “Wait, I don’t even know your name.”
“Neither do I know yours, Princess, but if you require one, you may call me Jay. Until tomorrow…” The fading twilight swallowed his figure and Esmeralda turned and rushed home, his kiss still tingling on her knuckles.

I appreciate any and all feedback, even (especially) if you think it sucks, but only if you tell me why you think it sucks. Let me know!! I can't wait to hear from you guys. Interaction is what this life is all about!! 


Morgan Dragonwillow said...

I have a soft spot for fairies and fantasy and believe that you have the beginnings of a good story.

How you could improve this piece...

I would have liked to see Esmeralda read his poetry out loud, having her say "This is really beautiful" doesn't portray the beauty as much as if she head read a short piece that could be felt.

This story has a lot of potential and I look forward to reading more.


Brandon Duncan said...

Definitely does not suck, for one. Have a little faith in your abilities as a writer, huh? :)

Ok, overall this is a good story with LOTS of potential. I think you do a pretty good job of capturing the resistance mixed with curiosity in Esmerelda's character. You could strengthen it up in a longer piece (think Titanic... her character did this) but for a shorter prompt piece, this is adequate.

LOVED this line: “This is really beautiful,” the words sprung from her lips without permission.

Speaks volumes!

The only thing I would recommend is strengthening up some of your description. This line: "He sat in a rainbow field of wildflowers," does tell us what we need to see, but is a little on the weak side. Even a simple rearrangement of words would do the trick.

Overall, good job. I would like to see you link back up with us at Story Dam again!

Rebecca Barray said...

Thanks Morgan!! Glad you could stop by and enjoy! If I add the poem, then I'd have to write it and I don't know about writing poetry. Seems kinda intimidating.


Rebecca Barray said...

Thanks, Brandon!

Glad you could stop by and enjoy! I don't think it sucks, otherwise, it'd be in a shoebox under the bed, or maybe ashes in the fire pit. :) But criticism is most helpful when someone tells you what they don't like about your work and, most importantly, why they don't like it and/or how it could be better. So I always like to know when something in my story doesn't work for someone and why.

So thanks for the tip about description. That is actually my favorite part of writing and I tend to get completely carried away and bore readers to death with details of the scenery. I was consciously trying to avoid that this time, and maybe went too far in the other direction. Ooops.

Thanks so much for taking time to stop by and comment. Keep up the great work over at StoryDam!!