#1 - "Crown Princess" ©
An earthman, from the small trade city given to the space travelers from Earth, silently slipped into the Royal Palace of the Fifth Queendom and made his way to the nursery. Using poisened darts, he killed the guard and nurse, then made his way to the young Princess’ bed. He quickly tied a cloth over her mouth to keep her from crying and made his way out of the Palace and into the dark stormy night. The earthman slowly made his way across the fields to where he had hidden one of the local dragon-lizards. After mountng the lizard, he placed the Princess in front of him and flew back to the trade city.
There was a woman, who had recently lost her daughter and was in trouble with the Spaceport Authority. The earthman offered to take her back to Earth with him if she raised the Princess for him until she was old enough to travel. The woman agreed and pretended to be her mother for the next ten years. The Palace Guard searched the whole queendom for the little Princess, and sent word to the other four Queendoms of her kidnaping. But the earthman always kept one step ahead of them until they stopped searching. If the earthman had been smart, he would have left Dracorma with the woman and Princess while she was still young. But the earthman did not understand, and he knew nothing about their Royalty.
Altough Dracormian children may look like earthchildren, they are not the same at all. Dracormians, whether child or adult are much more in touch with their thoughts, feelings and emotions then earthmen, and can sense these in the people around them. These senses are stronger among the Royals than the common folk. If the earthman had understood this, he would never have kidnaped a Princess. he did everything he could to make her believe she was his daughter, but she could tell when he was lying to her. He called her Cindy and taught her to speak the language used by Earth’s space travelers. He did his best to keep her away from the Dracormians, but as she grew up, she found ways to get away for a while.
Cindy picked up the local language easily, and loved to spend time among the people. She found that they were very sensitive just like she was, they knew what she wanted or how she was feeling without having to ask. The earthmen she was allowed to spend time with could never understand anything, unless she took the time to explain her thoughts and feelings to them. The earthman always seemed so dense to Cindy, she longed for the day when she could leave the earthmen’s city and go live among the local people. Cindy would sit for hours watching the local people flying in and out of the city and long to have wings of her own so she could fly too.
When she was twelve years old, her back became very tender and began to swell. She also caught her father making plans to return to Earth. One day when he thought she wasn’t home, she heard him talking to her mother about selling her to a rich man on Earth. he claimed they would make enough money so that neither of them would ever have to work again. There was a ship leaving for Earth in one week, and he had bought three tickets for their return to Earth. Cindy knew she could not allow him to take her away from Dracorma.
Cindy had known a few local girls who were older than she was, each of them had the same swelling and tenderness in their backs that she had now, which meant that she was not an earthgirl. If she allowed them to take her to Earth, and sell her to that man, she would be a Freak! The only woman on Earth with wings. She only had a few days to find some way to get away from them, but if she tried to pack her clothes before he told her too, they would know that she knew what they were up too. She spent as much time as she could walking through the city looking for a place to hide, but she knew if she stayed in the city the Spaceport Authority would find her and return her to the evil man and woman who claimed to be her parents.
She waited until the night before they were to board the shuttle which would take them up to the large Earth ship which was circling Dracorma. Then she left without taking anything with her, and took the quickest route she knew out of the city. It was only ten miles to the next city, and she made it by late evening. The last of the shops were closing and the streets were emptying of the day’s traffic. She had no idea where to go, but at least there were no earthmen here, and their Spaceport Authority was not allowed to leave the city. As she walked down one of the main streets, she began to softly cry and wondered if running away had been such a good idea. As she stopped at the next street corner a woman came up behind her.
The woman asked: “Are you lost Honey? Can I do anything to help you?” Cindy turned around and looked at the woman for a moment, after wiping hereyes she said: “I am not lost, I ran away from an earthman, and have nowhere to stay! Do you know someone who will give me a place to stay?” The woman smiled and said: “You can come and stay with us for a while, I am sure we can find someplace for you to live before long!” Since Cindy did not have wings, the woman walked with her to the house where she stayed with her sisters and brothers, and thei families. They sat down by a fire with the woman's elder sister and brother drinking a cup of hot coffee, a new drink imported by the earthmen.
Cindy told them her story, answering many of their questions before they spoke. When she had finished, the woman took her to a room, when she laid her hand on Cindy’s back, Cindy jumped as if the woman had poked her with a knife. She asked: “What’s wrong Cindy?” Cindy smiled and said: “I am sorry Anna, it’s just that my back is very tender and feels kind of swollen.” She said: “I thought so, the whole time we were talking, you never once let anything touch your back. Cindy, I am our family nurse, will you let me see your back?” Cindy sat on the edge of her bed and took off her blouse. Anna sat beside her and gently ran her hands over Cindy’s swollen back and said: “Honey, this proves your story. There is no way you are the daughter of an earthman! Cindy, your back is swollen and tender because your wings are ready to break free and open up. When you need them, the girls have clothes that will fit around your new wings. And you can stay with us as long as you like Cindy!” Then she went to her own room.
Early the next morning, before everyone was up, Anna sat with her sisters and brothers in the kitchen. She said: “I don't know how but that earthman got his hands on one of our daughters!” The others stopped talking and her elder brother Torr asked: “Are you saying that Cindy really is one of our people Anna?” Anna looked very angry as she said: “Yes Torr, any day now her wings are going to open up. Then we will see which family she was stolen from. Someone has to go to the Trade City today before the shuttle leaves and stop that earthman and his woman from leaving Dracorma! Will you go Torr? Cindy said his name is O’Conner.” Torr stood up and left without a word. Later that day Torr returned and said: “The Spaceport Authority is holding O’Conner and the woman until the proper charges can be brought against them.”
A few days later Cindy’s wings began to open which made her very happy, even though they are very tender until they finish opening and it is hard to get used to having a pair of wings which never used to be there. Cindy’s new family kept whispering to each other and giving her strange looks. It was easy for Cindy to tell that they were talking about her, but they were all very good at keeping her from knowing what they were thinking. The next two weeks went by fast, someone was always taking off with Cindy. Then her wings were fully opened and she was ready to learn to fly. Anna asked Mina, her eldest daughter to teach Cindy. As Cindy walked out of the hose, Anna leaned cose to Mina and said: “Mina, be careful with Cindy. You know what she is!” Mina took a deep breath and said: “Come on Mama, we all know what blonde hair and golden-brown wings mean! But I don’t care if she was the Queen's lost daughter, she IS my sister now and I won't let her get hurt!” Mina was just old enough to remember the kdnapping of the Queen’s only daughter.
Mina was careful just as she said, but she was also a good teacher. It should have taken Cindy one or even two weeks to learn, but Mina had her flying that evening. When they walked into the house Mina said: “Mama, come here.” Anna walked over and asked: “What’s wrong Honey?” She replied: “Nothing Mama. Cindy is flying already. She wanted to fly home, but I made her walk. We went down by the river and that's too far on her first day. But you had better get the family together for her ‘Solo Party’, she's going to be ready by tomorrow evening!” Torr was standing nearby and looked over at Mina, he said: “Are you sure Mina? I have never heard of anyone being ready in two days to solo!” Mina shook her head and said: “I don’t understand it, but Cindy took off flying as if she had been born with wings.”
On the afternoon of their second day Mina said: “Okay Cindy, I think you are ready for your solo. It is up to you, but if you do, don't go too far, this is only your second day after all.” Cindy wrapped her arms around Mina's neck and said: “I love you Mina, I never had any sisters. To be out flying with you makes me so happy, I think I am going to cry!” Mina said: “Well you go right ahead and cry Sis, because having you in the house has been good for all of us too.” As Mina flew away she said: “We will all be waiting for you at the house.”
Then Cindy took off slowly circling higher and higher until she was at least two hundred feet above the city. After leveling off, she just flew around for a while. Then she picked a street and went into a dive, quickly gaining speed until it was hard to see. Leveling off just above the people's heads walking on the street. The people flying started banking left and right trying to get out of her way. Some of them gave her angry looks and made comments about putting a stop to children flying alone. But there was one man who began staring at her with an evil look in his eyes. As she flew past him, he spat on the ground and said: “These Royals can get away with anything!” As Cindy rose back above the buildings and turned for home, she wondered what he meant, it seemed like he was talking to her, but she didn't see any Royals around?
When Cindy landed in front of the house, the whole family was waiting for her, including some she had never seen before. Anna was standing in front with a man, as they walked up, Anna said: “How was your solo flight Honey? Are you ready for your party?” When Cindy didn't answer, the man standing beside Anna said: “Cindy, the man was talking to you, and he is right! You have grown up among the earthmen, and don't understand. We will talk about this after your party, for now enjoy yourself.” Then Anna said: “This is my husband Ture, Cindy.” She looked up at him with tears in her eyes and asked: “My Father?” When he heard that he took her in his arms and said: “Cindy, you don't even know me, and yet you call me father. If you want Anna and I for your parents, we will be glad to call you our Daughter. Now let's get this celebration started Honey!”
That evening after the party was over Silmar and her husband Torr, Anna and her husband Ture, Mina and Cindy sat drinking a cup of coffee. Ture said: “As your father Cindy, I have been chosen to talk with you abut a few things it seems no one told you in the earthmen's Trade City. First, although we are glad to call you our daughter, it is clear that you are not from our family. By now you must have noticed that no one else in the city has blonde hair or golden-brown wings. The color of your hair and wings makes it clear that you are the daughter of one of the Royal families. There is only one mising daughter among the Royals, and that is the Crown Princess Skoriana, the only daughter of Queen Skoria! You can be no other than Princess Skoriana.”
Cindy's eyes opened wide and she said: “This is too much Father, I have always known that I am not an earthgirl, but the Crown Princess is just too much. Can't we just dye my hair and wings dark brown like yours?” For a while no one said anything, then Torr said: “I am sorry Princess, but you must be returned to your mother the Queen a message has already been sent to the Royal Palace. the King will be sending a company of his Palace Guard to the Trade City to bring the earthman and his woman to the Palace. They will come for you when they return. We will never forget the time you spent with us Princess, we have been honored to aid in your rescue from the earthmen."
It was as if something deep inside Cindy suddenly awoke, she slowly rose to her feet and said: “NO! You are my family, and this is my home,” and then with a voice no one would have dared disobey: “I will not leave you! Either all of you come with me, or I am not going anywhere. you say that I am Skoriana, if I am this high and mighty Princess, then I will live where I want and with whom I want! You are my family, you accepted me when you thought I was a homeless earthgirl. I will not reject you now.”
A cold blue fire began to grow in Cindy's blue eyes, she was no longer the sweet little girl they had taken in. She said: “I will speak to them when they come.” she sat down again and softly said: “I don't want to be a Princess, I just want to be your daughter.” Then everyone was silent and Cindy became their little girl again. Before long there was a knock on the door and without waiting for someone to answer it, a man walked in and demanded: “Where is the Princess Skoriana!” As he was led into the room, Cindy stood up again and stared straight into his eyes as she said: “Who do you think you are coming here in the middle of the night? And how dare you make such demands of my family!” Before Cindy had finished speaking the man had fallen flat on his face in front of her. As he lay there shaking he said: “I am Arack, the King's messenger.” Then with a motion of her hand Cindy tossed him back against one of the chairs and said: “Speak your message and begone!” Even her family was afraid to speak, but somehow Arack managed to say: “My Princess, I was told to bring you back to the Palace.” She turned her back to him and said: “Go back to your Palace alone, I am not going. Now get out of our house!” Arack turned white and ran from the house. Then Cindy closed her eyes and slowly sank down in her chair.
No one spoke for a while after Arack ran out. Then Ture said: “I think our daughter has just executed her power as Princess for her first time. I have never seen Arack so frightened in my life! I am going to like having a Princess in the house, but I am puzzled by the sudden change in you Cindy.” She walked over to Anna and Ture and asked: “Was I wrong Father? Have I caused you trouble?” He reached out and took her hands in his, and with a twinkle in his eyes said: “Shall I call you Cindy or Skoriana?” She said: "Cindy, Father.” Ture continued: “Well then Cindy. you must understand, in this queendom your word is the law. Not even Queen Skoria will dispute he daughter's command.” But Torr was not so sure, he said: “Queen Skoria is not going to be happy when she hears Cindy has refused to come to her Palace. It was very hard on the Queen to loose her only daughter, to hear that Cindy has been found only to have her refuse to even come to the Palace is going to make her furious.”
Cindy laughed and said: “Do not worry Uncle Torr, we will go to the Palace, but we will all go together. Do we fly? Or use dragon-lizards?” Anna's elder sister Yistel and her husband Starn had joined them shorly after Arack had left. Starn said: “Ture why are you so puzzled by Cindy's acting like the Princess that she is?” Ture walked over to a shelf and took down an old book, handing it to Starn he said: “Read this as soon as you can. It will explain a lot for you.”
Ture put a chair beside his for Cindy, and began again: “In the past, Royals were the most powerful of all the families. now they are little more than the rest of us. Cindy is showing all of the signs of being the first pure Royal in generations, if this is true Cindy may become our first High Queen in five generations!” Everyone sat and stared at Cindy until she said: “Please don't stare at me, I am just a girl, the daughter of Anna and Ture!” Anna said: “Of course you are Honey, but you must understand that your wholelfe is going to change now that the people know who you are.”
The next morning a company of the Palace Guard landed in front of the house and a good looking young man came walkng up to the door. Before he even had a chance to knock, Anna's younger sister Koree opened the door and curtsied. She said: “Good morning Captain, can we help you?” The Captain gave her a slight bow and said: “Madam, is this the house where Princess Skoriana is staying?” Koree managed to say: “Yes Captain, she is living with us.” When she didn’t invite him in, but just kept staring at him the Captain tried again: “Madam, may I speak with her?“ Koree turned red and said: ”Yes Captain, follow me,” and led the Captain in to where Cindy was sitting. The rest of the family was standing behind her when the Captain dropped to one knee and said: “Princess, I am Paetor, First Captain of the Palace Guard. Queen Skoria needs to speak with you as soon a possible. Queen Skoria and King Tarrak, ask that you come with my company to the Palace.” Cindy smiled and said: “Stand up Captain, because you are a Gentleman, and have come to our house with courtesy, we will give you the same.” She stood up holding her arm out and said: “This is my family, they took me in thinking I was only a homeless earthgirl. Now that I am the Crown Princess Skoriana, I will not walk out on them. If I go to the Palace with you, they all go with me!”
The Captain looked relieved: “If that is all that is upsetting you Princess, there is no problem at all. How many will be traveling with you?” She replied: “Fourteen Captain Paetor, eight adults and six children.” Paetor said: “One moment Princess,” and went outside. Before long he returned and said: “It will be a little while Princess, my company is preparing transportation for you and the children.” Silmar's little girl came walking up with a goblet of cold wine, as she held it out to him, Paetor knelt down and took the wine giving her a little kiss on her forehead and said: “Thank-you Honey,” and then to Cindy: “Princess, I can see why you will not leave your family. We should leave now.”
Cindy walked over to Koree and asked: “Aunt Koree, may I speak with you alone?” she followed Cindy into the kitchen and asked: “Okay Cindy, I can tell you are up to something. What part do I play in it?” Cindy replied: “Koree, I may only be a girl, but I can see what Paetor does to you every time you are near him. You are a beautiful woman Koree, a man like Paetor could not hope to find a better wife. He is yours, if you want him!” Koree put a hand over her mouth as she said: “Cindy! He is the First Captain, he would never want anything to do with me.” Cindy just smiled and repeated: “He is yours if you want him. Besides, you are no longer a common woman, you are the Aunt of the Crown Princess!” Koree thought about what Cindy was saying and then said: “An unwilling husband is not worth having. But if Paetor is willing, I would love to have him.” Cindy said: “Send him in!”
Koree went back to the others, curtsied to Paetor and said: “The Princess wants to speak to you Captain Paetor.” He became very formal, gave her a slight bow and said: “Thank-you Madam,” and hurried into the kitchen. He found Cindy staring out of a window with her back to him, he said: “Princess?” she turned to him and said: “Don’t look so worried Captain, there is nothing wrong and I see your men are ready for us. There is a matter I want taken care of before we go anywhere. You must have noticed by now that Aunt Koree has fallen in love with you, what do you think of her? And tell me the truth!” He turned very red as he said: “I have never seen such a beautiful woman, but she is ‘Common’, and it is required that I marry a woman of equal or higher rank than my own.” Cindysmiled and said: “I hoped you would feel that way, but Paetor, you are wrong! As my Aunt, Koree now out ranks you. You will accept her for your Lady, won’t you ‘Uncle Paetor’?” He could see the benefits of a wife this close to the Crown Princess. He said: “Yes, of course Princess. I will do as you ask, may we leave for the Palace now?” Cindy said: “Okay Captain, let’s go see my ‘Mother’ the Queen and get this over with. How far is it to the Palace?” He replied: “About three hours, Princess.”
The company had brought a large royal coach for Cindy, it was pure white like a pearl with purple velvet seats, and gold trimming. It was carried by six very large ‘Royal Dragon-Lizards’. There were also four of the common dragon-lizards for the children without wings. Cindy asked Mina to ride with her in the coach so she wouldn’t have to ride alone. It was mid-day when they arrived at the Palace, the family was escorted to a large room with two thrones richly inlaid with gold. An old woman took Cindy to a room filled with beautiful gowns, dresses and robes. She laided out a royal blue gown and a silver crown, ring and necklace full of gems for Cindy, then she waited by the door for Cindy to finish dressing. When she was ready, the old woman took her to the throne room where her family was waiting.
By the time she arrived, Queen Skoria and Knig Tarrak were already sitting on their thrones. Cindy walked up to them, followed by her family. When she stood before them, Queen Skoria said: “Welcome home Skoriana, I thought I had lost you forever. It has been ten long lonely years. You are so beautiful Skoriana, I cannot tell you how happy it makes me to have my daughter back. Word shall be set throughout Dracorma: Skoriana reigns again!” Then King Tarrak said: “Welcome home my daughter, as Skoria said, you are truly a beautiful young woman. I hope these years have not been too hard on you. Is there anything you would like to say before we continue?”
Cindy looked at each of them for a moment, and then said: “These people whom you have not even chosen to acknowledge are my family. you may be my birth Mother and Father, even though I do not remember you or this Palace. For almost ten years I was raised by an earthman and earthwoman who planned to sell me into slavery on Earth. You did not rescue me!” When she paused, King Tarrak put his hands over his face and said: “I am sorry Skoriana, my Palace Guard searched the whole queendom for two years, but we could not find you.” Cindy walked up to him and lowered his hands. With a silk hankerchief, she wiped his eyes as she said: “I believe you King Tarrak, but it does not change the fact that if I had not escaped when I did, in twelve hours I would have been sent to Earth forever!” She turned around, held out her hand and said: “Mother, Father,” Anna and Ture walked up to her. Turning back to the King she said: “This is my true Mother, Anna and my Father, Ture. Either these people are accepted as my Royal Family, or I will not be anyone's Princess!”
An angry look came over Queen Skora's face, but she said: “If that is what it takes to get my daughter back, So Be It! Welcome to the Royal Family of the Fifth Queendom. You do understand that you will be Royals in title only.” As she said this, that fire came into Cindy's blue eyes again as she said: “No! Either they are my family or there is no reason to talk any longer. I am going home, you can find yourselves another Princess!”
A Dracormian King would not normally speak against his Queen. But Tarrak stood up placing his hands on Cindy's shoulders and said: ”I have failed my daughter, for ten years she has been in the hands of the earthmen and I did not rescue her. I will not fail you now Skoriana, your desire is granted! Is there anything else I can do for you my daughter?” Cindy thought for a moment and then said: “Yes. Your queendom is divided into Dukedoms, give the closest one to this Palace to my parents. Mina is my sister, she must be Princess Mina from now on.” Tarrak kissed Cindy's forehead and said: "As your Mother said, if that is what it takes to get our daughter back: So be it!” To Anna and Ture he said: “Thank-you for rescuing our daughter. You are hereby Duchess Anna and Duke Ture of the Highland Dukedom. You can move into the Highland Castle whenever you are ready. The rest of you will receive your titles later.”
Then Tarrak rang a small bell and the old woman came into the room from behind the thrones. Tarrak whispered something to her and she disappeared again. When the old woman returned, she was carrying a small purple pillow with silver trimming. On it was a silver crown like Cindy’s. Tarrak slowly took his hands from Cindy’s shoulders an picked up the crown. In a soft voice he said: “Mina Honey, come here.” Mina looked a little frightened, but she walked up to him. Tarrak said: “As Princess Skoriana requested, I hereby make you Princess Mina, with the full title and authority due our daughter. You are welcome to stay here with us, or live in Highland Castle with your birth parents.” Then he placed the crown on her head.
Sitting on his throne again he rang a different bell. From the door at the back of the room, Paetor entered with O’Conner and the woman. Paetor brought them before Skoria and Tarrak, and pushed them down on their knees. Skoria said: “SO, I finally have the kidnappers of my daughter in my hands! I would love to torture both of you for as long as I could make you live. But the earthmen must learn to keep their hands off of our daughters. So I think we shall have an execution tomorrow in front of their Spaceport Authority. Both of you shall be hung by your feet from the ‘Old Oak’ until you are DEAD! They can do as they wish with your bodies.” Cindy said: “Mother, we cannot become like the earthmen, torturing or even killing people. Send them back to Earth, or put them in prison, but don’t kill them.” Queen Skoria said: “You are the one they tortured Skoriana, and yet you plead for their lives. I will let them live as you ask. Captain Paetor, put them in the lowest level of the prison for the rest of their lives, make sure they never see the sun again. Now get them out of my sight before I change my mind!” Paetor led them away, and with a couple of his men brought them down to the lowest level of the prison. They were never seen again except by the prison keepers.
The next day Cindy’s family, except for Mina, went back to their house to begin packing for the move to Highland Castle. Arrangements were made for the ceremony where they would be given their titles of Duchess and Duke, or Barroness and Barron before the Royals of the Fifth Queendom. Duchess Anna and Duke Ture would be granted the Highland Dukedom, and Paetor planned to announce his marriage to Koree.
It was going to be a new life beyond their wildest dreams. Before long they began to get used to life among the Royals, and even to being called Royals themselves. Queen Skoria and King Tarrak began to see the power of the first Royals in Skoriana, and knew she would go down in Dracormian History as one of the greatest Queens. Mina easily accepted her new position as a Princess, and became deeply loved by Skoria and Tarrak. A new chapter was beginning in Dracormian history, it would be a time of great changes, but also one of their happiest times.Crown Princess Skoriana and Princess Mina would play a major part in these changes.