A Kingdom: Unsettled
Once upon a time 10,000 years in the future, in a land called Namshire, two princesses were born to the single king through a complicated technical futuristic motherless-in-vitro style birthing process. This plot device abides by the widower-King rule of fairytales while avoiding the tragic fate of the poor mother.
He named the princesses Santerella and Elfindaâ€“ cleverly by mixing the names of four iconic fairy tale creaturesâ€“ and vowed to raise them as equals despite the accidental twinning.
But when the princesses were still young, the King was killed. It was tragic, for he was a reasonably adequate king with good policies on fairy dust subsidies and magic licenses. But no one ever remembers that.
Not long after the Kingâ€™s death, a cult of Freckled Creatures invaded the castle. The cult could not decide what to do after the invasion, so it split into two, each side taking one princess for its own.
After the princesses were old enough to communicate with the space station that dropped amylopectin dextrins monosaccharides (the food of Namshire), a virus struck, killing nearly all members of their respective Freckled Creature Cults.
Each princess was immune due to her notbeing-a-freckled-creature-ness, and so they both survived, each with one Freckled Creature to adopt as her minion.
Elfinda grew as bitter as she did beautiful. In her post-adolescent anger at her father, the Freckled Cult, and the weather in the cave in which the Cult raised her, she renounced color and learned all the evil spells she could. Her minion, Gert, volunteered as not-quite-human experimentation for new spells. Such devotion.
On the other side of the kingdom, the lovely Santerella was living comfortably in her fatherâ€™s castle, spending her time building snow globes and making gardens of fake flowers with her faithful minion, Murdy. Santerella desperately missed the sister from her youth and dreamed of their reunion.
Elfinda similarly dreamed of their reunion, but not with quite the same flavor. She dreamed of using her sisterâ€™s identical DNA to test out her own immunity against the most evil spells to better prepare her for her encounters with the wicked. But still. She dreamed.
Santerella and Elfinda had long believed the kingdom was theirs, uncontested. They thought that they occupied the highest seats, divided as they were. But they did not know about the witches that ruled the less-populated areas of Namshire.
Vera was the daughter of a goddess and a tree. She ruled over the jungle with grace and respect forâ€”nearlyâ€“ all creatures. Part god and part plant, Vera enjoyed an eternal existence but a seasonal manifestation.
Aura, a witch born from the pearl of an oyster before the beginning of the world, has ever since ruled the sea. Her ability to flyâ€“ not swimâ€“ underwater made her a force against sea intruders. But because of her cold, respected demeanor, few outsiders dared to cross her territory anyway.
One day, Santerella was happily walking through the woods. “Oh, I just wish I would find my sister!” She thought aloud.
Suddenly she heard a voice: “Your sister isn’t far from here, deary!” The voice sounded with the sweetness of berries and the strength of tree roots.
Santerella gasped, but Vera assured her that it was alright, that she was nothing but a modest tree nymph. Vera invited her back to her house for tea. Santerella was disturbed by the casual presence of Veraâ€™s pet tiger.
There, Vera explained that Santerellaâ€™s long lost sister lived in the caves at the edge of Namshire. Santerella thanked her new friend, and went home to send faithful Murdy to find her.
As Murdy was preparing for her long trip, Vera and Aura met for their weekly yoga trip. It is a myth that land and sea witches do not get alongâ€“ in reality, they are often the best of friends because they complement each other and never get bored during visits.
Vera said, “I saw the princess today.” “Which one?” Aura said, laughing. (It was obviously Santerella). “The real one,” confirmed Vera. “She was looking for her dark twin sister, though.”
Aura shot up from her advanced [insert yoga position]. “You didn’t tell her where to go, did you?!” She exclaimed. “Why, of course I did!” said the wellintentioned but often air-headed Vera.
Aura’s lovely blue-yellow pigment turned pale. “No!” she gasped. “That is exactly what evil Elfinda wants! She wants to use Santerella’s DNA to test out her immunity. This is horrible!” Vera agreed, because she is such a good friend.
The witches spotted little Murdy making the treacherous journey to the Namshire caves. They tried to intervene with a spell, but the same lucky mutation that had protected Murdy from the Freckled Plague, as it was later named, also made her immune to even the most benevolent magic spells.
So Murdy continued on her way with no idea of what the Namshire caves held for her.
Back in the caves, Elfinda was having a serious conversation with Gert. “I must meet Santerella!” She said in a voice dripping with evil. “Gert, go to the palace. And bring Santerella to me.” She paused. ………………. “Or a strand of her hair. That will do as well.”
So Gert took off to collect either the unwilling princess or a strand of her golden hair. But along the way, he came across the most beautiful creature he had ever seen. He nervously approached her.
This was not just love at first sight. It was the confirmation that the inkling theyâ€™d had that they were not alone in their unfortunate species was true. They had finally found each other.
Gert and Murdy used their native language for the first time in years. “oisleixfj” ‘;p3iozv.” They realized they were each after each other’s princesses. But they had a plan.
Gert returned to Elfinda and told her that the only way they could capture Santerella was to meet at the juncture of jungle and sea.
Murdy told Santerella that Elfinda was anxiously awaiting her at the same location. Neither creature knew that the spot theyâ€™d chosen was right in between the two witches homes.
While the lovers awaited their princesses arrival, they were spotted by the yoga-active witches finishing their day’s exercise. The witches approached them and learned of the plan. But the wise witches knew it would never work, for Elfinda’s evil was too strong, and Santerella’s stupidity too great.
Just as love had forced the minions to abandon their minion duties, love– the witches knew– would protect Santerella from her sister’s evil plan and reunite the princesses once and for all. So they conjured up a spell to melt the icy covering on Elfinda’s heart. (Yes– it’s that simple!)
When Elfinda first saw Santerella standing there, looking as giddy and na誰ve as a child, she grew excited with evil. But then, she felt a strange sensation. When she looked again, she saw not a specimen for her own scientific use, but a sister with whom she had shared the artificial petri-dish womb.
And so, when Santerella embraced Elfinda the hug was not exploited for selfish scientific gain, but returned. The melting spell reunited the kingdom and the two sisters lived in their newly fashionable castle happily.
The tiger, who had decapitated the poor king, never saw justice. He was instead loved by Vera eternally, and befriended by all the powerful women in the kingdom.
About the Author
Steph is a 21 year old human, with nothing better to do during her decisively not-Indian winter break than to dream up fantasy worlds, photograph them, and send them to her family. It is probably because she misses them, and loves them very much. Also she is having fun learning how to use her webcam/the internet. She hopes they had a merry Christmas, and hopes they excuse the third person talk.