Prince Gabriel: My First Quest

Seven is an important number. There are seven sacraments, seven deadly sins, seven virtues, seven gifts of the holy spirit, seven days of the week… and as of this month, it’s been seven years since I wrote my first fantasy story. Covering six sheets of lined paper in a big, messy handwriting, and dated 4/17/12, this fairytale never properly had a name. (I find “Prince Gabriel” the handiest thing to call it.) I could say that this is the foundational work of all my later writing, the first full story that I wrote, and that it was a remarkable achievement for a ten-year-old—but I’d rather say that I now find it very amusing.

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Chapter One, Attempt One

You can’t just write a novel once—I can’t, anyways.  It takes a whole lot of removing and rewriting and editing, especially if one wants one’s book to be a decent one.  I wrote almost two whole drafts for Genevieve of Alea, but within that some sections saw more drafts than others.  Chapter One was one of these sections, counting four drafts altogether.  This is Chapter One, Draft One, written over April 14-22 of 2016.  Some of it is surprisingly good, surprisingly to me anyways.  You’ll notice that some of the book blurb is from this.  However, it’s also very bad!  I’ll just note that my heroine does now enjoy dancing; and that I would rather you read the final Chapter One to decide if you want to read this, than the other way around.

My great grandmothers are named Isabella, Eleanor, Dawn and Rapunzel – but you might know them better as Belle, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and, well, Rapunzel. Also, my Grandma Bianca is Snow White, and Grandma Adeline and my mother were the beauties of ten kingdoms. That honor now belongs to my eldest sister. All these fairytale heroines in my family may not seem like a bad deal at first glance, but all that princess-ness creates expectation that the daughters of the royal house will live up to their foremothers. It’s not like they’re long gone legends of centuries past, either – all of them are still alive, and have aged very well. In fact, they are all remarkably beautiful elderly ladies with personalities to be reckoned with. The lovely-princess expectation is not limited to a vague and indirect ‘society’; my mother and father, and grandmothers and grandfathers, and great grandmothers and grandfathers, and even my four sisters, all expect each of us young princesses to be models of royal perfection. I’m the only one left out in the cold.

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Genevieve of Alea, Chapter One

All I wanted for my seventeenth birthday was to go out riding by myself.  That was all.  No big party, no ball, no jewels, no stuffed peacock, no obscure manuscript.  Well, that was because I knew that my grandfather had collected all the obscure manuscripts there were to collect.  Still, the point remains.  I didn’t want anything fancy for my birthday.  Nothing outrageous.  It wouldn’t even require any effort from anybody else.  All it would take would be for me to go down to the kitchen, early in the morning, armed with my father’s approval, and get some food.  The cook’s fetching bread and cheese for me would be the climax of other people’s involvement.  Then I’d go out to the stable, get my horse, groom her, put her saddle on, and ride off.  I wouldn’t even trouble a groom.  So effort was not an objection.

No, objections were made about propriety and safety.  Which I thought—and said—was ridiculous.  After all, I was seventeen, or would be by the time I was taking a ride on my birthday.  True, I was a girl, and a princess, but that wasn’t nearly as important as everyone in the world except me seemed to think it was.  To my knowledge, not a band of robbers, not a pack of wolves, not an assassin, had done anything very notable in Alea for at least twenty years.  And that was a lifetime!  My lifetime, anyway.

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Haley’s Latest Fan: A Short Story

Kyim breathed deeply and stared at his bedroom wall. Then he stretched his stiff neck, rolled onto his side, and read the acknowledgements and the author bio. He almost always did. That way he could stay inside the book for as long as possible, even if he wasn’t reading about the characters anymore. At last he had to close the book. It was a physical one, paper and covers and ink. Kyim liked a book he could hold. This book was Haley Ferrier’s Ichthus: a Planet. He thought for a moment. Yes, he had read it five times now. Each time he wanted it not to end. A good book, he thought, should be like that: at the end you should feel both that it had to end there and that you wanted it to go on and on forever. Each time, too, he wondered about the second-last acknowledgement: To Kyim, who showed me all about the Leaf. Who was this mysterious person with his name? And how had this Kyim of hundreds of years before known how to describe a piece of modern technology so perfectly, even to the name? In her teen journals, Ferrier occasionally mentioned when she’d been alone for afternoons, even when she was sixteen, his own age. If only…

Kyim was getting the vacuum cleaner out when he realized: of course he could! He followed the silent little machine around, lifting chairs out of the way for it, in a daze. It would take some doing, of course. It wasn’t easy to secretly finagle a trip into the past, even when your dad did work in ACTeR, and that was short for Authorized Cross-Temporal Researches. But if Cora could do it, he could. And his sister had used it to go to some twentieth century Olympics or other!

Whoever wanted to go to the Olympics?

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