Wednesday, February 29, 2012

An Excerpt from the Journal of Princess A'merellelei

Willow - 5th day.
 
I never know what is going to happen from one minute to the next when she is around. Grandmother always disturbs the peaceful camaraderie of any gathering. Father must want to die of embarrassment sometimes. Grandmother can sit in a room full of starving people, toying with her pearls and diamonds, and whine about the trials and tribulations of having to eat a pear with a bruise upon its surface. 

And she is so very … human. 

I used to dread when she came to the woods to visit. She would blunder about with her big feet, big bust, and loud voice. There is no gentleness to her. Everything is so extreme. Her hair is always over-powdered, her lips are always over-rouged, and she always wears too much jewellery. Simple cotton garments patterned with subtle designs would never suffice. Oh no! All of her clothes must be made of garish silks and satins of clashing colours. 'Subtlety' is definitely something she lacks. 

What's worse is that I am so very small next to grandmother, even though I am fully grown. It is obvious to all that I take after my elven sire. That is why grandmother left me here when I was but a babe. Mother died when she birthed me and left grandmother bewailing that she could not possibly look after a babe with pointed ears and purple eyes. 

When grandmother comes for her monthly visits, she barrels up to me and sweeps me up into an embrace that I can only describe as smothering. Imagine the horror a waif of an elf-child would feel if a behemoth was to pick it up and squeeze it into the cleft between two mountainous, sweaty bosoms? 'Tis just the stuff to give a child nightmares for years to come. 

In the end, I began to hide in the cedar grove when grandmother came to call. As soon as her carriage was sighted, I would vanish. I would remain throughout blazing heat, or mighty storm. No amount of nearby lightening strikes could coax me out of my chosen tree. I would rather die a sizzling death, than be smothered in between grandmother's perpetually sweaty breasts. 

Father reproached me when I began doing this. He claimed I was wicked and heartless. He still loves my mother, and never took another consort after she died. This is something the elvan court is very upset about. They detest Father's ties to the humans. Lord T'ristimerele believes grandmother is a spy for the human King, but the other Lords and Ladies almost died laughing when he voiced his suspicions. 

Grandmother? A spy? She is more than that. Grandmother is actually a witch, a witch in the employ of King Llewellyn. How do I know? Today I did something of which I am not very proud. I followed my grandmother when she returned home. I spied upon her, just like she spies upon us. What I discovered leaves me shaken. 

Grandmother is more than just a spy, she is an ambassador who works to forge a peaceful alliance between humans and elves. Father and King Llewellyn seek to end the years of enmity between the two races, and grandmother is the only one who has ever been able to move freely back and forth between the two peoples.
And she knows I know. 

I don't know what to do with the knowledge I have. I am elf, and personally, I despise humanity for what they have done to my people. I am not sure if I want peace between our races. I am torn. The only real contact I have had with them is the contact I have with my grandmother and I rather dislike my grandmother. But I now wonder if she really is whom she portrays herself to be, or if she is someone I do not know at all. Is she someone I can trust? Father obviously trusts her, but Father has always refused to look at history's pages. Humans have never changed. They are not capable of it. 

Willow - 7th day.
 
I could not write anything within my journal yesterday. Lord D'larshinae asked me to spend the day falconing with him. I was so surprised by his invitation that I could barely stammer out a yes. 

Lord D'lar is the most sought after bachelor in all the seven camps. And he asked me?? 

When we returned, we dined within the perfumed opulence of his tents. Is it possible to die from lust? That man is so deliciously tempting, with his hard body and those soft lips. Last night I dreamed that we made love, and woke this morning with a wet ache between my thighs. That ache has stayed with me all day. 

Yesterday was perfect but for one thing. Why would D'lar want to talk about my grandmother? He asked me about her several times yesterday. Strange little questions they were too. Methinks I will play the naivet√© for a while longer and see what it is my beautiful darling elflord is after. 

Willow - 10th day.
 
Men can be so foolish sometimes. He might be beautiful, but if he thinks I am so gullible, then the man is a halfwit. I used to think that an inflated ego was a very human thing, but it is becoming more apparent that elven males are guilty of this arrogance also. 

Why would an elflord, who previously scorned me because of my mixed blood heritage, suddenly change his opinions and try to instead woo the one he despises? Lust is a funny thing. It tends to wear off rather quickly when the object of your desire is out of site. And D'lar has been doing his best to avoid me for the last three days. 

But he does not seem to realize how cunning this female is. I have been watching again. I discovered when I was a child that nobody wants to see me. If they do not 'see' me, they cannot be reminded that their King begot his heir upon a human woman. This cruelty hurt me when I was a child, but over time I began to see its advantages. I now move through the camps like one who is invisible. Nobody wants to see me, so therefore they don't. 

D'lar went riding today. He left just after dawn, and rode west, towards the Summerland. I always ride just before sunrise, so it was rather good timing that I saw him leave as I was returning. I followed him from within the woods that bordered his path. It would seem that my feral childhood has given me several advantages. I know the woodlands well enough to know every pathway through them. 

Much to my astonishment, my no longer ardent admirer met with Lord T'ristimerele in a ruined temple several leagues from the home camp. I must confess, my heart was somewhat wounded when I witnessed the younger elflord lean in his saddle and kiss Lord T'ristimerele most passionately. But the pieces of this confusing puzzle are starting to fall into place. 

They were not the only participants in this clandestine tryst. Within several heartbeats, over a handful of elven nobles joined the lovers. What to do, what to do? By the time I got close enough to hear, much had already been said. Thank the Goddess, I heard enough to give me forewarning of what was to come.
Did I say how foolish men are yet? What I did hear was shocking. Lord D'lar and Lord T'ristimerele were doing their best to convince the other lords to let them approach me? They want me to betray my grandmother, and depose Father? Why would they want me to do that? 

Because they know I hate humans. 

And they are right. I have always despised humans, and revile the human blood that flows under my skin. If I could bleed it out, I would. If I could be wholly elf, I would be.

But I am not. And I love my Father most dear. What to do, what to do? What is this web in which I find myself? Am I the spider? Or am I the prey? 

I also wonder - mayhap, D'lar was not so repelled by my heritage, and was more repelled by my sex. Yes?

Willow - 11th day.
 
I watch. I wait. Father told me that grandmother is coming to visit at the end of the week. There was an urgency in his voice, and more than a little fear. He is worried about something. 

Willow - 12th day.
 
They came. Lord T'ristimerele and Lord D'lar. I am still surprised by their audacity. Lord T'ristimerele informed me that he knows of my grandmother's deception. His underlings have been watching her for years, and know she is both witch and spy. 

Lord T'ristimerele wants me to kill my grandmother, an in doing so, destroy any chance of the treaty being signed. He says I am the only person who can do it. Grandmother trusts me. 

Again I find myself wondering if I am the spider, or the prey. I am no fool. They will get the same results if I should die instead. They will also be rid of a half elf princess. 

Willow - 13th day.
 
I feel sick. My stomach hurts. I cannot eat. Lord D'lar came to me today. They want an answer. I hope I will be forgiven for this. 

I told them yes. I will kill my grandmother as she journeys to the camp.

Willow - 21st day.
 
Father had Lords D'lar, T'ristimerele, Strinariea, P'lansthios, R'linishea and D'slenirea arrested today. They are to be tried for treason. And I am glad. I did say men were foolish creatures did I not? They are foolish because they assume to understand the mind of a woman. 

Since discovering that my grandmother is a spy, I have learned one very important thing. She and I are very alike. I get my cunning and my love for intrigue from the one woman I thought I hated above all others. 

I have known for some time that another reads my journal. That is why I have filled it with half truths, and traps of my own. 

I did spy on my grandmother, and I did despise her for many years. But on discovering the truth, I was allowed to see the real woman, and I found myself liking her immensely. And she is also very cunning. What better way to win over another person than by asking them to help. 

Grandmother knew Lord T'ristimerele was conspiring to destroy any chances of a treaty between the two races, so she asked me to help expose them. They made it so very easy. 

But I hear you wondering why I would help others to join my people in peace to a race I despise. What reason do I have? 

I have no love for humanity. I never will. But I have always honoured the wishes of family above all others. My father desired peace, so peace is my gift to him. 

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