doesn't have time to finish her title!
Hello, girls, it's Monday, and I'm swamped. I'm stage managing and props master-ing for a production of Oklahoma that goes into tech this week, my family is helping my grandparents make their Christmas candy today, I have a list of things a mile long that have to be completed for the classes I'm teaching, and, oh, yeah, NaNo.
27,719 words, by the way.
So . . . yeah. I'm gonna be losing my mind and running around like a chicken, etc, etc, fill in the phrase for yourself, for the next few days, so . . . here! Enjoy an excerpt of my NaNo novel! :)
You know how they always say you can never fully understand prophecies until they’ve come to pass? Maybe I cannot speak for the majority of prophecies, but I can speak for my own, and I can tell you that the mysterious “they” are absolutely correct.
My name is Deliverance, and nothing important was ever supposed to happen to me. If it happened to anyone, it was supposed to happen to Patience, who was the eldest, or Honor, who was the youngest, or Valor, who was the only boy. But me? I was just Deliverance, number eight in a long string of daughters born to my parents King Earnest and Queen Laurel over the course of sixteen years. I was not the prettiest (that was my elder sister Constance, who will deny it until her dying day because she is also the sweetest), the most outspoken (that was my elder sister Faith, who could, and often did, turn anything into an argument), or the most mischievous (that was shared between my own twin Remembrance and, most ironically, my younger sister Serenity). No, I was just Deliverance, and if I were to be given any superlative at all, it would be the quietest or the shyest or perhaps the most likely to simply fade into the background.
And I was content with that superlative. I even desired it, to some degree. I was shy, I was quiet, and my idea of an exciting afternoon was finding a new book in the library. I did not enjoy the public eye, and I never sought the spotlight. I was content to be ordinary and overlooked for my entire life.
But of course, that is not the way that things worked out.
My story begins with my mother’s death. The story I was part of, of course, had its beginning many long years before, but the day my mother died is when it all started for me. It is a tragic beginning for a story, but it is the necessary one, for it was on my mother’s deathbed that she whispered a prophecy to me, the prophecy of who I was and what I was destined to do. I was ten years old, and her words frightened me greatly, for my mother didn’t prophecy often, but when she did, what she saw always came true. And she told me that if my world was to be saved, I would have to live up to the name she had given me, and truly become the Deliverance for so many.
But I am getting ahead of myself, and ahead of the story. For if you are to understand what happened to me, to us, I must start before my mother’s death. I must start with the story of a young, handsome prince and a beautiful but mysterious lady who appeared at his court one day.
Once upon a time, there lived a young prince named Earnest, and the time for him to marry was drawing near. His parents, the ruling King and Queen of Lochlea, were getting older, and they wanted to see their son settled with a wife and an Heir before their deaths. But none of the foreign princesses who had come to court had captured the prince’s fancy, and none of the noble ladies who had been there since his birth had managed to do so, either. King Valiant and Queen Grace were dismayed, to say the least, for they dearly wanted their son to marry for love. But they and he both knew that if love didn’t come soon, a marriage would have to be arranged.
And then, one day, who should arrive at their court but a beautiful young woman who introduced herself as Laurel. She said she was a noble woman from a country far across the sea. When asked how she had come to travel so far from her home, her perfect smile faltered and a sadness crept over her. She said that she had always longed to travel and never been content with staying in the land she had been born into, as had been expected of her. She had finally convinced her parents to allow her to follow the pull she felt in her heart and see the world. She had left her kingdom behind and taken the first ship across the sea, going wherever that pull in her heart led her, and Lochlea was where she ended up.
My father always used to say it was my mother’s sadness that truly captured his heart, for she had accepted it and bore it and balanced it, and because it had touched her, she was wiser and more beautiful than all the silly ladies he had so far met. They fell in love and were married. My mother’s parents were unable to come to the wedding, but if this raised any suspicions, my mother had won over people of the country so entirely during the time my father courted her that no one dared bring their suspicions forth.
So the prince was married, and the kingdom rejoiced and waited for an heir, but a year passed, then two, and there was no heir. My grandfather died, and my father was crowned king, my mother named queen beside him, but still there was no heir. Now, my father had a cousin who had married the second son of a neighboring kingdom, and she had a son the year my father became king. Dauntless was his name, and often, when my father worried about the future late at night, he would whisper to my mother if they shouldn’t make Dauntless their heir. And my mother would just smile (“For women always know,” she would interject at this point of the story), and lay a hand on his arm and say, “Patience.”
And sure enough, when my parents had been married for six years, they had their first child, a daughter. And following the Lochlea tradition of naming the royal children after the qualities one hopes they will grow to possess, they named my eldest sister Patience. Two years later, they had Joy, then Faith, then Hope, and then it was as if a floodgate had opened, and they went from having no children for six years to having eleven children in thirteen years.
For Constance followed Hope, and then Prudence, and then Remembrance and myself were numbers seven and eight. Then came the “itties,” Charity, Purity, and Serenity. And for three years, little Ren was the youngest, and people began to say, “Yes, eleven girls is all quite well, but what about a son?” And my mother, as she had eleven years before just smiled and said, “Patience.” And sure enough, when Serenity was three and I was eight and Patience was sixteen, another pair of twins, a boy and a girl, Valor and Honor, were born. Thirteen children, twelve girls and one boy, in sixteen years. But the kingdom had an heir and my parents had a family, and for a while, all was perfect.
Then my mother fell ill.