These snippets I've taken all from The Twelfth Kingdom, one of my favorite stories that I'm working on. I felt it was high time the wonderful world of blogger was perhaps more properly acquainted with this story.
Just yesterday, King Jakken Fierté had ridden through these very streets. In her mind's eye, J could still see him, proud and regal in blue robes, sitting straight atop his magnificent steed. His royal advisor and a single guard had accompanied him into the dirty, sorrow ridden parts of town, seeking the newest recipient of the king's kindness.
“Ladies and gentlemen, people of Tellorn, and all Findenland!” The man yelled. J was instantly glad that B had suggested they get closer. Otherwise, they would never have been able to hear him, and they would have to resign themselves to waiting for the gossip to reach them and learn the new princess's name.
A real name. J licked her lips in anticipation. This was the part that excited her the most. Each of the orphan girls the king had adopted were given names suitable for princesses. The days of being labeled a solitary letter were over. Only people from the upper classes and royalty had real names. People of the street, like J, were not allowed to have names, only letter labels that they could use to refer to themselves.
J tried to reason with her, but the woman wouldn't listen. When J wouldn't obey her and leave, the woman snatched up the spoon she had used to stir the soup and smacked J in the face.
Cheek smarting, eyes tearing, J hurried down the street away from the woman. She asked others for help, but everyone was concerned with his or her own affairs. No one wanted to give aid to a dirty fifteen year old. Not even when another girl's life was dependent on that aid.
Vases filled with colorful flowers decorated table tops, and polished suits of armor stood guard with sword and spear over the foliage. One small pink vase, almost hidden by the towering stems and fan-like leaves of the other flowers, held a nosegay of white bethjasmine. The delicate blossoms, although considered by many in Findenland to be plain and simple, were elegantly arranged, so alive and resting against the background of their dark green leaves. In a way, it reminded J of B. Her friend was small and sickly, but J hoped that once B had settled into her new princess life, she would look as elegant and healthy.
“Step forward, girl.”
J tentatively obeyed.
“What's your label?”
Her voice came out in a squeak. “My label?”
“Yes, girl! Your letter label! What else did you think I meant? I need to know your label so I can give you a proper princess name!” Jakken slammed his fist down on the desk. Papers fluttered briefly at the impact.
J's heart constricted and her breathing came heavily. “J,” she managed meekly.
The king groaned. “Another J. I hate coming up with J names. Randbec?”
Randbec bowed. “I will draw up some suggestions for Your Majesty. You shall have a list of proper princess J names within the hour.” He turned to leave.
J hardly knew what she was doing, but the exclamation was out of her mouth before she could stop it. “Wait!”
Both men paused, looking astonished at her outburst.
“Could you, I mean...” When she hesitated, Jakken growled, “Spit it out, girl!”
J's words came out in a rush. “Can my name be Josette?”
Randbec's eyebrows lifted. The king's hand froze with a pen in his grasp, before he composed himself and asked, “Josette?”
J thought that she had been too bold in her request. Words fled from her, and she could only nod at the king's question.
Jakken turned to Randbec. “Josette?” He echoed.
Au revoir, m'dears!