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Children of Prophecy

The spring air blew warm and easy through Dawn Forest. A figure walked along the road leading to the capital city just beyond. A plain blue cloak hid her features, and she smiled as she walked watching the different people at work. Coming to the top of a large hill, she scanned the area in front of her, her gaze stopping on a castle tower in the distance. 'I hope I’m not too late,' she thought. She rushed down the hill toward the

castle. Dashing to the gate she started to go in when she was stopped by a guard, posted at the gates.

“I am sorry,” answered the guard shaking his head his helmet, flashing in the sun, "but his majesty has banned anyone except the servants from entering the castle." She stood there a moment, then pulled back her blue hood. Her brownish silver hair flickered in the sun light as it fell a little past her shoulders. Cool gray eyes stared laughing. The guard stood there shocked. “L-Lady Iris,” said the guard quietly as he bowed.

Iris just smiled, “May I see the king now?”

He stopped bowing and nodded, as he did so, the rest of his armor flashed.

“Of course my lady," he replied. “Raise the gate!” As soon as the gate was raised, Iris disappeared into one of the many courtyards.

¬¬¬¬

Standing there, she breathed in the fragrance of roses, marigolds, and daisies. Suddenly servant rushed by. “Excuse me,” Iris said, turning to face the servant.

The servant stopped and turned around. “Lady Iris, it is nice to see you,” the servant remarked, catching her breath.

“Is my nephew here?” she asked, moving toward the girl.

“Yes, his majesty is here but, I am afraid we are rather busy at the moment. As I am sure you have heard, the queen is in labor.”

“That’s why I’m here," responded Iris calmly. “Will you please tell Orion I’m here?”

The servant nodded, pushing some of her red hair out of her way. She turned and started toward the other end the other end of the courtyard. The servant stopped at the east wall, then putting her hand on the high white stone wall, she mumbled making a door appear. Opening it, she rushed up the flight of stairs as the door disappeared behind her. She carried a blue and white bowl and a white linen cloth. Reaching the landing, she stopped a moment to brush some more of her red hair out of her light brown eyes, tapping on the door in front of her as she did so, and waited. Two seconds later, the door opened and daylight flooded the tunnel. Walking through, the servant smiled to the woman on the other side. She went to a large canopy bed in the far corner of the room and set the bowl and cloth down on the nightstand. Slowly, she turned to the other woman.

“Nicole,” said the servant, her voice quiet and serious. “Lady Iris is here.” Nicole, another servant, opened her mouth to speak but closed it as the servant continued. “She is in the North courtyard. Can you please tell his majesty of her sudden arrival?” Nicole stood there her mouth barely hanging open, her dark purple eyes wide. Then silently she closed her mouth, nodded, and went to the door. “Thank you, Nicole.” Nicole just nodded, picking up her black hair and putting it in a bun on top of her head, then opened the large pine doors. Afternoon sunlight filled the room for a moment, then disappeared as the doors shut. His majesty stood outside the door pacing.

Nicole thought to herself, 'He must be really worried'. She cleared her throat.

“Your Majesty.” said Nicole in a quiet voice.

The king stopped. “Yes,” said Orion his voice deep, soft voice. “What is it?”

Nicole stood there a moment, searching for her words, and then simply said, “Your aunt, Lady Iris, is here to see you.”

“Where is she?” he asked staring at her.

“Sh--"Nicole paused.

“I am right here, Orion,” came a calm, soft voice from behind him. Orion turned around. Glancing down, he smiled and hugged his aunt. “Aunt Iris, what brings you here?” he asked.

“I am he-”she was interrupted by a scream. Nicole promptly opened the door and rushed back into the room. “I am here to help,” finished Iris simply. She opened the large pine door and walked in, leaving Robert to pace again. Inside the room, Iris walked across the gray stone floor to the bed. She removed the brown pouch from her belt and set it on the nightstand. “Go into the kitchen and get me a bowl and a goblet of wine,” she instructed a nearby servant. The servant nodded and started to the passage door. She walked through, closing it behind her. Iris walked over to one of the chairs and moved it over, beside the bed. Opening the pouch, she emptied the contents. Jasmine, lavender, and daises filled the air.

“Iris, do you think the queen will be all right?” asked Nicole worried.

Iris was silent a moment. “I don’t really know. We will just have to see what fate has in store.”

A few moments later, the servant returned. Setting the goblet on the table beside her, Iris took the bowl and put in the herbs, then crushed them into a fine powder. She scooted her chair up closer to the bed, she cleared her throat. “Calista, it’s me, Iris.”

The queen opened her eyes and smiled, “Iris, nice to see you.” Her voice was hoarse, but she still seemed genuinely glad.

Iris took the powder and mixed it with the wine until all was dissolved. “Now, Calista, I know this might not be the best tasting thing in the world, but I need you to drink it. It will help ease the pain.” Calista merely nodded in reply. Iris then held the silver goblet up to Calista’s lips. Allowing the cold strange tasting substance down her throat, Calista shuddered slightly as the goblet was taken away. “Now,” said Iris smiling. “That wasn’t so bad was it?” Calista was about to reply when a contraction hit her full force. Nicole and the servant quickly moved to the bed, their skirts swishing as they moved. Nicole stood at the foot of the bed ready for the baby.

After a few minutes of cursing the male race, another scream filled the air, loud enough for Orion to come running into the room.

As the doors flew opened, Orion looked around and his eyes stopped on the bed where Calista lay. Silently, the others moved away.

As the king came closer, he noticed something wrapped in a white blanket. “It’s a girl.” stated Calista happily in a tired voice. Orion sat down beside his wife. “You can hold her, if you want,” Calista said holding the little girl out to her father

Orion nodded and took his daughter into his arms, They stared at each other for a moment. “What’s her name?” questioned Orion.

“We don’t know yet.” responded Calista closing her eyes a little.

“Calista!” said Nicole and Iris in unison.

Calista’s eyes snapped open. “What is it?” she asked her voice vexed. “I am trying to take a nap.”

The servant smiled, “We meant for the baby.”

“Naming her after you.” finished Nicole also beaming.

Calista sighed then nodded that she heard them. “Astara,” answered Calista simply.

“Beautiful name.” replied Orion grinning like the proud father that he was. The four women smiled.

Z Z Z

A week later both baby and mother were rested and happy. Calista sat in her bedroom brushing her long brownish blonde hair into a bun, when Astara`s nana walked in with her in her arms.

“She wanted to see her mom,” Jade told her. Calista smiled as she took her daughter into her arms. Astara smiled and laughed happily. Calista turned back around to face her vanity mirror. She smiled as she saw the reflection of her baby and herself.

Jade picked up the brush and held it up. Calista nodded. Jade began to brush her hair. “Where is my husband this morning?” asked Calista as she switched the baby around.

“He’s in a meeting discussing possible matches for your daughter to marry.” retorted Jade sighing. Calista sighed as well. 'Too soon,' she thought. 'She’s only a week old. How can he know who’s going to be right for her?'

King Orion sat in a large study furnished with books, chairs and tables. The other men in the room, where advisors from all over the country.

“How can you even think that a little baby, my daughter, is going to lead us to destruction?” asked Orion trying to keep his voice in check.

“I am not saying she is,” answered one of the men. “all I'm saying is that the prophesy may come true.”

“Good point. Who's to say it’s not someone else,” responded yet another voice. So the discussion continued. Orion walked back over to his desk and sighed in defeat. Just then a knock echoed in the room silencing all.

“Enter, ”Orion announced, loud enough to be heard. He stood up to meet who ever it was coming in. The rustling of skirts identified it be a woman. Suddenly the door swung open, revealing Lady Iris. She walked in with some tea.

“Hello gentlemen,” Iris greeted them cheerily.

“Hello Aunt Iris,” Orion replied. Stepping over some books and papers, she made it to the large ash table and set the tea tray down.

Picking up a sandwich, she quietly walked out of the room. “Don’t forget about the ball tonight,” yelled Iris from down the hall, her voice echoing off its walls. The men smiled thinking of their wives and daughters running around for hours getting ready.

Back in the royal chambers, Calista, Jade, and Astara were all in front of a huge full-length mirror. Jade was holding Asta as her majesty spun around in a pale pink, almost white, dress. The material flowed softly around her, the skirt pooling lightly at her feet. Calista and Jade laughed. Astara sat there wide-eyed, watching the world around her.

“I think that is a perfect dress Calista,” Iris said approvingly as she walked into the room.

Calista turned, “Hello! I take it you found your way to the study all right. What did you hear?” she asked, excitement in her voice.

Iris’s smile widened, then frowned a little. “They’re talking about the prophecy and how long it takes all of us to get ready for one ball, ”she replied sitting down in a chair next to Jade and taking Asta. The other two women sat there for a moment in silence, then burst out laughing.

“What is so funny?” asked a voice as someone walked in. Calista stopped laughing a moment before running up to the owner of the voice and hugging her. “Mary!” Calista said happily as she hugged her longtime friend.

Mary smiled. “It’s good to see you up and about,” she answered holding Calista an arms length away. Astara was looking over to see her mom smiling. She smiled as well; a lovable, cute smile, that only babies can do. Mary looked over Calista’s shoulder, “This must be the little baby I’ve heard so much about!” she grinned as she walked over to Iris and Jade. Iris smiled, “I would like to introduce my great niece, Princess Astara Nicole of Zerkera.” Mary grinned and sat down on the other side of Jade. “You would not believe what our oh so lovable and handsome husbands are talking about in the study,” stated Calista, slightly annoyed as she walked back over to her stool and sat down. “What?” questioned Mary. “They’re talking about how long we take to get ready for a single ball,” replied Calista. “Mary, are you staying for the ball?”

“Yes, of course,” answered Mary holding Astara in her lap. “Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go find my husband and daughter.” Mary returned Astara to Calista, and left, closing the door behind her. Iris and Calista just stood there a moment.

“Are they talking about the strange letter Orion received a few days ago?” asked Calista concerned.

“ I don’t really know. All I was able to hear was that Orion was very upset about it,” Iris answered quietly. Astara looked up at Iris and her mom. “Do you think she knows what’s going on?” asked Iris looking at her.

“No, I don’t think so.” Asta continued to stare at them.

After a few moments, Iris stood up, “I guess we better start getting ready for the ball.” Calista nodded and laughed. “I will be with you in a minute Iris. I just need to Asta down for her nap.”

Opening the bedroom door, she walked across the hall and into a bright nursery. Soft white curtains blew in the breeze that came through the window. Stepping into the room, Calista walked over to a maple crib. Astara looked around the room, then up at her mom as if to say, “What are we doing back in here? I just left,” Calista just smiled and said, “It’s time for your nap.” Calista sat down beside the crib and began to rock her to sleep. After about ten minutes, She stopped and placed her in the crib. Going to the door, she paused and smiled, “Sleep well my little angel.” she whispered walked back across the hall to her room.

A few minutes later, a knock came on the door. “Who is it?” Calista asked, walking to the door.

“It’s Jade, your highness,” she replied, waiting to be let in. Calista walked over and undid the lock.. Jade walked in and locked the door behind her, “I thought you might need some help getting ready for tonight.”

Calista smiled and nodded, “What would I do if I didn’t have all of you to keep me sane?”

“Go insane I assume,” Jade retorted and beamed in amusement as Calista sat down on a satin-covered stool. Jade began to brush any remaining tangles out of Calista’s hair. “How do you want your hair done?” she asked setting the brush down for a moment to rest her hands. She sat there for a moment staring at her reflection. “I think a simple would be nice.” she decided, smiling at her reflection. Jade nodded and started to fix her hair. “Where is Iris?”

“She had to go and get her dress. She’ll be back in time for the ball. Don’t worry.”

After that task was completed, there came another knock on the door.

“Yes,” called Calista. “Who is it?”

“It’s Orion.”

“Okay, wait just a moment,” Calista yelled, “Thank you Jade, that will be all for now.” Jade nodded, exiting through the passageway in the wall. Calista waited until the door had shut before unlocking the other side.

“How has your day been?” Orion asked as he strolled in and sat down in one of the chairs around the room, a content smile on his face.

“It’s been fine,” she answered, turning quiet as she walked over to a small oak box with a simple rose carved on it. Lifting the lid, Calista pulled out a pendent, and stood there a moment looking at it. It was a thin gold chain with small teardrop pink opal on the end. Calista blinked, breaking herself from the small trance and walked back over to Orion.

Orion and Calista had just finished getting ready when yet another knock rang through the silent room.

“Come in,” called Orion adjusting his cape.

Hearing a soft rustle of skirts, Calista turned around." Iris you look wonderful,”she commented as she stared at Iris. Iris blushed a little, standing stiffly in the doorway, wearing a deep scarlet dress that clung lightly to her body.

“I'm here to announce that your guests are arriving,” answered Iris smiling and turning toward the door. They followed her out into the hallway.

“Do I look all right?” She asked, looking down at her pink dress.

“You look fine,” Iris replied as she walked down the hall toward the ballroom. Orion gave Calista's hand a loving squeeze when they reached the ballroom doors, and waited for the doors to open.

Walking down the steps, Orion, Calista, and Iris nodded to their guests. The light from the candles and torches gave them an almost unearthly appearance. Arriving at a small platform, Calista and Iris sat down. Orion remained standing, “I am happy to welcome you all to my daughter’s birthday ball! I pray that this will be one of a great many more to come.” His voice loud but kind as he finished a soft music began to play. He smiled, turned to Calista and bowed. “May I have this dance?”

Calista laughed and nodded as she followed Orion down the steps to the floor. Iris watched them walk to the dance floor smiling at each other. She smiled as she watched them began to spin with the other dancers filling the ballroom with shimmering rainbows of colors. 'I wish this world didn’t have to end' she thought sadly as she vanished.
Tit For Tat
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Upload Date: 31/12/1969

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