Fret

This morning, just like any morning, she looked out of the window as soon as she rose from bed. Just like any morning she could see the sea. Some days she could see for miles — almost to the mainland, she was sure – across the bright blue waters. Other times the ocean was grey, reflecting the storm clouds overhead, when the waves were like the team of off-white steeds she remembered leading her father’s racing chariot. But today she could barely see anything, so heavy was the sea-fret billowing towards the land. Nothing would be coming to harbour until the mist lifted, she was sure.

How many weeks, months, years had she looked out of that window? How long had it been since her father had confined her to that highest tower? How she missed being able to freely roam the maze of corridors, state rooms, kitchens and turrets of her father’s palace. She had even – once upon a time — been able to cross the bridge to the city which ringed the rocky pinnacle the palace clung to, the city which she could see from her landward window but could no longer visit. When was it that the soothsayers said she had to be isolated, insulated from the danger that threatened from the sea? Perhaps she was only ten when the prophecies said her father’s reign would end if and when certain strangers sailed in from the mainland. And now she was, what, how old? She had no idea. And no one seemed prepared to tell her.

The mist continued to build instead of being blown away by morning breezes or evaporating in the weak spring sun. The beacons lighting the way into the harbour remained burning, barely able to penetrate the veil of fog. No ship was going to risk being wrecked on hidden rocks until the mist lifted. She sighed. This was going to be a day just like any other, the minutes and hours bleeding one into the other.

She was just about to turn away when a movement caught her eye. She was suddenly alert, and peered intently out to the right where the harbour entrance lay. Yes, there it was – a sail! A ship was labouring under the onshore wind, trying to avoid certain disaster as it battled to navigate between the beacons. But no, it was bypassing the lights, entering the harbour at the side of the Watergate like a thief in the night, and — yes! — she was certain it was going to make it to safety. She held her breath, her hand to her mouth.

Suddenly there were shouts, rapid steps coming up the stairs to her room. “Princess!” came the voice of her lady-in-waiting just before the door opened, “Prepare yourself! The fateful day has finally arrived!”


Written for a creative writing course on Children’s Fiction, to a different picture prompt

9 thoughts on “Fret

  1. Lynn Love

    Interesting, how you turned the lady’s mind to looking forward to that day. How years of captivity made her yearn for something different, even if that something different was predicted to bring doom to the kingdom. A fresh take on the princess in the tower motif. Nicely done Chris

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Calmgrove Post author

      Thanks very much, Lynn! Our picture prompt was from a bit of fantasy art by John Howe (one of the concept artists for the LOTR films), and I turned it into a variation on the Ariadne theme, with Theseus arriving in Crete to tackle the minotaur in the maze — though I tried not to be specific. Always appreciate a thumbs-up from a past master of the genre like you!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
        1. Calmgrove Post author

          Going well, thanks, Lynn. The assessment will be based more on coursework than on an end assignment, so I’m trying to juggle what I think I might need for the assessment with my inclination to proceed with the novel itself!

          Liked by 1 person

          Reply
            1. Calmgrove Post author

              Each module (like this one on children’s lit) is supposed to encourage the student to begin work in that genre, maybe with a view to completing it for publication in some form. Passing a number of modules leads to a Certificate in Creative Writing from Aberystwyth Uni, the equivalent of the first year of a degree course. That’s the theory anyway …

              Liked by 1 person

            2. Lynn Love

              Sounds like a good course. Is there an opportunity to compplete the degree in the same way and if so, would you consider it? Or do you think you’ve gained enough from this? It certainly has had a wide spread of subjects on the course – a good grounding

              Liked by 1 person

            3. Calmgrove Post author

              I haven’t explored the possibility of extending it — one thing at a time, I think, especially as many universities are cutting their continuing education courses. 😦

              Liked by 1 person

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