Healing a Princess...1 (News from abroad)


Healing a Princess...1


(News from Abroad)




by Tim Knight







            “Oh no, Rikki!  Rikki, I’m slipping!"

            “Lay flat, Tonya, lay flat!”

            “I can’t I…. Aaaahhhh.”

            Tonya felt desperately for a hand hold as she slid down the wet slate roof.  Her hand grabbed something hard and closed around it as her body slid over the edge.  Her feet kicked wildly as they fought to grab something solid to hold on to.

            “Help!  Help me!”

            “Hold on, Tonya, I’m coming!”  Rikki called as he scrambled down the wet tiles to her.  He flattened himself out and slid head first down the roof to her aid.  His hands caught around her wrist and held on.

            “Don’t let go!” she screamed.” Don’t let me fall, Please, Rikki!”

            “I’ve got you,”

            “I can’t hang on any longer, My hand is slipping.  Rikki, Hang on!”
            “I can’t Tonya, You’re slipping…..  You’re slipping…..Toooonnnnnyyyyaaa!”

            Tonya fell backwards as Rikki’s grip slipped.


            Tonya jumped to consciousness and sat up in bed, arms flailing.  A dull ache ran up and down her right leg.

            “Your Highness, are you all right?  Do you need to use the pot?”

            “I’m fine, Monyka.”  Tonya mumbled.  “I just had that nightmare again.”

            “You sure are having that nightmare a lot lately.”  Monyka stated, her shadow moved towards the fireplace. “Maybe you should summon the healers again, in the morning.”

            “I will not go through another day of their mumbling, and sighing, nor will I stand another of their foul concoctions.  They seem to think that the worse something smells or tastes, the healthier it is.” she stated firmly.

            The coals in the fireplace brightened slightly as Monyka stirred them.  She dropped a few pieces of wood into their glowing midst and stood back as sparks danced upwards from the glowing embers.

“I’m sorry Tonya.  It is just that this is the sixth time you have had that nightmare in a fortnight”

“Oh, Monyka, I’m sorry, you must be exhausted.  Why don’t you take my bed.  I’ll sit by the fire.”

“I may be tired, but I’m not tired enough to want to listen to your mother’s lectures about sleeping in your bed, your Highness.” 
            “Could you at least come join me in the bed?  Keep me company?  I don’t want to be left alone after falling off of that roof again.”

“As your Highness commands.” Monyka said.

“Oh don’t scrape to me tonight, Monyka, I am having enough trouble sleeping as it is.

Monyka climbed up into the large, soft feather bed and climbed under the covers with Tonya.

“No more nightmares tonight.  I need some sleep.” Monyka commanded.

“I promise.  No more nightmares.” Tonya lay back in bed and watched the light from the fireplace flicker on the ceiling. 

It wasn’t long, before Monyka was snoring softly beside her.  Tonya slowly shifted in bed until she was on the edge.  She reached over and grabbed her walking staff and slowly raised out of bed.  The dull ache in her right leg increased as she put a little pressure on it.  She slowly, and as softly as she could manage, hobbled over to a chair near the fire.  Sparks of pain, shot up her leg not unlike the sparks that flew up the chimney earlier.  This was followed by the ever present ache as she swung her leg forward to take each agonizing step.

Tonya took a deep breath then lowered herself slowly to the chair.  She exhaled as the pain subsided and stared at the flames of the fire for a few moments before picking up her needlepoint.  She added a few new stitches in a flower she had been working on, then tossed it across to the other chair.

Here she sat, unable to sleep yet again and in the past few years reduced to just this.  Sitting around all day doing needlepoint and gossiping about courtiers and the latest fashions.  She hated it.  She hated, not having freedom to move about, to go where she wished.  To do something unaided was just a fantasy.  Everyone hovering, hovering, waiting for her to try to do something new, then telling her ‘Oh, your Highness,  you really shouldn’t.  you might hurt yourself.’  And her mother was the worse.  She wasn’t allowed to be alone at all anymore.  

That is where Monyka came in to the picture.  Monyka was her playmate/slave.  Monyka was to make sure that she didn’t lift a finger for anything, to do whatever Tonya wished, before she even knew she wished it, to keep her entertained, while keeping her from doing anything or go anywhere fun.  It took Tonya almost a year to get Monyka to stop calling her ‘Your highness’ in private, and close to a year to train her not to curtsy after every thought spoken.  It was bad enough that she had to put up with it in public.

In spite of the loss of her freedom, Monyka had become a dear friend.  A friend who would do almost anything Tonya could ask   Be her eyes and ears in parts of the palace that she couldn’t go.  Monyka even proved to be good at playing and manipulating courtiers in the palace political arena.  Monyka would deliver messages and secret notes to courtiers.  She would even help play ‘good princess, bad princess’ with some of the young lords.

Tonya’s mother, Queen Isabell, had originally assigned one of the court ladies to be Tonya’s ‘side-kick’, but the Lady Hilda Anna-Belle Tomas-Santos found the tasks involved beneath her station.  What Proper Lady would bathe, dress and empty a chamber pot, even if it was for the Princess.

Tonya remembered seeing a young girl about her age who would play around the Country Estate where she had fallen.  Monyka’s mother worked in the kitchens as a baker, while Monyka worked in the scullery, scrubbing pots and weeding the herb garden.  Queen Isabell wasn’t sure she liked the idea of an ‘uneducated, unmannered, peasant girl’ having such free access in the palace and court, but Tonya insisted that if Monyka would take a crash course in Court behavior and could be tutored along with her, that she would be perfect.  She also pointed out to her mother that Monyka wasn’t a Lady, so assisting in the day to day chores wouldn’t be beneath her station.

Monyka jumped at the chance to get out of the scullery.  Her mother, at first wary of the arrangement, grew to be so proud that her daughter would have a chance at being educated, and brought up in the palace, even if she was only a servant. 

Tonya remembered the first day Monyka came to the Palace.  Tonya was still bed bound at the time.  The doctors insisted that if she were to get out of bed, she would die.  Monyka was escorted into her chambers just after the morning meal.  She stood just inside the door.  Her mouth dropped open at the plush surroundings, her eyes were like saucers, and trying to take every detail in all at once.  The poor girl’s brain was probably being overloaded by what it was experiencing.

            “Good morning, Monyka.” Tonya greeted.

            “Ah, good morning, ah, Oh, good morning your Highness.” She dipped a small curtsy as she remembered Tonya’s birth rite.

            Tonya was so curious about how the world looked to this young girl.  Monyka was so fascinated by such little details.  She had said that Tonya’s bed chambers were bigger than her whole house.  Having enough rugs to carpet the walls as well as the floors was just unheard of.  The only time she had ever seen a feather bed was once at the country estate, as she walked through one of the halls to deliver some food.

            Tonya asked the Seneschal to have a small feather bed brought into he chambers so that Monyka wouldn’t be expected to sleep in a chair or on the floor.  Monyka was so thankful and so thrilled to have a bed of her own, and to have a feather bed to sleep on was, well, only something she had ever dreamed of.

            That first week, Monyka hardly left Tonya’s side.  Tonya drilled the girl for information about what it was like out side the walls of the palace or even the estate gardens.  She asked what it was like in the kitchen, and about Monyka’s childhood.  At the end of that first week, Monyka was still a little awe struck, but was at least not staring at the walls and furniture as she would sugar candies in a sweet store. 

            At the end of the week, King Tobias sent a messenger to fetch Monyka and take her to court to be presented.  Tonya closed her eyes in memory of that moment.  Monyka was petrified.

“Go to that wardrobe and pull out the green silk dress.” Tonya directed. 

Monyka did as told and pulled out a beautifully embroidered green dress.

“Quickly change.”  Tonya instructed.

Monyka was aghast, “Your highness, if I am caught wearing one of your dresses, I will surely be sent to the dungeon, or worse, be-headed.”

“Don’t be silly, girl.”  Tonya’s voice grew more commanding as she raised herself up in bed with her elbows.  “I have issued an order, and you are to follow my orders.  I will not have an un-kept serving girl representing me in front of my courtiers and subjects.” 

“Yes, your Highness.” Monyka stammered with fear pounding in her heart.

“Quickly now,  or my father will grow impatient.”  Tonya threatened.

Monyka almost tore her servants livery off and stepped into the elegant dress.

“Now, come here, so I can button you in.”

“Yes, your Highness.”

“Now remember to hold your chin high as you are presented to the court.  You are a personal assistant to the Princess of Riponia, you are no longer a scullery maid.”

“Yes, your Highness.”

“As you enter the hall, pause and wait until every eye in the room is upon you, then and only then, give a small curtsy.  When you present yourself the my father, don’t grovel.  A deep curtsy will do, with a slight bow of your head.  You need to show strength, If you show any weakness, the courtiers will eat you alive, and speak in a polite, but firm voice.  There, that will do for the buttons,  turn around so I can see you.”

Monyka took a step back and slowly spun round,  the green silk flared slightly as she turned, and settled into place.  It was a very close fit.

“Run a brush through your hair and use one of those ribbons to tie it back.”

The sound of the messenger clearing his voice out in the hall was heard.

“She will be just a minute.” Tonya called.

Monyka finished tying back her brunette waves and looked again at the Princess.

“Well that will be as good as it gets for right now, but we have some work to do when you get back.  I’m sorry I can’t go with you this time, Monyka.  Just remember you represent me, and if anyone is rude to you, I want to know who it was and what they might have done.”

Monyka left the room in a state of shock. 

While Monyka was at court, Tonya called for her seamstress and ordered a wardrobe of dresses for her new friend as well as small clothes, shoes and night gowns.

Monyka, as her father later reported, did quite well, especially on such short notice.

            Tonya’s glazed over stare into the fireplace was broken by the sounds of birds flittering about in the trees and on the eaves outside her window.  She let out a long sigh as she noticed the changing color of the sky, as it prepared to bring forth a new day.  With a deep breath in preparation of pain, she hoisted herself up out of the chair, took up her walking stick and hobbled to her wardrobe and picked out a fresh chemise and dress.

            Tonya struggled into the new dress, because it was never easy lacing up a bodice by ones self, let alone when you had to balance on one foot.  She stepped out from around the dressing screen, just as a servant entered the room with two breakfast trays.  Tonya motioned for the young man to quietly place the trays on the table next to the fire, so not to wake Monyka.  The young servant nodded his assent and exited the room as quietly as possible.

            Tonya stopped and held her breath as her friend turned in her sleep, hoping that she wouldn’t wake.  She painfully made her way to the food and devoured the little the kitchen was allowed to send her.  After eating, she made her way across the room and out the door, without too much pain.  She closed the door behind her and looked up and down the hall.  This being the Royal wing of the castle, the few servants who were allowed in this area, were extremely busy, or acted thus. 

Tonya’s  wheeled chair was parked just to her left, ready for her when she exited.  She thought about sitting in it and wheeling her way down the corridors, but it was so cumbersome she decided against it.  It wasn’t too far to her father’s throne room.  She was scheduled to sit in and hear the peoples problems along with her father for most of the morning.  If she made it to the throne room before, her mother saw her unescorted, everything should be alright.  Monyka had recently spent too many nights, awakened by her childish nightmares, and needed her rest, no matter how ‘un-princess’ like her mother thought it would look.

Servants smiled as they scurried by.  Some smiles contained concern for the Princess walking out of her chambers unaided.  The hall finally came to the set of stairs leading to the formal wing of the palace.  Tonya looked down the flight with disdain and prepared for the long, agonizing decent.  She had taken two painful steps down the stairs when she heard a voice.

“Your Highness, I too believe in your freedom, but I will not see you tackling these stares by yourself.”

“Good morning Zareb.” Tonya sighed to the gray haired court official.

“You there, boy.” Zareb called to a well dressed man coming up the stairs. “Assist me in escorting the Princess down this treacherous flight.” 

The young man Zareb was speaking to was hardly a boy.  A few years older than herself,  he possessed a  strong, well muscled frame with dark hair. She hadn’t seen him at court before, she would have remembered him if she had.  Besides, though his clothes were that of a Riponian, he seemed awkward in them.  The young man joined her and Zareb on the step. 

“This strapping young man can help you down your Highness.” Zareb stated, as he descended down the flight, his court robes flaring behind him.

“Your Highness.” The young man some how bowed gracefully in the stairwell.  As he recovered from his bow, he scooped her up in his arms and started down the stairs.

            “You don’t have to carry me.” Tonya protested, her arms around the young man’s neck.

            “But your Highness, this will be the most efficient way to arrive you safely to the floor below.”

            “I can walk.” She continued.

            “I’m sure you walk very well, your Highness, but this also gives me a chance to serve his Majesty.  Besides, we have already arrived.”  He said, easing her to the polished granite floor.

            “Well…..Thank you, ah …. My lord.”

            “My friends call me Monte, your Highness.  Maybe we can dance again sometime, but if you will forgive me I have an appointment.”  With another graceful flourish, he turned and took the stairs two at a time.

            Tonya stared at an empty staircase for a moment after he left, trying to place who he might be.  Shaking her head, she hobbled down the back hall to the throne room. 

            As she had hoped, she was early.  Only a few courtiers gathered in small clusters gossiping and plotting.  She hobbled unobserved to the dais and slowly took the three steps up.  Two massive thrones were centered on the dais.  Large, ornately carved chairs, with silver gilding.  To the right of her father’s throne was a smaller one reserved for her, with a small cushioned stool to prop her bad leg to relieve some of the aches the long court sessions could create.  A large tapestry, hung behind the Throne chairs, displaying the Riponian coat of arms. 

            She made her way to her seat noting a few of the courtiers who bowed or curtsied to her presence.   Tonya sat down hard in her chair and took a moment to calm her breathing before making herself comfortable.  She stored her walking stick behind her chair and looked out over the Throne room to take note of who had shone up early and who looked upset, so that she could take that into account when the complaints were heard.

            The room was only slightly chilly.  About the right temperature for this time of day.  Once the room filled with bodies, the room would become quite warm.  Black and white granite tiles alternated across the expanse of the throne room floor.  A fireplace centered on each long wall, blazed, their flicking light added to the warmth of a few torches that lined the walls.  Two rows of columns a forth of the way into the room, not only helped structurally, but were cunningly built as heaters.  The center of each column was the structural support.  Then there was an air shaft, which acted more like a chimney.  Smoke from fires in the basements to boil water and wash clothes, were drafted up the columns, heating the façade stone and radiating heat. 

The façade stone was Riponia’s prized black granite which contained thousands of tiny flecks of silver.  One gazing into the dark stone would think they were looking into the night sky, as tiny silver stars winked and shimmered.

The black granite columns soared thirty feet to large carved ironwood beams imported from the kingdom of Morpeth.  The soot stained ceiling was hammered tin a gift from the dwarves of  Thame.  Three large blown glass sky-lights, lighted the large room with about fifty percent of it’s light. 

More courtiers were starting to file into the room.  A few of the older lords and ladies, retrieved padded stools from along the walls.  King Tobias didn’t  want the elderly courtiers to stop attending his court because of discomfort brought on by long hours of standing.


Tonya’s thoughts drifted back to Monyka again.  It was Monyka who, years ago, secretly helped her get out of bed and to a chair by the fireplace, against her mother’s orders.  When her Majesty found out, she was outraged and ordered Monyka strapped for endangering the Princess’s life.  Tonya was able to stay the strapping by reasoning with her father.  She, after all had been the one who ordered Monyka to help her out of bed, and Monyka was obeying her orders. 

Queen Isabell was furious, and had her room monitored and spied upon for a good six months after.  Unannounced visits from the Queen’s servants or courtiers, loyal to her mother, suddenly needed to visit the Princess, or accidentally entered the wrong chambers.

The healers did relent and allow Tonya, with assistance and close supervision, to get out of bed, but for no more than ten steps.  It was a slight victory for the Princess, but a victory none the less.  Those few months of escaping bed were spent with Monyka, doing their lessons,  playing card games and laying ground work for plots at court.


“How do you feel this morning, your Highness?” a gruff voice asked.

Tonya’s thoughts flashed back to present. “I’m sorry Sergeant?” Tonya flushed at her absent minded appearance.

“I asked how you were feeling, your Highness.” The grizzled man repeated.  “Apparently you didn’t sleep well again last night.”

“Is it that obvious?” Tonya asked the battle scarred Sergeant at Arms.

“Only to someone with brains, which will leave out most who will be here today.” He smiled at her.

Tonya chuckled softly.  Sergeant Takoda was practically family.  He had served her father faithfully for years and had been a good ally and friend in the palace.

“Is it me, or are there a lot of courtiers with complaints today?” She asked Takoda.

“I’ve heard rumors that something bigger than listening to a bunch of whiners is going to happen today, your Highness.”

“Do you know what this bigger something is? Sergeant?”  Tonya prodded.

“Sorry, your Highness, The only information I was able to get was that a Royal dignitary was visiting your father.”

A Royal dignitary would be something for courtiers to make a showing for.  “Sergeant, Can you find out who?”  Tonya asked.

“I will do some reconnaissance and get back to you if I can, your Highness.” Tokada smiled.

“Will my mother and father be making a formal entrance today?  Or sneak in casually?” Tonya asked.

“I believe they will be showing colors and pomp, your Highness.” Tokada said stepping down from the dais.

A formal entrance would mean a later starting time for court.  Her mother and father would want to allow plenty of time for courtiers to arrive.  Tonya raised her hand and motioned for a servant standing against a wall to come forth.

“Yes your Highness.”

“I didn’t have much of a morning meal, could you go to the kitchens and see if Sadira has something to tide me over?”  Tonya asked.

“Of course, your Highness.”  The servant bowed and dashed out of court.

Queen Isabell fearing for Tonya’s health, instructed the kitchen to serve the Princess only certain foods and in special, measured amounts.  Fortunately Tonya had an inside conspirator in Sadira, Monyka’s mother who would assist Monyka in secreting sweets and treats to her.  With her mother primping before her grand entrance, Tonya thought she should have enough time to get a honey roll or something before the ‘show’. 

She waved another servant over and instructed him to summon a hair dresser to help her put up her blonde hair before the Royal dignitary arrived and saw her disheveled, and wrinkled.  She would have asked him to get Monyka, but she really need some rest.

With in a few minutes a small tray arrived from the kitchen, cheese, fresh bread, tea, and three cookies dotted the plate.  A note tucked under a cookie caught her eye.  She unfolded it and smiled.


The sun will smile upon your future today.



Sadira was always tucking such notes into her trays, plates or baskets. a few moments later, one of the palaces hair dressers arrived.

“Yes, your Highness.”

“Could you help me put this up, nothing fancy, just make it look nice.”

“Of course, your Highness.”  The dresser, quickly and efficiently combed out Tonya’s blonde hair and braided the sides back and secured them so that they met at the back of her head on top of longer blonde waves.

“Thank you so much.” Tonya smiled as the hair dresser curtsied her way off the dais.

The Throne room was almost full now. The talking and jabbering courtiers sounded like a gaggle of geese, honking all at once for some scrap of food.  Their voices were soon cut off by the sound of horns outside the main entrance of the Throne room. 

The herald knocked his staff of office twice against the granite floor.  “Their Royal Majesties, King Tobias and Queen Isabell of Riponia.”  The double doors opened and in strode Tonya’s mother and father.  With their heads held high and smiles seemingly painted on their faces, they seemed to flow down the middle of the room.  What a contrast of personalities her parents were.  Her mother absolutely gloried and reveled in being the center of attention.  Her skin seemed to glow with pleasure.  While her father, just wanted to get up to his throne and start the proceedings, so that he could get on with some real work.  Tobias’s face lightened up a little when he saw Tonya sitting patiently, waiting for them. 

“Good morning, daughter.” He greeted as he approached.

“Good morning to you father.”

“You look tired, Tonya, are you not sleeping well?” her mother asked.

“Just some nightmares again, mother,” Tonya whispered back.

“Where is your assistant?” Isabell asked.

“I sent her on some errands this morning.” Tonya lied.  If her mother even suspected she was sleeping in, Monyka would be punished.  ‘Servants were supposed to serve, not sleep on the job’ her mother had once said.  Takoda stepped between her and her father to stand behind her father’s chair.  While Isabell’s serving maid stood to the left of her chair.

“Good day, friends, “ Tobias greeted.

“Good day, your Majesties.” The courtiers greeted back.

Tonya looked over her left to Takoda ‘anything?’ she mouthed.

Takoda shook his head.  Tonya redirected her attention back to her father’s opening remarks and that of the Seneschal.  Tonya caught a glimpse of Monyka out of the corner of her eye.  She silently came up behind and to Tonya’s right, and touched her shoulder.  Tonya turned her head ever so slightly and Monyka leaned down.

            “Were you able to get any sleep?” She asked in a whisper.

            “Yes, but you were supposed to wake me.  What if your mother were to find out?”

            “I told her that you were running some errands for me this morning.  Don’t worry.”

            Tonya refocused again on court.

            “Your Majesties, we have a Royal dignitary from the court of Truno.  The Seneschal announced.

            “Well show them in.” Tobias said, “let’s not keep our friends waiting.”

            The Seneschal nodded to the herald.

            “Your Royal Majesties, may I present his Royal Highness, Frydmond, Crown Prince of Truno.”  The Herald announced.

            The double doors swept open to admit a dark haired well built young man.  He held his head proud and walked tall as he entered the room.

            “Kind of cute.” Monyka whispered for Tonya’s ears only.

            As Tonya watched, her heart began to beat harder, She was sure her face must be very flushed.  Finally she put her head in her hands and shook her head.

            “Are you alright, Highness?” Monyka asked.

            “Just a bad case of being embarassed.” Tonya squeaked.

            The Prince stopped just short of the dais and made a flourishing bow.

            “Greetings, your Majesties.  My mother and father send their well wishes to a true friend of Truno.”

            “Welcome Prince Frydmond.” Tobias greeted.  “How are your parents?”

            “They are in good health and good spirits, your Majesty.” The Crown  Prince stated.

            “Can we do away with the formalities now?” Tobias asked.

            “As your Majesty wishes.”  Prince Frydmond stepped forward as Tobias stepped down from the dais and grasped the Prince’s hand in friendship.

            “You have met my Queen, Isabell.”  Tobias re-acquainted.

            “Her Majesty has graced the court of Truno with her beauty many times.” Frydmond smiled to Isabell.

            “Have you met my daughter, Princess Tonya?” Tobias asked.

            Tonya flushed again.  Her stomach started to flip-flop.  How embarrassing.

            “Not officially, your Majesty.” Frydmond smiled, but we have met.”

            Tonya’s father looked between the two puzzled.

            “His Highness, was kind enough to assist me down the stairs this morning.” Tonya blushed.  Damn the Prince’s blue eyes were pretty.

            “He what?” Isabell exclaimed in a loud whisper.  So only the first row of courtiers would be able to hear it.

            “Her Highness needed some assistance, and I was more than delighted to help, your Majesty.” Frydmond smiled to Isabell.  “I only asked that I be granted a dance, at some later date.”

            “You told me your name was Monte.” Tonya whispered harshly.

            “I told you my friends call me Monte.” Frydmond explained.

            “Ah…..Your Majesties, I…..ah, well I am responsible for this predicament.” Zareb cleared his throat.

            “How so, Ambassador?” Isabell asked.

            “When I saw the Princess hobbling down those stairs, and this well built young man coming up them, Not knowing who he is, I asked him to assist the Princess.” Zareb explained, also turning red.  “I apologize for not recognizing you, Prince Frydmond.”

            “It was totally understandable, Ambassador.  Though you have made many appearances in my father’s court, I have not been present for the last few years.  You could not know me on sight.  No harm done.”

            “Well there you have it, Isabell, No harm done.” Tobias said.  “So, Frydmond, what business brings you to Riponia?”

            Frydmond stood up taller and took a more formal stance.  “My mother sent me to bring word of a great healer in the Kingdom of Blaire, just south of the city of Malden.  We have credible evidence that this healers abilities surpass that of  any in all of our lands as well as in all of our histories.  My mother wanted me to share this information with you in case you should decide to use it to help Princess Tonya.  It is my mother’s belief that this healer may be able to restore her Highness’s leg to normal.”

            Silence settled in over the room.  The only sound that could be heard was the flickering of the flames in the fireplaces, and those of the torches.

            Tonya thought everyone in the room would be able to hear her heart pounding.  Pounding anxiously, hopefully.  Hopeful that there could be someone in the world that could give her absolute freedom.


good beginning

Well set up and charactered (is that a word?). I assume a bit of journeying is to follow and who knows what manner of adventure. I look forward to it and I'll poke my nose in again when I'm a bit further along. Nice work Tim.


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