Learning The Legend
"Once, many eons ago, Quadros was a place where peace was plentiful and hostility was scarce. Each soul was full of faith and hope. Each face was warm and inviting. There was only mourning when a relative or companion fell ill and passed on to The Land Of The Loved. Everyone was content. There was no rivalry or murder. There was only love and tranquility.
"Then one day Quadros shook. The planet shook so fiercely that the land split apart, into four continents. The people of Quadros had never known such tragedy. There was mass death and destruction. And, just as the land was spread, so was their knowledge.
"The understanding of animals went with the people of Faunarious. The understanding of plants went with Florania. The understanding of space went with the continent of Spazio. The understanding of time went with Ama.
"It is said that there was one prideful and selfish soul that caused the dividing and that there is only one brave and caring soul that can bring the lands and the knowledge together once more. The search is still on for that single great and mighty spirit.
"Blah blah blah..."
"Pansy! You need to take this seriously!" Mother yelled at me for the fifth time.
"The legend is so drab and boring! Why do I have to learn it?" I whined.
"Because you are of age. This is the legend of our people! All noble children must learn the legend," my mother told me. Oh, how I wish I wasn't a noble child! If I was a servant child I wouldn't have to learn it. Even if I was of a royal family I still wouldn't have to learn it!
"Why do Nobles have to learn the legend? Royals don't even have to learn it and they are higher in status than we!" I complained, hoping to get out of learning but knowing that my wish will never come true.
"Don't you want to be chosen at the Choosing? I am almost finished with the gown you will be presented in! All you have to do is learn the legend!" my mother was beginning her speech yet again, about how she is doing all the work and how she only wants me to have a bright future.
My stubbornness overwhelmed me and I crumpled up and threw the papers I had been holding, the papers that the legend was so carefully written on. Avoiding my mother's scolding screams I stuck my nose in the air and walked quickly from the room. I had just began to walk down the stairs when I heard my mother call for my older brother, Barley, to go after me. When I was just a tyke my mother chased me herself, but my mother was bearing a child. She was four months into her pregnancy and could barely walk. The doctor suspects that she will be having twins or maybe even three of the nasty devils.
I ran quickly down the carpeted spiral staircase that lead from the third floor to the second. I then slowed my pace as I passed my father's study and as soon as I was out of ear shot I continued to run. I went down another staircase to the bottom floor. I was so out of breath at that moment that I failed to see the tall, scrawny figure sneak up behind me.
"And where do you think you're going?" Barley's voice boomed as he grabbed my arm.
"Barley if you have any respect for me you will let me go!" I said quickly.
Barley stared at me for a moment then tugged at my wrist as he started to ascend the staircase.
"Seriously, Barley! I need your help!" I said while tugging on his arm as well, ensuring that we were going nowhere.
"With what?" Barley turned and glared.
Barley was a teen but looked like an adult because of his great height. Barley was one of the smartest people I had ever met and I had met a lot of very educated adults. Barley had long, skinny arms and legs and had the fairest hair and eyes you could imagine. Sadly his beautiful eyes were almost always hidden by his large bifocals.
"Just let go of me!" I pleaded.
"I will release you if you give me back my journal!" Barley said, of course all he wanted was a silly little book! I had always wondered what he wrote in that thing. I guess I always assumed it was just notes.
"It's hidden in my closet inside of a box," As soon as these words left my lips Barley was running up the stairs and I had my arm back. He was up the stairs so quickly that I didn't have time to tell him that the box was locked.
I turned and bolted down the hall that led to glass doubled doors. Those doors lead to the garden. Our garden is about five acres and is almost like a forest. Though the large trees made our garden very dark it was difficult to get lost because of the narrow brick path. I ran and ran until I was sure that I was far away from our mansion.
I began to remember why I had ran all that way in the first place. The Choosing. The Choosing, in my opinion, was not fair at all! One of the Prince's in our continent was of age and was searching for a wife. The Prince that would be choosing was not the first born, of course, the first born son marries a princess. Any other son is forced to choose a noble girl to marry. At The Choosing we were supposed to wear a homemade dress and recite our version of the legend of our people. The ceremony could take hours, there were many noble girls who were participating, and plus the Prince had to have time to choose his bride.
I thought about running away many times, I had known about the ceremony for almost a year, but the idea of running away was absurd. There was a very slim chance that the Prince would choose me. I knew that because there would definitely be many unfortunate girls forced to participate and there was little desire for a red head who was covered in freckles, like I. That was why I was so jealous of Barely. He was blessed with my mother's hair and skin tone, he didn't get freckles, he tanned.
I heard soft footsteps running down the path toward me. I knew it was either Barley or our favorite servant boy, Branch. I waited for the intruder to arrive. A tall figure approached me, but his limbs weren't as long as Barley's. It was Branch. I admired Branch. He was handsome, for a servant, and very polite. He was tall, not as tall as Barley, but much taller than I. He was the same age as Barley with brown hair and piercing green eyes. I also found it interesting that his name was Branch and he had brown hair, like the bark on a tree branch, and green eyes, like the leaves on a branch.
"Miss Pansy, your mum need to be seein' ya," Branch said, he was polite, but his vocabulary was atrocious. Sometimes I thought about correcting him but I always decided against it.
"I know," I said matter-of-factly, crossing my arms and turning away.
"Miss Pansy, your mum is horrid mad with ya. She says she be comin' and getin' ya herself," Branch said, bowing slightly.
"But mother is pregnant, she can't be running around," I said slowly, knowing that I had lost the battle.
"That be the reason I comed," Branch mumbled, bowing again.
"Mother didn't send you?" I asked.
"No miss. I be hearin' your mum hollering about ya and so I comed to find ya," Branch said, standing proudly. Branch is, by far, my favorite servant. Not only does he acquiesce when we give him a command, but he does chores that aren't even his, chores that we didn't ask him to do.
I sighed, defeated, and followed Branch back down the path. When we walked back through the glass doubled doors I found that what Branch had said was accurate. Mother was waddling angrily toward the doors when we entered.
"Pansy, you are in so much trouble," My mother screeched, then she turned to Branch and said kindly, "Thank you, Branch."
Branch turned and left and I was alone with my creator who I feared would soon become my destroyer. Mother grabbed my arm and dragged me up the stairs. As we ascended up the staircase a startling thought occurred to me. I had to recite the legend in front of thousands of people. Of course I knew that already but the consequences I was only understanding. If I failed to recite the legend accurately than I would be humiliated in front of everyone and I would have been seen as a deisgrace to my family. I suppose there would be many who will try and cheat. I've heard that at the last Choosing there was a mother who mouthed the words to her daughter, the girl soon lost sight of her mother in the sea of people and panicked. She was rejected and later took her own life out of grief. The thought sent shivers down my spine. Will I ever be grieved enough that I will even consider taking my own life?
Mother and I made it to the library where we had been practicing before. The first thing I noticed was that the papers I had thrown were still where I had left them. The second thing I noticed was Barley trying to open the locked box that contained his book.
"Give me the key!" Barley shouted.
"Here," I sighed in defeat. I took my necklace off and handed it to Barley.
Barley took the charm that was at the end of the silver chain and put it into place in the box. The box clicked open to reveal a tattered, old leather bound book. Barley grabbed it and left the room quickly. I slowly bent over and picked up the papers, then the beloved box and necklace.
I had the box and necklace since I was born. My father had them specially made. The box was decorated with intricate swirls and loops. A few things about the box puzzled me though, the key hole was on the very top of the box instead of in the front, like on a chest. Also the charm on the end of my necklace opened it. I was always intrigued by that, I always wondered how the mechanism worked.
I slowly walked over to the large window that showed our gorgeous garden, and sat on the low sill. Mother had already taken her seat in her large cushioned love seat. I heard mother clear her throat. I prepared myself for a speech, but the speech never came. I took this time to think. A question I had often wondered about popped into my head.
"If the legend states that there are three other continents then why don't we look for them? Perhaps they have superior technology and understanding of the universe," I said in wonder.
"I told you before. It is a safety precaution. Perhaps the inhabitants of the other continents are ignorant brutes and that is only if there are other continents," Mother said the last part quickly.
"If there are other continents?" I repeated, did mother just speak against the legend? People had been hung for speaking against the legend.
"I often wondered the same things, dear, but listen when I tell you that it is in everyone's best interest that you stay quiet," Mother informed me.
"We have the technology to go and look for such places. Why don't we?" I questioned, craning my neck toward the door, making sure we were not being overheard.
"We have all we need here. Why go and sacrifice everything we have?" Mother asked proving a point.
If there were others and they discover that we exist then they may come and exterminate us or keep us as slaves. Yet the benefits of going and searching for these people could be very rewarding. It was true that we didn't know many things about the creatures who we shared Florania with, all we knew was that we could kill and eat them. What if we found Faunarious? They could help us understand animals and possibly use them to our advantage. All we knew of space was that it was something outside of our world and that it held the stars and moon. If we found Spazio then they could give us a greater understanding of space and the stars in the sky. Oh, and time! Morning is a time, and so is night! The people of Ama could give us a greater understanding of time and how to use it, though i can't think of a way.
"We could get a large boat, there are plenty in the harbor, and look. Looking never hurt a thing," I suggested.
"We would be arrested. You know it is against the law to go out in the harbor past the appointed mile and a half," Mother reminded me.
"Well, yes but," I trailed off knowing that I wasn't going to get my way.
"Now, lets take it from the top," Mother ordered me.
"Once, many eons ago..."