Princess Daphne and the Child Stone, p.1
Princess Daphne and the Child Stone.
by Dave Kirk
Princess Daphne and the Child Stone.
Copyright © 2012 by Dave Kirkpatrick
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be printed by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner of this book (the author). Thank-you for respecting the hard work involved in the production of this publication.
This is a work of fiction. All the events, locations, and characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, are purely coincidental.
Copyright Dave Kirk-2012
This free ebook may be copied, distributed, re-posted, and shared, provided it appears in its entirety without alteration, and the reader is not charged to access it.
Chapter 01: The end?
Once upon a time there was a Royal alliance by marriage between the Tobermoor valley and the kingdom of Galt. All the hopes and dreams of both kingdoms were focused on the event. None were more satisfied at this than the bride. Nothing made her happier on her wedding day than the fact that her little servant would witness it. All knew they shared a 'special' relationship. Truly magical. Thinking of this, she touched her stone on its thong.
Little one adjusted her flower girl gown then frowned at her reflection. Her flower-girl gown had been cunningly tailored to emphasize her toddler appearance. She hated it. Suddenly, she was running, her ‘mistress' had silently summoned her. How she hated that stone!
Mistress pulled little one into her lap to confide quietly. "Little one, you won't hold any flowers today. It wasn't easy, but I have arranged to have you and you alone to hold my wedding train. It's thick and heavy but you'll manage. You will follow ten feet behind me on this day of days, ‘in the tall shadow of your great lady', as the court scribe will record."
She cuddled her little one happily at this choice bit of joy then continued. "My lit-tle ‘servant' has the best view in the church. You WILL stand silent and calmly watch the wedding, until you follow me and my prince out into our new life."
The stone glowed softly on its thong between mistress's breasts, so little one knew this would be so. She sighed sadly in resignation.
Her mistress smiled. "For the rest of both our whole lives, we will recall, that moment. The moment you truly begin your new life. A very long life, of service, as lowly handmaiden to the next great queen of Galt. Ever servile, nameless and unnoticed. Never out of my shadow. Never beyond of my reach." She chuckled cruelly at little one's sour reaction. "Now enough frowns, smile often today. Hair now!" She clapped, startling the child who jumped onto a chair to obey.
"To work little one. You will tidy my hair, it must be perfect..." As the orders poured forth from her mistress, little one had to smile and obey. How she hated that stone.
Little one thought about how it had all gone wrong. All she had wanted, was to go swimming on a hot day. If only...
Chapter 02: Little Sonya.
Seven weeks earlier, the marriage broker brought news of success. There would be an alliance by marriage between the house of Tobermoor and the kingdom of Galt. The dowry was indeed a princely sum but the trade and political ties would be well worth the price. It saddened good King Tobias that Galt was a distance, two weeks by coach. He could not visit often.
Now, good King Tobias doted on his only daughter. A girl of surpassing loveliness, but selfish, childish....Spoiled. At times, the King ofttimes regretted indulging her every whim. It seemed he could never resist her demands, for she reminded him of his late queen. Sending her away would hurt, but it was time for her to marry. The marriage was a good one. It would greatly enlarge her rank and the rank of any grandchildren. For Galt was a rich vast domain and Tobermoor was but a mountain valley. “Be a strong king for her. It's what you would ask of me.” he sighed as he gazed at the queen's portrait. “Just have to stay calm and weather the storm. For her.”
Princess Daphne of Tobermoor soon learned she was betrothed. She accepted the news as all had expected. She smashed the crockery in her room. Her handmaiden sighed and, without being asked, began to hand Daphne delicate objects on shelves too high for the petite princess to easily reach.
Daphne laughed and calmed. "I shall talk to father, then all will see, I am right."
"Perhaps milady. Or, perhaps, today, his majesty, is your king, instead."
"Huh! We'll see."
King Tobias, rested his chin on his hand as he calmly watched his daughter stalk into his court. He hardly moved as her yelling become hoarse talking which dwindled to a sullen stare. He sighed, then negligently signalled his bailiff who commanded. "Guard Captain Blake!" Guards marched in from the walls to form a living box around Daphne. It was all done without a single command being made. Daphne realized father had planned this well in advance.
"I am a princess! I won't wed a man I never met!" She declared hotly.
In reply, King Tobias addressed the court. "It is our will that these men shall escort LADY Daphne night and day for seven weeks, till the wedding, least harm befall her." He glowered at his child. "Or, something ELSE cause her to stray en route to her DUTY to her Lord the King. You would have known all about your wedding daughter, if you had attended any of our privy councils. If only the ones when your future was discussed. As was our oft repeated request and also your royal DUTY! My patients has limits daughter!"
Daphne's mouth worked but nothing came out. Demoted to a mere ladyship, the idea!
Into this silence, captain Blake stepped forward. He brought forth a very small child. "Your majesty. May I present Sonya. For milady's personal body servant on her journey Sire."
"An infant! What is the meaning of this! We..." An outraged King began to reprimand captain Blake for this insult, but became silent as the child took a step forward.
The court bailiff also stepped forth to arrest them both. Little Sonya stopped him with a glance saying quietly. "I speak now." The court fell strangely silent as if commanded.
Daphne gasped, the child seemed to briefly glow from inside, both times. The child's left hand was on her chest holding... something. She rose on tiptoes to view round her guards better.
The child inhaled nervously and seemed so agitated in nervous fidgeting that Daphne joked about the coloured sparks flying between her hands. Nearby guards looked puzzled at this remark. Unlike fireplace sparks, these faint sparks did not move randomly upward, but seemed purposeful somehow?
Sonya‘s high pitched voice piped. "A great lady like Princess Daphne should have servant. I be good worker. Can cook clean, and sew." Her soft voice somehow penetrated to hold the rapt blank-faced attention of all present. "I good child, make princess want to be good mommy an good queen. Be good help day and night. Take good care of her, promise! Cross me heart."
The court tittered in amusement as Sonya drew a deep breath. "Start duty, ...this ...very ...NIGHT!" The child's tightly clasped, imploring hands appeared to flare at that last and her face grimaced, shiny with sweat.
Princess Daphne gasped at the multicoloured flare, but her guards urged silence.
The king paused, blinked, then nodded. "Well spoken child. This arrangement might well awaken my daughter's protective mothering side. Scribe! Prepare a royal writ. It is our will that Princess Daphne will take the sole role of guardianship. She and she alone will provide for the tyke out of her own purse. Sole taskmaster and disciplinarian. Only Lady Daphne may hit or even scold this little one. Lady Daphne alone, held responsib
“As if.” Daphne sniffed audibly, already planning to have nothing to do with any nanny work. That flare... did anyone else... She sought, in vain, for other astounded faces. None?
Tobias rose to glare at Daphne. "You WILL mind my will in this. There will be NO shirking of THIS duty, for there will be NO other servants. Your handmaidens stay HERE!” he thundered, pointing decisively down.
“Wha... father you can't....” The king had never talked to her like this before.
“WE CAN! I am YOUR king." He settled back. "Further, tis our will that the child be inseparable from LADY Daphne day and night. Until your wedding, daughter, when your new lord and husband the crown prince of Galt will likely deem otherwise. Stick THAT in the royal writ somewhere too!" He sat scowling.
Daphne groaned loudly at this, glows and flares forgotten. Father is so mean, he reminds all of my lowered rank till I wife AND that Royal saddles me with a brat. Till then I'm just another noble lady.
The King rose at her outburst, "SILENCE! Captain Blake will report to us on your ‘mothering' daughter. If it pleases, we will double the gold in your wedding gift.”
Daphne looked up, all others issues forgotten. Gold? Did he say gold?
Her father smiled at her new rapt interest and continued. “If NOT we will remove it! Her welfare is YOUR welfare daughter. You are of age. It is well past time you took on some adult burdens. One day, you will help host the household of Galt. Do not begrudge that your new house is now enlarged to one tiny servant whose needs are small. Surely you can do right by a child for a few weeks. Now to your duty! Dress her as befits a royal servant!" Was King Tobias's last word on the matter.
Princess Daphne reluctantly took the child by the hand and lead her away.
Chapter 03: The Dance.
The guards took their orders to heart and closely confined Princess Daphne. She was locked in at each inn or constrained to the campsite at each stop over. High rank and wounded pride kept her from talking to her ‘protectors'. That meant she only had Sonya to socialize with.
Little Sonya, in contrast, was completely unrestrained. At each stop, she left sprinting, to fetch cool water, for her Mistress. Often back before the guards decided it was safe to allow Daphne to exit from the sweltering carriage. Such energy in the child, the magic of youth.
Sonya was everything she promised the king and more. The child was an amazing attendant. At dawn, Sonya would often disappear to gather wild herbs for cooking and pretty flowers, to please her mistress. Morning and evening she made aromatic herb tea, ever earnestly concerned the flavour be pleasing, for her Mistress. Before bed, she combed out and braided Daphne's waist long hair for packing in it's travel snood overnight. A laborious task made soothing by small gentle hands.
It took days, but the child's efforts soon won through Daphne's frosty attitude. Daphne, slowly became very fond of Sonya.
Sonya would lighten the hours of the trip, with her childish enthusiasm of the imagined wonders of the nearby town or forest. She asked endless questions about court life, gushing about how won-der-ful being a princess must be. It was amusing to hear her prattle on, until she fell asleep in the carriage her head in Daphne's lap. Daphne smiled at the child who tried so hard to please. She seemed so adult at times. It was so cute.
On the sixth morning, they reached a washed out bridge. Captain Blake was unhappy for the delay but announced a layover till locals could repair it.
During this prolonged idleness, Daphne was pensive. "Sonya's so innocent and free, I'm guilty of being royal and sentenced to matrimony," Daphne thought gloomily.
"No frowns mis-tress. Don be sad. Please smile." Sonya had quietly entered and was wide eyed with concern. "You wan past guards? Can help with mag-ic."
"Magic. I see." Daphne spoke with amusement.
Sonya nodded solemnly, making Daphne laugh. "Know mag-ic mistress. You leave, go for long walk. Clear pool by the river for swimming! You get fun! Big fun!" More nodding. "Do mag-ic?"
"Swim? Hm." She touched Sonya's fist, something glowed within. "What is that?"
The little girl put the object behind her back protectively. "My lucky stone. Mama gave it to me. I hold it when I think of her." Sonya looked into Daphne's eyes. "You WILL let me ...keep it? Mistress? I'll be very good!" She seemed to panic. Her determined statement became ardent pleadings, pixie face tugged at the heart.
For a moment, Daphne was sure she saw a glow from where the little fist should be, right through Sonya's body! Impossible, then the glow left. Daphne shrugged, she had seen many glows lately. Trick of bad lamplight. She sighed and said a thing she would ever regret. "I miss my mom too. Easy. No one is taking your stone. Be nice to go for a cool swim." Daphne cuddled the child. "Now do you have a wand?"
That brought a smile. "Before you, kid-napped by witch. Uh-huh." Sonya looked sadly down. "The bad old one murdered rest of Sonya's family. Made Sonya help her with her mag-ic. The Cap-tain rescue Sonya, promise send faaar away." Sonya brightened. "Here am Sonya going far away mistress."
"Oh... Good of him." Inside, Daphne was horrified, poor thing talks as if it happened to someone else. Daphne vaguely recalled some court gossip about a manhunt for some sorceress plotting treason. Sonya's witch was THAT witch...
"When the Cap-tain and his men, came for her. The old one made magic, she danced then walked right past him. You dance, go walkies!" Sonya's eyes sparkled sadness forgotten.
"Really? Just walked?" She resolved, later she would demand the Captain's account.
"Uh-huh. Captain no see witch, just lit-tle Sonya." Sonya nodded vigorously.
"Sounds like heap BIG magic." Daphne smiled amused.
Sonya was wriggling with excitement. "I know ALL about it! The old one, She drank a hot potion, drew a circle and danced! Then she walk. None stop her." Sonya nodded excitedly. "Mistress! I help! Gathered herbs. Remember dance! It will be such big fun! You could walk right past ol' stuffy captain.! He-he-he..." She giggled uncontrollably at the thought.
Daphne laughed, thinking, why not, child's play for an empty morning. Make the poor thing giggle. What is the worst that could happen? "Alright we are stuck here, until the bridge is fixed, anyway. Go! Gather your herbs. I so command it."
The child vanished sprinting.
Soon Sonya poured hot water over crushed herbs. "When it cools, mis-tress I drink it."
"No. I change, so I drink it. Then, the dance." Daphne's tone ended the argument.
"Both dance, both drink mis-tress." Sonya tipped the infusion into her own mouth. She made a face. "Whew! Burnt my tongue mis-tress." She started to drink more, but Daphne took the pot.
"Children. Honestly!" Daphne blew on the liquid and downed it. Daphne gagged at the herb sludge at the bottom. "Vile."
Sonya nodded and drew the biggest circle she could within the confines of their tent. The bedding and baggage had been removed to the walls or placed outside with their lunch.
"Witch was barefoot Mistress." Sonya kicked off her sandals, took off her vest, and motioned Daphne to loosen her clothes. Without the confining vest, her little gown looked like a wrinkled sack with her legs, arms and head sticking out of it. When Daphne was also bare foot, they both stepped into the circle.
"We should hold hands so I can show you better mis-tress. First the right foot is out while the hands go in and up..." Sonya demonstrated the steps and began to sing peculiar words quietly. Daphne clearly heard words, understood, almost, but the verses seemed elusive, meaning slid off her ears. As if the song was not entirely verbal but parts of it bypassed her ears to reach deep inside her, somehow.
The singing soon sped up and so did their dancing, but, Daphne found herself locked in step. She felt panic when she could not stop nor even slow the dancing at all. Her gyrations made her feel light headed, and tingly, or was it the potion? The tent grew brig
Last thing she remembered was rapidly sinking towards the floor. As she lost awareness, she saw little Sonya looking directly into her eyes, face to face. Her last conscience words were; "how are you grown to my height?"
As the tent went dark, Sonya seemed to be laughing in triumph.
Chapter 04: Little Daphne?
Daphne felt ...different. Not hurt, not wrong, just different. As she struggled to open her eyes, she tried to define what was ...different. Her dress, it felt ...loose. It was sliding down her chest as she inhaled! Her eyes snapped open. In front of her, little Sonya was struggling with her clothes, except she wasn't so little.
Sonya was gasping. She desperately pulled at cloth that constricted her breathing. Her sack dress had become a very tight shirt. It rose in jerks, past breasts, to armpits, allowing her inhale mightily. Wait! Sonya had full breasts! She spotted Daphne.
"A tiny person? ...Mistress!" The voice was adult, just like the rest of her.
Daphne tried to rise and saw small pudgy hands barely peeking out the ends of bunched up loose sleeves. Her ring and gold bracelet had fallen to the ground. Both so big? She looked down to confirm her fears. Her dress hung down revealing a flat chest! She was as much a child as Sonya was an adult.
Daphne lurched to cling to Sonya's now ample bare bosom. "Don like this. Make go away." That sounded childishly high pitched and the words were so apt for her current appearance that Daphne burst into tears.
After a moment, Sonya patted her back, still panting. "Easy. ...Easy mistress. ...There, there. ...Easy. All will ...be alright." She lightly held Daphne and rocked.
"You there, there`d me? I'm a child. Right? Talk like a child." Daphne pushed away, sobered, sniffling. "You didn't say it would do this." Part of Daphne noted the adult body holding her was very warm, even hot. There were salty rivulets coursing down Sonya's face. Sonya was feverish, slick with sweat everywhere.
Sonya panted, spoke with difficulty. "Dunno... Just a kid mistress. ...No, not kid... switched ages, ...I think. Ah!" A wind gust let harsh sunlight through the tent flap. Hands on face, Sonya moaned in pain.