Journey……

15 Mar

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Today on the GSP Firefiles promo we welcome Sarah Deckard.

 

Sarah Deckard has been writing stories and poems since she could first string words together. Her love of Medieval fantasy has led to an interest in Renaissance Faires, Medieval Times entertainment, and the S.C.A. She graduated summa cum laude from U.T.C. with a Bachelor’s degree in English-Creative Writing. Her poems and short stories have been published over thirty times in magazines and anthologies. Miss Deckard has also published a compilation of short stories entitled Tapestry of Tales: Classic Fairy Tales Retold. Journey is the first in an e-book series called Rising from a Bower of Silk: Tales of Transformation authored by Sarah Deckard and published by Gypsy Shadows. She currently resides in Chattanooga, TN with her belovéd German Shepherds and Doberman Pinscher.

Please visit her website at www.sarahdeckard.com for more information as well as updates.

 

Her book that we are highlighting today is Journey

 

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Princess Victoria’s greatest joy is in Brendan, the prince whom she is to marry. However, she dotes on him so much that she loses her sense of self and this drives him away. Determined not to lose him and to rediscover herself, Victoria runs away from home.
     Disguised as a commoner, she learns lessons in self-reliance from a variety of people—her fairy guardian, a family of gypsies, a kind woodsman, a lonely ferryman, a baker-woman with a sad past, her daughter with an uncertain future, and a wise herbalist. Victoria grows in wisdom, will power, courage, and independence as she journeys. Still, the memory of her belovéd rises at time, testing her resolve. Is she developing her inner strength for herself or ironically because that’s what Brendan wants? Will she find her betrothed or perhaps someone else? Will she wander forever or find a place where she belongs?

 

Excerpt:

 

  Princess Victoria stood looking out the window of her bedroom high in the castle. Her eyes reflected the green of the deep forest upon which she gazed. A gentle rain began to fall.
     “Oh, I hope this rain doesn’t interfere with whatever plans my darling has made for us, today,” she said to Malinda, her lady-in-waiting.
     “I’m sure Prince Brendan will think of an alternative if that is the case,” replied Malinda, as she continued to brush Victoria’s long hair, which shone the golden-brown of a gryphon’s wing. “Perhaps you could suggest some activity?”
     Victoria wrinkled her nose. “Brendan doesn’t seem to like any of my ideas lately. So I just let him take the lead. You know how men are.” She shrugged and gave a little sigh. “Still, I wish he wouldn’t spend so much time outdoors. It’s always horse racing or hawking, fighting with one of a half-dozen weapons or wrestling in the courtyard with his companions. It’s never a dance or a tea or something we can do together.” She sighed again, this time with more longing.
     “You have no idea how tedious it is to watch the same events over and over. It’s not like the grand displays of pageantry at a tourney—the colorful banners, the knights in burnished armor, the mighty warhorses, the crowd cheering, Brendan with the best prowess on the battlefield ceremonially handing me the favor he has just won at a joust.”
     Her mind cast back to the days before her acceptance of Brendan’s proposal, before he had even come to live at the castle to press suit for her hand, before she had abandoned the simple as well as ornate pleasures of her life to become a mute spectator of all Brendan’s glorified but grubby daily pursuits.
     She remembered the first time she had seen Brendan in action. His armor gleamed in the sun—which had given its golden-tone to his skin as she would soon discover. The red plume crested his helm. His robust and fiery mount pawed the ground in anticipation of the first charge, while his tabard and trappings all gallantly presented his royal coat-of-arms. She noted his superior strength during the first few rounds of the joust. But her heart had not yet fluttered. For, he had not yet taken off his helmet, letting loose his flowing hair—the same golden-brown as her own—revealing the broad forehead and strong jaw line she had come to know so well. He had not yet turned his autumn-hued hazel glance in her direction. Nor had he smiled in that fetching manner to see her in all her finery, with her skin glowing like moonlight on silver maple trees and her calm face sparkling with delight upon seeing his countenance.
     Ah, but then . . . He had turned his high-stepping warhorse in her direction. Lowering his lance—tipped with the laurels won from the joust—to the level of her royal seat among the spectators, he offered Victoria his winnings with which to wreathe herself. All this before he had even discovered her name. He would later tell her that her smile had captivated him, drawing him to her, out of all the beautiful maidens and noble ladies at the tournament.
     “You were a pearl among the lovely seashells,” he had told her with his off-handed but gallant flair. “And though shells upon the beach may be charming, the rare gem is far more alluring with it subtle sheen than even the most lively colored casings that house no pearls.”
     Victoria reined in her thoughts to the present. How long had it been since he had given her such a winning compliment? The days seemed to grind by slowly without her usual pastimes of embroidery, weaving, teatime with friends, playing the psaltery, giggling with her ladies over feminine pleasures, or the rarer amusements of grand feasts and fabulous dances. These leisurely pursuits had all ceased in the wake of Prince Brendan. Not at first, of course. Rather, they had slowly evaporated from Victoria’s life as she invested more and more of her time and energy in her lover.
     Victoria was startled out of her reverie by Malinda’s voice. “I understand you must get bored of the daily activities of men, but your love for Prince Brendan is so touching. Only true love could engender such devotion on your part. I know I could not endure watching the man I love rolling with his fellow knights on the greensward getting dusty and sweaty each day. I have to retreat to my feminine diversions, but not you. You and the prince are practically inseparable. Everyone in the castle thinks you two are the perfect couple and we can’t wait for wedding.”
     The princess heard Malinda’s words. They confirmed for her that what she gave up to be near Brendan was not only worth her boredom, but also was the proper way to reverence her future husband and lord. She thought of how he had kissed her the day she had accepted his proposal. Not the exhilarating kiss they shared only moments after she had said yes, but the one later that evening at the celebration. The long tables were laden with roasted meats, tangy cheeses, and succulent fruits. The heady wine flowed copiously from pitchers to goblets to the mouths of the numerous guests assembled for her father’s official betrothal announcement.
     After the king had spoken, Brendan had offered a toast to his future bride. He took Victoria’s hand and she rose with him. He raised his goblet with the carelessness of a man well on his way to inebriation. A mouthful of dark red wine swished over the rim and splashed against the lace neckline of her pale beige evening dress. Victoria turned more towards Brendan to hide the spreading stain, though no one seemed to notice as the entire hall cheered the couple.
     Just when Victoria was about to sit down again and try to discreetly soak up the stain with a napkin, Brendan had grabbed her around her waist and pulled her to him for a full-mouthed, if besotted, kiss. There in the great hall, in front of her parents and her sisters, his knights and their squires, as well as an array of guests, Brendan kissed her unabashedly. Her surprised resistance faded along with the new-sprung blush on her cheeks. She found herself forgetting the dress and the spilled wine as her heart palpitated with the greatness of her love for him. She thought, “Well, a stained gown is only a small thing, even one as fine as this. I have plenty of dresses but only one true love. Besides, he didn’t spill wine on me intentionally. He was just caught up in the moment, in the thought of us, in his love for me.”
     Ever since that day, Victoria had rationalized away each part of herself that she gave up for Brendan’s sake in the same manner she had done with the stained dress. It was for him, for love, even if it was no longer for her too.
     Victoria remembered one clear morning in late spring. At breakfast, she had voiced a grand idea. “I am planning a banquet. Do you think we should serve rose pudding or Lombard slices for desert? I’ve put a lot of thought into possible decorations but I waited for your opinion.”
     Brendan stifled a yawn. “I am not the expert on banquets, which I find to be a frivolous sort of amusement. However, if you want to have a banquet, make the arrangements and I will attend.”
     Victoria lowered her head and sighed. Brendan didn’t seem to notice her disappointment. Instead, he bowed and took his leave. She did not even have to ask; he was headed for the lists. Victoria sat alone in their private breakfast alcove next to the window overlooking the gardens, gazing at the flowers blooming in rows of variegated gay colors. “Then why,” she wondered, “despite this picturesque view, does my heart feel so withered?”  

 

Links:

http://www.gypsyshadow.com/SarahDeckard.html#Journey

 

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Journey-Rising-Bower-Silk-ebook/dp/B0046A9NF8/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1363326596&sr=1-1&keywords=Journey+Sarah+Deckard

 

 

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One Response to “Journey……”

  1. chalaedra March 15, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

    Reblogged this on Chalaedra's Weblog and commented:
    Can Princess Victoria find herself without losing the love of Prince Brendan? Journey, a short story by Sarah Deckard. Available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, other fine eBook vendors and Gypsy Shadow Publishing at: http://www.gypsyshadow.com/SarahDeckard.html#Journey

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