I wrote the snippet for this plot bunny this morning, and I’m not feeling all that inspired about it (such is the life of a writer…ups and downs). Anyway. My friend, Galannaley and I both really love the fairy tale called ‘Twelve Dancing Princesses’ and we decided together that we wanted to write our own fleshed-out version of the story. We’ve cut down the number of princesses from twelve to six, since it’s simpler, but other than that, we don’t have much to go on. Revolution, an awesome hero, a wedding dress that each of the princesses covet….it’s all a random mix of elements at the moment. But I do love medieval stories, so I made this be one of my plot bunnies for the challenge. I haven’t talked with Galannaley about any of the stuff I’ve written so far, but when we get together to collaborate again, things will probably change, so this is a rather exclusive sneak-peek. Enjoy!
Once upon a time, there was a wedding dress.
It was the most beautiful wedding dress in the world, at least in the eyes of the girls who went to look at it nearly every day. Those girls were the daughters of the woman who had first worn it. She was a queen, and they were princesses. And all of them wanted to have the wedding dress for their own, even though it could only go to one princess. The one who showed herself the most worthy.
Each of them strove to live up to the standard their late mother had left.
Some succeeded, others failed, but only one would be chosen to wear the dress.
This is their story.
“Agatha, have you seen my hairbrush?”
The maid, Agatha, dipped a low curtsey. “No, m’lady.”
A scowl met her words, as Vivian, the oldest princess shook her head in disgust. “You’re supposed to keep track of these things,” she said, as she slouched down into a comfortable arm chair, one hand on her head. “How am I supposed to look presentable for the ball tonight if I don’t have my hair brushed?” She opened her eyes and glared at Agatha.
Agatha, however, was used to such looks, and she said, “One of the other princesses took it, m’lady. I believe it was Lady Kit.” The princesses were always borrowing – or stealing – each other’s possessions and it made one’s head spin to keep track of it all. Because of this, she’d started keeping a little blank book that she made notations in whenever she spied one sister making off with something of the others. Since she couldn’t write, she drew a sketch of whatever had been taken, along with a little mark for which princesses were involved – she had a special mark for each one.
“Well, go get it, will you?” Vivian asked, her tone fretful.
Agatha nodded, curtsied again, and went in search of Lady Kit. She had a good idea of where the princess was, having seen her only a few minutes ago, so she went straight to the lady’s room. Right before she entered, she listened for a moment outside the door. She’d learned from previous experience that if she entered without listening, the results could be embarrassing. One time, one of the princesses had been crying her eyes out, and Agatha interrupted her. It hadn’t been good.
This time, however, all she heard was light laughter and excited chatter. She knew that more than one princess was in there, and they were probably discussing tonight’s ball. The king had been planning it for months, and tonight was the night.
All the princesses were ecstatically excited. There were six princesses in all, and Agatha had gotten a head ache from all their squealing and chatter. Well, not all of them were like that. Lady Christina had been mostly quite, but, then, she often quiet. As the youngest and smallest, no-one paid much attention to her.
“Ladies?” Agatha said, opening the door.
“Oh, Agatha!” Lady Ella said, motioning Agatha over with her hand, as though she could force the maid over to her by the wind created by the motions. “Come over here and tell me which dress I should pick. I’ve narrowed it down to three choices, but I need to know for sure so that you can do my hair in the best way to complement it.”
Agatha walked over to look at the dresses laid out on Lady Ella’s bed.
The girls had other maids, of course, but Agatha was a favorite – although none of the princesses ever went outside the bounds of propriety and tried to initiate friendship – mainly because she could be trusted with secrets. All the princesses had at least one, and if they didn’t want to tell each other, the burdens fell to Agatha.
“Didn’t the king have a new gown made especially for each of you for the ball?” she asked.
Lady Ella flipped her hands dismissively. “Yes, he did, but the shade was off, and the brocade is too scratchy. I’ve still got it out. It’s this one,” she said, stroking the soft velvet of a gorgeous green gown. With her reddish-blonde hair and green eyes, it would perfectly match her complexion and overall look. Agatha knew that it was the right one, no matter what Lady Ella said.
Still, she glanced over the other two, just to make sure.
They were both elegant, beautiful gowns – one peacock blue, and the other a summery shade of yellow – but neither of them was quite right. So Agatha held up the green one. “This will best suit you, m’lady,” she said, then prepared for the storm of protests that would presently follow. They did, in short order. The brocade was still to scratchy, she’d asked for a brighter shade of green, and the velvet was rougher than she was used to.
Personally, Agatha thought the dressmaker had done a brilliant thing, whether by accident or design, by toning down the shade. Lady Ella would have looked tacky in a bright colour, but the more muted forest green was the perfect accent for her livelier nature. “I don’t see any brocade,” she commented, taking in the dress with a more critical eye.
Lady Ella rolled her eyes. “Of course not. It’s on the inside. I swear the dressmaker put it in there to torture me.” Agatha untied the dress and looked inside. Sure enough, brocade lined the bodice and everything else down to the skirt. Surely Lady Ella would be wearing a corset, in which case, Agatha saw no point in the brocade. Perhaps the dressmaker had put it in for no real reason.
“We could take it out,” Agatha said. “It’s not really needed.”
Lady Ella stared at her. “We’d ruin it,” she said after a moment.
Agatha shook her head. “Not if you took it back to the dressmaker.” On second thought, the brocade probably gave the dress a stiffness and body, but it wasn’t completely necessary. Then, she remembered her original mission, and looked around for Lady Kit. She sat a few feet away, watching the proceedings, and lazily brushing her hair with Lady Vivian’s hair brush.
Agatha sighed and prepared to take on another princess. ~Six Dancing Princesses
What are your thoughts on this? I think I’ve definitely done better writing, but that was what I came up with.