Witcheries in Paris, p.1Leora C. Waldman
WITCHERIES IN PARIS
By Leora C. Waldman
Copyright 2014 Leora Cika Waldman
Nirupa and the Book of Shadows, Holiday Special edition
First of all, I want to start by giving special thanks to my husband, Kevin – the love of my life and my best friend ever – whose invaluable insight, research, and support are present in every page I have written.
Secondly, I want to thank you, my dear readers. This Christmas Special Edition –Witcheries in Paris – is my gift to you. It is my way of saying thank you for being the wonderful readers you are, who, through your love of reading, make it possible for the craft of writing to grow and improve everyday, giving me the chance to be a writer.
This special edition of Nirupa and the Book of Shadows series can act like a bridge between the first book in the series – intended for middle grade readers – and the second book, Nirupa and the mystery of the Alliance Tablets, a YA novel, still underway. But, it can also be a standalone without spoiling the mystery of the other books.
If, after reading this special edition, you're curious to go back in time and read about the characters' true stories, and see how it all started, you can find the first book, Nirupa and the Book of Shadows , through all the major online retailers.
I also wish to apologize in advance for any typos and spelling mistakes that you may encounter in this novelette.
Wishing you a pleasant and entertaining read,
Have a very happy holiday,
Leora C. Waldman
Southwestern Europe 1234 AD
The bridal caravan took its leave, accompanied by the jovial sounds of celebration music from pipes and drums, slowly moving past crowds of people who kept waving kisses and blessings at princess Yona.
The princess opened the silk curtains of her bridal palanquin, which was carried on the strongly-built shoulders of six robust dark-skinned slaves richly dressed in royal purple and gold, and looked over her shoulder, her saddened eyes searching eagerly for her mother amongst the other women of the crowd.
The princess was young – only sixteen. But nevertheless she was deemed to be the most beautiful woman on all lands by everybody who had had the good fortune to admire her young, sweet face. She had marble - white skin, dark almond-shaped eyes, full lips that looked like rose petals, and long locks of jet black hair which she always wore in a single elaborate braid. Poets had dedicated their most ardent lines to her beauty; artists had painted portraits of her, which were later scattered all around the kingdoms near and far. Word had spread of her beauty and all, rich and poor, talked about the charms of the young princess Yona which would surely secure her the most handsome of husbands – a king worthy of her charms and good soul.
Indeed she was soon betrothed to a great prince. It was an arranged engagement of course, approved by their two powerful families. As her brothers had fought alongside that lord in many battles, they knew well his strength and brilliance in the battlefield, and his loyalty as a friend. Her father, the king, and his ministers unanimously agreed on the marriage because they knew the wealth and power of that family. It was the perfect alliance.
Princess Yona didn't oppose. She knew that this was her destiny and she was a very dutiful young lady. But nevertheless she was sad and her heart was grieving, because for a long time she was in love with a childhood friend. Surely enough she knew that this was an impossible love, because the boy she loved was not rich; he was not powerful and didn't come from a kingly heritage, he wasn't but a simple fisherman who lived in a cottage by the Big River. But still it was hard to say goodbye. Even today, on her wedding day, her heart couldn't join the merriment around her, because it was still mourning the loss of a great love.
The princess spotted her mother standing in the front row with her ladies-in-waiting and her servants. She waved at her softly without disguising her anguish. The parting with the mother, whom she loved dearly, was another sad thing for the princess to get used to.
The queen suddenly put a step forth. "Hold the horses!" She yelled. On hearing her orders the horsemen were quick to pull the reigns of the horses and the convoy stopped. The queen's ladies wanted to follow her, but the queen made a hand sign ordering them to stay were they were. She then hastened her steps toward the bride's palanquin. Princess Yona, surprised, told the slaves to put her down. So they did and she stepped down from the palanquin.
"Why did you stop the horses, mother?" She asked. "Receiving another last hug from you won't make my pain any easier." She sighed.
"Another hug is always a good idea," the queen said caressing the girl's hair. "You are my only daughter among thirteen sons and I will always miss you. But there is yet another reason why I stopped the horses. I wanted to give you this." The queen took off her finger a golden ring with a big, shiny ruby stone and handed it to the girl. "This is yours now," she said. "Take it."
"The Queens' Ring!" the princess muttered looking at the gift in disbelief without daring to even reach for it.
"Take it!" the queen insisted.
"But it is your ring." Princess Yona said. "You've always told me that this ring is what keeps us safe. You are its guardian, because without it all would be lost. It holds all the power of Venus, the magic and..."
"It is all right," the queen smiled. "I want you to have it. It is your time now. You're the young and the new. It is your duty to guard people's prosperity. You are its guardian now and the future belongs to you and to your unborn daughters who will follow. Be wise and courageous dear daughter no matter how dire the circumstances are. I want you to promise me that. Be responsible."
"I promise you mother." The princess said. She took the ring and she slid it on her finger. The ring was a bit big for her slender finger, but it suddenly shrunk and resized, until it perfectly fit the young girls' finger.
"You are The One now," the queen said. She gave the girl a kiss on her forehead and then the queen took her leave.
The bridal caravan reached the groom's castle by the third full moon. They had traveled through fields and valleys, mountains and rivers, villages and towns and were exhausted. Twice they had been assaulted by robbers, and twice they had managed miraculously to get out of the traps unharmed. On one occasion princess Yona had witnessed how the chief of the robbers, on walking towards her with a grim, wicked grin on his face and apparently evil intentions, had suddenly turned crazy, talking to an invisible enemy, and begging it for mercy. He then had dawn out his dagger and stabbed himself in the chest, giving a painful end to his own life. Nobody had believed her. The men of the caravan had said the chief thief was probably killed by one of their arrows.
When they finally reached her groom's household she was relieved. She didn't devote another thought to the robbers or the unsolved mysteries. She was only impatient to know her husband.
This new city was a far cry from her father's domain. She had always thought that her father's realm was one of the most beautiful places created on Earth by human hand, but it soon became clear that she had been just a naive young girl with no real knowledge of the world. This city was breathtaking. It was built on four steep mountain tops, a perfect fortress for times of trouble. Four spectacular waterfalls cascaded from the mountains, their waters tumbling with thunderous mighty roars down the valley. And the architecture couldn't be human. The houses and palaces were all built in a spiral shape with domes encrusted in gold that shone so brightly under the sun to the point of blinding the onlookers. The outside walls were embellished with precious crystals, mosaics depicting hunting scenes or some strange, awe-inspiring creatures that looked like strange –
The city was celebrating. Such celebrations that she had never seen before. The caravan proceeded among crowds of beautiful people who were cheering and throwing flowers at her. They were the most handsome people she had ever seen. Men and women were all tall and slender with red wavy curls and proud faces. Everybody was green–eyed, the kind of green that shines like emeralds and has the power to hypnotize you. The princess was so mesmerized by that mind blowing spectacle for the senses that when her husband received her at the gates of his palace she didn't feel a bit shy or timid at meeting him. Needless to say, he was gorgeous. He was red–haired and emerald-eyed too, like all of his subjects, but there was still something different about him, something she could not put into words but which made her fall
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