It was a fine summer's day in the kingdom of Maralinia. The brook beside the castle was babbling peacefully as a warm breeze swept over the meadow. Rabbits were meandering through the grass, while slender deer grazed serenely. Further in the distance, a few young unicorns loped through the forest, enjoying the day. A blue jay rose from its perch on a great oak tree and winged its way towards the glittering towers of the castle. The jay glided past the window of the tallest tower. Inside, a young maiden gazed idly out the window and smiled at the fluttering bird. She then turned her attention back to the people seated in the room before her. Directly in front of her, wearing a fur-trimmed cloak that was unnecessary on such a warm day, sat the queen. She was a rather slight, elderly woman with a nose that resembled the large beak of a macaw. Her face was wrinkled so much so that it seemed more like a mask than anything else. Her large nostrils were permanently flared in an expression of exceeding displeasure at the world in general. Next to her sat the king of the realm. His face was less wrinkled, and his nose was much smaller, instead, he had large, full lips that might have produced a wonderful smile if they were not always down-turned at the corners. He had little hair on top of his head, but he made up for it with a mighty mustache that matched his gargantuan frown. Both the king and queen were wearing heavy, ornately decorated crowns with large rubies set into the front. Further away from the monarchs sat two women. One of them had hair the color of ripe corn that fell almost to the floor. She wore a lavishly decorated gown of the purest blue silk. The gown was tight around her rather imposing bust and rather thin waist. Her cheeks had the faintest touch of rouge and her eyelashes were so long, that it was impossible to believe that they were real. She had pure blue eyes, though they had the blank stare of one who had never tried to understand a concept in her entire life. As she bit delicately into a cucumber sandwich, she displayed a set of glittering white teeth. Sitting next to her was another lovely girl with ebony hair and pale skin. Her eyes were a rich mocha color and lips were like glittering rubies. Her hands were folded in her lap while a teacup was hovering in front of her. Every so often, the floating sweets in front of her would move forward so that she could take a delicate bite from them, then a silk napkin would make its way towards her mouth and wipe any remaining crumbs from her porcelain face. Both ladies were wearing slim gold circlets studded with diamonds, which marked them as princesses. The young maiden who had been watching the royal family shook her head at all the silliness. She wondered how the kingdom ran so smoothly when it was ruled by such conceited snobs. Sitting around and staring at these people was no way to spend an afternoon, but there was no hope of escape. She sighed and cleared her throat. The queen barely glanced up from her tea. The king turned to look at her for a moment, but lost interest and returned to conversing with the queen. Neither princess showed any sign of having even heard her. "Your highnesses," she began. They all turned towards her with expressions of mingled boredom and disdain. "As I recall, you called me here to discus the history of the kingdom." "Did we?" mumbled the queen. "Yes," the maiden began in an exasperated tone. "You said that it was time for you to record the history of the kingdom during your reign so that it may be passed on to future generations. And because I am the chief scribe you said that I must be present to write down every word of the tale." "Oh, yes, that would seem important," mused the king. "Will we be writing today or not?" screamed the scribe in frustration. "Of course, of course," muttered the queen. "Where shall we begin?" "With our daughters," replied the king as if he was doing this only to please some unimportant party. "Oh, yes, the princesses are very important to us," remarked the queen, her mind clearly elsewhere. "Well," she began, "there's Linette," she mused, pointing at the blonde princess. "She was born in the fourth year of our reign. I believe that some influential fairies attended her christening." The scribe glances over at the two princesses who seemed oblivious to the fact that they were being discussed. The were engaged in some mindless conversation about the lack of handsome princes in the immediate vicinity- "Are you writing this?" snapped the queen. "Yes, yes, I'm taking down every word." "Good, anyway, Deletara, Linette's fairy godmother, blessed her with the greatest beauty in the land, which she obviously has-isn't that right Minovauld?" she asked the king who appeared to have been dozing. "Huh, yes, oh she's very beautiful," he yawned. The queen shot a reproachful look at him, but it didn't do any good.
"As I was saying," she continued, still glaring at her inattentive husband, "after that Barthamula, the rather unpleasant fairy who lives over the hill-I really should go and have tea with her sometime, she has the best gossip-anyway, Barthamula was about to curse her with a substantial amount of split ends when Maliadoria, the evil sorceress beat her to it and cursed my Linette with a sleeping spell. It would have been absolutely dreadful if King Gregamond's son Albertialius, he was three at the time, hadn't been there to kiss her and break the spell. It was really quite sweet, and ever since them they've been betrothed." The queen smiled at her daughter and Linette displayed the glittering diamond ring that Albertialius had given her last year. The scribe repressed a groan of disgust.
"Anything else you'd like me to add?" she managed to ask sweetly.
"Not at the moment; let's move on to Brianina," the queen said, smiling at the dark haired princess. Brianina smiled as she made the teacup float up to her lips again.
"Let's see," the queen considered, "before Brianina was born one of those traveling seers stopped in the kingdom-I just love when those people show up; they bring such interesting stories-Anyhow, he told me that Brianina would become a great and powerful sorceress. He did a lovely job of telling me, too. He did a complete job with the fainting spell, and deep voice, and everything. It was quite a spectacle!" she gasped. "We found a suitable magic teacher for Brianina right away. Ever since then she's been one of the most powerful witches in the land." The queen beamed fondly at her daughter. Brianina made the teacup dance around in circles for a bit; just to prove that her mother's boastings were true.
"That just about covers the history of our wonderful daughters. Now let's move on too-"
"Wait a minute," interrupted the scribe. "You've forgotten to mention your third daughter."
"Oh," muttered the queen, "so we have."
"Must we go into that whole messy affair?" whined Linette.
"It's so deplorably un-royal," moaned Brianina.
"We really needn't mention her," remarked the king who had woken with a start at the mention of the third princess.
"No, I think that this all must be mentioned," argued the scribe. "I insist," she added.
"Well," grumbled the queen, "I really don't know much of the- important-part of the story. I never did pay attention to." she trailed off.
"Then I'll tell it," stormed the scribe. "I know the story by heart, and you," she pointed at Linette and Brianina, who were munching on cucumber sandwiches, "will take notes on the affairs." Both princesses starred in shock as the scribe handed them her pads and paper. This, of course, was a disgustingly un-royal process. "It's time you two do something useful," scolded the scribe. "Now, let's start from the beginning."