Here is a piece I’ve thought about writing for a little while and just started. It is still in progress obviously.
Raquel Oraday stood staring at the star studded sky above her. The cool night air caressed her cheeks and gently tugged at her unbound hair. It was still damp from the wash this afternoon and she hadn’t been able to get out all the snarls from its unruly waves. She was at the top of her tower, her place of ultimate peace and solitude.
From here, when the daylight shone, she could see the entire mountain ringed valley where the tower had been built. No one could sneak up on her while she watched. Not that many came over the hilly pass, the only simple way into the valley. Except for the delivery boy. He came every week with food and anything she’d requested from the shops, and once a month with the stipend sent from her sister.
A pang of mixed emotions ran through her at the thought of her sister, Queen Mariel. Most days she was angry and disgusted with Mariel’s choices, but other days, like tonight, she missed her presence. Mariel would have had the patience to comb out every last knot in Raquel’s hair. Indeed she often had before parties and meetings with dignitaries when even their ladies in waiting had given up. She’d always been the better twin, Raquel thought, taking a few steps to the left to search out another of her favorite constellations. Resting her gloved hands on the stone rail she leans forward trying to focus on the wiggling trail of stars marking the path of The Sea Serpent. It was said that there were 8 tiny stars at its tail but she could only count 3 tonight. Usually she could see 4 or 5. She straightens up again rubbing her hands together to warm them. Though it was technically spring the grip of winter still clung to the stones around her and had already worked it way through her slight gloves.
A sound startles her from her serenity. The door was rattling as if someone was trying to push it open from the inside, as most tower doors did. Raquel rushed silently around the protruding center of the tower to the nail where she had left her sword hanging and withdrew it quickly. How had she not seen someone coming? She couldn’t see out to the pass when she was in the lower level living space but a visitor would have to be nearly at the front door when she ascended the circular stairs to the high balcony. But she’d been up there nearly two hours. What could someone have done in her living space while she’d been star gazing? She shouldn’t have let her guard down so far.
The door finally opens inward and a familiar disgusted growl emanates from the doorway. Queen Mariel ascends the last couple steps murmuring rude comments about stairs, doors, and towers and carrying a lit lantern.
“Mariel!” Raquel cried, fumbling, trying to hide the sword behind her and cover her eyes from the lamplight.
“Good grief sister, what in blue blazes do you do up here that takes so long.” Mariel scolded in a very unladylike tone. “I’ve been waiting for you forever.”
“I,” Raquel retorted, “was having a relaxing evening of solitude looking at the stars!”
“You and your solitude. I never understood why do you like being alone so much. It’s unhealthy.”
“Well it’s better than arguing with and then yelling obscenities at all the stupid people you spend time with.”
“They are not stupid. You just don’t understand.” Mariel shouted then turned away yelling “Arrgg!”
Raquel’s fists were balled her back straight and teeth clenched. How could they argue like this? They were sisters, identical twins, and raised as princesses. But they were so different, nearly exact opposites. The arguing had been like this for years, since their father the king began teaching them about ruling the country and dealing with dignitaries and the royal court. About lying to get on the good side of anyone who could help further, and fund, the kingdom. Though Raquel had been trouble as a child, learning and doing things a princess shouldn’t do, she could not stand the falseness in her fathers court and was often found on the wrong side of shouting matches, her opinions too strong and opposed to all others.
It was only a few moments before Mariel turned back, her demeanor drastically changed. “I don’t like heights,” she stated a little flatly, eyes wide and unconsciously leaning towards the sturdy center stone wall.
Raquel sighed resignedly and relaxed. She knew Mariel didn’t like heights. “Fine,” she said, “let’s go down.”