A Colorless Faerie Tale
It was a cold and greyed sky day when the cursed elfin child was born. The King and Queen were full of excitement to welcome their firstborn. The labor was intense and the Queen struggled through, but when the little girl appeared it looked as though she were dead. Her skin was pale as the snow and no color flushed on her cheeks. She did not cry or make a sound. The nursemaids took her aside and tried to get her to cry out, but the infant only opened her big black eyes and took a deep breath out of her black lips. The nursemaids scattered away in fear of the baby. The Queen had passed out from exhaustion, but the King ran over to his daughter and he too took a few steps back as the strange child stared his way. She moved her little hands out to him almost begging to be touched. One of the nursemaids, somewhat less fearful, let her finger be grasped by the infant and as soon as she did she fell to the floor. The color drained from her body, leaving her hair white and skin pasty. She took a few gulps of breathe before she died there on the floor.
The winter this year was harsh and Vera was forced to stay indoors by the glowing orange fire. She loved the colors that fire had and was fascinated by it. She curled up tighter in her blanket, sipping on cider to warm her insides as well. “Miss Vera!” cried Sephrine, “Why aren’t you wearing something more appropriate for this weather we’re having! You are going to get ill again.”
“I’m fine, I’ve got my blanket and cider, old woman,” Vera said playfully, “I am perfectly toasty.” The elderly woman sighed loudly enough for the Princess to hear, which echoed in the large empty room. Sephrine was one of two servants that stayed with Vera since she was born; Sephrine’s husband, Bertano, was the groundskeeper and maintenance man around the castle. They were her adopted parents. Out of fear for their lives, the people fled the kingdom of Greshire when they heard of the monstrous firstborn of King Renaldo and Queen Veriphina. Only a few farmers and working people lived in the village outside the palace walls and this was fortunate because otherwise Vera and her parents would not have food and other necessities. The Princess very rarely went outside the walls of Castle Trimone in fear of running them off. If she did go out, it was always in secret and disguise. She loved her palace though; it was her sanctuary. Over the seventeen years of her life the palace was transformed into a colorful wonderland. Sephrine noticed that when the child was five years of age, she was very depressive and nothing brought her joy. So, to lighten her spirits, Bertano and Sephrine painted every wall a different color and every plate, drapery, and piece of furniture was a shade of something. After the first wall was painted a bright red, Vera was excited and smiled for the first time. Sephrine and Bertano then knew what they had to do and every year a few rooms would get transformed into colorful masterpieces. There was blue room, a red room, an orange room, and so on and so forth. The only room that was a rainbow of colors was the Princess’s bedroom. And it of course was her favorite room.
Vera, nestled in her blanket, sighed contently and closed her eyes for a nap. “Princess, why don’t I draw you a hot bath?” Sephrine asked. “Your hair needs washing.”
“Ugh, I don’t want to, Ma.” She whined. Vera hated her hair, it was equal parts black and white streaks. She had tried to dye it before with berries and such to try to get some form of color, but it never worked. Sephrine grabbed the girl’s gloved hand and yanked her out of her nest of blankets. “No, come on, Ma.”
“Stop yammering at me and get upstairs to you bathing room; I’ve already sent your Pa up there with hot water to fill your water basin. Hurry child, on with ya now!” She swatted Vera’s rear as Vera trotted away from her.
“Ack! I’m going, I’m going.” Vera ran up the mutli-colored stairs and into her bathing room. The palace was large, but modest compared to most. Not cold and dark, thanks to her parents’ handy-work. The bathing room was light pinks and purples, but the best part was that the ceiling was made of glass and the night sky filled with stars gazed down at her while she bathed in her golden water basin. The Princess removed her sapphire blue velvety gloves first. She hated wearing them, but her hands if she touched any living thing would be drained of its color and die. When she was just a baby, Sephrine and Bertano tested her fatal ability on many different things and some unfortunate animals paid the price, but it let them find out only if she touched a living thing, including plants, with her hands they would die. To cover her hands was the best way for her to live a semi-normal life. Vera slipped out of her fancy strapless aqua blue gown and stepped into the warm soothing bath. Vera had very sophisticated tastes in her wardrobe as well; the more color it had the better. She wore very elaborate dresses the most. Sephrine had the finest cloths brought in from a multitude of cities to make her adopted daughter’s dresses. Vera usually was the one to design them and Sephrine made whatever she wanted. When the royals left the palace they took hardly anything, including a sizable safe of gold and other valuable belongings. Vera had unlimited wealth and she did share it with the remaining country folk outside her walls, only about five families stayed. They lead comfortable lives for their work in the fields.
Vera poured the perfumed water over her head and lathered a piece of soap into her hair. Though it was colorless, it was just like normal hair and Vera had to do very little with it to get it to shine. She had an otherworldly beauty that most had to see to believe, but only a few had. After her washing, Vera stepped out of the tub and gazed at her colorless body in the mirror. She had never considered herself pretty. How she longed for flushed cheeks of rose and perfectly pink lips for her lips were ebony. Her black eyes held a secret of whoever cursed her with this void of color and why do this to someone before they were even born? She pulled a brush through her hair, careful to avoid her large pointed ears, and let it fall in wet tresses behind her. She put on her multi-color night dress. It was thick velvety material that slinked over her body with ease. It had built in gloves attached to the long sleeves in case if during the middle of the night someone were to wake her and she tried to grab, which had happened once with Sephrine and luckily the old woman pulled back in time. Vera pulled on some stockings and slippers and bounded downstairs for dinner. It smelled wonderful except for something she knew she wasn’t going to eat. “Vera, your hair is wet! You’re going to catch a chill not drying it like that.” Sephrine scolded as she finished up the plates of food.
“I’ll be fine. And I hope you do realize, I’m not eating that.” Vera poked at the white vegetable on her orange plate.
“It’s wintertime, honey, colored veggies aren’t very much in season. Eat your cauliflower.” Sephrine pleaded. Bertano just smirked at this silly discussion. Not only did Vera never wear black and white clothing, she didn’t eat anything void of color either. It was childish in her mother’s eyes, but the Princess put her foot down on more than one occasion with colorless foods. She wouldn’t eat white cheeses, black beans, milk, etc. Sephrine knew she lost that battle and ate her food silently.
“Darling, eat a couple pieces for your Ma. Make her happy?” Bertano asked tonelessly. Vera reluctantly ate three bites and nearly choked on the cauliflower.
“There, happy now?” She grinned at her mother. Their quiet dinner was then interrupted by a loud rapping at the large wooden front door. The ominous sound echoed through the halls. They all sat there in shock, no one ever came for a visit. Bertano gradually got out of his seat. He grabbed a fire poker from the fireplace just in case. Vera’s reputation kept most away, but every once in a while there was an unwelcome visitor trying to raid the safe. Vera got up too, much to her mother’s disproval. She heard the large door creak slightly open so Bertano could take a look at their visitor. Sephrine went to his side and there before them was a middle-aged elfin woman who was frozen in the blizzard outside, hunched against the door. She looked up at the two servants. Sephrine uttered a name and Vera could hardly believe her ears, “Queen Veriphina!”