This story is by Tara Belle and was part of our 2017 Winter Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Amethyst pats down her hair again. She doesn’t want the King to see it resemble what it did yesterday when the Official came to announce her receiving of her magical pen. She cringes at the memory. She and Mika had spent most of the night before last talking and squealing over the latest issue of ‘Boys in the Kingdom’, so she hadn’t got much sleep. Then at precisely 10 o’clock yesterday the doorbell had rung.
“Are you Miss Amethyst Blue, daughter of Sir Oswald Blue and Madame Genevieve Blue?” Amethyst quickly stood tall, smacked both cheeks and pulled her hair into a more visually manageable messy bun.
The official nodded, confirming her face with the one on his scroll, “It is my honour and duty to present to you your official magical pen.” As he spoke, he laid out his hand and the younger Official behind him passed on a small blue pillow with a plain looking copper pen. Her eyes glowed with a shiny lustre as she nodded, focused on the pen.
The Official continued, “In twenty four hours from now, Thursday ten o’clock, you shall present yourself to the King with the name for your pen. As per the norm, your choice of name will decide your career and you shall immediately start training.”
Amethyst smiles at the thought of her pen. Her excitement isn’t any less than yesterday when she had hurriedly taken her pen inside and placed it the table. She danced excitedly on the spot, her time finally come. She looked at it from every angle she could, turning the small, blue pillow, before she nervously picked it up.
It felt much like an ordinary pen, though slightly heavier. A small frown escaped. No names had popped into her head as soon as she touched it. She shrugged, and resumed smiling.
Walking through the halls of the castle, she sees Mika waiting for more gossip from her father. Amethyst smiles at her, but feels her heart clench. If she makes any mistakes today Mika will be as ruthless as always, just like yesterday’s scenario. Before Amethyst could even take the pen to her room, she had heard a knock as the front door was violently pushed open. Mika had come bounding in, her eyes sparkled with gossip.
“Ami, Ami, did you hear. Hahaha…” Her bright dress had taken up a third of the room, splashing around as she laughed.
“What happened?” Amethyst spurt out as she failed to catch the falling vases.
Mika had rubbed her chin as she smirked, “The Porter’s boy had his naming today and was running late and absolutely messed up, actually running in after the King had spoken –He ran in shouting apologies and now his pen’s name is Apologies!” She had fallen into her dress, laughing, tears being creased out. Amethyst had shaken her head at this Master’s daughter, feeling nervous for herself and somewhat sympathetic to the Porter’s boy.
The time for lunch had yet to arrive and the biggest gossip in town had breezed in and made a mess of the hallway. Mika hadn’t stopped there, talking nonstop through lunch and only left when she realised there were still others to spread the news to. Even then Amethyst had to clean up the mess, leaving time for naming much shorter than she had expected.
Walking to the throne room Amethyst mentally runs through all the names she had written and rewritten in her 25 notebooks stacked across her desk, trying to grip any that were good enough. A picture of her mother’s face surfaces. The image from yesterday. Of pity.
Amethyst had been sitting at her desk and mumbling to herself, a brainstorming exercise written and rewritten all over her notebook. She hadn’t heard the front door open. She muttered as her hand held up her head. She chewed the end of her pen (a normal one) whilst she scribbled names down. She hadn’t heard the footsteps on the stairs. Her head sunk onto her drawing table, her pen sat atop her lip, her arms spread forwards as the door to her room opened.
She had turned her head, only half in reality.
“Oh dear, what’s up?” Her mother asked. Amethyst had been startled as her mother rushed over, checking her forehead temperature.
“Ah huh- honey. Is that what I think it is?” Her father made an overly obvious eyebrow raise as he sauntered over and picked up the magic pen.
“Oh, it is! It is!” Her mother squealed as she rushed to touch it.
“Mum! Dad! Don’t touch it!” Amethyst started her cries, but her parents had just brushed her noise away as they examined it in front of her face.
“What a fine copper pen. She’ll be able to transform this so well after seeing the King.”
“Oh yes, it’s so smooth, and light too.” They discussed the pen then their daughter and her perfection that came from their raising her.
“What did you name it?” They had both asked, eyes expectant and proud of her.
“Ah,..” Amethyst had glanced at the notes on her table, “Ahh…” then looked to the door, “Ah…” then to the pen, “Ah..” she had lowered her head, “I don’t know yet.”
Her mother had blinked in surprise, “Oh, but you’ve held it right?”
“Yes, mum, but I’m not a naming genius like you.”
“What about the many lists of names you’ve come up with over your lifetime?” her father queried. Amethyst motioned to a pile of messy notebooks, “eliminated and rewritten all over again.”
Her mother gave that look of pity, “It’s okay honey, I’m sure you’ll have the perfect name before your audience with the King.” They started chuckling, but before they could retell the story of the Porter’s boy, she grabbed her pen and pushed them out the door.
The door to the throne room is about to open. I wish I hadn’t fallen asleep so carelessly last night after pushing them parents out the door. Even if I set my alarm early this morning so I could cull all the bad names down, instead of waking to mother sorting through my clothes.
“One can’t be too fancy for the King.” Her mother had stated with only an hour and a half to go. Amethyst tried to shift through her notebooks one last time, but her mother had been far too concerned in stringing her up in the best clothes available.
The doors open. Only a minute to start her life right. Familiarity of the royal crest and colours creep into the unfamiliarity of the room and people inside it, bringing Amethyst to the reality of it all. She is brought to just below the elevated throne when she finally looks up to the King. He is dazzling. His face a majestic blur, the only thing she sees clearly is his two eyes staring at her, welcoming her, reminding her she is a part of this kingdom.
The Official signals for her to bow, she does.
“Amethyst Blue present for the naming of her magical pen.” He states.
The King nods, “Amethyst Blue, what is the name of your pen?”
His voice is so.. so ..“Silvery..” The time is up. She snaps out of her trance as she hears a chuckle from nearby. As she feels eyes upon her, her insides squiggle as she slowly comes to the realisation that she had spoken what she thought of the King’s voice out loud.
“The name chosen of the magical pen of Amethyst Blue is Silvery.” The King declares, hitting his staff once on the floor.
Amethyst’s face goes red, “Ah, your voice is silvery, though I wanted the name to be Protector or Lightshield or something, though having been named after your voice isn’t so bad, it’s settled for good now isn’t it?” She looks up to the King, a half smile pushing onto her face.
The King chuckles, “It is as you said. Now, who will take her?” A debate among the Masters opens on the ground. Only one can have her and that she chose her name on the Kings voice was a sign of respect for His Majesty in their minds. And they want to please the King. But her previous names were not nearly as thought out.
The one who chuckled comes forward, “I will take her on, she who moves forward without regret.”
The King nods, “She is indeed a commendable subject.” Amethyst’s face, which had just calmed down, flushes again.
“Although, she has a long way to go and a lot to learn before becoming a famed diplomat like you, dear brother.” The room falls silent, as do Amethyst’s jaw and grip of the situation.
She slowly turns to look at the old prince, who winks at her, “Words will follow, trust in the King and you’ll be set for life.”
“Yes, sir!” Her fate is decided. She shrugs, a large smile forming on her face.