Stephenie Meyer owns the Twilight Universe. I own a twisted imagination.
Based on a parable that is found in many different countries and cultures.
The lovely and talented beachcomberlc had her wicked way with this story and, with a blink of her eye, corrected every mistake my lazy ass missed. If I had any magic nuts, I'd give them to her.
A long, long time ago, in a small Kingdom far, far away a rather upset monarch sat contemplating on his throne. King Charles the Forth had, all his life, wanted an extra title. He wanted to be known as Good King Charles or Charles the Lionhearted, or some such name. But the best he could wish for, if one were to poll his people, was Charles the Apathetic. He had accomplished next to nothing during his reign. He did not engage in any wars. He did not broker any peace agreements with neighbouring countries. The only thing he managed to do was father seven daughters. Seven useless daughters, well, useless for a monarch who needed healthy sons to succeed his throne. There had been one son who died in childbirth along with his wife. He hadn't particularly cared much for his wife, she did her duty poorly in producing only daughters. Year after year he had gotten his hopes up whenever his wife was taken to the birthing bed. Year after year he was disappointed.
First Margaret, then twins Charlotte and Elizabeth, then Isabella, then twins Rachel and Rebecca, and finally Kate. Of course they were all well mannered and accomplished Princesses with varying degrees of beauty but Charles had to find suitable husbands for all of them. This was the cause of his current upset. How to successfully marry off seven princesses to ensure that one of them would produce an heir for his throne. Charles had just finished his ten year mourning period and was too old to find a new wife. The first four were of marrying age with the next two almost ready, the baby was just over a year away from the right age. He had a list of Princes, Dukes, Earls and Viscounts ready but only six of them. One daughter would have to do without until someone suitable became available.
Charles devised a contest to see which daughter he would slight. He called them all together and posed a question to each of them. He let them think on their answers for twenty-four hours before demanding their conclusions. Lined up by age in front of the throne he started with Margaret, the eldest.
"Tell me, child, what is the one thing in this kingdom that you love most? The one thing that only your love for me surpasses?"
Margaret stepped forward and curtseyed to her father.
"Your Majesty, I love you more than all the diamonds in Mother's tiara."
Satisfied with her answer, he nodded at her and she took her place back in line. He turned his head to Kate, the youngest and repeated his questions.
"Your Majesty, I love you more than all my pretty dresses."
Taking into account her age, he was satisfied with her answer. He turned to Charlotte.
"Your Majesty, I love you more than all the gold in this kingdom."
"Your Majesty, I love you more than there are stars in the sky." Rebecca shyly spoke, taking her turn.
Elizabeth giggled and tripped with her curtsey but her answer still pleased her father.
"Your Majesty, I love you more than the sun that warms this Kingdom."
Rachel rushed forward to give her answer.
"Your Majesty, I love you more than all the silver in your vaults."
King Charles was puffed up with pride at his daughters. His ego had been expertly stroked and he felt the love his daughters offered. He turned to his last girl and wondered what she could love that came second only to him.
"Father, I love you more than the salt in my food." Isabella was always softly spoken and gentle he could not believe the words that came from her lips. Of all the damned things she prized, he came just before salt. Salt was nothing, a common seasoning with little other use. How dare she speak of him that way. His overinflated ego fell like a poorly made soufflé. As his anger at his middle daughter grew, the colour of his face changed from light pink to puce. He roared out for his other daughters to leave the throne room at once.
He turned to Isabella.
"How dare you. Salt, you ignorant girl, is useless. Did you not hear your sisters? Did you not hear the wonderful things they said to me? And you say you love me more than salt. I say you love me not at all. For you to say such things with your sisters as witnesses, it galls me." He stood up and paced back and forth in front of his throne.
"Father, you misunderstand."
He would not let her finish.
"You are no longer my child. I banish you from my sight and my Kingdom. Go and gather your things and make your goodbyes. If you are not gone by nightfall I'll set the guards after you. Get out." His last command was yelled at the top of his lungs. His six other daughters heard it while they were listening at the door. They all ran to their rooms as quickly as they could. One by one they barred their doors so that they would not anger their father further by granting a kindness to his now disgraced daughter.
Isabella heard her sisters lock her out, she knew that they would have to side with the King and she did not blame them for it, really. They were not the closest of families and the sister were not good friends, more genial acquaintances who shared some blood. She would miss them, of course but her heart did not break for this slight. It broke for the fact that her father would not let her explain her answer. If he would only listen to her, just this once. She resolved to find a way to make him understand. However, first she had to leave the castle and make her way in the world. She was lucky, in fact, luckier than her sisters because she had a skill. Most of her days, she had spent time in the kitchens, learning and attending to the family meals. It was her escape and enjoyment all rolled into one.
Isabella knew there was no appealing her father's decision. As King and father his word was law. There was no recourse for her but time. She had hurt his pride in front of others. She would have to do what he said and leave as quickly as possible.
Isabella gathered a few items that meant something to her, a couple pieces of clothing and her small purse of coins. She kissed and thanked her ladies maid and went to the kitchen to say goodbye to the family cook and the helpers. They pressed a bag of bread and hard cheese into her hands and wished her well. Isabella was the most pragmatic of all King Charles' daughters and was well loved by the castle staff. She sighed and made her way out of the castle that had been her only home. She did not look back nor did she cry. She waited until after nightfall and many miles away before she broke into tears.
AN: This will be short and update frequently. For geography and time, choose your own, but bear in mind that it is a bit of a fairy tale, anything could happen. It is King Lear meets Cinderella with Twilight characters. Go figure.
Thank you for reading.