A Rotten Crown
Part 1: Fault Lines

Chapter 1
The Broadcast

The studio lights always cooked Beverly in her skin. If not for the pounds of powder and primer on her face, skillfully applied by the makeup team, she would've been drowning in the melted makeup and hairspray. Her little fan under her desk afforded some relief during commercial breaks, but the cheap plastic housing wasn't even strong enough to rustle her coiffed curls.

The little red light on the camera told her they were still off the airwaves, and the counting timer on the wall, clicking with every second displayed 00:14, the seconds until she'd have to be camera ready. She picked up the fan and placed it at her feet. She ran a hand over her hair, taming the fly-aways, and picked up her cards. The 7 o'clock hour news was always a royal update. Primetime. Saved for the blossoming family and their picturesque lives.





The numbers on the sign flashed, signifying they were going live. Beverly pulled the corners of her mouth into a false smile, before enunciating the dialogue written on the cards in front of her.

"Welcome, I'm Beverly Yoro, it's the top of the hour with Illéa Nightly News. We are back again with the royal family, who just yesterday welcomed a new baby into the world. Illéa has a prince! Queen Olive and King Titus appeared with their son, Avon Cardan Schreave, on the steps of Clarkson Memorial Hospital. Two-year-old Endra is currently in the care of the Queen Mother at the palace, awaiting the arrival of her new baby brother."

Beverly paused to allow a clip of the Princess and the Queen Mother to play on the screen, followed by a clip of the King and Queen standing outside the hospital for the press, a small bundle of blankets, and a bald little head in her arms.

"Next, we have an interview with the Chief of Palace Affairs, on the preparations being made for Illéa's new Crown Prince, and what that means for Princess Endra and the rest of Illéa."

The image of her face on the screen switched to one of her co-anchor, sitting in a palace room across from an older-looking man with a distinguished air to him. As the interview began, a small buzzer went off in the studio to signify they had a brief break before continuing the rest of the segments.

Out came Beverly's plastic fan once more.

"I'm Arnold Ernst, and you're watching Illéa Nightly News. We welcome you to the top of the hour as we have some special news. For the first time since she was five years old, Princess Endra has made a public appearance outside of palace walls. The now 12-year-old princess has been seen with her mother, Queen Olive, at the Capitol Dinner. This also marks the first state affair that either the Prince or Princess has attended, beginning their duties as royals. The little Princess can be seen here," Arnold paused to allow a clip of the state dinner to play on the overhead screen, "showing off her budding manners and delegation skills!" Arnold gave a polite chuckle as the princess was shown on the television with a stern face, giving her best curtsy.

"The state dinner is an annual event to allow state representatives to meet with the royal family and facilitate communication and political matters. Princess Endra's first appearance here is to show the public that she is ready to step into her role as the eldest child of the King and Queen. Of course, Prince Avon, her younger brother will take the throne one day in the future over her. This marks the countdown until the young Prince also steps into the spotlight to begin his duties, ones far more complex than Princess Endra's will likely end up becoming."

The teleprompter that was putting the words in Arnold's mouth did not slow the slightest bit as it offered a backhanded comment on the matter of succession, one that Arnold was not paid enough to have an opinion on. As he spoke, a clip of the Prince and Princess played on the screen, one where the Prince was only a mere eighteen months old, learning coordination and walking alongside his almost four-year-old sister, who was a stark contrast to the serious pre-teen facade she wore now. She was giggling and playing with her younger brother, seemingly unaware of the cameras around her documenting her youth.

"We meet now with Paulette, outside the event tonight reporting live."

There was a ring of a break time bell, and Arnold was off the air. His aching cheeks fell, and he brought up a hand to massage his jaw. "Hey," he called to the production assistant next to the camera, "make yourself useful and grab me a bagel."

This was it. This was the story to make Regina's career. If she pulled this off as flawlessly as a seasoned anchor, she may have a shot to be the host of the Report one day.

The lead anchor was sick at home with the flu, leaving her to cover the mundane stories of a Monday night. Nobody thought in the slightest that the news, the news of a generation, would be brought to the studio hand delivered by a courier accompanied by royal guards.

The Selection.

And not just the basic selection that the country had been expecting since the Prince turned 18, just two weeks prior, but a dual selection. Young men and women all over the country were all eligible to apply as both Prince Avon and Princess Endra held their selections together.

"Regina! Hair and makeup now, we're going live at 7 pm, no delays," her producer scolded her as she read over the story in her hands to rehearse. The teleprompter would be going at lightning speed as this was breaking news, and she couldn't afford to trip over her words tonight. She flung herself into her folding chair to allow the staff to get started.

She muttered the story to herself, making note of where difficult vowel pairings were to ensure she would enunciate and slow down at those pauses. "-breaking news from the palace tonight, the royal family has finally announced Prince Avon and Princess Endra's dual selections. A smaller selection than usual, to afford the Prince and Princess the best opportunities to bond with their Selected. Ten men and ten women to all be invited to stay at the palace until one lucky man and one lucky woman are chosen as their respective Ones. Forms are available- OW!" Regina snapped, the curling iron let go of her hair from where it had singed her scalp. "Watch it! If that had been my face-" Regina let her incomplete threat fall, too rushed to finish it. She flipped the lock of hair out of her eyes and continued to read the news that was going to make her career.

Once her primping and preening had been done, she sped on stage, taking her spot at the main anchor's desk, as those sweltering lights turned on and the digital countdown clock neared zero on the back wall. Finally, she watched the little red light vanish from the studio camera and her well-oiled smile appeared, genuine, as she felt all of Illéa's eyes on her.

"I'm Regina Pointe with Illéa Nightly News, and we come to you tonight with breaking news from the palace."

Well, at the suggestion of another writer, I started actually writing this story! It's been cooking in my head for months!

It's, of course, another SYOC. I will need 10 girls and 10 guys. The form is going to be up on my profile, and please PM me your submissions. I will give y'all a month to submit everything, though the timeline may shorten depending on how far ahead I write before then, and obviously, given the spots don't fill first.

It will be first come first serve, but I reserve the right to deny any character based on believability. Basically, I don't want to write Mary Sues or other characters that most people don't enjoy reading/writing.

Also, if you're not already a member of our discord server, please PM me if you're interested! It's for Selection Fandom writers and readers. I will also be giving favor in picking my Selected to those who are in our Discord Server because there's going to be a lot of extra content on there (maps, sneak peeks, character boards and art, etc.).

Can't wait to see everyone's submissions, and can't wait to get my creative juices flowing again!