Recap: Well, the king finally decided that if he was getting the milk he may as well buy the cow. Too bad this cow stopped producing. Okay bad comparison. Let's try again. Flora and the king got married after Flora and Rivenstiltskin exchanged straw for gold three nights in a row. However this union doesn't have the makings of a fairy tale ending.
Disclaimer: The risk that might break you is the one that would save, A life you don't live is still lost
Part Four: Before it's too Late (1)
After the wedding the king made a decree that, as queen, Flora was prohibited from doing common things such as spinning, and he used this excuse for why she no longer spun straw into gold. And as for the miller, the king pronounced him Master Miller of the land and all the other millers had to pay a tax to support him so that the king's father-in-law wouldn't have to soil his royally connected hands with manual labor.
But the king begrudged the gold that Flora could no longer provide for him and the marriage was not a happy one.
Nearly a year after her marriage to the king Flora announced that she was expecting a child. This made the king a bit happier; for he said it was about time he had an heir, as if he were the one doing all the work. Announcements were made throughout the kingdom, but when the child was born, it was a girl and the king, angry again that his wife had disappointed him, claimed that as a girl she wasn't a proper heir and refused to even visit his new daughter.
"Name her what you will," the king told Flora coldly, "it's no concern of mine."
Flora fought the urge to throw her chamber pot at the king's retreating form. Instead she sat in a chair by the window of the nursery and rocked her unnamed daughter back and forth, her green eyes filled with angry tears. She stared out the window so her tears wouldn't fall on the baby because she was determined that the child would never know how her own father didn't love her.
From beside her, a soft voice said, "She's lovely." Flora turned to see Rivenstiltskin gently stroking the baby's tiny hand. "She's lovely." Rivenstiltskin repeated. "She looks just like you. Why are you crying?"
It was the first time that Flora had seen him in over a year, since that last morning in a roomful of gold. She wanted to tell him how much she'd missed him and how happy she was to see him again. How she had thought of his kindness every day of her new life as queen, but instead she blurted out how the king was disappointed that their child was a daughter instead of a son.
"Anyone with a working brain in his head would be proud to have her as a daughter." Rivenstiltskin replied icily. "But maybe you could tell the king that when she gets older she'll be able to spin straw into gold." He knelt down next to Flora. "I'll come back and bring him three more rooms full."
"That's very sweet of you." Flora answered softly. "But I'm sure that he'd love her if he just stopped to think about it."
In a voice so quiet that Flora had to strain her ears to hear him, Rivenstiltskin said, "I don't think that love is something that you stop to think about. It's either there or it's not."
"What I mean is," Flora explained, "I'm sure he does love her, but he just doesn't realize it yet. Maybe I should tell him that she's sick. If he's worried about her, he'll have to see how precious she is."
"But the servants will tell him that she isn't sick." Rivenstiltskin pointed out gently. "You could tell him that a wicked old elf is going to steal her away unless…."
Rivenstiltskin paused to consider and Flora responded, "But you don't look wicked, and I'm sure that as far as elves go you're not that old."
Rivenstiltskin smiled at her, which made him look even less wicked and old.
It almost made Flora wish, but that wish was just too dangerous to consider.
"We could tell him that you're the one who taught me to spin straw into gold." Flora said thinking quickly. "And that in exchange I promised you my first born child. The only way to break the agreement is…." She sighed loudly. "Well, whatever it is that you ask of the king, it has to be something easy to make sure that he can actually do it."
"But of course," Rivenstiltskin agreed. "How easy?"
Flora thought for a second and then replied, "He has to guess your name."
Rivenstiltskin looked at her questioningly. "Easier than that," he suggested. "It's not that common of a name."
But it wasn't as easy as Flora had thought.
The king was busy with councils and courtiers to even ask why a wicked elf would want his daughter- or even care. "We're still young, we can have more children." He'd told Flora before rushing off to another meeting. But even so, he did have the servants in the castle write out a list of all the male and male sounding names they could gather.
The next evening, when Rivenstiltskin appeared in the throne room, the king read out every name they had, starting with Adam and ending with Zuckerman.
Rivenstiltskin shook his head after the reading of each name and when it was over he told the royal couple that they only had two more days, but they'd never guess.
The king had to be at a dedication of a new ship in his honor the next day, but he ordered the councilors and scholars of the castle to look through the old chronicles of history and compile a list of every name they could think of.
The next evening Rivenstiltskin again appeared in the throne room and the king struggled through the list of names starting with Aang and ending with Zuzu.(2)
Once again Rivenstiltskin shook his head after each name, but this time he gave Flora a worried look before announcing that they only had one more night , but they'd never be able to guess his name. Flora could tell that he was beginning to worry that they never would.
The king had been invited to a hunting party with some high ranking nobles the next morning then he had an emergency wig fitting, but before he left he told the servants to search around the villages and the surrounding forests to see if they could discover any new names.
As the servants trickled back to the castle that evening, one after the other with no new names or even words that could be used as names, Flora decided that she would just have to blurt out Rivenstiltskin and hope that no one asked where she'd heard it.
Then the last of the castle servants returned.
"Good news your highness." This last man greeted her. "Although I searched all day yesterday without finding any new names, as I was riding back through the woods this evening I happened to come across that same elf who's been threatening the young princess.. Fortunately he didn't take any notice of me. And even more fortunate was that he was dancing around a campfire and singing 'Yo-ho, Stivenritskiln-"
"I beg your pardon?" Flora asked, interrupting the man. "Did you say Stivenritskiln?"
The servant repeated the name again incorrectly, saying, "He sang Yo-ho, Stivenritskiln is my name. The king doesn't know it, the queen doesn't know it. Only I know it and I'm not telling that Stivenritskiln is my name."
Flora stifled a giggle, "That's quite a song." She replied trying hard not to collapse in hysterics at the image of the normally dignified Rivenstiltskin dancing and singing around a campfire, and after all that, the servant mangling the name. Still Rivenstiltskin wouldn't complain that the name wasn't exactly right. "And this is indeed a fortunate event." Flora agreed, still grinning. "You have our gratitude, mine and the king's." At least Flora hoped the king would feel gratitude, or at the very least know how to feign it.
Rivenstiltskin appeared in the throne room at the appointed time, but the king was late getting back from the emergency wig fitting appointment with the royal wigmaker. When the king did finally arrive, laughing and carrying on with his courtiers he didn't appear nearly as worried as Rivenstiltskin felt.
"We have discovered a likely name." Flora announced looking hopefully at the king.
"Oh that's nice." He replied absently as he fluffed his new wig, which was even curlier than his other two hundred wigs.
Look at me. Flora thought furiously as she looked anxiously at the king, at least look at your daughter.
But the king looked only at his reflection in his gold hand mirror and blew kisses to himself.
Hugging her daughter close Flora turned to Rivenstiltskin who was looking at them. No one can change straw into gold, Flora thought to herself suddenly. Some things are just straw and some things are just gold, and sometimes you just have to figure out for yourself which is which.
Flora walked past the king and laid her free hand on Rivenstiltskin's arm, looking up into the young elf's eyes she said, "Take us with you."
So Rivenstiltskin put his arm around Flora and stepped sideways, as always, through the particles.
The king, of course, somehow managed to tear himself away from his reflection long enough to get his own messengers to spread the news of what had happened in his own words. But as for Rivenstiltskin and Flora, they lived happily ever after. And it was Rivenstiltskin who chose the name for Flora's baby girl. He called her Abigail(3), which means "A father's joy."
Nothing is real til it's gone
Wow! I finished a story in just under two weeks, thanks everyone for your reviews, they really meant a lot to me.
1.)Seven points and a new toaster to whoever can tell me who sings the song which I used as the title for this chapter.
2.)Ten points and a bagel to whoever can tell me where I got those names from. Five more points and some cream cheese for the bagel if you can name their roles
3.)Yes, for all those who know me, that is my daughter's name. But in the original Straw Into Gold by Vivian Vande Velde, that's what Rumplestiltskin names the baby. So either way it fits.