Amaranta: A Retelling of Snow White

Chapter One

"Your Highness!" called one of Fathers servants. I turned around, sighing. I was going to meet my friend Lord Devrin of Vorlay in the Northwest wings central garden. I hadn't seen him in nearly a week, we'd both been so busy.

"Yes?" I asked, rather sharply. I had been looking forward to seeing Devrin, or Dev, as I called him.

The servant coughed. " Milady, your father wishes your presents in his chambers. Immediately."

I sighed. "It can't wait?" I asked doubtfully. Nothing can ever wait with Father.

" No, your Highness. His Majesty assured me you were to come as soon as possible."

I gave the man a weary smile. "Well then, I'll just have to go see what he wants, won't I?" and I walked away.

Father's chambers are in the original part of the castle. All Kings chambers have been there ever since Gralron the First built the palace. He built it with a central building (where the king's chamber's are) and a west and east wing. Over the years the castle has had many wings added to it, so in addition to a west and east wing, there is a north wing, south wing, northeast, northwest, southeast, southwest and various other smaller wings springing off the before mentioned wings.

From the Northwest wing I had been in, I hurried through many halls ( and the occasional hidden passageway to speed my process) to the central building, and to Father's rooms. I paused a hall before my destination, and pushed a tapestry to the side. Beneath that tapestry lay a mirror. Perhaps my mother used it when she lived. I have no idea, for she died when I was but three. Though I have no idea who had positioned the mirror there, I was infinitely grateful to them. Above all, my father hated a hasty arrival and the arrivie having anything mussed, be it hair or shoe.

After I'd straightened myself a bit, and replaced the wall hanging, I rounded the corner to Father's rooms. The guards let me in, and I found Father in his reception room, the first room you enter. father was standing at the window, looking out. I never found anything interesting about the view of this particular window - all you can see from it is the forest - but Father takes a great deal of time staring out that window.

I had entered silently, so father hadn't noticed. He turned with a start when a yawn escaped.

" I hadn't realized you were here," he said.

" Oh . . . I just arrived." which was a lie.

Father cleared his throat nervously. " Well, little flower, I've news."

Little flower was his nickname for me. I have fourteen names, and all of them mean flower, or a type of flower. I cocked my head ready for his news.

" Princess Amaranta Anthea Ardice Cleantha Diantha Evanthe Jessenia Leilani Lilikia Philantha Sidonie Violet Zinnia Zytka – I am getting remarried."

I fainted.

I awoke in my bedchamber, with a crowd of chattering ladies-in-waiting and servant. When I realized why I was in bed, and my fathers last words to me, I jerked upwards. this caused everyone in the room to come over to me, chattering loudly.

" Are you all right, Your highness?" asked one of my ladies.

" Yes, I'm quite fine," I lied, lying back down. " I'd just like to be alone . . ." my words faded off as I looked around. My room had been transformed into a socializing chamber. It seemed that if I wanted peace and quite, it was me that would have to leave, not anyone else.

So I did. I slipped up from bed, and walked to the dressing room. The usual bows and curtsies were given. I suspected half the people in the room didn't know why they were in here, let alone that I had fainted. I was prepared to leave it that way.

From my dressing room I took a sky blue cloak, and then I slipped from my chambers. My rooms were in the South wing, and I even had a private garden. But it wasn't there that I was headed. I was going to one of the small wings of the southwestern wing, and from there to a tiny rose garden that I liked. No one else ever went there.

I walked to the garden, not allowing myself to think. If I thought, I'd cry, I was sure, and I'd no intention of doing that. When I reached the garden, I would think.

The garden had walls around it it, and no windows faced down into it. It was tiny, only ten square feet. In it there were roses of every color. The only other thing besides flowers in the garden was a ordinate marble bench pushed against the wall., on which I sat. I leaned back, then let the tears come. My father was remarrying. And his new wife would hate me, hate me for all that I am and all that I will be.

I sat up straight at that thought, for it was no simple nervousness. I could tell that it was completely true. How I knew this I could not tell. But it terrified me, this power, almost as much as my father's betrothed did. I crawled off the bench on to the ground, thinking with utter certainty that tomorrow I would meet Father's bride to be.

When I awoke, it was nowhere near dark. The sun was directly overhead in fact. It seemed odd to me that I'd fallen asleep in the middle of the day. But I was in no mood to question it. Rather, I was going to think about my new stepmother, whether I wanted to or not. And along with that thought came the thought of my mother.

My mother did not care what I called her. My memories of her are of course, vague, but I know I referred to her as "Mommy" or "Mama" To this day I refer to her as Mama.

Mama always had time for me, time to play with a three year old. She laughed and smiled and gave me treats. She was the center of my toddler life. And then she died. This Father did not take well. I am told he locked himself up in his chambers for weeks on end, and only came out to pray at my Mama's grave. I cannot testify to this, for I was with my nursemaid all the time, before that (Or with Mama) and never with him, but I do not doubt that it is true.

I grew up without a mother, which, although some people may say otherwise, was not that hard. It might have been the fact that I was surrounded by money and jewels and lords and ladies every waking moment. If there were two words that did not describe my life in the castle, they would be lonely and quite. The only quite place I knew was my rose garden.

I discovered it when I was seven years old. I'd been in Father's room, playing with his crown, when a knight came in. He gave Father some bad news - I never did find out what - and left. The news made father angry, and he grabbed his crown away from me and yelled at me for using it. It made me cry, for he had told me I could use it. And angry at me for crying, my father slapped me.

I ran from the room in tears. I went blindly from hall to hall, wing to wing, until I wound up in a small wing off the southwestern wing. I started opening doors, looking for a place to hide. People would start to yell at me when I barged in, but when they saw it was the princess they stopped, and when they realized I had been crying, they softened. the sixth or seventh door led to a long short, narrow hallway, and at the end of that, my garden. I loved it the moment I saw it. It was small, closed in, and safe. And from then on the garden became my safe spot, the place I'd stowaway when I had to think.

I reached out now, and touched one of the roses. Its petals were soft and velvety. They were very nice. I wished with all my heart that my stepmother would be that. I pictured her as an old hag, though I knew Father would never marry someone ugly. He has too much pride. I supposed it could be a beautiful princess from some distant land, but I couldn't really see Father falling for a young princess. And why would she hate me? That was, if I believed she would. But when I thought about her, a chill went down my back. the new queen would hate me; of that there was no doubt. There was only the question why.

Perhaps she was a widow. A beautiful, lovely one. She could be a peasent, and envious that I was of royal blood. That might explain why she hated me. But no. It would not be a peasent, not an ordinary one. I knew this the same way I knew she would hate me.

I shivered, and left the garden. I would find Devrin, I decided. I haden't seen him yesterday liked I'd planned, and I still wanted to see him. Maybe he would know something about my new stepmother.