Hey all you peeps on Fanfiction!
I wrote this story forever ago, and I just wanted to get it out of the way. Called "After the Battle."
As she stared longingly out to the horizon, thirteen-year-old Hok thought of her father, Henrik, mother, Bing, and little sister, GongJee. The next few months were going to be miserable without them.
Hok had dark brown curls that reached her slim waist, but were now swept up into a bun at the crown of her head. Four ringlets hung by each of her cheeks. Her eyes were a light brown and almond-shaped. She had high cheekbones and a long, slender neck. She was of average height, but was incredibly light. She had very, very pale skin, but that was her natural tone. She had always had the unnatural ability to walk through many obstacles, totally silent.
Hok wore a traditional Caribbean silk ball-gown with small sleeves that reached her elbows. White fabric about an inch long was sewn onto the edges of the sleeves puffed around her arms. It had a square neckline and the bodice was triangular with ribbons to make her waist seem even smaller than it already was. Under the dress she wore a shift, ten petticoats, and a whalebone corset (which made breathing a bit of a chore). Hok wore an ivory sash and shoes (which pinched her feet more than anything she had worn in her life). Silver and sapphire teardrop earrings hung at her earlobes. The only thing that she wore that the royal dressmaker had not given her was a silk thread that held a tiny jade crane. It had been a gift from her mother many years ago.
Her favorite lady-in-waiting, Charlotte, had left to retrieve something that Mother had intended to give Hok before she left, but had not gotten the chance. She had said that it was an important family symbol.
Hok was a princess. So she always had one of her twelve ladies-in-waiting to accompany her to any event or when she did anything. It got rather annoying. This was one of the only moments of peace that she had had in a long time.
She sat at her open widow, perched at the edge of the sill, and her dress gently cascading to the shiny marble floor. She was soaking in the few moments of calm that she had left. The sun was just beginning to set, making it look like the sky had been set aflame. Small waves broke against the shoreline, gently sliding over the smooth sand. Gulls flew overhead, shrieking to one another. And dolphins leapt joyfully through the swells, calling out in their shrill tongue. This was a moment that she would savor forever.
Hok's room was on the ground floor of the mansion that belonged to her mother's family, so Hok decided to take a walk on the beach, since this was the only time hat she would be able to have such a moment.
She snatched her cloak from the chair of her writing desk and nimbly leapt through the open window. Even though there was a door, Hok didn't want to go to all that trouble opening it on creaking hinges and risk getting caught. The window was much stealthier.
Hok began to stride confidently to the beach, through the ankle-high wild flowers and grass that grew in the dunes. This was much easier than she first thought.
She daintily removed her slippers and lifted her dress, letting the cool sea water flow over her aching feet. But no sooner had the first swell come over her toes when a voice called her name. She turned and saw that it was Charlotte. She was beckoning to her from the open window. She held a small wooden box under her right arm.
Hok sighed and turned her back to the shore. Show time, she thought.
Hok walked over to the window, limping slightly. She hopped onto the windowsill, her slippers still in hand, and balanced there on ball of her foot for a moment before landing silently on the marble flooring. "Yes?" Hok inquired in a soft voice.
Charlotte had fiery red curls that she kept in a single braid that reached her slim waist. She had skin slightly paler than Hok's, and dark splotches were splattered across her nose and cheeks. She had round eyes the color of the deepest emerald. She was taller than Hok's mother, which wasn't that tall. Charlotte was twenty-years-old, and therefore the youngest of her ladies-in-waiting. She wore a silver gown that swept the floor around her, and it had a delicate square neckline. She wore an emerald pendant around her slim neck.
"Your mother wanted to give this to you before you left, Your Majesty," Charlotte informed her as she curtsied. She opened the box she held to reveal a circlet tiara made of silver, diamonds, and sapphires molded to look like leaves. It looked so delicate, that Hok thought that it would shatter if the person so much as stroked it.
"Charlotte," Hok gasped out. "I cannot take this!"
Charlotte shook her head. "No, Your Majesty. It has been worn by Dutch princesses since the founding of our country many ages ago. It is tradition that you wear this."
Hok took a deep breath before replying calmly, "Very well. Shall I wear it tonight?"
Charlotte nodded. "Yes, Your Majesty. Your father, the King, wrote and requested that you wear it."
Hok bowed her head, and Charlotte placed the circlet of silver around her hairdo. She looked to her mirror across the room and couldn't believe what she saw.
It was a young woman more beautiful than anyone that Hok had ever seen. The light blue colors of her jewelry set off her eyes and hair. Her pale skin seemed to smolder brilliantly in the candlelight. She was beautiful without any cosmetics or medicines. She was a natural beauty.
Hok looked at Charlotte and bowed, low and deep. "Thank you Charlotte," Hok murmured. "For everything."
"You're welcome, Your Majesty," she replied, curtsying.
With that, Hok glided out of the room, and headed to the ballroom, where a party was taking place in honor of Hok and her friends.
Almost a month earlier, Hok and her former temple brothers Fu, Malao, Seh, Long, and Ying (along with the help of their friends and family) defeated a man named Tonglong, or "Praying Mantis," who had taken control of the Forbidden City and used the Emperor as his puppet. Hok, who had been mortally injured during the siege, had spent the last few weeks recuperating. She was still walking with a noticeable limp from her broken legs.
As she strolled on weak legs, Hok thought about everything that they had been through in the past year. It had taken its toll on all of them; they hadn't had to run through a forest or man a ship for a month. It felt incredibly boring.
Before she knew it, Hok had arrived at the massive doors that led to the ballroom, where the party was in full swing. But she wouldn't be able to join the festivities just yet. First she had to go through a full ceremony. She had to agree to take the title as the heir to the Dutch throne. She had rehearsed it numerous times, and found it to be time-consuming work.
Hok heard trumpets blare and a man speak in a booming voice. It was Mong, Seh's father!
Hok took several deep breaths. There was no need to be nervous at a time like this. All she had to do was say a vow and sit on a throne. Simple.
The doors were by two couriers opened and Hok glided down an aisle with a huge smile on her face. She made sure to make eye contact with each of her guests.
When she reached the platform, she glanced around the room and saw that her friends were spread throughout the room. Hok smile only grew larger.
Standing at the top of the stage was a giant of a man. He had huge muscles that rippled beneath a red silk robe that was big enough to be a tent. He was completely devoid of hair; he didn't even have any eyebrows! This man was Mong, without a doubt.
Mong addressed the crowd in his booming voice, "Many tales have been told over the generations of princesses who receive their ending peacefully. But that is not the case for this young soul. She has overcome death, injury, losses that are too numerous to count. But that will all change today."
The crowd stood there, totally silent, so Mong continued. "Princess Hok OnYeen Alexandra Diana, do you agree to hold the eternal vow to be loyal to your country of Holland, to uphold the laws of your country, to listen to your people, and treat them with the compassion of a true queen?"
Hok knew the correct answer. She replied with an icy calm, "I do."
Mong grinned. "Then you may take your rightful place as the Princess Royal of Holland."
Great, Hok thought. Just another title to add to the list of ones that I already have.
The crowd cheered as she stepped onto the platform and sat upon the gilded throne of gold and red satin.
Hok thought that tonight couldn't be any more perfect.
But she was wrong.
As Hok worked her way through the boisterous masses, a tap on her shoulder caught her by surprise. She turned and saw that it was her second favorite lady-in-waiting, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth had perfectly straight hair the color of a golden wheat field that reached just past her shoulders. She wore it in a bun at the nape of her neck. She had skin much, much paler than Hok's. She was slightly taller then Hok and was twenty-two-years-old. She wore a blood-red dress that had a circular neckline lined with ebony lace, it had full sleeves. Elizabeth wore a mask of black and scarlet satin.
"Your Majesty," she whispered respectfully as she curtsied. "The ladies thought it appropriate that you wear this, since it is a masquerade."
In her hands, Elizabeth held out a small mask made of pale blue satin with ivory pearls stitched in the shapes of roses. Silver thread lined the entire length of it, and a string was attached to either end.
Hok curtsied, though it wasn't her style. She took the mask and tied it around her face. It covered the bridge of her nose and her forehead. All in all, a perfect fit.
Elizabeth nodded and walked away; making it obvious that she would be watching her from a distance with the other ladies.
Hok shook her head. Why did they have to treat her like a child?
Behind her, someone cleared their throat. Again she turned and saw that it was a boy in a dark blue silk robe and pants with a black sash and cotton shoes. He had uneven black hair and deep black eyes. His mask was long, and covered the entire length of his face. It was the color of the deepest and clearest river water.
"May I have this dance, Your Highness?" the boy asked politely, his voice low and calm. Hok knew that voice!
"Seh?" Hok raised her thin eyebrows, but he didn't notice because of her mask.
Seh nodded. "Yes. But are you going to answer my question?"
Hok took a deep breath to clear her clouded mind. But her heart did a relay race in her chest, and wouldn't stop. "Yes, of course."
They walked to the center of the dance floor and Seh took hold of her waist and her left hand. In turn, Hok placed her hand on his shoulder. They began to twirl around the floor in a graceful waltz.
"So," Seh said uncomfortably. "You're a princess now."
"Yes," she replied solemnly. "And it won't be very easy. Mother has already contacted me about two suitors who are coming to visit soon. In two years probably. They're from Spain and France. So if I were to marry one of them, it would be a strategic political move for Holland."
The look in Seh's eyes was a mixture of pain and sadness. "But my mother doesn't approve of either of them," Hok continued quickly. "She says that the Spanish are too barbaric and the French are too sissy. Her words exactly."
Seh laughed quietly. "Then what does she approve of? If one too much of one thing, then the middle is not too barbaric or too kind? Is there any one prince in this entire world that is like that?"
Hok sighed. "I don't know. But there must be someone. But I don't think that it has to be a prince. It could be anyone within a good status. Like a hero. Like a warrior. " She couldn't help but look Seh straight in the eye when she spoke this. She just knew that they were meant for each other.
"Hok," Seh whispered, leaning towards her. "There's something that I need to tell you. I know I shouldn't let my emotions control me, but I can't help it when I'm around you. I've felt like this since the moment I first truly met you for what you are."
Hok was confused. "Seh, what do you mean? You're not saying that you are…"
But before Seh could answer, everyone in the room began to scream in terror. Hok turned and removed her mask. She heard the familiar sounds of a musket being fired.
Click… fizz… BANG!
Pain seared through her right shoulder as a ball of lead tore through her skin. Hok shrieked in pain, and Seh removed his mask looked at her in horror as scarlet blood streamed down her dress.
As she blacked out, the back of her head hit the hard marble floor. Something in her head snapped. She wanted to scream.
But she had already been taken.
Seh and the others searched far and wide for her. But by the time they found the man that caused the tragic event, it was too late.
The events had already been set in motion for the last time.
In case any of you are confuzzled, I wrote this waaay before "Dragon." It's what I thought would happen afterward.