Introduction

The Land of Shadows' Princess

The city was getting ever darker as the sunlight began to set. Although, it was hard to tell in the Land of Shadows, but when you have lived there all your life you become accustomed to the lighting. Estella was a girl of fifteen sitting in her bedroom awaiting her dinner of ice cream. The bedroom door swung open quietly as a platypus-like creature entered carrying a tray of sweets. "The Queen is sorry that she cannot dine with you this evening, so you shall be having to eat in your room tonight."

"Dearest Grandmama is so kind. Send her my thank yous and my love." The girl requested of the creature as he set the platters on the small table near the window. With a nod, he left the girl to her meal. I do not mind eating alone. I prefer to look out the window anyways, She thought to herself, the world is so different outside.

As the girl ate her ice cream, the Queen watched her from the door where there were eye-holes placed perfectly for seeing inside. The Queen smiled, knowing her granddaughter was happily doing what she pleased and turned back towards the meeting in the hall. There were creatures of all sizes and features here tonight that have come to pay tribute to the Queen for the safety of their lands in the Land of Shadows. There were rock creatures of the Hills, Swampbark creatures that inhabited the Swamps, and numerous others that held smaller cities and villages in the Land.

"I would like to thank you all for coming today, but I need for you to leave, since I have other matters to tend to today that are important for the Princess and I." With a slight nod, the Queen turned away and headed off toward her bed chamber where there was to be a guest awaiting her. The moon was almost full, and like all moons before, the man would come to question the Queen and talk about her granddaughter. She found these talks tiring and often had him leave within the hour because there was no point in letting this man know so much about the Princess. She liked to keep her personal matters secret and to herself. Especially after her.

"Hello, your majesty." The man bowed deeply as she entered her chamber. The Queen nodded and sat on her bed while gesturing for the man to sit on the chair opposite her. "As always, I have come to ask about Estella's health and wellness. Is she behaving properly?"

"Estella always behaves properly, Eric. You never need to worry about that. She plays with her dolls like a good little girl and has proper manners when speaking and in public as usual," The Queen answered dismissively. "However, this meeting will be about my own conditions Eric."

"Yes?" Eric sat straighter, the worry he felt was clear on his mouth even though his mask kept his face a secret to the world.

"I would prefer that you shall not come around any longer. You have served your purpose well with bearing my Estella, but I no longer need you. I have been patient and have given you fifteen years of life when I should have given you none."

"Your majesty, may I ask one more thing–"

"No, you may not. I shall not have Estella perform the same actions as her mother had all those years ago. She is the daughter that I have longed for and she is the perfect daughter for the role of the Princess. Now, you know what is to be expected of your last task, do you not?" Eric nodded, and the guards of metal dragged him away by the arms to be executed. The Queen had never liked men, they always had a thirst for power and sought to control women. Eric performed his duty with concieving Estella with her daughter, but once the girl was born her mother disappeared. No one could find her anywhere and so Estella became the new Princess of the Land of Shadows under her grandmother.

The Queen looked at herself in the mirror, with her mask of feathers to hide her aging look and her long dress of dark satin. Fifteen years...that was the age when her daughter decided to take the world into her own hands and try to ruin it. She could not let Estella do the same, not for the world's safety, but for her own. Helena was a wonderful daughter while she stayed in the Land of Shadows all those years ago, even if she was not the real daughter of the Queen. Estella was formed from that girl Helena, with her proper speaking and attitude, but with the mind set that she was to always please the Queen.