Title: Diary of the Queen's Handmaiden (1/3)

Rating: PG- (subsequent chapters will be NC-17)

Fandom: Once upon a time

Summary: The Evil Queen selects a handmaiden. (This story is going to be very dark, sick and twisted eventually)

When her carriage rolled into my village I had just reached marrying age, but my betrothed was off fighting in the endless ogre wars. I often thought of him and of the life we were to embark on and prayed for his safe return, but that never came to pass. The whole village knew of the audition that the queen would be holding to select her handmaiden. All of the young women had donned their finest gowns, which looking back, seemed impressive, but to the queen it would have most certainly appeared paltry for our village was poor.

I had no desire to put on for the queen, as my brothers and sisters were young and ill, and I was only one who was strong and could provide for us. I wore boy's clothes instead of dresses as it was easier to chop wood and carry water in leather leggings then in billowy skirts. I was surprised when the queen took notice of me. She thought I was a boy at first glance, and she playfully pulled off my cap revealing my long blond hair. It fell past my shoulders, and she raised her perfect eyebrow in mild surprise.

After she realized I was, in fact, a girl, she asked my age and I told her I was on the rise of my 18th year. She seemed pleased by this and spread her palm over my chest, her eyes closed for a brief moment as she felt my heart beat, by far harder and louder than its usual steady cadence. Her eyes went wide and she took a deep breath before promptly inviting me to come to her tent that night. I bowed before her and simply uttered, "My Queen." For one does not refuse their queen, I learned that the hard way as time went on.

The queen's men set up their caravan on the edge of the village and a few other girls and I were procured at sundown to sit by her fire and wait our turn for a meeting. I felt oddly calm and unconcerned when I was taken into her tent. The first thing I noticed was the queen's beauty. She looked regal and elegant. She was splayed out on a bed of pillows and pelts and scrutinizing me with confidence. Which was the exact opposite of how I felt in that moment, meek and unworthy, as she inspected me. She dismissed the guard and we were left alone, and it was then that she asked me to disrobe. I did so with awkward trepidation. My body was strong from work, my thighs and arms defined, and not the dainty picture of a lady that was the ideal feminine shape.

She seemed to approve though, as she stood and moved toward me. She touched between my legs where no one had ever touched before except myself to wash, and asked if I had ever been with a man. I replied that I had never. She then asked if I desired to. I felt my skin flush in embarrassment. I knew what was required of marriage, but I had scarce time to think of it. I replied honestly that I had not paid much thought to the idea. She seemed pleased with my answer, and invited me to stay that night in her tent. I nodded my head as I pulled back on my leather clothes, a strange chill coursed through my body.

We were then presented with food, and dined on grapes, cheeses, sweet breads and cured meats. She insisted I take my fill. I had never before been able to eat all I wanted, and I relished the opportunity. She seemed to enjoy watching me eat, and made the promise that if I were to go with her, I would never be hungry or for wanting of anything.

She asked if I had ever left my village, and I told her I had not. She told me stories of faraway lands and of magic. I was captivated by her stories and her worldliness. I realized then that life in the village was not all there was to the world. I had never questioned my station in life, but that night something changed in my consciousness and understanding of the world.

When she saw me yawn and my eyelids droop, she guided me to her sleeping place. I went willingly, my belly was full and the day had been exceptionally long. My head swam from the ale I had drunk, intensifying my complacency and desire for rest. She soothed me and stroked my hair as she would a child, and she lay down next to me, drawing me close to her body and placing her hand over my heart. I slept almost instantly, remembering nothing but the feel of her warm body close to mine.

In the early light of dawn, I was woken by her and told that we would be taking our leave. I was confused and felt awkward for a moment. It then became clear that she had chosen me. She told me in no uncertain terms to say my final goodbyes to my family. I felt my heart break as I had never experienced change. Daily life had been one long loop of work, hardship, hunger and sleep. I went to my mother, who shed many tears over the news, but knew there was no option. She was happy in a way, wishing me a better life than what her own had produced. I worried for my family, but my people assured me they would tend to my mother and siblings as best they could. I then learned that the queen had paid my mother for me, a handsome sum I'm told, although I never have learned values of coin and gold.

As I had nothing to pack or take, save the clothes I was wearing, I was ushered into her carriage and we were off. She regarded me with a curiosity that made me blush under her gaze, and I felt I should speak, but no words came. I looked out the small window as the scenery became unfamiliar the farther we traveled through the forest, and the farther I was taken from my home.