An elaborated story from a one shot I posted on tumblr - chasexjackson (post/39876580121/little-merman) Fairy tale setting - a twist on the classic The Little Mermaid.
I promise to try and keep the characters IC as much as possible, and to keep this story as not crappy as possible, and to update fairly regularly. Any pairings later in the story other than Percabeth will also be canon.
This is very much an introduction chapter...
In one of the many grand rooms of the ancient castle of the city of Olympia sat a girl with brilliant curly blonde hair which tumbled down to her waist. This hair was currently being rather brutally combed by the girl's childhood nurse, Martha. The older woman yanked and pulled at the unruly tendrils until they were finally free of each other and then proceeded to twist the hair into braids and secure it into a tight bun with a dozen small pins. As Martha worked, the girl ignored her own reflection in front of her, as she was utterly absorbed in the book in her hands. Reading didn't come easily for her – it hadn't done since she first learnt as a young child – but she adored books and so she struggled through, feeling that the benefits far outweighed the costs.
'Straighten up Annabeth,' Martha chided, tapping her back.
Annabeth obliged, holding the book directly in front of her face so that she could continue reading as Martha continued to torture her.
'There,' the nurse said eventually, setting her hands upon Annabeth's shoulders. 'I'm finished, now put that book down and get going.'
Annabeth barely glanced at her reflection before she stood up from the dressing table and gently placed her book on her bedside table. She thanked Martha quietly and left her room, smoothing down her heavy maroon-coloured dress as she walked. Her mother's formal chamber – that is the room she worked in, not the room in which she slept – was situated in the North end of the castle. Annabeth's sleeping chamber was in the east wing. Her favourite thing about having her room in that part of the castle was the large window facing the East with a cushioned bench below it; she would rise early most days and watch the sun rise over the great expanse of glittering water. The view was exceptional; the rocky beach below being the only obstacle between her window and the sea, in a physical sense at least. Mentally, Annabeth felt a far greater barrier between her and the freedom of the wild ocean.
She passed no one as she walked slowly to her mother, who would surely be waiting for her. Nevertheless, she dawdled, stepping only on certain areas on the great patterned carpet, as she had done as a child – tiptoeing on the green squares, not the red. It had been a game she created with her brother—
'Annabeth!' A sharp voice made her look up from her game abruptly.
Her mother stood before her in a beautiful grey dress, it was not unlike the one Annabeth was wearing, Queen Athena however seemed to look far more regal than her daughter. It was the way she held herself; with effortless grace, and intimidating formality. Annabeth straightened up, clasping her hands together behind her back and biting her lip like she had done as a child.
'Mother sorry,' she hurried out an apology. 'I was—'
'Dawdling,' the Queen quipped. 'Well never mind you're here now. Come along; let us not waste more time.'
Annabeth obediently followed her mother along the carpeted halls, resisting the urge to step only on the red squares. They soon reached her mother's chamber, a simply decorated room lit by a floor to ceiling window directly opposite the door. Athena strode over to the grand desk in front of the window and faced away from Annabeth. The pale morning light ghosting through the window silhouetted the Queen, Annabeth felt herself shiver involuntarily. She had done something terribly wrong, she knew it; her mother was about to discipline her. Athena's more-than-usual tense posture set Annabeth on edge. She racked her mind desperately for what she might have done recently.
'Annabeth, we need to discuss something of the upmost importance,' the Queen announced, finally turning to face her daughter with a severe expression. 'Sit down please.'
Shakily, Annabeth crossed the room and sat in the high backed chair in front of her mother's desk, she swallowed and looked at her mother, whom had just taken the seat opposite her, and attempted to drag some confidence into her expression.
'Annabeth, as you well know, I am coming to the end of my reign.'
Annabeth blinked; she had not been expecting this.
'The rule of our kingdom states that a King or Queen may not rule alone for longer than ten years.'
Annabeth nodded, although she thought the ancient rule was foolish and needed revision, or better abandoning all together.
'Your father has left me alone in reign for almost that amount of time.' – She said it as though Annabeth's father had left them optionally, when in fact he had died when she was just nine years old – 'It is your nineteenth birthday in six weeks, I would wish for you to take over my reign on that day.'
She announced this as if it were trivial news; Annabeth stared blankly at her mother for a moment.
'Six weeks?' she asked in a quiet, distant voice.
'Yes Annabeth!' her mother quipped impatiently. 'Do not act as if this is completely out of the blue! You have been preparing for this for years, ever since—. Well anyway,' she continued, ignoring Annabeth's intake of breath at the almost mention of her brother. 'You are prepared for this; you will make a wise and excellent Queen.'
'Thank you mother,' her voice wouldn't raise above a whisper.
Athena inclined her head ever so slightly. 'You have duties today.'
Annabeth nodded and rose from the chair, turning to leave. Her head was spinning as her brain caught up with the information she had just been given.
'Oh and Annabeth,' her mother called before she reached the door. 'The first dinner is Saturday night.'
Athena looked up from her desk. 'For the Rocales,' she said, referring to the lengthy social process which occurred when a change in the monarchy came about. 'There will be a substantial amount of people there whom you will be meeting.'
'Okay,' she said, feeling her brows pull together.
'Annabeth you understand what will be required of you before you take over my rule.'
Athena sighed heavily, 'I thought you were intelligent, you know one cannot ascend the throne without—'
'—marrying,' Annabeth finished numbly, realising what her mother was trying to get her to understand.
'And I will be meeting my future husband during the Rocales.'
'Yes,' Athena repeated indifferently, as if the words had absolutely no weight in them. Annabeth's heart was fluttering painfully fast against her ribs, the weight of the words in fact, was crushing.
'You have duties today,' Athena repeated.
Annabeth nodded numbly and left the room. She walked through the castle in a slight daze, her breaths coming up short and fast, she stopped in a hallway and leaned back against the stone wall, sinking to the floor. She would be married in six weeks, she would be Queen in six weeks.
The patterns of the carpet began to blur in her vision, as the overwhelming weight of those words crushed her down, harder and harder, until she found it difficult to breathe. She wanted to run away, run until the castle was a small dot on the horizon, she wanted to swim out to sea and never return.
But she could not.
She had responsibilities. She could never run away from her life.
She was trapped.