Sample of "Rise of the Emerald Queen", slated for release in 2021.
|The gleam of the morning sun shone through the palace window, illuminating Ophiyra’s bedroom. Specks of dust could be seen dancing in the glistening beam of light as the princess leaned on the windowsill and looked out onto the city, with its billowing clouds of smoke and beautiful view of the rising sun passing over the ocean, reflecting its light on the waves. As she watched the city awaken, an airship passed over the skyline, its fins rippling as they blew in the breeze. Ophiyra’s mother was always impressed with human innovation. It had been a fair amount of time since Queen Liara passed away, but watching the airships float by reminded Ophiyra of her years growing up at her mother’s side. She let out a content sigh as she pulled away from the window.
Ophiyra took a seat at the vanity, waiting for the stylist her father hired to help her prepare for the upcoming celebration. Today was the day that Ophiyra turned eighteen, and was to be formally crowned as the heir to the throne. Her father, King Alistair, had spared no expense on this momentous occasion, making the young princess all the more nervous.
It had been Alistair’s hope that marrying an elven woman and having a child would serve to form a bridge between humans and elves in Osteria, and while some appreciated this measure, there were some circles that felt that he had gone too far. Elves had always been welcome in Osteria, ever since they sought refuge on the island some centuries ago during the Great War, but some people, unfortunately, believed that elves were second-class citizens, and that by tolerating their presence, Osteria had done enough for them.
As the stylist began his work, Ophiyra stared intently at her reflection. She knew how important this celebration was, but she couldn’t shake the nervous feeling she had. Her father had spent a lot of money, and there was likely to be a lot of press in attendance. This was by far the biggest event of her young life, and all eyes would be on her today, as she would be Osteria's first ever half-elven Princess . She could only hope that she would make her father proud.
Her thoughts were intruded by her stylist. “Okay Your Highness, it’s up to you. I can put your hair up in a bun, or let it flow down and braid it, what’s it going to be today?” Ophiyra wasn’t quite used to being addressed as Your Highness yet, so her response was slightly delayed. “Oh, umm” she pondered. While she had attended her share of parties and other events, none were as demanding as this. “I’m not sure, to be honest.” She looked back at him. “What do you think would work best?” The stylist rubbed the stubble on his chin, pondering for a moment. “With respect, Your Highness, I feel like it would look better down. How about a large single braid?” Ophiyra thought about it for a moment. “That sounds wonderful. Please, proceed.” The stylist smiled and nodded, and continued his work.
After what felt like hours, his work was done. Ophiyra looked at her reflection in the mirror to take in the sight of her newly done hair. It was twisted into two braids from the sides to the back, combining into a larger single braid, with a curtain of her brown hair under it. She was suitably impressed with the stylist’s work. “This looks wonderful, thank you. I very much appreciate your hard work. I’m sure my father paid you well, but take this as a token of my appreciation.” She handed him a ten-crown bill, a handsome tip for his effort, as he bowed and left.
After finishing her preparations, Ophiyra took one last look at the mirror. She was proud of the reflection staring back at her. Her flowing green dress with a gold-laced corset, an emerald pendant hanging from her neck, her hair in a well-woven braid with a perfect resting place for her crown. She smiled, feeling a bit more confident that she could make this celebration a success. It was nearly time for the Coronation to begin, so she glided out of her bedroom and towards the throne room.
At the door to the throne room, she could hear the throng of people inside, waiting for her to walk down the corridor. As she approached, the guard standing by the door gently raised his hand. He was a newer officer, judging by his badges, and he looked rather young, perhaps no more than a few years older than her. “Give it one moment, Your Highness, your father is seeing to a visitor.” “Oh, well then. I guess this gives me a moment to prepare. Thank you, Officer—” The guard nodded politely. “Glass. Oliver Glass.” Ophiyra nodded back. “Officer Glass. Thank you.”
Ophiyra took a deep breath and started pacing the hall. Suddenly, she heard her father shouting from the throne room. She couldn’t quite hear what he was saying, but within a few seconds, a gentleman came out through the doors. He was wearing a highly-decorated Causterian military uniform. The man gave Ophiyra a disgusted sneer, then walked away. Another guard came out and whispered to Officer Glass, then went back in. Officer Glass turned to her. “Your Highness, it’s time. Let me know when you’re ready.”
Ophiyra took a moment to collect herself then approached the door. She nodded to Officer Glass, indicating that she was ready. Her pulse was racing, and she could feel a bit of sweat in her palms. She was nervous, but she was indeed as ready as she would ever be. The doors swung open as Officer Glass announced her entry. “May I introduce to you, Her Royal Highness, the soon-to-be-crowned Princess Ophiyra Lockwood!”
As Ophiyra walked down the corridor, she was met with applause and cheers. She couldn’t help but smile a bit as she made her way to the throne where her father now sat. She felt humbled by the admiration she was receiving, and it gave her an air of confidence. She could feel the tension floating away as she strode down the hall. As she approached, she knelt down in front of her father, ready to take the Heir’s Oath.
“My child, are you prepared to take the Oath?,” the King’s voice rang out, as the crowd fell silent. “I am,” Ophiyra replied, booming with confidence. Alistair was beaming with pride seeing his daughter’s confidence. “Very well, repeat after me. I, Ophiyra Lockwood”. Ophiyra repeated her father’s words. “I, Ophiyra Lockwood”. The King continued. “Vow as heir to the throne of Osteria”. “Vow as heir to the throne of Osteria”. King Alistair took a deep breath. “To rule with a fair and just hand, to value the lives and well-being of my people above all else, and to always act in the best interest of my people and kingdom.” Ophiyra took a breath as well. “To rule with a fair and just hand, to value the lives and well-being of my people above all else, and to always act in the best interest of my people and kingdom.”
Alistair turned to his left side, where an ornate crown sat, with a gleaming sapphire lodged in its center. He lifted the crown and ceremoniously placed it on Ophiyra’s head. It was an almost perfect fit. Alistair tapped the tip of the crown with his scepter. “Then by my right as king of Osteria, I hereby crown you Princess Ophiyra Lockwood, heir to the throne.” The crowd could no longer contain their excitement, and burst out in cheers. Ophiyra turned and waved to the excited throng, her face beaming with pride. The Coronation was a success, and all that remained was the after-party.