Story 12 – The Lake on the Mountain and the Cloud Folk

It was a dreary cold and grey day in the Kingdom of Harrowsmith. Nobody slept well at all now that the secret forest was covered in ice. Princess Charlotte rolled out of bed to get dressed. Princess Evie was already up, dressed and looking out their bedroom window at the secret forest. “It’s still covered in ice.”, Princess Evie said, “I was hoping it was all a bad dream.” “Me too”, said Princess Charlotte. Jib, Princess Charlotte’s puppy dog, nuzzled Princess Charlotte’s leg and started to growl. “Oh, not you jibby jibby.” said Princess Charlotte, “You know, you’re the best thing that happened yesterday.” “Hey! What about my party?” said Princess Evie. “That was fun, but Jib is so cute!” The princesses giggled together.

When the princesses ran downstairs they found a lot more people than usual at the breakfast table; Lord Mike, Duchess Millie, Lords Marcus and Logan, Witch Melanie, Sir Jacob and Lady Emma. The Princesses were ecstatic! They had not seen Lady Emma in many months! “Emma!” they squealed! Lady Emma had been in the Dog Lands trying to negotiate the return of the Queen of Cats’ balls of yarn. “Did you get them to give back the yarn?” Princess Charlotte asked. “Of course! As usual, it was all just a big misunderstanding.” said Emma. “That’s great!” said Princess Charlotte. “Have you eaten?” “Not yet.” said Emma.

The princesses sat down beside their best friend, Lady Emma, and enjoyed a huge breakfast. There was bacon, toast, beans, and eggs and the girls ate until they felt like they might burst! All of the other people at the table spoke to King Daddy as he told them what he planned to do about the ice surrounding the Secret Forest. Princess Charlotte and Lady Emma had so much to catch up on they were hardly paying attention. Lady Emma told the princesses all about her adventures with the cats and dogs and about traveling over the lake on the mountain with the cloud folk. It was all very interesting but before they knew it breakfast was over and everyone was leaving. The princesses were embarrassed because they hadn’t been paying attention. Lady Emma was embarrassed too. King Daddy looked at them as everyone else left. “Come with me.” King Daddy said as he walked towards his throne room.

King Daddy walked to his throne and took his seat. He looked more tired than usual. “Ladies,” King Daddy began, “I’ve saved the most important mission for you.” You are going to deliver a very special lantern to the cloud folk. Lady Emma can show you the way.” “What lantern?” asked Evie.

The Witch, Melanie came out from the side of the room and produced a small wool bag. The bag was sparkling strangely. Princess Evie extended her hand and took the bag. When she looked at it she realized that it was not sparkling at all. The light coming from inside the bag was so bright that the light was escaping through the strands of wool. When Princess Evie opened the bag a blinding light burst out. She reached in and pulled out a small lantern. The lantern was impossible to look at at first. It shone too brightly. As the lantern came into the daylight, the light quickly dimmed. “The darker it becomes the brighter this lantern will shine.” King Daddy said. “It is the only thing Melanie and Queen Mommy think will be able to move the dark storm cloud from above the Secret Forest.” “What about the ice?!” Princess Charlotte asked. “There are many powers at work here, Charlotte.” said King Daddy. “The clouds are no work of mother nature. They are stuck there.” said King Daddy. “I fear the essence of darkness is contained within them.” said Queen Mommy. “That lantern contains the essence of light. It is all the cloud folk need to destroy the storm cloud. Then we can worry about the ice.” said King Daddy. “They are waiting for you.” said Melanie.

The courtyard was busy with guards and soldiers when the Ladies of Harrowsmith emerged. There were far more horses than usual but when Emma whistled her horse, Puppet, came trotting forward. “I’ll have to remember to teach Panana that one.” said Princess Charlotte. The princesses went into the barn, prepared their animals for riding, mounted their steeds and galloped out of the barn and through the castle gates. Lady Emma joined them and they were off.

The day was spent traveling. Princess Evie tied the lantern to Curls saddle. The three girls had snacks in their saddle bags and most of the trip the ate and talked. “Do you want me to tell you about the lands of the cats and dogs?”, asked Lady Emma. “Yeah!”, said Princess Charlotte and Princess Evie together.

“Well they’re not like our cats and dogs. They’re far bigger” Emma began. “and they can talk, just like you and me.” “Really? Like, with magic?” asked Evie, thinking about Princess Charlotte’s magic ring. “Yeah!” said Emma “They behave just like cats and dogs; running, chasing, scratching, barking and pawing.” “That’s Crazy!” said Princess Charlotte. “Why do we get involved? Isn’t that dangerous?” asked Evie. “Well it is,” said Emma “but the problem is whenever they fight it rains in the farmlands. So, if we don’t keep the peace we’ll have flooded fields.” the Princesses laughed at Lady Emma’s joke but couldn’t help but wonder if she was being serious.

As the day wore on the princesses found themselves finally at the great wall. As usual, the guards saluted the noble children of Harrowsmith. The princesses and Lady Emma rode their horses up onto the wall. “The last time we came this way,” said Princess Evie, “Lord Logan and Princess Charlotte were going to get me to jump over the falls!” “Well we’re not going towards the falls this time.” said Emma. “It’s this way.” “I know.” said Evie, “I was just mentioning it. I’m still annoyed.” The princesses followed Lady Emma north along the wall. A couple of jumping dragons were getting pretty feisty along the wall so they stopped to help the guards push them back. A few good bops on the noodle with a shield or sword and they were gone.

When the Princesses had followed Emma all the way to the North end of the wall they felt very alone. The North end of the wall was very tall and there were no guards around because the jumping dragons couldn’t jump that high. When they came to the gate of the last tower they swung it open to reveal a hollow cavern with a spiraling staircase. The princesses and Lady Emma dismounted their animals and started to unpack what they’d need for the rest of the journey. Princess Evie made sure she had all her food, her soft blanket, the lantern, and her bubble wand. Princess Charlotte did the same and made sure to take her magic shield and Jaguar. Lady Emma lead the horses and unicorn out of the cavern and said to Puppet very clearly. “Go Home!” “We’re not coming back this way?” asked Princess Evie. “No. We are to guard the lantern until the cloud folk are finished with it. Then we are to bring it back to the castle.” “Okay,” said Charlotte, putting on her croc-tooth ring, “Panana, Curls, we are going to find another way home. You can do whatever you like for the rest of the day.” Panana and Curls nuzzled the princesses with their heads and turned around and trotted off with Puppet. Lady Emma was well on her way up the stairs when the princesses turned around. Princess Evie held out her magic lantern and chased after her with Princess Charlotte.

The stairs were perfectly sculpted in the rocks. Lady Emma was going up them very fast. The princesses had trouble keeping up. When they reached the top there was another thick wooden door with a bar across it. “This keeps the pixies out of our lands.” said Emma, “we’ll have to remember to come and lock it so those little thieves won’t get in.” “Pixies?” asked the princesses, “we thought pixies were nice!” “Some are,” Lady Emma said, “but the wood pixies on top of this mountains are little buggers. They love gold. Any gold. In fact, you’d better tuck your hair under your hood and we’ll run as fast as we can.” The princesses were a little skeptical but they did what Lady Emma said. When they were done tucking in their hair Lady Emma had taken the bar from the door. She put her hand on the handle and looked at the two princesses. “Are you ready?” she asked. “Yes.” the princesses replied, feeling determined. “Now! Run!” Emma screamed as she swung the door open and took off down the path. Princess Evie and Princess Charlotte tore off after her. Princess Evie waved her wand at the open door and it slammed shut behind them. She even used her magic to re-bar the door. The princesses were running as fast as they could down a lovely brick road. The forest was bright and cheerful. There was no wind and the leaves were beginning to turn lovely shades of orange and red. They couldn’t see any yellow leaves. Princess Charlotte and Princess Evie slowed down as they were taken back by how pretty it was. Neither have them had ever been on top of this mountain before. “This place is gorgeous.” said Princess Charlotte. “It is. I don’t know why we were running. We’re going to miss it.” The two princesses began to walk and catch their breath. Lady Emma ran far ahead and out of sight. After a few minutes of strolling and enjoying the forest and the weather Princess Charlotte felt a tug on her hair. She swatted around her head and heard a little ‘Ouch!’. She looked and saw a little pixie clutching onto a lock of her hair. She grabbed the pixie and threw her away. The pixie flew right back into Princess Evelyn’s space and grabbed onto her hair again. Princess Evie didn’t like this one bit. Princess Charlotte grabbed the little pixie out of Princess Evie’s hair and threw it as far as she could. Just then another, and another pixie appeared; Then another! Soon the pixies were coming from everywhere and the princesses could hear them shouting ‘Gold! Gold!’. “What are they doing?” Shouted Princess Charlotte as they started to run away down the path. “We don’t have any gold!” “They’re after our hair!” said Princess Evie. “Run!” The two princesses ran as fast as they could. They finally got ahead of the swarm of pixies chasing after them. Lady Emma stood at the end of the path at the opening of the woods pointing her bow straight down the path at Princess Charlotte and princess Evie. There was four arrows on her bow at the same time. When the princesses saw this they dove to the right and left of the path and Lady Emma let fly her arrows! A huge magic net enveloped the pixies. Princess Charlotte and Princess Evie stood up and ran towards Emma. “Thank goodness you were here!” they said. “Let’s go, quickly!” Emma said.

When the princesses and Lady Emma emerged from the forest there was a great beach, almost as large as the white shores in the west. The beach wrapped nearly the entire edge of the lake on the mountain. Directly across from them there was a castle built right into the mountain! It was incredibly tall. So tall, in fact, that the top was covered in clouds. “Who lives there?!” said Princess Charlotte. “I’ve never seen or heard of anyone who lived on this mountain before!” said Princess Evie, excitedly. “That was the home of the cloud folk, long ago, before they learned to harness the essence of the air.” said Lady Emma. The water was crystal clear and blue. There were giant flowers that looked like tulips growing out of giant lily pads. “Wow!” the princesses said as they looked around. “Be careful.” Emma said. “… and follow me.” Lady Emma led the princesses out into the water to one of the big lily pads. “There doesn’t seem to be any big frogs around.” Emma said, “Quick, before they come back up!” Emma jumped up onto the lily pad and helped the princesses up. When they stood on the lily pad the princesses could see how big the flowers were. They were so big that both Princesses and Lady Emma could fit in one quite comfortably. Lady Emma tied a rope to the bottom of the biggest flower. “Get in.” she told the Princesses. The princesses got inside the giant flower. Lady Emma took out a long knife and swung it at the stem of the flower. “What are you doing!?” the princesses screamed. Just then, the flower broke loose of it’s stem and began to float away. Lady Emma ran along the lily pads pulling Princess Evie and Princess Charlotte with her rope through the air like a balloon. When Lady Emma ran out of rope and lily pads she jumped up, grabbed onto the rope and they were floating away with the wind. Princess Evie was very scared! She tucked herself down into the bottom of the flower. Princess Charlotte was laughing and screaming with excitement. She had never seen floating flowers before! Every once in a while she’d rock the flower just to scare Princess Evie even more. “You stop that right now, Charlotte!” Princess Evie would demand.

The flower picked up speed and landed safely on a balcony in the mountain castle. “How did you do that?” asked Princess Charlotte. “I didn’t. The cloud folk did. They’re expecting us.” Lady Emma said as she led the way up more stairs and through great halls with beautiful blue and silver stained glass windows. After the final flight of stairs they emerged onto a landing high up in the sky surrounded by clouds. Three figures wearing white cloaks and hoods came out of the clouds. When they got close enough the princesses could see that they were not cloaks, the creatures had great feathered wings right behind their arms and thick white hair that fell so straight it looked like hoods. Lady Emma bowed and said “We’re here on behalf of King Andrew.” “You have something for us, then?” asked the figure in the centre. Princess Evie produced the small lantern from her pocket and held it out. The lantern shone with blinding light as the cloud folk took it, placed three small glass vials in her hand, and leapt back into the clouds. The vials looked empty. Princess Evie handed one to Lady Emma and the other to Princess Charlotte. The three ladies opened the vials at the same time and held up the open vials to have a look inside. At first it seemed like the vials were empty. Suddenly wind began to blast out of the small vials. The princesses and Lady Emma held on as tight as they could. The wind blew out of the vials so hard it swept the princesses off their feet. The girls floated up into the air when suddenly Princess Evie, Princess Charlotte, and Lady Emma started growing wings. When the wind died down the princesses and Lady Emma looked just like the cloud people. They flapped their wings and took to the skies!

Once the princesses and Lady Emma were above the clouds they saw hundreds of cloud folk flying quickly behind the light of the lantern. The winds were picking up quickly and giving the princesses, Lady Emma, and the hundreds of cloud folk great speed. They charged over the edge of the white clouds and dove straight for the dark storm cloud above the Secret Forest. Princess Charlotte had great eyesight, especially during dusk, she could see before either Princess Evie or Lady Emma that the dark storm clouds were covered in cloud folk as well. They were not as fair as the cloud folk Charlotte knew. They looked a lot alike, but had rougher, scruffier, sharper grey fur with horns and fiercer, yellow eyes. They began to screech when they saw the armies of the cloud folk coming. The light from the lantern seemed to grow brighter and brighter as they flew close to the storm cloud. The creatures from the storm cloud flew hard and fast but they could not fight the wind. The good cloud folk smashed into the bad cloud folk with great force, knocking most of them to the ground. The bad cloud folk that were left in the skies went flying away from the light as fast as they could. The good cloud folk did not chase them. They circled the dark storm cloud with the magic lantern in the centre. Princess Charlotte, Princess Evie and Emma flapped and floated nearby. There wings were starting to get tired. The light of the lantern disappeared into the dark storm cloud. Moments later the cloud folk all flew away from the cloud and it burst with bright light. The good cloud folk seemed to be heading home so Princess Charlotte, Princess Evie and Lady Emma followed. When they arrived back at the spire of the castle the princesses and Lady Emma landed smoothly in front of the same three figures who stood before them before the battle. The centre figure held out his hand with the lantern. “The cloud folk thank you.” he said. Princess Evie stepped forward and extended her hand, taking the lantern. “My name is Raven, the leader of the Cloud Folk.” “I am Princess Evelyn, and this is my sister, Princess Charlotte.” “Nice to meet you. We also found this. See that Queen Ann Marie receives it. Do not look at it until you speak to the Queen.” “I understand.” Raven handed Princess Evie a small wool bag like the one the lantern had come to her in. She tucked it away in her pocket and the Princesses and Lady Emma said goodbye.

As they stepped to the edge and jumped into the air to fly home they wondered how much longer they’d have wings. They soared over the lake on the mountain and dove down the mountainside into the farmlands. When they reached the low lands of the plains a warm breeze surrounded them, changed them back, and placed them gently on the grass.

“Well, that was fun while it lasted.” said Lady Emma. “Yeah!” agreed the girls. “How are we going to get home now?” Princess Evie asked. Charlotte whistled as loud as she could and, wouldn’t you know it, Panana came galloping over the hill a few minutes later. “How did you do that?” Princess Evie asked. “Lucky try, I guess.” said Charlotte. All three ladies climbed on top of Panana’s back and rode back to the castle. On their way past the Secret Forest they could see that the dark cloud was gone. The moonlight glistened off the ice that still covered the Secret Forest. “Now for the hard part.” Lady Emma said. “What do you mean?” the princesses asked. “Well, there’s bound to be hundreds of snow dragons in there by now. Not to mention whatever ice monsters Daniel McEvil comes up with. It’s going to be a mess. But we’ll worry about that tomorrow.”

Princess Charlotte and Princess Evie both looked over their shoulders the whole ride home. They couldn’t stop thinking about the trouble that lurked behind the ice walls surrounding Nanny’s once beautiful forest.

Math is ƒμπ! – Math Characters, InDesign, and PDF’s

As always I am very thankful for every client that is impressed enough with my work to give me a call. I am usually the first to say, “the bigger the challenge, the more fun for me!” As a graphic designer you get used to the same-old-same on a project-by-project basis it really is exciting when a new challenge comes my way.

That said, my most recent challenge was with the Canadian Mathematics Society’s Newsletter. They are, as you probably guessed, pretty keen on math. They share their research, findings, and math news in a bi-monthly newsletter. So, naturally, there’s a lot of Omega’s (Ω) and Psi’s (ψ) and everything else you can imagine! (φ ψ ∞ ⊂ ∪ ∞ ≠ π ∑ Δ ƒ Ω ∫ μ π θ ω λ)

As I said, I have ho problem with challenges. The only problem, for me, is they’re not all in the same font! Most can be found in the system font, Symbol. The rest are buried and hidden in one of about 15 different math fonts. Things like larger parentheses and this thing -> ∑ in a reasonable weight for large use are very hard to find.

See below:

For the designer’s reading this I know you’re saying “Stop whining, set your style sheets, and go!” So, yes, for the basic variables an italicized Times New Roman character will do. I also have a style set for the Symbol and a style set for the outlined letters. The equations I do manually but that’s no big deal, right? Wrong! The math program used to write these documents can only export to PDF. And, as we all know, when a PDF has a foreign font used it does not release the character in a copy/paste situation. The PDFs also do not import into Illustrator correctly either. So, I’m left with copying and pasting what I can and, character by character, placing each character manually. I feel like a type-setter before the computer-age.

To wrap it up, when all was said and done the client said “The math looks really good!” I’m also being paid for my time. I guess I wanted additional recognition for how time consuming and hard it is to produce beautiful math! Long story short, I’m awesome!

The Disney princesses and why I hate my daughter’s love for them.

Yes, I let my kids watch disney. I don’t think that it will cause them any real harm. I just think the pre-Mulan princesses are all bad role models. My wife and I are the strongest examples in our daughter’s lives. This is also why I wanted to write them princess stories revolving around their home. As far as setting an example, Ann Marie is not passive, soft spoken, or submissive it the running of our household or family. So we can check that box off the list. Here are what I consider the common problems found with the Princesses of old.

Jasmine (Aladdin) – The entire plot line is centered around the requirement for her to marry. All the men lie and conspire to be with her. Her goal is to be free and ends up marrying Aladdin.

Arial (The Little Mermaid) – She changes completely, including running away from home, disobeying her father’s wishes, and giving up her voice. To be with a man she had only saw and never spoken to.

Belle (Beauty and the Beast) – The only men she has to chose from are a self indulged, chauvinistic, playboy, who is clearly going to cheat on her with the village triplets, and a cruel hearted prince who, upon their introduction, had imprisoned her father and traded his captivity for hers. The beast does change for Belle, but is that really any better than the woman changing for the man?

Cinderella (Cinderella) Get someone to do everything for you. If you don’t have someone to do it for you get animals to do it. Don’t worry, eventually a man will show up and fix everything. That should be your primary goal. Be ready for his arrival.

Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) Just lay around and wait for your man to save you.

Snow White (Snow White and the Seven Dwarves) Looks are everything. So much so that some women will kill you to be prettier.

Mulan, Tiana, and Rapunzel I have no problem with. Disney has modernized the female character. Just have to make sure they have a lovely princess dress and pretty hair or little girls won’t want to pretend to be them.

Story 11 – Farmer’s Festival

Before the sun came up Princess Evie was up, out of bed, and getting dressed. It was a special day for her and Princess Charlotte. It was the last day of harvest and the Farmer’s celebration was tonight in the Pavilion. For the last few months of summer all the farmers of Harrowsmith have been harvesting their crops and storing them in their stone sheds and cellars to protect them so they can sell them in the market. Every year when the harvest was finished all the farmers and shop keepers would celebrate by bringing some of their delicious food to the Pavilion and sharing with the Kingdom’s people. Usually everyone was there and Princess Evie organized it all! There was always huge baskets full of fruits and vegetables, cauldrons full of soups and stews, large wood grills packed with chicken, beef, and vegetable kabobs, tables full of cakes, pies and fresh homemade bread, and large barrels full of fizzy drinks and juices of all sorts. It was quite the event and everyone looked forward to it all year. Princess Charlotte didn’t like it quite as much as everyone else because were a lot of jumping dragons who knew when it was time for harvest. They would sit on the other side of the wall all day and wait for their chance to jump over it and head straight to the pavilion for a tasty treat.

When Princess Charlotte came out of her room she was dressed for the day. Princess Charlotte had her leather jacket on, Jaguar strapped to her belt and her magic shield thrown over her back. She made sure her croc-tooth ring was on her finger and that her bubble wand was safely tucked away in the handle of her sword.

When Princess Evie came out of her room she, too, was dressed for the day. Princess Evie wore her favourite blue dress. She knew she had a lot of work to do today so she combed her hair up and out of her face. She pinned it with three long yellow hair pins and her wand. Evie normally carried her bubble wand in her hands everywhere she went but today it was going to be replaced by a notebook and quill so she could keep track of everything. Princess Evie also carried in her backpack a beautiful purple dress that she was going to bring to the Pavilion for Charlotte to wear during the festival later.

Outside the doorway there were many people in the hallways. There were always butlers, guards, teachers, cooks, servants, maids, and the royal jester, Francis scuttling around the halls of the castle. And they would always, on any other morning, be very busy doing their jobs; cooking, cleaning, serving, teaching, guarding, and jesting. They would also, on any other morning, stop what they were doing to say good morning to the princesses. Today, however, was different. All of the people in the hallways were standing around, crowded into small circles, whispering and looking out the windows of the towers. When Princess Charlotte and Princess Evie passed by the royal Jester, Francis, they said, “Good morning, Francis!” Francis turned to look at the Princesses. His face was grey and worried. This was the first time they could remember Francis not smiling. “What’s happened?” asked Princess Charlotte. “The Secret Forest…” he stuttered, “something’s wrong.” Princess Charlotte and Princess Evie ran to the closest window they could find. They couldn’t believe their eyes. When they had gone to sleep last night the forest was bright, leafy and green. This morning the forest was covered in snow, the trees had lost their leaves and grey clouds floated overhead. All manner of woodland creature was hopping and crawling from the forest out into the plains. “This could not have happened overnight. This is very strange.” Charlotte said to Evelyn.

The two princesses continued downstairs to the throne room. When they entered Daddy’s great hall they saw King Daddy and Queen Mommy in the two golden chairs at the head of the room. Grandpa and Nanny were standing in front of them along with many other people from the Kingdom of Harrowsmith. “Nanny!” the girls screamed as they ran towards her! “My babies!” Nanny replied and opened her arms for a big hug. As the princesses were hugging their grandmother, King Daddy said, “Nanny and Grandpa are going to stay with us a while. The woods is not safe for them right now. I also want you two to stay out. Do you understand?” “Yes, daddy.” replied both princesses. “Nanny, what happened to the Secret Forest?” Princess Evelyn asked. “Well you can see as well as I can from the towers.” Nanny said, “I went to bed yesterday morning and my forest was fine. This morning… ice!” King Daddy placed his crown on his head, picked up his sword and walked over to a young knight named Jacob. Jacob and the princesses had been friends since they were little. “Are you ready?” asked King Daddy. “Of course.” Jacob replied. “Good luck!” King Daddy said to Queen Mommy and Queen Mommy replied, “You too.” The two of them shared a long understanding stare before King Daddy turned and he and Sir Jacob marched out of the room. Charlotte stopped them quickly. “Wait! I want to come with you.”, she said. “No. Your duty is the Great Wall, and keeping the jumping dragons out of the Kingdom. Today is too important to cancel. You must make sure our borders are safe from those dragons. Jacob will come relieve you at the usual time so you can join in the festivities.” “Alright.” Charlotte said, a little saddened. She wanted to go on an adventure with King Daddy and Sir Jacob. She knew it would have to wait. King Daddy was right, the Festival was far too important. She and Princess Evie followed King Daddy out into the stable. “We’ll see you later, Nanny. Love you Mommy.” “Love you too, my angels.” Nanny said. “I love you too girls. Eyes open. It’s a dark day out there.”, Mommy said as she turned to head up into the tallest tower.

As Princess Charlotte and Princess Evie were passing through the front gate of the castle Princess Charlotte saw something rather strange. A small door, about half the size of a regular door, was high up inside the light tower. She didn’t remember there ever being a door there before. She could only see it from the perfect angle. If she had had her eyes closed for even a second or was looking in another direction that moment she might have missed it. “What’s that doing there?” Princess Charlotte said aloud, but she had no time to waste so she put it out of her mind and carried on out of the castle.

Sir Jacob’s horse, Clop, and King Daddy’s horse, Clip, were outside the stable waiting. A large group of guards were waiting with them. King Daddy and Sir Jacob mounted their steeds. As they were leaving King Daddy turned to face the Princesses. “Princess Evie, if something bad happens while you’re getting ready and no one else is around light all the fireworks and then run and hide. We’ll be able to see those from the Secret forest and know you need help.” King Daddy instructed. “Princess Charlotte, if something happens with us and we need your help we’ll send a messenger. Otherwise, Sir Jacob will come to relieve you of your post at nightfall. Understood?” “Yes.” replied the princesses. “Good. Stay sharp. Good luck.” King Daddy said as he was leaving. “Oh, and I love you!” he called back over his shoulder as he was galloping out the gate with Sir Jacob.

When the girls entered the stable Panana and Curls were engaged in a particularly heated conversation about the quality of their hay and the freshness of their food. Panana was convinced that Curls was getting much better treatment and was making a big stink about it. “You’ll both get fresh carrots tonight at the festival.” Charlotte said. “Really?!” Curls asked, excitedly. “Yes”, Charlotte said to Curls, “if you knock it off, do your duty and look after my sister, I’ll give you a whole basket of apples.” “Deal!” said Curls.

Princess Charlotte and Princess Evie galloped quickly out of the castle and over the drawbridge. They passed through the village of Charvlyn and headed on to Daddoo. When they arrived in Daddoo they could see that the city was both excited and worried. The wind was really strong and blowing from the south. The people of the village of Daddoo were packing their tables, chairs, table cloths, food and drinks into carts or wagons. They were all excited about the Festival. But there was whispering and long gazes over the horizon at the Secret Forest which was still covered in ice. “I guess this is where we split up.” said Princess Charlotte. “Yes. Good luck, sister. I love you.” said Princess Evie. “You too. I love you too.” said Princess Charlotte, and the two parted ways. Princess Charlotte headed East towards the Great Wall to Keep the Dragons away from the Festival and Princess Evie went North, into the farmlands and toward the Pavilion to prepare for the party.

Charlotte was at the Great Wall by late morning. There was very little to do there. The guards all knew how important the day was and they had made sure to prepare. Sir Jacob had had them all sharpen their swords and polish their armour. Hundreds of guards stood shoulder to shoulder looking out into the Jumping Dragon’s land to the East. Princess Charlotte climbed up one of the smaller battlements to her favourite lookout spot. She gazed out over the land and found that she could see movement over the hill on the other side of the river. “The jumping dragons are there, alright. They’re just waiting for the right time to attack.” said Charlotte. “Yes, Princess.” said the guards within earshot. Just as Princess Charlotte was about to step down from the battlement something caught her eye in the tallest tower over the gate of the Great Wall. Another small door. “OK. What’s going on here?” Charlotte said out loud as she marched towards the Gate Tower. Princess Charlotte knew there was never a small door in the side of that tower. She had spent more time than anyone on that wall. If there was a door there she’d have known about it. She walked over to the stairs and walked up and up and up until she was at the top. From the very top of the tallest tower she could see that the there were not as many dragons as she thought there was. She walked around the giant lantern that sat on top of the tower to where the small door was. Princess Charlotte knelt down and took a closer look. It was a very old looking door, built right into the stone of the tower wall. Charlotte was confused. “How did this get here and where does it go?”, she thought. It was an awful strange place for a door. The wall was built in stone. Charlotte thought that opening the door was pointless because it would only open to the stone wall behind it. Charlotte could see a glint of light seemed to shine through the keyhole. She looked closer and saw light coming from all of the cracks in the door. Her hand reached for the knob and turned it. She opened the door slowly. Sunlight, sand and scorching hot wind poured from the door as she opened it. All of a sudden a cute little puppy burst through the door and onto the tower floor. Charlotte heard a voice calling “Jib!? Jib?! Where are you you nasty little dog?!” Charlotte peered through the door and saw a nasty looking man standing in the sand and sunlight. He was dressed all in white with a thick black belt. He had cloths over his head but no hair, not even eyebrows. He held a black fire poker in his hand. He did not look like he was looking to make friends. Princess Charlotte suddenly realized if she could see him, maybe he could see her. The man in the sand looked right at Princess Charlotte and said, “Hey! Who are you!? How did you get one of my doors?” Princess Charlotte was startled. She slammed the door and jumped back. She lost her balance and tried to grab the knob for balance. It pulled right out of the wall and the door vanished, immediately. Princess Charlotte had fallen over. The little puppy dog started to lick her face. “Stop that Jib.” Charlotte said, assuming this was the dog the mean man was looking for. Princess Charlotte stood up and looked at the beat up old knob in her hand. “Interesting.” she said. Charlotte heard rumbling thunder in the distance. She turned around and saw a great lightning storm in the sky above the secret forest.

Meanwhile, at the Pavilion, Princess Evie’s Festival planning was going swimmingly. The clouds had cleared over the Pavilion. The warm winds from the south pushed all the clouds away to the North. Princess Evie noticed the dark clouds that hung over the Secret Forest hadn’t moved. In fact, those clouds didn’t look as though they had moved all day. “Something must be pushing them back.” Evie thought. There were little dust twisters in the harvested fields outside the Secret Forest. “Very strange” Princess Evie worried. In any event, the people of the Kingdom were slowly arriving. Princess Evie had the band setting up in the centre of the Pavilion, the food organized all around the edges and now she was overseeing the tables being set up with the help of Francis, the Jester. “Do you want to hear a joke?” Francis asked. “A quick one, maybe.” Princess Evie replied as she looked through her planner. “A duck waddled into a bar…” Francis started. “No, that’s too long. Maybe another time.” Princess Evie said as she made more notes in her planner and scooted off to another crisis. In the grassy fields Princess Evie had decided there was going to be games like a three legged race, red rover and wheelbarrow races. There was also a small duck pond for swimming if anyone felt like it. All in all it was going to be a great party. Lightning began to crack in the distance over the secret forest. Princess Evie could see it was scaring the people of the Kingdom away. “Why, whenever I want to have a big party do those filthy dragons always mess it up for me!” she spat. Princess Evie didn’t know any dragon that could make lightning but she was mad and didn’t know who to blame. She untied Curls , put Francis, the Jester in charge of the set up while she was away and started galloping toward the Secret Forest.

Princess Evie rode north for the secret forest. King Daddy had told her that if anything went wrong to light fireworks and he and Sir Jacob and their men would come help. But this was different, it looked like King Daddy was the one who needed help. Princess Evie rode as hard as she could but Curls was getting tired. It seemed like the closer Evie and Curls got the harder the wind was blowing against them. The lightning kept striking and Princess Evie could see that the little dust twisters were getting larger. Before long the Twisters were sweeping across the fields, scooping up dust and whipping rocks through the air. Princess Evie was almost to the forest when Snow Dragons came charging out towards her! “Oh, No!” screamed Evie. She reached for her bubble wand and pointed it at the dragons. Princess Evie started to shoot bubbles at the Snow Dragons as they came running towards her! One by one the dragons got caught in the bubbles and floated up in the air where they couldn’t hurt anybody. Princess Evie was overwhelmed. There was snow and ice on the ground, lightning in the sky, cold wind and twisters on both sides of her, and the dragons kept charging out of the woods. Princess Evie turned Curls around to try and make a run for it when she saw another pack of Snow Dragons charging out of the woods. “Ya! Curls, get us out of here! We have to warn the people in the farmlands!” As Princess Evie galloped south on Curls back to the Pavilion. The Snow Dragons were chasing her. She kept shooting magic bubbles at them but there were too many of them. As soon as Princess Evie galloped out of the snow the tornadoes seemed to come alive! They swept back and forth behind Curls hooves sweeping up all of the Snow Dragons and sending them sailing through the air and back to the Secret Forest. Princess Evie kept galloping until all of the Snow Dragons were gone. When she stopped and turned around she could see King Daddy’s soldiers and King Daddy coming out of the Secret Forest. “Where’s Jacob?” Princess Evie thought.

Princess Charlotte was galloping into the Pavilion with her new friend, Jib, running close behind. Princess Charlotte saw Princess Evie where she had stopped for a rest. Princess Evie looked exhausted. Her dress had been covered in dirt and she and Curls were both breathing really heavy. As Princess Charlotte was getting close to Princess Evie, Princess Evie took off towards the Forest. Princess Charlotte chased after her, followed closely by Jib. After a few minutes Panana caught up to Curls and Princess Charlotte could see why Princess Evie was in such a rush. King Daddy was riding towards them with his guards but no Sir Jacob. “Are you two OK?” asked King Daddy. “Yes.” the princesses said. “Where is Sir Jacob?” “Come to the Pavilion. I’ll explain everything. “What about the Festival?” asked Princess Evie. “We’re not going to cancel it, we have to let everyone know everything will be okay.” said King Daddy. From behind them around the Secret Forest they heard a loud, creaking, hollow crackling sound. King Daddy, the princesses and all the guards looked back toward the Secret Forest. A large wall of ice had formed. It was as tall as the wall of their own castle and just as thick. “What’s going on Daddy?” “Come with me.” Daddy said.

When they arrived at the Pavilion, Queen Mommy was waiting for them. All the people were gathered and had their plates filled with food. They were all eating, drinking, singing, and dancing! “I’ve managed to get the party started.” said Queen Mommy. Jib ran up to Queen Mommy and started jumping up and down at her feet. “Who’s this little guy?” Queen Mommy asked. “His name’s Jib,” said Princess Charlotte. “Very cute. Where did he come from?” Princess Charlotte tried to think of what to say but the words didn’t come to mind. “It’s a long story.” she said. “Andrew, everyone wants to know about the wall of ice.” Queen Mommy said to King Daddy. “I’m sure they do.” replied King Daddy. “Let’s get some food.” The guards stayed on their horses and stood watch.

King Daddy, Queen Mommy and the princesses got food and drink then went and sat down at the head table. “Where did the puppy come from, Charlotte?” asked King Daddy. Princess Charlotte told King Daddy about the doors she had seen in the light towers of the Castle and Great Wall. She also told him about the creepy man she saw through the door that Jib had come through. “Someone is looking for something.” King Daddy said. “and I think I know what it is.” “What happened to Sir Jajob?” asked Queen Mommy. “Sir Jacob is fine. I sent him North to Bi’Vrin to find the King and Queen of Bi’Vrin, Christopher and Samantha, and bring them back to our Castle safely.” King Daddy went on, Do not worry. He took half of our guards and went by a secret tunnel. I took the rest if the guards to the cave that leads under the mountains to Bi’Vrin. It was blocked by ice when we arrived. A man by the name of Daniel McEvil stood guard there. He had in his possession a black cloak that contains the essence of ice. He stole this cloak. It belongs to King Christopher. Now Daniel McEvil can make the snow and ice do anything he wants. He can even control the snow dragons.” Princess Evie and Princess Charlotte remembered Daniel McEvil very well. They remembered the day he pushed Princess Evie down a cave and stole their horse and unicorn. “I must speak to Lord Mike,” said King Daddy, “where is he?” “He’s not here.” Queen Mommy replied. “We need to retrieve the Lantern, we need to find Lord Mike, and we need to free the secret forest.” “All in good time.” said Queen Mommy. “Evie,” Queen Mommy said turning to Princess Evelyn, “you were very brave to charge into the Secret Forest all by yourself.” “I thought Daddy was in trouble,” Evie replied. Princess Evie told Queen Mommy all about the Snow Dragons and how they chased her across the farmlands until the twisters picked them up and threw them back into the Secret Forest. “You’re welcome.” said Queen Mommy. “What? What do you mean?” asked Princess Evie. “That was me. I’ve been summoning the warm winds from the south all day.” said Queen Mommy, “When I was finished I left for the party. I was almost there when, what did I see but my brave daughter, you, being chased across the farmlands. I summoned three giant twisters to protect you as you fled and blow your dragon filled bubbles back into the Secret Forest.” Princess Evie and Princess Charlotte were very confused and overwhelmed. King Daddy saw the confused look on the princesses faces. “Queen Mommy possesses the essence of wind. It is the source of her magic.” Queen Mommy showed the princesses her magic ring. It was a swirling band of white silver wrapped around her ring. It was very bright. The orange light of the sunset was bouncing off of it. “This is too much.” said Princess Evie. “There are many magic items in the world. They can be anything. The essence of ice in the cloak Daniel McEvil possesses has given him the power to freeze the Secret Forest. The essence of wind contained in my ring has given me the power to keep the dark clouds from coming south.” “I thought out valley was a peaceful valley.” said Princess Charlotte. “We try to keep it that way.” said King Daddy, “you are old enough to help us now. There is much you need to learn.”

The people of Harrowsmith finished their dinner and began to dance and sing. Lord Mike arrived with Duchess Millie and Lords Logan and Marcus. Princess Evie and Princess Charlotte danced and sang all night long with Logan, Marcus, and all the children of Harrowsmith. Lord Mike was sitting with King Daddy all night looking very serious, never once cracking a smile. Princess Charlotte were very happy and very scared at the same time. They did not know what tomorrow might hold. When the party was over, all the people of Harrowsmith helped clean up before they headed home. When the princesses finally arrived in the castle there was far more guards than usual. As they were getting tucked in King Daddy came into the room to say goodnight. “Get good sleep girls. Tomorrow you are going to accompany me and a few hundred guards to Bi’Vrin.”

Story 10 – The Witch’s Prison

It was another bright and sunny day in the Kingdom of Harrowsmith. Princess Charlotte was on her way to the wall when, just past the village of Daddoo, a guard returning from the wall told her that everything was quiet and she need not bother going. Normally Princess Charlotte would go and have a look anyway, but today it was so beautiful out she thought it best to spend some time catching up on her to-do list. First on her list was to dye Panana’s mane and tail. People all over the Kingdom saw Princess Charlotte’s horse Panana coming from miles away because Panana had a bright purple mane and tail. Princess Charlotte had been dying it since Panana was a baby horse. Panana’s hair was actually white. Princess Charlotte never let anyone know her little secret but every few weeks she would travel to the berry fields in the farmlands and help the blueberry farmers crush some blueberries! Then she would turn the blueberry juice into a shampoo and colour Panana’s hair. It was fun and everybody loved the way it looked so Charlotte headed North to the fields to get started.

Princess Evie had spent the entire morning looking for Princess Charlotte. It was high noon when Princess Evelyn rode up on Curls, her unicorn. Lord Logan was with her on his horse, Giyenpi. Logan had short, thick, black hair and was as tough as nails. His armour was all leather and studded with silver. Uncle Mike told the princesses that leather armour was better in the desert because it didn’t get as hot in the sun as metal armour. Lord Logan spent a lot of time in the south keeping the fire dragons away from Ominerve. Logan always carried two things; his throwing daggers and his magic rope.

Charlotte was knee deep in a giant bucket of blueberries. She was stomping them with her feet and the juice was coming out the bottom through a pipe. Princess Evie said, “Charlotte, we have to go see the witch under the mountains.” “No. Way. No. How!” said Princess Charlotte. “We can’t trust her! She knew that bad man who stole our horses and pushed you down into a cave!” “Queen Mommy said we had to and I want my bubble wand fixed. You have your bubble wand now and I’m without,” Princess Evie said as she pointed to Charlotte’s sword, Jaguar. “it’s not fair and the witch is the only one who can fix it!” “If you help me finish stomping these blueberries I’ll come with you after that.” Princess Evie and Lord Logan agreed. They both took off their boots, washed their feet, jumped into the bucket with Charlotte and began squishing the berries with Charlotte.

“How come you brought Logan?” asked Princess Charlotte. “I needed someone to take me to the witch and you’re too afraid.” “Am not!” said Charlotte. “Don’t worry, The mighty Lord Logan is afraid too.” “Am not!” said Logan. “Well, whatever” said Evie, “I figured two scared kittens would add up to a timid cat at least. You’re both going to take me.”

Princess Charlotte, Princess Evie, and Lord Logan finished up mid afternoon and set off to the wall as soon as they could. Princess Charlotte had gotten three bottles of blueberry juice and tucked them away in her backpack. By dinnertime they were well past Abbeyvale and could see the Great Wall on the horizon. “How come we’re going to the wall?” said Evie, “I thought the witch was in the bottom of the canyon. The wall is at the top, how is this going to work?” “You’ll see,” said Logan. “Don’t worry.” said Charlotte. Princess Charlotte smiled at Logan and Lord Logan smiled back. Princess Evie felt like they knew something she didn’t and she didn’t like that one bit!

As the three noble children rode up to the main gate in the Great Wall it was getting dark. The guards on the wall all came to attention. Their feet snapped together and they held their chins high. Princess Evie, Princess Charlotte, and Lord Logan felt honoured that the guards would pay them so much respect. As they climbed the stairs to the top of the wall on their horses another guard yelled, “All hail the Princesses and Lords of Harrowsmith!” Every guard responded in unison by yelling, “Hail! Hail! Hail!” and stomping their spears on the ground or clapping their sword to their shield. It was all very noisy. The princesses and Lord Logan were almost there. They rode their horses along the top of the very tall wall to the south tower at the crest of the canyon. The princesses and Lord Logan looked over the lands of the jumping dragons. The lands were quiet today and there was hardly a dragon in sight. The three nobles dismounted their animals and made their way down the stairs inside the south tower. At the bottom of the stairs was a small barrack room with ten bunk beds. There was a wooden door protected by guards on each side of the chamber. One led back into the Kingdom of Harrowsmith, the other lead to the land of the jumping dragons.

“It’s too late and too dark to go anywhere tonight.” said Princess Charlotte. “Guard, please inform King Daddy and Lord Mike that we will be spending the night here.” The guard responded, “We’re honoured. Right away, princess” then he hurried off to signal the message. The princesses and Lord Logan jumped straight into beds kindly donated by the guards and fell fast asleep.

In the morning they were awoken by the changing of the guard. “Will you be requiring your horses?” a young guard asked, “We moved them to the tower stables while you slept, I hope that’s alright.” “Quite alright, you can fetch them now.” said Princess Evie. “That won’t be necessary.” said Princess Charlotte, “We go on foot from here.” Princess Charlotte and Lord Logan headed towards the gate to the jumping dragons. “Wait just one second!” said Princess Evie, “You can’t possibly expect me to go out there?” “It’s only for a minute or two,” said Lord Logan, “then we’ll be at the falls.” “The FALLS?!” Princess Evie protested, “No way! Nuh uh! Not going to happen!” “Relax, you can use my bubble wand.” Princess Charlotte offered. Princess Charlotte pulled her bubble wand out of Jaguar, her sword and handed it to Princess Evie. Princess Evelyn took it but was still not very happy about the entire situation.

Princess Charlotte commanded the guards, “Open the doors! Bar them once we’re through!” The guards did what Princess Charlotte commanded. They knew better than to disobey a Princess. Once the door was open the three noble children passed through and headed down the sloping hills to the falls. The sky was clear and the air was warm. If they were anywhere else Princess Evie would not have been so nervous. Unfortunately, Princess Evie could hear the growling and pouncing of the Jumping Dragons all around her. Evie’s head was on a swivel. She kept looking behind them. Princess Charlotte said, “You’re not going to find them behind us. They’re all over there.” Charlotte pointed to the ridge on the opposite side of the river. The Wall guards closed the door behind them. The slamming shut of those doors sent chills down Princess Evie’s back. She knew the only way was forward so she pressed on towards the falls. “OK. Now we should run!” Lord Logan shouted as his pace quickened. The jumping dragons must have caught wind of the three of them because there was a tremendous rumble and dragons began to pour over the ridge. “They don’t like it whe we come into their territory,” yelled Princess Charlotte. The two princesses and Lord Logan burst into a run as the dragons rumbled closer. As the jumping dragons reached the other side of the river Princess Evie thought they were safe behind the wide expanse of rushing water. Princess Charlotte and Lord Logan kept running so Princess Evie thought it best not to slow down either. A second or two later she found out why. The jumping dragons were springing in the air clear over the river and landing on their side. Riders rode out of the wall to assist the young nobles but there was no way they were going to reach them in time. The dragons were right on top of them Princess Evie reached for Princess Charlotte’s bubble wand in her pocket and blew a massive bubble. It wasn’t hard because she was breathing so heavily. She jumped inside it and it took her up into the air nd out of danger. Princess Charlotte, knowing she couldn’t run anymore turned round, screamed “Come On!” and grabbed the dragon that was right behind her by the horn. She swung herself sideways and up on top of its shoulders. It sprang forward and she grabbed Lord Logan by the arm nd pulled him up too. The jumping dragon kept bounding towards the cliffs beside the waterfall. Princess Charlotte tried to stop it by pulling in its horns but it was too big and strong. The dragon was kicking and charging, jumping and bucking trying to get Princess Charlotte and Lord Logan off of it. When, finally, the dragon reached the edge of the cliff he skidded to a halt in the grass and Princess Charlotte and Logan flew off his back. The dragon jumped away leaving Princess Charlotte dangling from a long root and Lord Logan clutching to her boot. The falls rushed beside them and Princess Charlotte was losing her grip. This was not her plan. There were safer places to get down the cliff but it was too late for that now. Her hand soon slipped and they fell! She was scared and so closed her eyes. Princess Charlotte felt like they were falling for a very long time. Eventually Charlotte thought she should have hit the water by now and opened her eyes. She and Lord Logan were in a giant pink bubble floating gently toward the rocks between the falls. They landed gently at the feet of Melanie, the witch.

“Ah, Princesses. I’ve been waiting for you. I don’t know what took you so long.” Melanie said, “I was expecting you days ago.” Princess Evie didn’t know what to say as her magic purple bubble floated down and she stepped out onto the rocks. “We got held up.” Princess Charlotte said quickly. “Official Harrowsmith Business,” Confirmed Logan. “Yes, I suppose it was. The Royal Horses, Panana’s hair won’t dye itself, will it? Someone has to pick those blueberries, don’t they.” Melanie said accusingly. “Lord Logan your escort will not be required. You can wait outside. Ladies, follow me.” Melanie said as she gestured towards her open door between the falls. Princess Charlotte and Princess Evie had no choice, Queen Mommy had told them to come here, so they went inside.

One would expect a cave between two waterfalls to be damp and dark but this was not the case. The witch had placed candles in every nook and cranny. Warm light burst out from everywhere. There were no skylights to let in the sun but that didn’t seem to matter. The entire place smelled of fresh bread. The ceiling was high with a bright lantern hanging floating in the centre and there was a large fireplace towards the back of the room. The magic seeing globe still sat in the centre of the room as it had the day the princesses found Queen Mommy here. “Have you been watching us?” Princess Evie asked, looking into the globe, which now showed them standing in the witch’s home. “Always.” Melanie replied. You two are very important to the Kingdom.

Princess Evie could not take it anymore. She did not like being scared of the witch and the only way to know was to ask. “Why were you with that bad man, Daniel McEvil?” Evie accused. “We saw you.”

Melanie looked very sad. “Surely you realize I was not always a good witch. But things are not always as they seem.” “That’s right, King Daddy once told me you were from the south.” Princess Charlotte said. Melanie smiled, remembering her dessert home. “That’s true. I was once from the south. I possessed great power with fire until Duke Mike took my gauntlets from me and imprisoned me here under the watchful eye of the rainmaker. For someone who loves fire so much you cannot imagine the injustice of being jailed beneath a waterfall with a master of the rain and sea as your jailer.” “You’re planning something bad, I know it!” said Princess Evie. “Then why not tell the King, or the Queen?” Melanie responded. Both princesses hung their heads. “Ah, you were not supposed to be where your horses were stolen, were you?” “Well, you have nothing to fear from me, I assure you.”

Princess Evie held out her broken magic bubble. “This is why we’ve come. I hope you can fix this,” she said nervously. “Of course,” said Melanie as she took the wand and went to the fireplace. She held the wand in the fire with her bare hands. The fire roared and the wand began to glow. Princess Evie watched as the wand reformed itself as new. “The essence of fire will never leave me. It is the source of my power,” the witch said as she passed the fixed bubble wand back to Princess Evie. Princess Evie said, “thank you” and took the wand and started to blow little pink bubbles.

As the princesses opened the door to leave Princess Evie tried once more to get some answers. “I saw you kiss that bad man,” she said. “Did it not provide you with the distraction you needed to retrieve your animals safely?” Melanie responded. “You knew we were there?” Princess Charlotte asked. “There is very little magic that goes without my notice,” Melanie replied. “You were using cloud crystals and I could feel their power near me.” “What were you doing with McEvil?” Princess Evie asked, getting very annoyed. The witch spoke. “I would tell you lies, young princess, as I was ordered to do but that wand in your possession, Princess, makes it impossible to hide the truth.” Melanie pointed to Princess Evie’s necklace. “This?!” Evie replied, clutching the necklace King Daddy had given her when she was a little girl. “Yes.” Melanie said. “If I do not speak the truth then it will take it from my lips. I beg of you not to ask me any more than you need to. Your father commanded that I get close to Daniel McEvil. That is as much as I dare to tell you. Please. If you have more questions I beg you ask the King.” “I believe you,” Princess Evie said as she walked outside. “You can take my boat back to Onipilif.” Melanie said. “Aren’t you supposed to be in prison here?” Princess Charlotte asked. “Kind of…” Melanie replied. She waved her hand and a small boat emerged from behind one of the falls. The water seemed to part around it.

Lord Logan was sitting at the edge of the water waiting for the princesses to return. “Did you get it fixed?” he asked as he jumped into the boat. “Yes. We did,” said Princess Charlotte. “Then why do you look so confused?” asked Logan. “We’ll explain on the way home,” said Evie. On the way down the river the princesses explained everything the witch had said to Lord Logan. “Sounds like you need to talk to King Andrew, your daddy” said Logan. He could see that neither one of the girls wanted to. “We know,” said the princesses.

Magical items I’ve have kicking around in my head…

This is an incomplete list and it just has a bunch of ideas that I have been thinking about for years. A lot of them are too mature for kids to understand so they won’t really be making an appearance but I just wanted to put them out there. Please let me know what you think.


INNER CIRCLE ITEMS

  • King Daddy’s Crown holds the essence of the mountains. It was the most powerful magic. He could shake the very ground with just a thought but most of the time the crown was kept locked away in the vault’s of the castle.
  • Queen Mommy’s Ring holds the essence of the winds.
  • The Rain Maker’s Staff holds the essence of the seas. Whenever she got sad it would rain. Queen Mommy would visit her to make her happy and it would stop raining.
  • Duke Mike’s Gloves hold the essence of fire.
  • Duchess Millie’s Cauldron holds the essence of life. It was very small but could feed as many people as it needed to. Those who drink from it can be healed.
  • An unknown object holds the essence of death. Lost for many years.


OUTER CIRCLE ITEMS

  • Melanie, The Witch under the Split Falls’s Lantern holds the essence of light. The darker it grows the more brightly it shines.
  • The King of Bi’Vrin’s Cloak holds the essence of ice.
  • An unknown object holds the essence of darkness. Lost for many years.
  • An unknown object in the south holds the essence of lightning.
  • An unknown object in the south holds the essence of sand.


OTHER MAGIC ITEMS

  • Princess Evie’s Bubble Wand creates magic bubbles that can carry people and objects to a desired location.
  • Princess Evie’s Wand gives Princess Evie the ability to cast simple spells. It also causes people to always speak the truth in her presence.
  • Princess Evie’s Pearl gives Princess Evie the ability to grow and shrink at will.
  • Princess Charlotte’s Magic Ring gives Princess Charlotte the ability to talk to animals.
  • Princess Charlotte’s Magic Shield gives Princess Charlotte the ability to become invisible.
  • Princess Charlotte’s Sword, Jaguar contains a bubble wand in the handle and also causes extreme fear in her enemies, man or beast.

Story 9 – The Thief of Bi’Vrin

It was pouring rain when Princess Charlotte’s eyes opened. She was still very tired. She could tell that it wasn’t time to get up yet. She had bad dreams and now she couldn’t get back to sleep. She dreamt that someone had stolen her horse! She rubbed her eyes and reached over to grab her sword, Jaguar. Princess Charlotte knew this sword very well but now it was a little different. It still had a golden handle with black leather and golden jaguars carved into it, only now Queen Mommy had built a magic handle into it that Princess Charlotte could pull out to reveal a golden bubble wand. When Charlotte blew through the hole in the bubble wand it created little, purple, magic bubbles. Princess Charlotte laid in her bed blowing magic bubbles for a while while she thought about how nice it was for Queen Mommy to make this for her with the help of the Witch Under the Split Falls, Melanie. As Princess Charlotte laid in her bed watching the bubbles pop, she decided that she didn’t like purple bubbles. She wanted pink bubbles like Princess Evelyn. She put her bubble wand down on the bed stand, pushed the bottom of her sword back together and crept from her bed.

When Princess Evie woke up she saw Charlotte holding HER magic bubble wand and blowing a bubble out her window. Princess Evie asked, “Why don’t you use your own wand, Charlotte?” Princess Charlotte ignored her and jumped out the window into the magic bubble. As Princess Charlotte was floating down to the courtyard Princess Evie took out her magic wand, pointed it at Princess Charlotte and burst her bubble. Princess Charlotte fell and landed right in a pile of hay that Panana was eating. Charlotte jumped on Panana and as she dashed from the barn she yelled, “Open the gate!” Princess Evie ran down into the courtyard and straight into the barn. She was really mad as she was putting the reigns onto Curls, her unicorn. King Daddy casually strolled into the barn staring at his scepter. “Running after your sister are you?” King Daddy said. “I have to.” said Princess Evie, “she stole my bubble wand while I was sleeping.” “You know she lives here, right?” King Daddy asked sarcastically. “She can’t just take my wand like that. I have to go teach her a lesson.” said Princess Evie. King Daddy sighed. He knew there was nothing he could say to Princess Evelyn that would calm her down. By this time Princess Evie was on top of Curls and ready to go. “One more thing.” said King Daddy ” Today is not a good day for exploring. I’ve heard reports of some unfavorable people about. ” “I won’t, Daddy” Princess Evie replied as she nudged Curls with her heel an galloped away towards the open gate.

The two princesses raced through the rain and the mud. They didn’t know where they were going; Princess Charlotte only knew that she was running from Princess Evie and Princess Evie knew she wanted to catch Princess Charlotte. They were both really angry although neither could remember quite why. Princess Charlotte raced into the secret forest. The trail leading into the secret forest split just after you entered the cover of the trees. There was a little sign with two arrows on it. The arrow pointing left said “Nanny’s Cabin”. The arrow pointing right said, “To Bi’Vrin – DANGER”. Princess Charlotte knew the way to Nanny’s and was always told not to go to the right. Today though, knowing it was a bad idea, she turned right anyway. She thought that Princess Evie would be too afraid to follow her. When Princess Evie got to the fork in the road she could see the footprints left behind by Panana in the mud. “Oh no, Charlotte” Princess Evie thought. “Of all the days to go that way she had to pick the day Daddy told them not to explore.” She was very scared but she was so mad at Charlotte she didn’t care and pulled Curls’ off to the right to follow Charlotte.

As Princess Charlotte rode along she could feel the air getting colder and colder. She slipped on her magic ring so she could see that Panana wasn’t scared. As soon as her ring slid over the tip of her finger she could hear that Panana was very afraid. “We’re not supposed to be here.” Panana said. Princess Charlotte didnt answer. She took off the ring and slid it back into her pocket. Just when Charlotte thought that it couldn’t get any darker the clouds seemed to prove her wrong. The rain started to pour down harder and as Charlotte pressed on the air turned cold and started turning the rain to snow. The ground all around her became white. As the trail disappeared Princess Charlotte stopped for a moment and looked around.

Princess Charlotte was thinking she should turn back when suddenly, just through the trees, she could see the opening to a small cave. Princess Charlotte was so curious she forgot all about Princess Evie chasing her. She climbed down from Panana and walked through the trees to the cave’s mouth. Cold wind was blowing from the cave. It was so cold Princess Charlotte wrapped her cape as close as she could and tucked her chin into her neck. Princess Charlotte had never seen a cave in real life; only in books. She had to get closer so closer she stepped. She couldn’t see very far in the cave but she was moving very slowly to give her eyes time to adjust to the dark. Before Charlotte could do anything her feet slipped on a patch of ice and she went tumbling. She landed on her bum and slipped and slid a long way down occasionally scratching her arms and legs on nearby rocks. When she finally landed at he bottom it was pitch black all around her except for the light coming down from the mouth of the cave. Charlotte was scared now and reached for her sword. It wasn’t there. Just then Charlotte remembered that she left her wand on her bed stand. Princess Charlotte reached for Princess Evie’s bubble wand. It was bent and twisted. “Oh, no!” Charlotte said aloud. She could see that the magic was gone. Suddenly princess Charlotte felt really terrible. She had wrecked her sister’s wand and might be stuck here forever! She yelled for help but no one could hear her. The cave was too deep.

Meanwhile, above ground, Princess Evie had finally caught up to Charlotte but when she arrived she only found Panana; not Charlotte. Princess Evie was very worried. She looked around and listened for Charlotte but she didn’t see or hear anything. The tracks on the ground were all messed up from Panana standing around for so long by herself. “Charlotte!” Princess Evie shouted. “Where are you?!” Princess Evie heard a strangers voice say “She can’t hear you.” Princess Evie nearly jumped off her unicorn. She had thought she was alone. When Princess Evie turned around there was a man, hooded and cloaked in black, sitting high up in the tree with what looked like a bow and arrow in his hands and rope coiled around his chest. “The name is Daniel” the man said. “Daniel McEvil. Pronounce the E like elephant. The name’s a cruel twist of fate as I think you’ll find me to be quite helpful”. Princess Evie didn’t know what to do. She was not to talk to strangers. King Daddy had told her once dragons were all bad all the time and that people, unlike dragons, have bad people mixed in with the good people and you never really know they’re bad until it’s too late. “Don’t be afraid princess. Your sister is through there.” He pointed to the cave Charlotte had fallen into. “She fell down into that cave. I saw it. I was about to go after her when you showed up.” Daniel patted the rope around his chest. Princess Evie commanded him, “Help me find her or stand aside!” Princess Evie jumped down from Curls and ran to the mouth of the cave. Daniel McEvil was right behind her. She called down into the darkness and was listening for an answer when Daniel McEvil pushed her and she fell into the cave.

Down she slipped and slid bumping her arms and legs on the same rocks as Charlotte. When she finally landed at the bottom she couldn’t see a thing. A dark shape was lumbering toward her from the darkness. Princess Evie touched her wand to a puddle of water and made it glow. The cave lit up like a glow bugs bum. Princess Charlotte was coming towards her with an armful of crystals. They were both shivering in the cold wind that seemed to be running through the cave. Princess Evelyn looked at the stones in Charlotte’s arms and recognized them immediately. “I saw these twinkling in the darkness, they looked valuable.” said Charlotte. “Charlotte! Do you know what you’ve found?!” said Princess Evie, recognizing the crystals right away. “What?” replied Charlotte. “Those are cloud crystals!” Evie said. “Like, floating crystals?!” said Charlotte, “You mean they can get us out of this cave?” Princess Charlotte was hoping she wouldn’t have to tell Princess Evie that she had broken her bubble wand just yet. “No. Not yet anyway. It’s the powder that’s magic. We need somewhere dry to crush them. It’s too wet down here.” Charlotte was discouraged. She wanted out of this mess right now. She was very cold and she was still hurting from her fall. “They’re very rare!” Princess Evie continued. “You should put them in your pocket and we’ll have to use my bubble wand to get out of this cave.” Princess Evie extended her hand and waited for Charlotte to give her her bubble wand. Princess Charlotte laid the wand in Evie’s hand. When Princess Evie saw the bubble wand she was upset that her wand was broken and scared that they were trapped. “Well now I don’t know what to do! How are we going to get out of here?” Princess Evie said in a panic. A cold breeze whisked up and chilled them both. “That wind has to come from somewhere” Charlotte said, “Follow me!” Princess Evie and Princess Charlotte walked deeper and deeper into the cave. Every time it became too dark to see Evie would make a puddle or two glow. The two princesses continued deeper and deeper until they saw light at the end of the darkness.

When they climbed out of the other end of the cave they were knee deep in snow. Their hands and faces were freezing! They heard the growling of snow dragons in the distance. They had to get out of here quick! Princess Evie saw a pile of dry, flat rocks and ran over to them. They were cold but they’d do the trick! “Give me a Crystal, Charlotte” Evie said. Princess Charlotte handed her one of the crystals. Princess Evie wrapped the crystal in the last dry space of her cloak, laid it down on a flat rock, grabbed a bigger flat rock and smashed the crystal inside the fabric. Princess Evie knew she’d shattered the crystal completely. She threw the rock down, unfolded her cloak and carefully dumped the powder into her hand. Princess Evie took Princess Charlotte’s hand. Then she threw the powder in the air above their heads. The two princesses became lighter than air and started to float away. It wasn’t long before they got the hang of it and they were flying through the air like birds. At first it was very cold but as they flew over the mountain and back down to the Secret Forest the winds died down and they started to warm up. The princesses flew past the opening to the cave where they had left Panana and Curls. They were gone! “That two-faced thief!” Princess Evie cursed! “He stole our animals!” “Who?”asked Charlotte. “Daniel McEvil!” spat Evie and she told Charlotte the whole story of how she ended up in the cave.

Princess Charlotte landed on a high tree branch scaring away the birds that were resting there. As the birds circled the tree in a frenzy Princess Charlotte slipped on her magic ring. “I’m looking for a horse, a unicorn, and a man in a black cloak.” Charlotte said. “Can anybody help me?” A small blue bird landed on a branch at Princess Charlotte’s eye level. It spread it’s wings and did a very low bow. “Highness, I saw him, not a half hour ago, south of Daddoo heading into the forest. The Princesses jumped into the air and flew East to get their horse and unicorn back!

It was nearly nightfall when the princesses came onto the woods South of Daddoo. They saw a small campfire burning in the far east of the forest and slowly and quietly glided through the trees to a high perch in the treetops next to the fire. The two princesses could hear loud rushing water. They knew they had to be close to the Split Falls. They could see Panana and Curls tied loosely to a stump. A man came out the woods on the left side of the fire; it was Daniel McEvil. On the right side of the fire, out of the woods, came a lady in a red hood and cape. When she drew her hood back and came into the light the princesses could see it was Melanie, the Witch from beneath the Split Falls! “You must return these animals or the guards will come looking for you!” Melanie, the Witch said. “Let them come! I am ready for them.” Daniel McEvil said. “It is too soon. All the preparations are not made!”, the Witch replied. Princess Charlotte and Princess Evie looked at each other. “What are they talking about?” they each whispered to themselves. Just then Melanie, the Witch and Daniel McEvil started hugging. “Ew.” thought Princess Evie. Then they saw her give him a big slobbery kiss. “EWWWWWW!” thought Princess Charlotte. The princesses knew that this was their chance. They dropped out of the trees onto Panana and Curls, pulled the ropes loose and galloped away as fast as they could.

By the time they had reached the castle King Daddy and Queen Mommy were waiting for them. “You’ve had us worried sick!”, King Daddy said. “Go to your room. I’ll be up in a minute to talk to you.” The princesses tied up their animals in the barn and ran upstairs. They were happy to get into warm and dry pajamas. As they laid in bed waiting for Queen Mommy to come and give them their punishment Charlotte whispered to Princess Evie, “What was that thief doing with the good witch?” “I don’t know” answered Evie. “Maybe she’s not really good after all?” “It sounded like they were planning something bad…” said Princess Charlotte. “Yeah.” Evie agreed. Queen Mommy came into the room quietly. “I’m very disappointed in you two.” she began. The princesses had heard this all before and they began to get sleepy. But when they heard Queen Mommy say “You’ll go to the witch tomorrow to fix it.” Princess Charlotte and Princess Evie both shot up in bed. “What?!” they said. Queen Mommy repeated herself, “Since the two of you worked together to destroy Evie’s bubble wand. The two of you will travel to the Split Falls tomorrow, see the good witch, and ask her to fix it.

Princess Evie and Princess Charlotte didn’t know what to say. They both thought they were in enough trouble already so they said “Ok, Mommy.” and went to sleep. But neither of them slept very well because tomorrow they had to go see the Witch under the Split Falls.

The ‘Disney Effect’

Here is my daughters enjoying the scene in which Gaston treats Belle like a piece of property and an idiot. I think they’re a little young to understand that Gaston is cast as the buffoon. I think it’s important that we also take note that the man she falls in love with imprisoned her father, imprisoned her, threatened her, and yelled at her during their introduction process. This is why I write the stories I write for them. We don’t let them watch too much TV. We tell them it ‘rots their brains’. But when they do watch TV it sinks in faster and stays longer than anything we ever teach them. Disney has cracked the dark triad formula and applied it to toddlers.