Roses for Amelie

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

When the fair unicorns of Amélie are threatened, the people of Amélie decide to step forward and rebel against the ruler of Amélie, knowing that they might never see Amélie again.

In the Kingdom of Amélie, there once lived a population of unicorns. Each dazzling unicorn had a single swirly, white horn atop its head, shaped to a pin-sized point. It was so sharp, some said, that if you were to touch it, you would feel nothing, yet you would suffer a wound that would never heal. Like their equine relatives, these unicorns were very loyal and respectful, though they had the potential to be much more dangerous; they were pure muscle besides their tough enamel horn. The unicorns of Amélie had been violent and destructively ruthless several hundred years ago, but they were friendly and gentle now. Rather than eating meat, like most species of unicorn, the unicorns of Amélie ate only roses. The Amélian unicorns’s special diet gave them a more powerful, more magical horn than other unicorns. Ironically, it was their tough horn that put them in danger, for unicorn horns were very valuable. While many citizens of Amélie recognized the incredible value in unicorn horns, their previous ruler, King Amelius, banned the hunt of unicorns, sentencing any perpetrators to death. But King Amelius’ ban remained only until his mysterious death, and now the citizens of Amélie awaited for the arrival of the new ruler, a female relative of King Amelius from a distant land. All was well between the unicorns and the citizens. The people felt a loyalty to King Amelius’ rule, and the unicorns of Amélie were far too friendly to hurt any of the people. For a while, this balance proved critical to the success of both parties.

So when the new ruler of Amélie, Queen Maltah, ordained, out of her own selfish desire for the valuable unicorn horns, that the citizens of Amélie were free to kill the unicorns of Amélie so long as three-quarters of each unicorn’s horn was given to her, shattering the long-held balance. All of the citizens, beside the meager population of young adults who felt such an act wrong, rushed to the valley to hunt the unicorns, recognizing the extreme value in even just a quarter of a unicorn’s horn. Within a few days, all but two unicorns had been slaughter for their horns. Those who had refused to kill the unicorns, who had not rushed to the valley to hunt them, were terribly upset. 

The queen, recognizing their anger and frustration, decided to give her second decree. It was a bright, sunny morning when the queen divided the Kingdom of Amélie into two parts: Amélie and an unnamed sector, which the queen relocated to the distant land she came from. All villagers were to be in front of the tower of the queen’s castle an after the sun set the next evening.

So that next shadowy, melancholic evening, the queen ascended the stairs to the balcony from which she announced only the most pressing matters and turned to face the townspeople. The night air, crisp and cool, hung heavily with uncertainty.

“I decree,” proclaimed the queen from atop her raised balcony in front of the gathering, talkative audience, “all who did not bring me three-quarters of at least one unicorn horn will be dismissed to my forgotten land, the Land of Maltiha, where they will remain to be forgotten.”

All were silent. No one moved. The queen stood. She turned to leave. 

“I refuse to leave while two unicorns remain! You will kill them, just like you killed every other unicorn!” clamored a man named John that stood towards the back of the crowd. 

The queen pivoted, facing the audience, a silent anger emanating from her presence. 

“You must vacate by sunrise. Take your possessions. Leave the two unicorns.” 

And thus, a riot broke out. Of the thousands of citizens of Amélie, the few hundred that were ordered to vacate managed to climb to the queen’s balcony as they broke off parts of the tower. The sun had not yet risen when Queen Maltah ordered her guards to attack the villagers. Of the two hundred or so villagers that had been order to leave, only just over a hundred actually remained; the others had either been captured by the queen’s men or had already fled to some other fate. It was in a dimly lit home that a dozen of these villagers, including John, frantically conceived a plan to capture the two remaining unicorns. 

“In her madness,” stated one villager, named Alysse, looking over a map she’d drawn on a table, “the queen has sent all but ten of her men. I counted. Because I once worked as a close subject to King Amelius, I know the castle’s layout well. I know that King Amelius always concentrated his guards around the drawbridge entrance, for it is the weakest area, and I believe Queen Maltah has done the same. If we can avoid the drawbridge entrance, we can most likely avoid the queen’s men. And as for the queen, I believe she will be sheltered in her room, far from the stable where the unicorns are kept.”

“But how will we enter the castle if not through the entrance?” queried a villager, pointing to the entrance on the map as the dim lamp lighting the small room swayed. “And how will we–”

“We aren’t leaving Amélie, are we?” interjected Kate, the youngest villager in the plan.

Everyone was silent. The wind outside beat violently against the home.

“We can’t leave,” mumbled several villagers. 

“We can,” whispered Alysse, “and we must.” Alysse looked each person in the eye, connecting with them, sympathizing. Alysse sighed, pointing to the map, “We are going to meet here in a quarter of an hour. Bring everything you want and everything you can carry and nothing more. Be frugal. Understand. You,” Alysse pointed at John and a tall, lean man named Drew, “are to help recapture the unicorns. Everyone, go now. John and Drew, stay behind.”

The villagers rushed out, preparing to gather what little of the only life they’d ever known they could carry. The door slammed shut, shaking the entire home.

And Alysse continued to explain how they might release the unicorns. 

Fifteen minutes later, all but six of the villagers planning to escape arrived at the agreed location just outside the queen’s castle.

“We will retrieve the unicorns and then we will be off. I know where we are going, and I know how to get there,” explained Alysse, “You must all start your journey, we will meet you all again soon. Drew knows the way. He will guide you. We will pass to the land of Fleuhr, where roses are plentiful. All will be well again. And perhaps in a few years, we might return to Amélie to reclaim the great ‘once.’ Know that you are all doing the right thing. These unicorns do not deserve to suffer. King Amelius would be proud of us. Feel no regret and leave no happiness, for all is well in the valley of roses, both in Amélie and Fleuhr. The roses and unicorns will never suffer again. We will never suffer again.”

And with that, the rebels of Amélie were off, following Drew to Fleuhr. Alysse wasted no time. “This way,” she motioned to John. 

They crept up using the vines lining the castle walls, all the way up into the queen’s personal quarters. Queen Maltah was, of course, up in the balcony room, from which she could survey all of Amélie in safety. The two moved through the castle, feeling the rush of what they were about to do. They reached the unicorns’ stable in the east wing, mounted them, and rushed through the castle. 

When John and Alysse reached the castle entrance, they braced themselves as the unicorns whined, pushing through the queens’ men to the drawbridges entrance. They pounded down the drawbridge, forcing it to fall with a deafening BANG. John and Alysse galloped off, each on one unicorn, into the night cloaked in darkness. 

It had been a long night, but eventually John and Alysse had reached Fleuhr, where they shortly met the other refugees. Fleuhr was an undeveloped land laden with the most gorgeous roses of every color; much like Amélie, Fleuhr sat in a wide valley with a plateau, perfect for a small colony. And thus, Drew and the other former Amélians had structured their shelters on the plateau from which they could see all of the valley. Upon their arrival, John and Alysse called all of the citizens down to the valley of roses. The two unicorns, now basking in their plentiful field of roses, excited the villagers. 

“All is well!” exclaimed Alysse, and the villagers grabbed roses, jumping up and down exuberantly. “Never again will an ill-willed ruler control us!”

And so every year from that day on, the citizens of Fleuhr set aside a day, starting in the evening and following into the next morning, in which they celebrated the Festival of Roses. Now, several hundred years later, that festival continues. Fleuhr is a flourishing land, where each dazzling unicorn has a single swirly, white horn atop its head, shaped to a pin-sized point. Legend suggests that the unicorns of Fleuhr had been violent and destructively ruthless several thousand years ago, but they were friendly and gentle now. Rather than eating meat, like most species of unicorn, the unicorns of Fleuhr ate only roses, for which the citizens held the Festival of Roses. The roses, after all, were the only homage they had to their old land, Amélie. And though the citizens of Fleuhr missed their lives in Amélie, they came to realize that perhaps Amélie is not just a place, but a feeling. A sentiment that sometimes, the world can be dark, but with roses, there can be beauty, and so maybe that darkness is a little more bearable. A knowing that those who cannot protect themselves will not be forgotten, as with the unicorns.

Submitted: October 15, 2014

© Copyright 2021 rachm15. All rights reserved.

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