Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Bride - A Fantasy Flash Fiction Story

The Bride

When it came time for the King’s son to select a bride, villages everywhere became filled with beautiful women dressed in their very best, as if they expected to be married that day. Especially in the village of the Brim, where there were young women all about dressed in bright pinks and blues, trying to attract attention to themselves as if they expected themselves to be seen from across the kingdom.

Ami had no idea why they were so dressed up, and she really didn’t care. So what the King’s son was looking for a bride, he was entitled to that, but why did everyone have to get so excited about it? It was just a wedding. She wasn’t going to be there, so there was no need to get all worked up about it.

But Ami didn’t get worked up about much at all. She was barely able to make it from day to day; she didn’t have time to think beyond that. Even as she stared at the street, where gowns of bright yellow, blue and pink colors danced about among the rest of the villagers, hopeful young women with dreams much larger than their chances. Ami partly wanted to laugh at them, but she pitied them too much. They were dressed so proper, walking so proper, everything on the outside was just how it should be, just how a princess should look—but they had grown up just like she had, in this slimy, grimy village among the mud, pigs and filth. There was no difference except they had painted themselves up so pretty, and made such distinct choices in clothing, their conduct was so proper and perfect, but they were all just the same as her.

Ami was dressed as she always was: a simple, dirty dress. Worn out shoes, and disheveled hair. Her job was the clean the small fruit stand in the market. She wasn’t paid much for it, but that didn’t matter it made her enough to get by and she could keep all of the fruit that the owners deemed good for nothing. It was a job with benefits that much was for sure. She didn’t fancy any large dreams of castles, crowns and servants; her dream was a day when she had food and money without having to deal with the swearing, smelly vendors in the market. That would be a great day when she no longer had to take their verbal assaults.

“Why do they do that?” She heard a woman, who was eyeing a small pile of pears ask.

“Do what?” A large woman who was behind her was the owner, and she was watching the woman who was eyeing the pears, afraid of her being another thief.

“Dress up and prance around like royalty? They’ve not been asked to be married to the King’s son.”

“Well, the way they’re doing it this time is a little different, the royal son will come into a village at random, and he will select a bride from the crowd. They aren’t sending out scouts or anything like that, he’s coming to seek his bride.”

“Why are all these girls so excited though, the capitol is miles away, what are the odds of him coming here?”

“He was last seen a few miles over, scouting around Mesmir. They think he might come this way next.”

“All a bunch of rubbish I think.” The woman selected a pear and gazed longingly at it.

The large woman nodded, “I agree, but they don’t.” She saw the woman eyeing the pear, “That’ll be a piece of copper for a pound.”

Ami continued with her wiry broom that was good for little else than scooting small dust piles about, but little else. It didn’t really matter; she got paid to do basically nothing, that’s all that was important.

The woman continued to select her pears and piled them together into a bag, chattering with the large woman who ran that stand. They were quite taken with the idea of royalty stopping by in the village that Ami found it simply idiotic, what did she care if he stopped here, didn’t he have just as much a right as anybody to stop by? She wondered how much they would harass him when he stopped by, he would probably not have a moment’s piece. It was all just a bunch of foolishness.

She felt a tap on her shoulder and turned around fast. A man stood there in a thick cloak, a hood was drawn over his head and his face was shining with sweat.

“Excuse me,” He said. “How much is it for some of those grapes?”

“It’ll be a silver piece. They’ve gone up, what with the shortage.” She said.

He nodded, “Yes, with the dragons in the fields. They must be quite hungry, I suppose.” He smiled, joking.

She nodded, and gestured to them, “Go ahead, they’re fine. I’ve tasted a few that have been deemed unfit for sale.”

“Thank you.” He reached for them and drew a copper coin out of his pocket. “What’s your name?”

“Ami. Why do you ask?”

“Just curious.” He said, and handed her the piece.

“Okay, care to return the favor?” She leaned on her wiry broom. He looked terribly familiar but she couldn’t quite place where she’d seen him before.

“Fair enough. Joshua.” He took a grape and slipped it into his mouth. “Just passing through.” He looked around, and saw all of the young women brightly dressed milling about like rats in a rainstorm. “What is going on here?”

“The King’s son is looking for a wife, rumor has it that he’s nearby.” Ami said, leaning against a large wooden post that supported the market structure instead of her thin broomstick.

“Really?” He asked, taking another bite of his grapes.

“Yep. So they’re all dressed up like prized hens off to the auction, only to have their hopes cut off.”

“Why do you say it like that?”

“Because, what are the odds of royalty coming all the way down here to take one of us for a bride? That seems like nonsense.”

“You sure?”

“Of course, why would he ever want one of us? We are lowly, filthy, mostly uneducated, and quite poor. What is there that he would ever want in us? There’s nothing to see, nothing to desire.” Ami realized how bad that sounded and she probably shouldn’t have been so specific to a stranger but she didn’t see any need to stop. She said her bit and stopped.

“Maybe he just wants to.” Joshua suggested.

“Why?” She asked him, purely baffled at his suggestion. What kind of royalty would hold any interest in them, they were just poor folks, and there was nothing desirable in the least in them. She thought she had made her point already.

“Because.” Joshua leaned towards her and drew back his hood, where rested a thin, but shining crown.

“Perhaps he wants to.” The King’s son smiled at her, and whispered, “Would you be my bride, Ami?”

“For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:” – 1 Corinthians 1:26-28 (King James Version of the Bible)

“But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 (King James Version of the Bible)