This fairytale is faaar from finished. In fact, I'm having massive problems in the beginning already. I've rewritten the beginning at least four times now and I think that the following beginning that I have is subject to even more change. It's just practically impossible to get past this one part. I'm pretty sure that once I'm past the big christening and curse and everything, I can get everything back on track.
Long, long ago, when unicorns still frolicked with children and satyrs still chased after nymphs, there was an underwater kingdom, so deeply concealed in the waters of the ocean that only the inhabitants of the sea knew of its existence. There was a large, beautiful palace made of golden coral, the epicenter of all political activity, strategically placed in between all the various regions of the sea. The citizens who visited the palace were often awed by the well-designed halls, with their pink coral trimmings and small, blossoming anemones of many bright colours. But most beautiful of all was the hall of the Sea King. His golden throne, in a dark room furnished with strong, handsome sea-wood, seemed to glow with a magical light, providing an almost divine atmosphere. Here, the Sea King seated himself, accompanied by his wife, on a fine throne of bright platinum. The couple ruled the seas with a kind firmness which had made them well loved and well-respected.
The King and Queen had been blessed, in years past, with seven daughters, each as beautiful as the next and all resembling the rising sun with their tresses of gold and red. But as the years went by, the members of the household slowly started to leave, each finding love in their own right and moving away to join their spouses. Unaccustomed to the sudden quiet of the castle, the royal pair wished more and more often for the gods to grant them a son so that he might never leave their side even should he be married.
Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months. The King and Queen grew more and more desolate with each passing day. Each day, the Queen went into her boudoir and prayed to whichever god happened to be passing by at the moment for a child. A god of the hermit crabs, chasing down the desperate soul of a crustacean who was trying to prolong its life through this hunt, heard her prayers and took pity on her. As the seasons passed in the sea, the Queen’s belly swelled and the King was overjoyed at the prospect of another child. The Queen, who was always far more sensible about these things, warned him that there was still a chance that the next child born might be another girl, but the King replied that whatever gender the child was would suit him just fine.
The people in the kingdom were so excited at this piece of news that they continued to talk of it even when, months later, the King left for his annual tour of his land. Strange women, old and cynical, predicted that the Queen would only give birth to another girl, but for one, who was jeered at when she said that it would be a boy. Drunk gamblers exited the homes of their friends after staking much money on the outcome. Such speculation took the kingdom!
One fine spring afternoon, the cry of a newborn burst forth from the royal chambers. At the first wail, a letter was immediately dispatched to the King. The King eagerly snatched the letter out of the messenger’s hands when it arrived; tore it open with an anxious fervor. He learned from the letter that his wife was doing well and recovering; that the old lady-in-waiting who had never left her side had been extremely vigilant in ensuring that she was as comfortable as ever and finally—wonderful news! —the child was a plump, healthy baby boy.
The King’s heart leapt. Ecstatic, he raced back home, giving orders to his servants to pack his things and send them later in the day. He flew towards the Queen’s chambers, nearly sending the old lady-in-waiting sprawling across the floor. The old woman straightened herself with an offended dignity and chastised the King for his unseemly behavior. “You are going to scare your poor wife half out of her wits with your suddenness, your majesty!” she said, wagging her finger in front of him and blocking his way into the entrance. The King nodded meekly and, when the woman was satisfied that he had learned his lesson, removed herself from the doorway. “Quietly,” she reminded him, before swimming away.
The Queen greeted her husband with a smile from her bed as he entered the room. He complained to her of the lady-in-waiting, but the Queen waved his words away with a laugh, which was entirely lost on her royal spouse. In the corner of the room, right next to a window with lovely silk curtains, there was a small cradle carved of soft rock with a chain of delicate charms and sparkling jewels hanging overhead. The King peered over the side of the worn cradle and was reminded of the very first day his oldest daughter had been born and set in the same pillows. The boy in the cradle made small little gurgling noises in his sleep as the King looked on.
“We must christen him soon,” the Queen reminded him and for a while, the only reply she received was a blank look before he had understood what she had said.
“Of course,” the King replied. “It shall be soon, of course. The longer we leave him, the more vulnerable he is to demons. He shall be christened tomorrow.”
The day of the young prince’s christening arrived with much pomp and circumstance. A delicate fanfare blew down the streets and mermaids and mermen alike left their homes in order to join in the celebration. The single old woman who had predicted that the child would be a boy was suddenly celebrated as a true clairvoyant and many asked her of the fate that was in store for the prince; but when she said that she foresaw disaster, they ignored her once more. The drunk gamblers, now sober and with lucid minds, found that they could not remember what they had said or how much they had bet, and were content to call it all off and join in the festivities instead.
I'm honestly not even sure about this one. On the one hand, I kind of liked exploring the King and Queen in more detail so that they weren't just cardboard pieces in a fairytale, but then again, I think that it poses too much of a problem. Originally, there was supposed to be a prophetic dream the Queen had in which two mute servants start talking to one another and discussing the Queen's pregnancy and that is how she knows that she's going to give birth to a son. That part was a little too hard to work in, though, so I ended up leaving it out. I really am not happy with how this starts... There's about a 75% chance I'll rewrite the lot.