In the land of curses and blessings, there was once a young princess who was locked into a tall red brick tower covered in bright green ivy in the middle of the deep dark enchanted woods by a misunderstood not so evil as every one believed old witch. The misunderstood not so evil as every one witch had tricked the King and Queen for their daughter when she was but an infant with a head of cabbage. The witch had locked the young girl into a tower to keep her pure from the evils of the world. The witch was sure that if the princess was to remain with her parents, that she would become a cruel and unjust leader like the villain the King was beginning to show signs of. The Queen was a vain creature and was rather fond of the mirror on the wall and would croon to it when she thought no one was looking. Before giving up the princess, they saddled her with the worse name they could think of as a subtle sort of revenge to the misunderstood not so evil witch that had tricked them. The King and Queen named the small smiling and gurgling infant the unfortunate name of Rapunzelle. A few years later there was a revolt in that kingdom against the king and queen. They were both beheaded in front of the entire kingdom on a sunny afternoon. There were rumors of the princess still being alive, so the high counsel ruled the land fairly until the princess could be found.
The witch could not bear to call the child by that name, and chose to call her Raz for short. While in the tower the young Raz grew up and filled her mind with the knowledge of scholars and myth. The witch would visit with her weekly and teach about the different cultures of the world and try to prepare her for ruling a kingdom, while she waited for the prince the witch had promised to come and bring her to the real world. Only a prince with a noble and just heart would be able to find his way to the tower that she called home.
One day a young single prince from the neighboring kingdom was chasing a wild bore and ended up lost in the enchanted woods. The prince being a wise man, decided to climb the tallest tree he could find and try to figure out where he was. While he was half way up the tree, he spied the bright green ivy-covered tower in the distance. Thinking that he would be able to find a person in the tower he departed from the tree and ventured toward the tower. After a short bit of traveling on foot he found himself in front of the ivy tower. Walking around the tower twice he discovered that there was not door to the base of the tower. Puzzled by this, he saw a window at the top of the tower with some sort of movement in the room. Feeling adventurous the young prince tested the strength of the vines of the bright green ivy and started climbing to the open window. Making it to the top of the tower he hoisted himself into the room and clattered noisily on to the floor, startling Princess Raz into dropping her hairbrush. The noise of the hairbrush hitting the floor made the young prince look up and directly into the princess's crystal blue eyes. After a moment of confusion they both began to smile. Some people know love at first sight.
The witch was known to make weekly visits, materialized at the top of the stairway. Despite there not being any doorway at the base of the tower, there was a secret passage underground that opened up to a secret under ground cave that the witch had created for hauling goods back and forth from the tower. The not so evil witch was getting old and thought that it would be a waste of power and talent to simply transport herself where ever she wanted. Simple things like time space distortion always had to be factored in. Having an underground tunnel was just good thinking.
The witch having the for-sight that a prince would be presenting himself soon to young princess Raz, decided to make an early trip to the tower that week, with was she felt would be very handy in a short a mount of time for the young girl. The gift in all its finery was a white dress of lace, satin and pearls. Something suitable for a wedding and a coronation.
Raz and the young prince were both very surprised by the sudden appearance of the witch. The prince drew his sword at the witch and made a lunging motion to at the witch, which spurred princess Raz out of her shocked trance at seeing the prince. Having never seen an actual man before, she was a little shocked to see what they looked at, but threatening her benefactor and the only person she had ever known made move into action. Throwing herself in front of the witch as he made one more paring motion, the prince with drew his sword realizing that the old witch was not there to hurt her. The witch being very amused by the display of masculinity the prince was showing and the wisdom of withdrawing his sword decided that he was worthy of Princess Raz. Laying a giant dress box on the four-poster bed. The witch took both of Raz's hands into her old withered ones and kissed them. Whispered for her to be happy and disappeared in a cloud of purple smoke. The prince being confused by all of this opened the box the witch had set down. Parting the tissue paper he saw a white gown and a creamy white envelope with black writing on it addressed to him. Frowning a moment, he opened the envelope. Raz pulled the dress out of the box and quickly changed into it in front of the prince. The note to the young princes told him of the young Raz's heritage, making her lineage worthy if not worthier then his to rule.
Shortly after seeing her in the fine white gown meant for a queen, he whisked her away from her isolated tower and married her that very evening in front of all upon the kingdom who could take leave to witness such an event. The old king who was ailing in his health, approved of this, since he was not sure how long he would be able to remain in that world. Three weeks later the prince was crowned king and the country mourned the loss of King Humpledink and welcomed King Zemeckis and Queen Rapunzelle to the throne.
Several years after being married and much enthusiastic trying Queen Raz announced to the court that an heir was on the way. Many in the kingdom rejoiced for hearing this news. Not wanting to offend, Queen Raz invited the misunderstood witch who had raised her to come and bless the expected heir of the kingdom. Now despite the queens peculiar upbringing and the witch doing her best to instill good solid values into her, there was still a bit of vanity that laid deep with in the queen that from time to time would make an appearance. With this said, she tried to persuade the old witch to bless the expecting child with innate good looks. The witch realizing was the young queen was asking, granted her request but not in the exact words the young queen was expecting. The wording of the blessing spread through the land, "My the beauty of your inside reflect upon you, and may true loves kiss seal the form." It was later discovered that the queen was expecting twins.
A couple of decades later
Duke Blagnor and Princess Amaryllis walked down the aisle in a shower of white and red rose petals. Wedding bells chimed through out the air and white doves were released into the air as the happy couple climbed into the glittering carriage drawn by four white horses with big red bows tied to them. Several people ducked hoping that they wouldn't be hit with bird droppings, despite it being said to be good luck. The horses stamped impatiently as the bride kissed all eleven of her sisters on their rosy cheeks before she climbed into the highly decorated carriage. The drive snapped the reins once and the carriage took off down the cobblestones to the secluded honeymoon destination.
Violet surveyed the crowd morosely. The dancing had stopped, but the music was still playing in the background softly. Violet wasn't even fond of the dancing, but it was something that she had always known. She and her sisters had been cursed. They had been forced to dance every night at midnight until two nights ago. The king, their father had long ago made a decree that any that could break the curse of his twelve dancing daughter would be marry the oldest one as his reward and become king once he died. Those hopefully of marrying any of the princesses had to try and break this curse. All those who tried would have three nights and three tries to break the curse or else forfeit their lives and their land. Many rich and not so rich royals flocked toward the kingdom of Berttletic hoping to break the curse. The king had grown quite rich from all those that had attempted. He didn't even seem to mind that his daughters would be spinsters as long as the wealth kept piling up with those that tried and failed.
Duke Blagnor being cunning and broke with nothing else to lose started accompanying half-witted hopefuls to the castle and watched them fail time and time again. While he watched the hopefuls fail he noticed that they always danced to the same tune over and over again. After receiving an anonymous hint that changing the tune could possibly break the curse, he decided to give his method a try, between that he was hopelessly in love with the oldest princess, Princess Amaryllis. Her raspberry colored lips entranced him with every word they shaped and the sound of her silver tinkling laughter made his heart swoon. After a while of hanging about the castle, notes were passed between him and the princess. Duke Blagnor quickly discovered that she had a fine mind and a sense of humor about her also. Every time he had been to the castle she had been endlessly sweet to him and kind to him, and the thought of her marrying any one other then him would have broken his hearted. So thinking it through he stayed up all night and watched them dance two nights in a row. Marking how gracefully and lovely they were while they danced. On the last night, he brought out a flute from his pocket and harmonized with the tune while it played and about half way into the melody he change some of the notes and slowly changed the melody so that the original melody was no longer recognizable. In just a moment the curse that forced them to dance, was broken and immediately several sisters fell out of step, one of them tripped and another fell on her bum. Two days later Duke Blagnor and Princess Amaryllis were married, leaving Violet lost in her own thoughts of her future for the first time ever. It is so easy to not think about things when you don't have to, when you have a routine and you always know what you are going to do, day in and day out. It gives a person a sense of security.
Her sisters in all their pink finery fluttered around all the pompous courtiers and the neighboring royals. Several of them making it quite obvious that they were more then ready to have their own wedding night. A couple of them were dancing with willing partners on the tiled ballroom floor. The king, her father sat on his throne, smugly viewing the gathering and peering down dresses of girls younger then his oldest daughter. Violet supposed that her father was amused by the whole spectacle and with having an heir; he could easily take a second wife, since his first wife had died in childbirth supporting his quest for an heir.
Violet had never felt so alone in her life. All she had ever known was the dancing and spending her days with her sisters, most particularly Amaryllis. It may not have been an exciting life, but she had enjoyed the peace of it. And here she was dressed in pink silk to her toes, tied in a corset that made her back her and her breast way to visible for her comfort. Her mahogany colored hair curled and twined with pearls through and through. Glittering jewels dripped from her neck and ears causing every movement she made to shimmer and shine. She hated it. She hated people gazing at her creamy breasts and talking down to her like she was ornamental centerpiece and had no brain of her own. She hated the fuss of it all, she decided that she had enough of people in general; she made her way to the library to avoid the bulk of them. Once in the library, she saw several people in various stages of undress in intimate embraces. With a sigh, she decided to just call it a night. The dancing had stopped, and there was nothing for her to fill the void yet. Her sisters didn't seem to care one way or the other and the companionship and feeling of belonging that she got while dancing felt like it would never be restored. Making her way to her room, she avoided the canoodling couples in the hall. Once she made it into her room, she locked her bedroom door, to prevent any accidental intrusion and changed into bed cloths. It was a little tricky to get all the finery off and her hair combed out with out her maid, but she wasn't going to rack her down in the middle of the celebrations and she wasn't going to unlock the door for the maid to assist later. It was just too risky that someone might accidentally walk in, since her room was the closest to the festivities. With another sigh, she blew out her candle, put an eye mask over her eyes, to block out all the torch light in the court yard and went to sleep. She did all of this with the hope that things would change for her in the morning.
The next morning in a cheerful yellow and white striped breakfast room of the kingdom next door, three occupants sat sipping their coffee out of little china teacups with cranes painted on them. Queen Raz studied her two sons, as they dined one their breakfasts and reading the news. For being twins, they were not all that much alike. Collin, the first-born son and heir to the throne, was broad shouldered and bulky. His dark brown normally hung shaggily down to his shoulders, often escaping the ribbon that was suppose to have held it back. Glasses were perched at the end of his nose while he read the reports from the farmers on the conditions of the crops. Even on the best of days he seem to have a 5 o'clock shadow on his face and unless reminded would be turned into a full beard in two days. Only when he was completely shaved could a person see the scars that a rough childhood battle with small pox and ache had left on his face. There was also a scar that was on the left side of his face next to his green eyes, which gave him a rather intimidating look to those that first glanced at him. All that would not have been so bad if his clothing have been a little neater. His clothing despite him having access to the best tailors in the kingdom always seemed to have a worn, wrinkled look to them. Compared to his younger brother, Collin looked positively mid-evil, complete with scowl that was normally perched on his face when in popular company.
Ethan the younger of the twins was rather dapper looking. His slender form with his fresh pressed suits and charming white smile made most ladies in the court swoon, and quite a few of them flip their skirts for him at just a wink. Ethan's hair probably had never been out of place once in his life and his face was smooth and clear of any blemish, his chocolate brown eyes was reading the newspaper. Long slender fingers that never ever had dirt crusted underneath the nails turned a page in the newspaper.
Deciding that she had enough of her boys seemingly ignoring her, she cleared her throat daintily; causing two sets of eyes is rose and met her clear blue ones. Ethan's perfectly shaped eyebrow cocked with the unasked question in it. Collin just looked at her, waiting for the news. He always seemed to have a grim look to him, when it came time to make announcements. As if he was always expecting the worst thing possible to happen. Picking up his coffee cup he took a sip of the steaming hot brew.
"I have decided that you will be getting married," stated Queen Raz with out any preamble. Coffee spewed out of Collins mouth as he began to choke on the hot liquid. Ethan with a solid hand smacked his brother on his back, until he quit coughing. With is tears in his eyes from choking and the force of his brothers assistance he beseeched her statement with one of his own.
"Whom, do you mean?" asked Collin; once he was able to get his breathing even, despite his face still red with the shock and surprise. A stain of coffee started to set and stain the lapel of his coat. He half empty teacup sat next to the forgotten croissant on his gold trimmed plate. His valet was sure to lament of the coffee stain at a later date, but he was sure that in the grand scheme of things a little bit of spilt coffee was nothing compared to the news they were given.
"Both of you. It is high time for you both to settle down. Between that it will strengthen our relationship with the other kingdoms. There has been talk of war lately, and if we have a wedding, we can quickly nip that issue in the bud," said Queen Raz in a frank matter.
"So, do we at least get to pick our brides out, or have you already done that for us, mother," asked Ethan in a dry tone.
"There is no need to be smart with me, of course you can pick your bride. In fact I have been so kind to invite several eligible young ladies over from the neighboring kingdom. They will be spending winter with us. Feel free to pick any one them to be your bride, and if they don't suit your tastes, I am sure that I can find more to spend the spring with us until you both are settled down. I would hope to have wedding by next fall. Something we can do outside before the harvest," replied Queen Raz.
"Since we are to be under siege and poached like meat by husband seeking princesses, when can we expect the first shipment of beauties to arrive," asked Ethan as if he were ordering a glass of sherry from the butler. Collin wished that he could be as cool and collected as Ethan over this sudden piece of new. Nothing ever seemed to shake Ethan's demeanor.
"Oh, in about two or three weeks, I don't remember for sure. It all depends on how long it takes them to get here. The first bevy of princesses will be from Berttletic. I don't' think all eleven of them will be able to make it. I believe the king wrote me back to say that several of them were traveling abroad this winter," said the queen casually.
"I dare say, eleven? That is a little extreme," remarked Ethan with a bored air.
"Well, there are actually twelve of them, but the oldest is most recently married. Some nonsense about a curse and such stuff kept the princesses from coming out sooner, any way I am sure that they are all lovely and accomplished young ladies," replied Queen Raz as she sipped and smiled approvingly at the attention her youngest son was giving her brilliant idea.
"I would say it had to be some curse, to have eleven girls to begin with," said Ethan with a fair amount of sarcasm.
Collin sat at the table like a stunned rabbit watching his mother, the queen talk. Part of him wondered if she even knew what she was asking of them. It was like the world he knew was just ripped out from beneath him and none of the other occupants at the table even seemed to notice or care. It didn't matter if King had 20 ravishing daughters; it wasn't like King would be forced to marry one of them. He just had to find them husbands. The thought of being forced to marry someone he didn't even know made him feel nauseous that he completely tuned out the rest of the conversation that flowed around him like dark current trying to suck him into the blackening depths of despair. It was one of the few times he wished that his father, King Zemeckis was there to put and end to this nonsense, instead of being three kingdoms over, acting as a diplomat between the two feuding kingdoms of Genovia and Skirvania. He was sure that it would be more harmonious to work with two feuding overlords then to try to make small talk to a bunch of princesses.