Excerpt from Rose of Dancé

Rose of Dancé by Erika Sams

This is a sample of the first chapter, before editing, to give you a better idea of what you would be supporting if you choose to back the Kickstarter. Please remember that this is before professional editing.

Chapter One

A Kingdom Like No Other

 

Close your eyes, open your mind, and imagine the most beautiful world since Eden. Grass so green and spotted with flowers of every color, basking under a golden sun. Through the fields run children, their bare feet alive with dance, their laughter singing in the wind.

Now take flight with the birds, high above where the children play and see a vast, beautiful kingdom beyond the fields. Walls and homes of white stone, carved and draped with rose and vine. The streets stirring with joyous commotion. Up on a hill, perched by a cliff which drops to a roaring ocean sits the most glorious castle, made of pearl and trimmed with gold. From the balcony of the castle you can hear the waves of the sea as they collide with the cliff. The castle nearly glows in the light of the sun. It is the Kingdom of Dancé.

Just by imagining you can already see, this Kingdom was unlike any other. But its beautiful landscape and artistic detail is not the only thing that makes Dancé a wonder. The entire Kingdom is always alive with song and dance. Oh the dance! Far and wide, the young to the very old, it controlled and consumed them, a great energy from their soul to their feet. More than tradition, it was in the blood of every child born in the great Kingdom of Dancé. The Kingdom of dance and song.

But no matter how graceful or swift, they would never hold a candle to the Royal family. When they took the ballroom, everyone halted in amazement by the power of every movement. Standing together or standing alone, the poise, the grace, the perfect ripple of the Queens dress as she twirls in the arms of her King. There was nothing in the world more captivating or beautiful.

In fact, it was said that everyone born of royal blood didn’t even need lessons. As they learned to walk as children, the art of dance was automatically inherited, as natural as a baby’s first breath—If you dare to believe such things.

The royal children were also born with a pink birthmark on their right outer ankle. It never faded, the clear shape of a rose.

Never before and not since has there been a place fuller of joy, hope and peace. The envy of all others, but the Dancé natives would never notice, too wrapped in their dream to let anything or anyone penetrate that freedom.

Through the laughter, a loud cry is heard from the palace. Echoing off every wall in the Kingdom, the Queen gives one final push and her child lets out their first cry.

“She’s here,” the midwife says, wrapping the screaming Princess in a blanket, “a girl.”

“A daughter,” King Michael breathed out in amazement from beside his wife. The midwife placed the little Princess on her mother’s panting chest.

“Christine,” Queen Anna said in joyous relief between heavy breaths and glistening tears, “my beautiful daughter.”

Tears of joy were in the eyes of the King as he leaned in to his girls, “I thought the Lord had already blessed me more than any man. He has outdone Himself.”

Anna leaned back on her pillow looking up at her husband as he stroked her moist forehead with his thumb. He drank in the sight, his wife’s slender arms so strong around their child, settled peacefully into her mother’s arms. Anna’s eyes were the blue of crystal or the clearest ocean water. So tired and still so beautiful, her blonde hair almost white, draped damp from sweat across her pillow in cascading waves. Her skin pale and flushed pink from labor.

Michael’s eyes were a deep sea green that always seemed to sparkle with light. His thick, golden blonde hair reached down to his broad shoulders. Next to Anna he was a full head taller, his body strong and fit beside her slender frame. His skin tanned dark and hands rough from wielding sword and shield.

The queen looked down at the baby on her chest, whose thin pink lips opened in search of milk. Puffy eyes softly closed and frail wrinkled hands lay settled on her mother’s breast.

“She’s perfect,” Anna said, “so beautiful.”

“Just like her mother,” smiled Michael, “She looks just like you.”

Anna blushed at her husband, “And she’ll be strong like you,” she proclaimed with certainty.

When Anna was nursing, the initial pain passing enough for her to breathe, the King lifted the blanket to see Christine’s ankle, “She bares the mark of Dancé,” he said proudly, running his thumb over the pink rose mark on Christine’s soft skin, “The Rose of Dancé will live on forever.”

The Queen leaned her head back and closed her eyes, a happy moan escaping her as the baby Princess continued to suck milk from her mother’s breast. The King gave his wife a soft kiss, “You did wonderfully, Anna. You are stronger than every man in my army. When you have rested, the entire Kingdom will come together for a great ball to celebrate the birth of our new Princess. These walls will fill with song and dance the likes of which have never been seen in our history. People in every corner of the world will hear of this celebration and the news of our new Princess.”

A smile pulled at the corner of Anna’s mouth and she gave an even quieter moan of gladness. Michael returned her smile and kissed her forehead softly, “rest my love.”

As she drifted to sleep the midwife took Christine to wash her in the far corner of the room with the help of two servants. Michael climbed in the bed beside his sleeping wife and waited anxiously to hold his daughter. Finally, she was placed in his arms, wrapped in a warm blanket. He held his sleeping child, his Queen curled peacefully beside him. If there was ever a perfect moment in life, Michael knew he was living it.

From every side of the castle, golden trumpets sang out a triumphant chorus. Rich purple silk hung from every trumpet, the players all in the same purple tunics adorned with the Royal Rose crest sown in gold on their chest. The flag of Dancé seemed to fly prouder than ever before. It was a perfect day, warm sun shown over the land, the pearl white castle glistening in its light. It was six weeks since the trumpets sung out the joyous news of the Princess’ birth, and now they beckoned everyone for a celebration. By the time the sun fell that very day, everyone in the land would come together for a ball in the great palace.

Through the streets everyone was in a joyous scurry of preparation. Ladies pulled out their finest tulle and silk gowns, or had new ones sown. Men carried messages and gathered food for a great feast. Grapes, berries, beans and every leafy green. They brought chicken, lamb and beef. Cheeses and wines were in plenty and the bakers ran through clouds of white flour as they beat dough into soft breads and fine cakes.

In the great ballroom, purple silk drapes were hung from every pillar and swung from the balcony gate. Vine wrapped around the tall pillars spotted with rose. A small band was setting up their stringed instruments, tuning and practicing for all the dancing that would surely take place in mere hours. Countless cooks and hands rushed around, setting long tables where food was piling for guests.

Among the chaos was David, the Kings right hand man and dearest friend. As children David and Michael had been like brothers, now David was Michael’s most trusted hand. Next to Michael’s blonde, David had dark, nearly black, thick locks of hair and was about a foot shorter than Michael. He was fit, but lean and always prided himself in the ability to disappear into corners and cracks no one else knew about. Hide and seek became a pointless endeavor, eventually Michael learned to just give up and David would inevitably reveal himself around dinner time. No one knew from where. In fact, to this day there are places in the palace only David would know.

Times had greatly changed and hide and seek turned to royal responsibilities. What Michael needed, David now accomplished as his aid. And today it would mean pulling off the most magnificent ball of all time. He was inspecting, instructing, his legs never stopped moving, racing through the ballroom to the kitchen, checking everything to make sure it was perfect.

“You’re going to trip over your own feet before the night is through,” Tony, the royal baker laughed as David swept passed him for the eighth time in an hour, choking in a gust of flour.

David then laughed but had no time to stop for remark as he pushed open the kitchen door, dipping his finger in a bowl of fresh icing to sneak a taste on his lips, moaning at the taste of sugar and crème. No one did cakes like Tony. Everything was sure to be nothing short of divine!

As David raced down the hall with plans to meet with the royal massager, his wife cut him off in the hallway, “Oh my dear, please take a small drink of water.”

David smiled into her green eyes and accepted the cup from her small hand. She watched him gulp the water like a man lost in a desert without drink for days. Her small mouth smiled as she giggled at him, her long dark curls bouncing around her shoulders. She was a short woman, though her strong build and confident stance left no question she could hold her own. Her skin was almond brown from the sun and her squared face glowed with natural joy which never faded.

David finished the drink, his eyes pressed together, embracing the cool liquid down his throat, the first calm he’d had in days. Finding the bottom of the cup, he handed it back to Elena and smiled gratefully, “Whatever would I do without you?”

“The entire Kingdom relies on you. You’ve got to have someone to keep an eye on you too.” She giggled her all too contagious giggle that never ceased to make David’s heart soar.

Smiling broadly, he placed his hand on her cheek, “God, how I adore you, woman.”

She grinned sheepishly and he kissed her lips firmly before dashing past her, leaving her swooned and breathless in the hallway. She leaned against the wall, her eyes watching after him as he disappeared.

Anna stood on the balcony of the Royal bedroom, looking out over the cliff at the roaring ocean and blue sky. It was beautiful and clear, only blotted by the bright yellow sun warm on her skin. Everything felt right. The wind blew through her hair and across her skin, picking up the tulle of her dress. She closed her eyes and breathed in deeply, the smell of flowers and salt tickled her nose and she smiled in perfect peace.

Hands glided around her waist and she felt Michael’s chin rest in the crook of her neck, his warm breath on her skin. Gazing out at the scene before them, they rested in the moment.

“I wish we could just stay like this forever,” Anna said.

Michael nuzzled his face in her neck and kissed it, “I won’t move until you pry me away.”

Anna turned in his arms to wrap her slender arms around his neck and gaze in his eyes, their bodies pressed close together.

“I love you, Anna.”

“I love you, Michael.”

Michael bent and kissed Anna sweetly, the wind sweeping around them. The moment ended abruptly when a loud knock on the door drew their attention. Michael sighed, “We aren’t finished.”

Anna giggled and Michael reluctantly let go, “Enter,” he called.

David and three of Anna’s hand maids moved in as fast as an ocean wave to the shore, “My lady, we must get you bathed and ready,” David told Anna.

“I suppose it is time, isn’t it?” Anna gave a glance back at her husband with a slight curve of her lip and followed her maids to the bath chamber.

David looked Michael up and down in assessment. He was wearing loose, leather trousers that were covered in dirt, along with his boots. His white under tunic was untucked and wrinkled from sleep and his hands looked like he had been digging in the dirt, “Well clearly you are ready for a party.” David stated sarcastically.

“Come with me, my friend,” Michael said gleefully and was out the door, a near skip in his step.

“But I don–” he began to object, but then thought better of it. Dropping his head with a useless sigh, he followed Michael down the steps, through the corridor and out the back to the garden.

The Garden of Dancé was quite possibly Heaven on earth. From the moment you opened the door, you were in a wonderland. A stone pathway broke through green grass, and along the path rose plants, bushes and trees enraptured by the most beautiful flowers of every kind and color. A song of the angles came through the leafs sung by wind and birds.

The men walked along the path peacefully taking in the site, till they came to the end where there had been two white swings hung from a branch, entangled with vine and purple flower. Where there had been two, now hung a third, smaller swing.

Understanding, David turned to Michael and asked rhetorically, “For Christine?”

Michael smiled proudly, stepping carefully to the grass beside the swings, he knelt beside a recently turned patch of dirt. Out of the middle there sprouted a small tree, only about a foot and a half tall. Michael tapped the dirt with his hand, “I planted it this morning when I also hung the swing. It will grow with Christine,” he ran his fingers along a frail branch, “One day she will swing from its limbs, showing she is stronger than any tree or man. As its roots grow deep into the ground, she will be rooted deep in her Lord.”

“It’s beautiful,” David said honestly, “she will treasure it.”

Michael rose and looked around the garden, “This tree will live on, along with her memory for generations.”

Michael walked into a thick brush and pulled out a curved metal plaque, “I had this made, when the tree grows to its full size it will be welded into the tree.”

David looked at the plaque and read,

For Princess Christine of Dancé

Presented by your father the King Michael

May your life be full of all the love and happiness

This world holds.

I love you

“It is a beautiful tribute,” David said, “she will never be forgotten.”

“No. Tales will be told until she is a legend.”

If you liked this sample and would like to back this book and receive a signed copy, please visit  Get Rose of Dancé Published Kickstarter! 

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