The next morning, a sadness has come over the kingdom. The sky is filled with rainclouds. It’s as if nature senses the loss of a caring soul. The raindrops have paused their falling for a short time. Sno and Charming are dressing Selena in her room. Sno is mentally noting what needs to be brought when they leave. She hugs Selena against her.
Esther and Marian peek into the room.
Sno looks to them, and they both bow their heads. It’s time to say goodbye.
After the funeral, Sno gathers the things they are to take with them. She has packed keepsakes; those made for her and those made for Selena. She makes a mental note to take the royal baby blanket passed down for generations, from Selena's crib. She looks toward her mother’s wedding dress, wishing she could take it with her. As she finishes her packing, she looks around her room.
“I can’t believe we have to leave..” she says to Charming who is laying on her bed.
“Someday, Sno.” he says, as he rises and advances toward her. “Someday, we will take it back.” he promises, kissing her. “My love, I’m so sorry that we have to leave. But it was your Father’s dying wish that we depart…”
Sno looks at him, tears streaming down both cheeks.
“Would he have asked us to leave had he known his own death was so close?” she questions through her sobs. “Would he have sent us away if he knew his time with us was so short!?” she continues, slightly angry.
Charming frowns and pulls her into a hug. He feels it best to not attempt reasoning with her while she is in a broken state of mind. He cuddles her head into his shoulder.
“I’m sorry love. I’m so sorry.” he whispers, wishing there was more he could do to ease her pain.
Sno excuses herself. She feels she must see her father again. She rushes to the courtyard and to his grave where she stops.
“Father.” She says, tears spilling down her face. “I am so broken. I know not what I am doing. I am so afraid. I fear the future. I know not where I am going. I am lost…lost without you Father. My strength has gone. My hope is dead. My future uncertain…” she sobs. She is unaware that Charming has followed her.
He pulls her into a hug.
“My dearest Sno,” he coos to her. “I can never replace your Father. But I promise that I will love you and guide you until my last breath on this Earth. For as long as you have me, I will be there for you. His passing has shocked us all. He was a great mentor, a hero, a noble man. I looked forward to a future where we’d make many happy memories together. There were many moments I wished him to share in. I know this is a great weight on us both, but I promise to be your strength. You are not alone, my Queen.”
Later at dinner, Sno is still completely heartbroken. She cannot bring herself to eat anything. She refuses to even have a plate placed before her.
“Love, why not just have some Cider?” Charming asks, placing a glass in front of her.
Sno frowns and looks at the glass. She looks away, refusing to even touch it.
“Sno! You need to eat! You need to keep your strength and take care of yourself.” Regina interjects. Sno cuts her off with a dirty look.
“I am not hungry.” she replies in defense.
“Maybe it’s the food? We can have Esther prepare something else.
Esther? Esther..” Regina calls.
“It’s not the food. The food is assuredly delicious, as always. It’s Father…” she says. A tear escapes and trickles down her cheek. She peers toward the head of the table where Regina now sits. The same chair her Father always sat, then shakes her head and looks away.
“He’s gone. He’s lost to us, and you don’t even care..” she mumbles sadly.
“Sno, stop this nonsense at once!” Regina orders. “Of course I care. Your Father was my Husband, my King. Of course his death saddens me…” Regina continues.
“I am not convinced.” Sno replies, shaking her head. “Father was never anything but an obstacle to you, you never truly cared for him, you just desired his power and his kingdom…” Sno finishes, annoyed.
“Sno Elizabeth!” Regina yells, standing abruptly.”You will not speak to me in that manner, I am your Mother, I have never given you any reason to…”
“Stop.” Sno says, also rising and putting up her hand.
”My Mother was named Abagail. My mother was a kind and loyal woman who would have sacrificed her life for her kingdom. You are a traitor. You have committed treason, for I know you are the reason my father is dead!” Sno’s voice has grown louder with each word.
Gasps are heard from the handmaidens.
Regina bites her tongue and closes her eyes.
“Esther? Marian? Leave us!” she demands.
“Yes Ma’am, Of course Ma’am.” they both utter as they exit the kitchen, heads bowed.
Regina takes a deep breath and steadies herself on the table.
“How dare you speak like that! I am the Queen, and you will address me as such! I am your Mother, for I have been the one raising you. You will not disrespect me as you have just done…” Regina glowers at Sno.
Sno rolls her eyes, “Or what Mother? You’ll throw me into the Dungeon!” Sno demands
“Alright! That’s enough!” Charming yells, leaping up from the table. “Regina, I need to speak with you now.” He demands.
Regina places her hand on her chest in surprise. “Charming, I am the Queen, you do not get to..”
But Charming cuts her off. “Regina? Now. Come right now.” Charming says, ushering her from the table.
Sno sits back down and begins to cry. Charming leads Regina to the pantry off the kitchen.
“Regina, this is unacceptable. You will not speak to my Queen in the manner you have just spoken. You do not get to tell Sno how to feel. You do not get to tell Sno what she needs to do. Do you understand?’ Charming asks, his finger outstretched toward her.
Regina, although taken back, does not reply. She huffs under her breath and crosses her arms. She takes a breath, as if to reply, but seems to change her mind and instead turns on her heel and retreats to her bedchamber.
Charming takes a quick breath and makes his way back to the table, he finds Sno picking at a piece of bread from the bread basket.
“Thats the way Sno” he says, kissing her forehead.
It’s deep night in the kingdom. The moon is full and its light tickles the farthest realms of the kingdom.
“Come on baby girl..” Sno whispers taking Selena from her crib, “We have a long journey ahead of us…”
Charming and Sno make their way to the castle gate. They have brought only enough food to last the journey and their few keepsakes in their shoulder bags. Sno clutches Selena to her chest. Charming leads them. He stops to look around every corner and in each crevice and tower. Suddenly, Sno stops.
“Charming, hold Selena for a moment. I’ve forgotten her blanket.” she says in a panic.
Charming reluctantly takes Selena and tries to protest, but Sno has already run back into the castle.
Sno makes her way quietly back inside. She reaches Selena’s room and inches the door open just enough to enter. Then she snatches the blanket from her crib and stuffs it into her shoulder bag.
She is careful to watch around corners and bends as she makes her way back outside to rejoin Charming when someone suddenly grabs her from behind, and covers her mouth.
“Unhand me at once.” she demands, her voice muffled through the fingers of the assailant.
“I’m sorry, your Majesty.” Esther says. She removes her hand from Sno’s mouth and turns her around.
“I know you are leaving. I beg you…please, take me with you.” she asks with tears in her eyes.
Sno ponders this request for less than a minute before nodding her head in agreement.
Once outside the castle walls, Charming carries Selena. For fear that horses, once returned, would lead Regina to their new home, Sno has convinced everyone to walk to the Kingdom of Ethireth. They finally set out on their journey just as the Sun begins its rise into the heavens. It’s a long and arduous trip.
Before descending into a valley, Sno turns to face the castle one last time. The memories of her childhood pass through her mind. A lone tear escapes as she realizes this is truly goodbye.
- END OF BOOK 1-
Thank you so much for reading my story! I hope you enjoyed it. This is just book #1 - I have big plans for this series, so make sure to check back weekly for a new chapter! See you next time! -stephiebaby