Once upon a time there was a little princess named Isabel who lived in a castle in a mystical village far far away and a long, long time ago in a kingdom called Ur . The princess was very lonely. He mother, the queen died while giving birth to her. It was a very sad time, because the Queen was a very good queen, and she was very beautiful.
Princess Isabel lived with her father, the king. The king was very bitter towards the princess because he blamed her for killing her mother. Doctors were often at a loss back in those days because childbirth often lead to the death of the mother
The queen died through no fault of the little princess, but when she was born and her mother died just days later from a wicked infection, and the king would no longer look upon his daughter.
The more the king brooded over the loss of his beloved queen the more he thought the princess was bewitched from before she was born. The king really believed that the unborn babe was the cause of his wife’s death.
At the age of twelve, the princess was thrown in the dungeon far below the castle. The king stripped the princess of her title and her birth right. She was now just Isabel.
The dungeon was dark and cold. She was scared. Far off she saw dim light from torches spaced several feet apart, but there was no light where little Isabel was locked up. Isabel heard talking and laughing, but she couldn’t make out the words.
“H-hello? Is anybody there?’ Isabel cried out several times but her cries just hit the dark walls and echoed around her.
Nobody answered her cries because they the staff was warned not to. Anyone caught being nice to her would be boiled in oil as ordered by the king. The king meant for his daughter to suffer for killing his beloved Gwendolyn.
After several minutes of crying, Isabel became quiet. Her eyes were becoming accustomed to the darkness. She was able to see chains on the wall where some other unfortunate prisoners must have been shackled too. She counted herself lucky that she was not locked in chains.
There was no privy and no privacy, and Isabel had to ‘go’. As she sat on her bed of stale smelling straw, she looked around her prison cell that couldn’t have been ten feet square. In the darkness she noticed a chamber pot. It smelled foul and she didn’t want to use it but she had no choice. It was in the corner and out in the open if anyone just happened to be looking in on her,.
The only thing Isabel did wrong was to be born alive. Isabel began to cry anew. She didn’t ask to be born. She was brought into this cruel, harsh world upon no will of her own.
Isabel must have cried herself to sleep. When she woke there was a wooden tray with cheese and bread pushed just inside her cell. The bread was hard on the outside and soft and warm in the middle. There was also a large cup of water and a cup of milk that was room temperature.
“Thank you…” Isabel called out but no one answered her. Isabel ate in silence. The milk made Isabel sleepy. She couldn’t hold her eyes open in the dreary, dank darkness. Soon, she fell into a deep sleep.
Isabel dreamed fitfully about her ordeal. In her dream she saw a dragon. The dragon had red eyes that somehow seemed magical about him.
“Don’t come near me dragon! Please! I’m cold and scared. I don’t know what is to become of me!”
To Isabel’s shock the dragon spoke to her in a deep, comforting voice,. “Don’t be afraid of me, little one. I am the one who brought you food to eat. And did you notice that you have a clean chamber pot this morning? It is I who did this for you. I also put a wall up around the chamber post to make a privy for you.”
“Thank you. How is it that you, a dragon, are speaking to me? And how did you do me these kindnesses?” Isabel asked the dragon. His eyes seemed even more brilliantly red than before.
“Dear lass, I was once human like you. But one day a curse was put on me by my uncle, also a dragon, but a wicked one. The curse was that I would live forever as a dragon in this dungeon. But something went wrong with the curse. It gave me a will to change back into a boy, but it doesn’t last indefinitely. The spell that was put on me also gave me the ability to turn into a mist and enter places too small for me, as a boy to get through.”
The servants down here are prisoners themselves who have become trustees of the king. They are loyal to him, not by devotion, but by fear of being executed. The king used to be a gentle soul, but he became mean after the loss of his wife. He took his anger out on everyone and didn’t think twice about executing anyone who didn’t follow his orders exactly.
Isabel was still very sleepy when she awoke; it was still dark and dank, but she noticed she was lying on a clean bed of straw and she was warmed by a thick quilt. Next to her she smelled something delicious. There was bread and cheese, but there was also a plate of eggs and there was also an apple. She ate it all and was full. Isabel remembered her dreams. She pondered for hours on end about the talking dragon. She thought so much about the dragon that she fell into a deep sleep once again.
The dragon came to her once again. Isabel was drawn to his eyes. The dragon said his name was William. He had short arms in front and thick muscular legs and a long serpentine tail. William could fly and he could spit fire hotter than a furnace when he felt the need to. However, as a boy, he was a young man in medieval dress. He was quite handsome to look at.
“Thank you for calling me princess, but I am just Isabel. My father despises me for killing my mother. He could no longer bear to look at me. I am destined to stay in this prison until I die. “
“No, lass, you are not going to die in here. I can see things about you that you are not aware of.”
“What things?” Isabel asked William the Dragon.
To be continued in Chapter 2
Previously published on Bubblews.