By: Robin Gagnon
Victoria was working at her father’s stand in the market when a hush fell over the crowds. It must of been the nobilities.
“Step aside,” a man dressed in a suit announced, parting a way through the crowds, as people moved for a group of women dress in luxurious dresses. “McCauley family coming through!”
A chill crept across Victoria’s skin, as a look of disgust appeared on her face. The nobles had always treated common people like trash. They kept magic at a high price and made sure that only elitist could afford it. Many of her friends and family had once told her that they wished they had been born within a wealthy family, but not her. She could never see herself liking a life where she was put on a pedestal that was held up on the backs of the less fortunate.
“Can I have a loaf of bread,” one of the rich ladies in a beautiful, red dress asked her. “And a pound cake.”
The woman practically threw a couple of silver coins in Victoria’s direction and she resisted the urge to throw them back at her. Gathering up the woman’s purchases, she handed a brown paper bag to the woman’s servant and she watched as the woman walked over to the florist’s stand and threw money at her too.
Not able to bite her tongue any longer, Victoria muttered under her breath, “Spoiled swine.”
The woman’s two other wealthy companions, whom had been standing closer, gasped at Victoria’s words.
“Gertrude,” the woman called out. “Did you here what she just called you? She called you a spoiled swine!”
The woman’s wrinkled face turned bright red from anger, as she picked up the bottom of her dress off of the ground to march over to Victoria. Despite her dislike for the woman, uneasiness began to swirl in her stomach.
“How dare you disrespect me,” she exclaimed, showing off the ring with the ruby in the middle. “I’ll show you what happens when you cross nobility.”
With the wave of her hand, the stall burst into flames. Victoria panicked and grabbed a bucket of water, but it was no use. By the time the fire was out, the damage had been done. The three woman laughed wickedly, as they got into their fancy, horse-drawn, carriage.
Victoria was devastated. Her father’s stall was ruined, but when he saw the damage and heard the story of how it happened, he tried to dust it off.
“It’s alright,” he assured her as they, and a few of the other townsfolk, cleaned up the mess. “It was only natural to react the way you did to their foul attitudes.”
“I still shouldn’t of said it,” Victoria argued with tears in her brown eyes. “Look what I’ve caused.”
Her father sighed, “Why don’t you go for a walk to clear your head. There’s no use staying here and getting upset by it. This was only a portion of our product and we can just as easily build a new stand.”
Victoria opened her mouth to argue, but her father shook his head. Taking his suggestion, she went for a walk and ventured into the woods. All she could think about was how much she disliked the higher class. They were all greedy, spoiled pigs that knew no manners. Well, all of them except for one.
His name was William Godfrey. Victoria had only seen him a handful of times, since the prince of Tarmsworth hardly made an appearance outside of the castle, but every time she spoke with him, he had been nothing but pleasant and polite to her. He was probably the only noble that she liked.
Thinking back to the incident in the market, she cursed herself for her lack of discipline when it came to her emotions. Now her father’s stall and all the things he had made for that day, were ruined. If only she had magic too; magic that was stronger than the snobbish woman’s fire ring. Maybe then she would be able to fight for the respect of the townsfolk, like herself.
Beginning to tear up, she cried at the edge of a beautiful pond that she had come across. It wasn’t fair that she and her family had to suffer because they couldn’t afford magic. The nobles had no right to destroy their things and treat them with disrespect. As she sat there, one of her iridescent tears fell into the pond, which sent a ripple of light throughout it.
Surprised, Victoria looked down into the water and saw that something was glowing brightly beneath her reflection in the water. Rolling up the sleeves of her dress, Victoria reached into the cold water and pulled out what looked to be a gnarled stick. She turned it over in her hands, wondering what it was, when she noticed a clear rock embedded in the top of it.
Victoria’s heart raced, as she began to figure out what it was. There were rumours that magic wands existed, but no one had found one to prove it, so they were deemed to be a myth. Wanting to test out her theory, Victoria looked around for something to try her wand on. Up in a tree, a little bird was tryin to build it’s nest, but failing, as the wind blew the bird’s tiny sticks away.
Gripping her wand with determination, Victoria imagined a big nest that would shield the wind and make all the other birds jealous. She pointed at the spot next to where the little bird was standing and, just as she imagined, a giant nest manifested itself when a burst of light came from the clear end of the gnarled piece of wood.
Victoria could hardly believe it, and neither could the bird, as they both stood there happily admiring their new things. Victoria immediately headed home after that, and rushed to tell her parents the amazing news. Her father didn’t believe her at first, but when she pointed her wand at the spot where their stand used to be, a new one manifested itself there.
“This is incredible,” Victoria’s mother had exclaimed, as she stood next to her husband, who was at a lost for words. “But you mustn’t let the nobles find out. This is a great treasure and you must use it sparingly. Only use it when you need to.”
Victoria agreed, since, after all, she didn’t know how much magical energy the wand had left and she strongly believed that magic shouldn’t be used carelessly.
Unfortunately, Victoria’s display of magic had been witnessed by many people. One of whom, was a spy for the royal family. Therefore, when Victoria and her family had set up shop the next day, members of the royal army stormed the market.
“Victoria Baker,” one of the soldiers read out from a declaration. “It has come to the royal family’s attention that you have been seen in the possession of a magical item and since thou are from the lower class, it can only be assumed that you have stolen it. You are under arrest and we shall be claiming the wood from the new stall you created and the wand itself.”
“What?” Victoria exclaimed, as her father held onto her tightly. “You can’t do that! I didn’t steal this at all. I…found it in the woods.”
The soldiers didn’t listen and despite Victoria’s cries to stop, they tore down the new stall she had created for her father. When they were done, they stood in front of Victoria and her parents.
“Give us the wand and your daughter,” they demanded. “Or you will be held accountable as well.”
Victoria immediately broke free from her father’s grasp. She had tried to make things better after her mistake from yesterday, but had only made things worse. She didn’t want to cause her parents any more misfortune than she already had.
“Victoria, no,” her father pleaded with her, concern is his brown eyes. “I won’t let them take you away, even if it means I get in trouble too.”
“It’s okay, father, ” Victoria tried to assure him, as the guards stood there impatiently. “I’ll be fine.”
She handed over the wand reluctantly, but when the soldier tried to take it, something shocked him. He stumbled backwards in surprise, while holding his hand.
“You attacked me!” he exclaimed. “Hand it over now and don’t try anything like that ever again!”
“I didn’t do anything,” Victoria argued, putting the wand on the ground. “Here, just take it.”
The man tried to pick it up off of the ground, but, again, the wand shocked him.
“You’ve put a curse on this,” the man accused her. “Haven’t you?”
“That’s absurd! I’ve done no such thing!”
“I don’t believe you. Men, take her to the carriage!”
In the end, he had wrapped up the wand in a thick brown cloth and took both it and Victoria to the castle, where the queen and king were waiting upon their thrones.
“I present to you the wand and the accused,” the soldier from earlier announced, climbing the stairs and bending down on one knee to show them the wand in the cloth. “It appears the girl has placed a curse on it and no one is able to touch it but her.”
The king reached down to touch the wand, but just as it had done to the soldier, it shocked him. Becoming furious from being injured, the old man with the greying beard glared down on Victoria, whom was surrounded by soldiers.
“Remove this curse at once,” he exclaimed, pounding his fist on the armrest of his throne like a child throwing a tantrum. “As your king, I demand you to.”
“I can’t do that,” Victoria denied, trying to get the king to understand. “I never put a curse on it. I don’t even know how to do something like that.”
“Nonsense,” he bellowed, becoming more and more angry. “If you do not do this at once, you will be executed.”
Fear appeared on Victoria’s face, as a voice rang out, “What if she’s telling the truth, father? What if the wand doesn’t have a curse. Maybe it chose her and won’t let anyone else use it.”
The room turned to see William standing in the doorway of the throne room. His black hair was glistening in the sunlight coming through the beautiful stained glass windows and his blue eyes were serious, but softened when he smiled at Victoria.
“That is ridiculous,” the king exclaimed, looking from his son to Victoria. “Why are you taking this peasant’s side?”
“Because I believe that magic should be available to everyone and not just kept for nobility,” William explained. “The way the wealthy is treating our own people is deplorable.”
A look of surprise crossed over the king’s face at his son’s words, but quickly turned sour when he turned his attention to Victoria and asked, “Have you put a love spell on my son? How dare you turn him against me!”
“She has done no such thing to me father,” William denied. “This is my own opinion.”
“I will not hear it,” the king interrupted, slamming his fist down on his chair. “Guards execute this woman immediately!”
The guards grabbed Victoria from behind and William began to step forward in defiance, but all was lost when a dragon broke through the ceiling. Portions of the ceiling crashed down around them and Victoria just managed to duck out of the way.
The scaly black beast roared, shattering the stain glass windows and causing everyone to plug their ears.
“Everyone,” the king yelled out to his guards. “Attack the dragon with your magic!”
The soldiers did as they were instructed to do, but their magic just seemed to annoy the dragon. Even the king and queen, who were adorned in many jewels, didn’t have magic strong enough to affect the it.
Getting irritated, the dragon looked down and breathed fire at the soldiers, causing many of them to yell out in pain. William grabbed Victoria just in time and pulled her out of the way.
“Stay here,” he told her gently. “I’ll protect you.”
Victoria did as she was told and watched as a large burst of lightening was unleashed from William’s hand, hitting the dragon in the eye. It roared back in pain, but it only enraged the dragon even more.
Setting his sights on the young prince, the dragon reached forward and grabbed him with black claws.
“My son!” the queen shrieked, standing next to the king who had fear written all over his face. “Not my son!”
Thinking quickly, Victoria looked over to where the soldier stood at the top of the stairs in front of the king and queen. He was holding the cloth with the wand in one hand, and Victoria ran toward him.
Dodging the piece of the ceiling that had crumbled down toward her in a loud thud, she scrambled up the stairs and snatched the wand out of the soldier’s hand.
He looked over at her in surprise and shouted out, “Hey! Get back here with that!”
Victoria ignored him and looked up at the ginormous dragon with the prince still in his claws. Taking a deep breath, she pointed the wand at the dragon and a large burst of magic enveloped it in light.
When the light subsided, the dragon, which was now no bigger than a cat, and the prince both fell from the ceiling. Panicking, Victoria pointed to the ground, where a large number of pillows manifested, catching the prince just in time.
She breathed a sigh of relief and collapsed to the ground. The throne room was in ruins around her and the king seemed paler than normal.
“You,” he stammered, unsure what to say. “You saved my son.”
From the pile of pillows, the prince emerged uninjured, but a little disoriented. The dragon also crawled out of the pillows and glared at everyone. It roared, but it came out more like a squeak because of its small stature. Seemingly frustrated, it began to bite at William’s ankles in defiance.
“Bad dragon,” Victoria scolded, still sitting on the ground with her legs folded beneath her. “Come here right now.”
Surprisingly, the dragon did as it was told and scurried over to her. It climbed up her back and perched on her shoulder.
“I owe you a great deal,” the king announced, having gained his composure. “You saved me and my family.”
Victoria got herself up off of the ground and spoke calmly and clearly, “I want you to stop treating the lower class disrespectfully and make magic available to everyone in the kingdom.”
The king looked taken aback as he asked, “What?”
“You heard me,” Victoria replied. “I want you to treat everyone in the kingdom fairly or I’ll turn this dragon back into full size and let him destroy the castle.”
The king’s eyes widened in surprise, as the queen spoke up, “Deal.”
“What are you saying?” the king turned to his wife and asked. “We can’t do that!”
“It is most certainly something that can be done,” she argued, crossing her arms. “She was able to save our lives, but what were you able to do about it?”
The king looked ashamed, as William came over and stood next to Victoria. He smiled at her and she blushed in return.
“I think she should become the head of our military,” the prince suddenly announced. “Don’t you think father? She has powerful magic and now a pet dragon. No other kingdoms would dare interfere with ours when they here about that.”
The king’s face turned thoughtful and finally he nodded and replied, “Very well. I’ll meet your demands. From this day forth, all negative treatment towards villagers by nobles shall be deemed illegal, magic will be available to all and Victoria will be the kingdom’s first line of defense, making her the first female knight in existence.”
Victoria smiled in relief and the prince hugged her. A big celebration was held in the town and the people rejoiced. The prince ended up marrying Victoria some years later and she lived happily ever after, never forgetting the day she found the wand that changed her life forever.