Left Behind: Doomed?

No, this isn’t about a particular belief of a particular group of Christians.  It’s about stories.  Stories that start with someone left behind–oversleeping and missing the boat, the train, the shopping trip, perhaps.   Shipwrecked on an island.   Falling  out of an airplane into a dense forest.   Or missed by the rescue vessel when others are rescued.   Or not invited to the party, or sick and unable to go.  The one who, in some way, is ignored or isolated or…you get the idea.  There are many, many ways of being cut out from the herd and left alone to cope with…anything the writer thinks up.

Sometimes writers read an old story that isn’t that kind of story, and notice that significant persons to the story’s protagonist were just…dropped.   For instance: I wrote a story for an anthology, Warrior Princesses.   My story’s title was “My Princess” which sounds kind of sappy and could lead the reader to think it’s going to be a love story about a prince in love with a warrior princess…but it wasn’t.   I wrote it in, probably, 1997, since the anthology was published in 1998.  Told in first person from the POV of the groom who cares for the princess’s charger.  She’s a warrior all right; she’s a cavalry captain.  Her sisters are pretty and about to be married off to princes.  Etc.  And in the end she disappears into the fog of time with the sixty cavalrymen in her troop.

Her sisters?  Well, they were the pretty ones.  Princes were found for them, or they were found for princes, whichever way you like to look at it.  I imagined them married, growing older, with children.  Happy maybe.  Unhappy maybe.  Didn’t know, didn’t (at that time) care much about them, the Rose of the Kingdom and the Lily of the Morning.  Everything a princess should be, they were.  MY princess, the captain of cavalry, wasn’t.  But it was her story, at least according to her horse’s groom, it was her story.

And yet.  In that story were phrases that–when I read the story years later–cast worrisome shadows on the Rose and the Lily.  “Peace.  A treaty with our old enemies, sealed by the marriage of my princess’s sisters to the sons of their royal houses–entirely traditional…”  Political marriages between less than allies…sometimes it works.  It *could* work; goodness knows it’s been tried often enough.  Connect the royal houses by marriage, make love, not war.  English and French and Spanish and Holy Roman Emperor, Balkan states and Russia?  Surely the children and grandchildren of  Victoria and Frederick, married into every other royal house, can hold Europe in a safe web of familial love.   Surely it will not plunge into the worst war yet.  And yet…August 1914.

And yet more years later, deciding that “My Princess” does belong in the Paksworld short fiction stuff, I’m caught up short again.  That first princess–the eldest by some years, and no sons in the family?  Why?  What happened.  Where’s her mother?  She /doesn’t look anything like her sisters, and it’s not *all* because of her age and soldiering.  The Rose and the Lily: did they bring their children back to visit their parents?  Did the treaty hold?   What happened in that city square when the cavalry troop rescued their captain from a forced marriage, when she jumped from the carriage to her horse, and her troop got her out of the city?  What did that rescue cost…the others?   Her father’s reputation as a king?  Her sisters   Left behind.   Left behind on their wedding day to deal with the aftermath, her angry would-have-been groom and his family, their husbands and their families…the peace their marriages were supposed to purchase.

The story has demanded to be written.  It’s being written.  It’s not pleasant.   So far it’s all about the older of the two pretty ones.  I don’t want to leave her as she is (in the story as far as I got it today.)  I want her to reach some…other place, mentally, emotionally, physically.   But wow did things not go as planned.




9 thoughts on “Left Behind: Doomed?

  1. Wow – I do not know if it is a fault or a good thing that an author creates secondary and even very minor characters that are worthy of their own story. It enriches a story but makes you wonder what happened. And over a long series of stories the author has to create a really large amount of characters other than her protagonists. It does make for good reading. There are signs of spring up here in New Hampshire.

  2. Oh, that sounds like the basis for a wonderful story! Looking forward to reading it. I loved the stories you wrote for the “Chicks in Chainmail” series, too (talking of warrior princesses!).

    1. The oldest sister’s escape on the wedding day was indeed a surprise. And no, the younger sisters were not happy. The jilted groom wasn’t happy.
      The other two grooms (those marriages did take place) weren’t happy and the in-laws were furious.

  3. Love it, more characters to learn and follow. I’m here to tell you today, with all the drama in my life lately, I’m with Kristy McNichol in The Pirate Movie from 1982. “I want a HAPPY Ending!” I saw that movie and “Time Bandits” more times than I wanted to because they were double features with other movies. I was young and silly in those days and spent too much time hanging out with friends than studying. Ended up transferring to a different university and got my act together.
    I had to go back and read your description again because I got the groom of the elder princess a bit mixed up with the groom (husband that wasn’t). Was Rose the elder of the pretty ones? Did she take her elder sister’s place as the bride or was she married off to another prince of a different land. Did she even speak the language of her prince?
    Back about when Prince George of Wales was born, I started following a blog about royals, their history, their jewels, fashions, etc. Sounds frivolous, but wow, have I learned a lot about the real life pressures on a princess. Does your princess have to learn a different language like Mary of Denmark and Maxima of the Netherlands? Is she unhealthy and possibly struggling like Charlene of Monaco? Then there was all the confusion about which prince a princess should marry… as happened with Princess Charlotte of Wales (not the current one, the one whose father became George IV.) And on that thought did you ever read “Civil Contract” by Georgette Heyer? SO much history tucked in that book. I love how Georgette explained the treatment Charlotte went through under Croft without ever mentioning Princess Charlotte Augusta when Jenny was with child. Have fun writing! I’m loving reading your updates

  4. Ooooh, I have that anthology, time for a reread in the hope that I will get to find out what happened to everyone after That Day.

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