Linda Rospianna, a princess in a fictional medieval world, begins a diary at age fifteen. She keeps a diary on and off for eight years. Here are her diaries.
How odd it is, to be writing to one that has not yet been born. Perhaps you shall never be born and I am writing to no one. I shall not know if I am to have a child for many years. I am not even married, and perhaps Ewoun does not even intend for me to be married. I do not know the future, but I hope that I will be married and have children.
If this book is indeed read by the person it is intended for, then I am your mother, Linda. I am only fifteen years old as I write this. Only Ewoun knows how old I will be when this is read.
Now to explain why you are reading this.
Torin, my very best friend, had a wonderful idea some days ago that we should keep diaries.
"Why?" I asked.
"I am doing it so that I may look back in some years and reflect upon my younger self. You should find your own reason," Torin told me.
So I did find my own reason. I realized that I want my children, if I have them (I know it would please Mother if I was to marry a rich man and bear many children), to know what I was like when I was young. Sometimes I try to imagine Mother as a girl of my age, but I cannot picture her being younger or ever being anything like me. It seems that she has always been this age and always will be. She never tells me anything about her experiences as a young girl. I will most likely never know what she was like, but if I keep this journal and give it to a child of mine, they will know what I was like.
So, Torin and I shall each keep a daily journal for our respective reasons. I shall describe my life to you so that you may know what being a fifteen-year-old girl is like in this day, while Torin writes down his observations on the world and his deep, meditative thoughts.
I wonder who your father will be. Secretly, I hope it is Torin.
Ewoun forgive me, but I love Torin. I do not only love him as a friend, but I would like to marry him. Torin is wise and kind. We have known each other for eleven years and there is no one I would rather marry. I occasionally suspect that he would marry me, given the chance.
I love everything about Torin. I love his voice when it speaks to me. I love his face when it smiles at me. I love the way he looks and I love the way he is so kind to everyone and everything, and I love how wise and intelligent he is. He always knows what to say, what to do, and what to think. Torin comforts me when I'm upset and shares in my joys when I am happy. We rarely fight and when we do, we make up quickly.
But it is not to be. I don't even know if Torin loves me, and anyways Mother would never permit me to marry Torin, a young man with no money and no knights under his command to aid us in times of war. There is no reason for us to marry except that I love Torin and he might love me. But Mother would never find that acceptable. I don't think she cares if I love the man I marry. She wants me to marry a rich, powerful man, like her very powerful second cousin Duke Edgar Durran, or Lord Sebright of Fasoria, or King Eric of Crarina. King Eric is the most eligible of all men in the great oceans because he is the richest of kings and his kingdom is second only to the Boncorian Empire in size. There is no one in all of the great oceans that Mother would rather I marry.
But I do not love His Majesty or even know him. I don’t know what he looks like. And I don’t love the Baron Calhoun or Duke Durran. I do not love anyone except for Torin. Of course I love my mother and my brothers and sisters, but I do not love any man romantically except for Torin. I pray every few nights, when I remember to, that Ewoun will let me marry Torin, somehow.
Today, a great many peasants came flowing into our castle, running like rabbits into a warren. They are worried about the Sinsans.
Groups of their soldiers roam the countryside, terrorizing peasants, attacking the castles of lords, and aiding the evil Apostates in their devious and sinful ways. The peasants are terrified, and truth be told, so am I. I am afraid of the Apostates because they have no reason to act like good people. They could do anything to us that they wanted, without fear of a dreadful afterlife. I don't know what the Sinsans believe in that might stop them from doing terrible things. Even if they were very kind, though, I would still be afraid because I don't like soldiers. They scare me. Such large weapons and heavy armor!
Maybe if I write about my family, I will not feel so afraid.
I have an older sister, Elizabeth, an older brother, Leonard, and two younger brothers, Charles and Richard. Our father died a month before Richard was born. It was very sad, although I don't remember much because I was only four. We all mourned and Mother became the monarch of Rospa, ruling in lieu of my brother until he is of age. Mother remarried about five years later. Duke James Jhoe fathered Mae Anne and Joseph, my half-siblings. Mae Anne is four and Joseph is two.
Elizabeth is married and lives in Tracomada, a country many miles to the southwest. She is a Duchess and has one son, Alexander. She is expecting another child very soon. Leonard is to be crowned King of Rospa when he turns 21 next year. He lives here, of course. The Royal Family of Rospa has lived in this castle for six or seven generations.
My brothers Charles and Richard are horrible troublemakers. Richard constantly torments me by pulling my hair when he has a chance, trying to trip me, stealing and hiding my things, making silly noises during quiet moments and blaming them on me, and teasing me whenever I make the smallest error. Sometimes it seems like he does nothing but laugh all day at his own jokes. Charles sometimes helps him with his mischief. Charles always apologizes and looked horribly ashamed when he is caught making trouble, but Richard never shows remorse, which is why I hate him sometimes.
Mae Ann and Joseph are too little to make any trouble. They are nothing but sweetness all over. I love to play with the two of them.
I love all of my family very much, but I especially care for Elizabeth and Mother. Elizabeth is six years older than I am but we were still very close while she was still living here. I miss her very much because I've only exchanged two letters with her since she left close to two years ago. Mother says it is for the best. She believes that married women and unmarried girls shouldn't mingle. Maybe once I'm married I'll be allowed to talk to Elizabeth more.
I love my mother, whose name is Margaret, very much, although she seems very trying at times. I admire her determination and her practical wisdom. I want to be like her when I am older—pious, practical, wise in her own way, and kind to and patient with everyone. I wish I looked more like her, too. She has the most beautiful brown hair and eyes.
The Sinsans are very evil people. They come from the kingdom of Sinsey, southeast of Rospa. They are a strange people. They do not worship Ewoun, the Ocean, as we do, but a sort of mother-goddess. It is forbidden to learn about religions other than Ewoun's Truth unless absolutely necessary, so I don't know anything else about their faith. Torin might, though.
Anyways, the Sinsans are at war with us. I don't even know why we are at war (everyone tells me that it's not important for me to know), but we are and consequently, I cannot go outside the castle anymore. When I was younger, I used to ride my horse for miles and miles, flying like the wind. Now I stay inside the keep almost all day, sometimes leaving for a few minutes to visit Master Smith or Master Carpenter, who have workshops in the courtyard. I am friends with most of the craftsmen, partially because Torin is. Rather, mostly, if not all, because of Torin. I wanted to please him, so I decided to be like him and try to learn about things, because Torin likes to learn about everything. He is not apprenticed to any of the artisans (although he used to be―to Master Smith), but he still visits them almost daily to watch and learn. I personally don't find it very interesting, but I love watching a lump of clay turn into a vase, or a lump of metal into a sword. On occasion, I think to myself that perhaps I'd like to become a smith or a potter and make things, but then I remember that my duties are to marry a rich man and bear children. Women cannot become smiths anyways.
I wonder if your father, if it is not Torin, is one of Ewoun's People. In case he is not, I must remember to tell stories about Ewoun so that you may know about Him.
Ewoun is the ocean. He is All; He is the One True God. He is my God. He can take many forms, His true form being salt water. He can take the form of a handsome youth, a young child, an anciently old man, a white horse, or a white hare. My favorite form is the handsome youth. I always picture Torin when I imagine the handsome youth.
My favorite story about Ewoun is how He met and married Vari'ann.
Ewoun, in the form of a young man, fought in the War Between Good and Evil at the beginning of the world. At the end of the war, Ewoun was almost fatally wounded (when Ewoun is in His human or animal forms, He can be harmed and even killed, but of course when they send the body west to His realm, He reunites with the ocean and lives again), and as He lay dying, a woman named Vari'ann came along and saved His life. She tended to Him day and night for eighteen days. When Ewoun awoke, He thanked her and as a gift, revealed who He really was. Vari'ann prostrated herself and asked:
"May I ask a favor of You?”
“You may,” He replied.
"I am ugly. My skin is pale. My hair is short and a dull color. I am too thin. Please, Ewoun, my True God, make me pretty so that I shall have a husband. Change the shape of my face to a more pleasing form, make my cheeks red, make me plump, and make my hair grow long,” Vari’ann pleaded.
"Do not worry, Vari'ann. I foresee that you shall have a husband of considerable means. You will not need to be beautiful for this husband.” (Ewoun sometimes has moments of clairvoyance.)
Ewoun Himself was looking for a mate at the time. He longed for a beautiful faerie who would bear Him many children. (Faeries are generally the most beautiful of creatures, but there is some variation. Some say that the mysterious subcubine peacock is more beautiful than any faerie, though.) But this faerie in particular would have to be the most beautiful creature in all of the great oceans, for how could anyone else possess something more beautiful than He? Ewoun wandered around as a young boy, searching for beautiful faeries. He considered the fact that perhaps an animal may be more beautiful than any faerie, and went about looking at animals as well. Ewoun wandered for forty-three years, searching for beautiful things.
At the end of forty-three years, He was walking, depressed, when he came upon Vari'ann. Vari'ann had not aged, for at the time, humans lived much longer, and she was no prettier than before. Ewoun looked upon her, and he felt love towards the woman who had saved him from death.
Ewoun, in the shape of a young boy, spoke to Vari'ann, and discovered that in 43 years, she had not married. Ewoun realized at that point that the husband of considerable means was He. Leaving Vari'ann, He changed form again, this time to the handsome youth whom Vari'ann first met, and found her again.
Vari'ann immediately recognized Ewoun, and she fell to her knees a second time.
"O, my God Ewoun, the husband you spoke of has not yet come along. I beg of you again to make me beautiful, if only for a day.”
"You need not be beautiful. You have already met the Person who shall be your husband, and He already has found you comely enough for marriage.”
"Who is it? Please tell me!”
"You shall be my first bride. I am your husband,” Ewoun told her.
"But I am only a woman; I shall age and die in time. I am ugly,” she protested.
"I shall turn you into a divine Queen. You shall never age, nor shall you die,” He said.
"Will you make me beautiful, as a Queen ought to be?” she asked.
"No. You are fated to be ugly, but you have become linked to Ewoun Himself. Beauty does not matter.”
The moral of the story is that outward beauty does not matter. Ewoun only cares that we worship Him and that we follow the laws and commandments set forth in the Biquarah, which Vari'ann did. I love this story because it gives me hope. I am not pretty. I am not ugly, but I am like Vari'ann in that my skin is pale, I am too thin, and my hair is dull. Blonde hair is not considered beautiful. Brown hair and eyes are a symbol of vigor and health, but I have neither brown hair nor brown eyes. But I know that Torin doesn't mind. That is the only thing that makes me feel better sometimes.
Torin is sitting next to me as I write. He is writing in his own journal right now. I wonder if he has written anything about me. I could try to read sideways but I think Torin would notice. Sometimes I think he does love me, but other times I'm certain that all he feels is friendship. I especially feel that way when he speaks of being High Priest, because the High Priest must be celibate. Torin cannot be married to me and be High Priest, so he probably just likes me as a friend. At the same time, sometimes when he's looking at me, I think I see a love that is not purely friendly.
Mother said that the Sinsans might attack our castle in a few days. I cannot believe how calm she is about it. The Sinsans could invade our castle and we could all be killed! But she says we are prepared, and as there is nothing we can do to stop it, there is no reason for us to run around screaming. I thought we could go out and fight them in the field, but Leonard told me that our forces are not suited for that and we would be safer defending the keep until one of our ally's armies come to help. I suppose he is right and I am wrong. That's why I'm not going to be King of Rospa. (Besides the other, obvious, reasons.)
Tomorrow, I'll write what I know about Torin.