A guest article by Lydia Vandezande.
That game was just the first of many. As Sariah found herself becoming more and more a part of the group, she started changing bit by bit without really realizing it herself. She started dressing a bit differently, more like the villagers, though still well within the king’s requirements. She used words in the village that, though they really weren’t wrong, were not acceptable in the palace. And, when the others in the group spoke of things displeasing to the king, she said as little as she could, not agreeing with them, but careful not to openly disagree.
Sariah also found herself spending less and less time with the king. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to be with him or was openly disobeying him, but she felt a little uneasy in his presence. She began to resent the impossibly high standards he held for his family and sometimes the thought crossed her mind that life would be less complicated if he had never adopted her.
Time went on, a time of confusion and turmoil for Sariah. She loved the king and wanted to please him, but felt an ever-growing pull towards the village of her birth. She had friends in the palace that were enjoyable to be with, but also longed to meet people outside and experience a bit of life as they knew it.
Then, Sariah met Danielle. Danielle was a new member of the royal family and as far as Sariah knew, just another poor woman from another poor village. Danielle seemed especially interested in Sariah from the start and one day as they worked together Danielle shared her story with Sariah.
“My family used to be royalty,” Danielle explained, “many years ago. But, someone in the family got tired of the king’s demands and soon we all went to live at the edge of one of the villages. I was just little at the time and I can remember having a lot of fun. We built houses, made friends, and for awhile, life there seemed even better than life in the palace had been.”
“What happened?” Sariah asked.
“First, the villagers started fighting amongst themselves and my family was caught in the middle. Then, there were years of poor harvests, our houses got old, and eventually, we were living in poverty, like everyone else in the village.”
“Why didn’t you all come back to the palace?” Sariah wondered. “Surely living here would be better than that!”
“Not everyone thinks so,” Danielle answered. “Although I definitely agree with you myself. They feel free there, even with their stomachs and hearts so empty and cold. They would rather miss out on all the king has to offer, than let him control them.”
Sariah thought about that for awhile. Finally, she asked Danielle the question that had been on her mind for so long: “But doesn’t it bother you now to be so different?”
“Different from who?” Danielle asked. “I’m different from my family, but now I’m part of the king’s family. Their lives are so empty, Sariah! To me, it’s worth being different!”
…and I shall return again next week with part 5!
Keep looking up!,
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