Ida's Cure

13 year old Ida lives with her sister in some old, dumpy crates on the outskirts of their kingdom. Her parents are both dead, and so it is up to her to take care of her younger sister. One day her sister becomes very sick and Ida has to do something about it. She sets off in search of a magical flower that heals all sicknesses and cures all scars. This is the story of her journey to find the cure...it's an adventure, a fantasy, and a little bit of romance, too!
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1. Sickness

 

Chapter 1

 

The first thing I thought of when I awoke that chilly morning was that I was being strangled. Was I chained up? No, opening my eyes I realized it was my only my nightdress . . . my 2 sizes too small nightdress. I unbuttoned the side of it and shivered in the crisp morning air.

I looked around my box. It was an upturned wooden crate that was old and did nothing to protect me from the cold. I think it was once used to transport the royal wear to the castle from the small surrounding villages. Some people say that means it’s special. Some say it’s a dump. I say its home.

There is a small shelf I constructed at the end of my coach-sized crate. It holds a book, a pair of wool socks, a quill pen, some ink, and a candle. Nothing much. Below there is a much smaller chest that holds a hair brush, a sock doll, a pearl necklace, and too old day dresses; both of which are much to tight. I have a pair of bloomers and long sock, plus a pair of work boots.

 My bed is in the corner. I laid on a sheet and bundle up in an old quilt, resting my head on a tuft of grass. It’s not cozy, but it's all I have.    

The book that sits up on the shelf is the only thing I treasure around my home. It is so old that it’s falling apart, but the words inside of it are clear and keep me going.

Only a few pages were used up, written in fine calligraphy by the hand of my mother. She talks about a magical flower that heals all sicknesses. I had no idea what it was about, but then again, I never really knew her. She died when my little sister was born. Anyway, my father was a knight. Unfortunately, he never did save his damsel in distress and never rode into a happily ever after. No, that only happens in fairy tales. The war between our kingdom and another, (it's called Silvering), left me and my sister alone in this crazy world.

The other pages of the book are where I write in. My mother taught me how when I was only 6 years of age, one year before she died. Now I am 14 years old, and I have finally decided to record my story. So here it is.

Isadora is 8 years old. She looks like a miniature me, with long brown hair, (always in a braid), a small nose, and freckles all over our arms. We have green eyes, but hers are always wide open. They look nervous and hopeful at the same time . . . I love her funny expressions! We are very pretty; it’s too bad that our dresses are dirty, our feet smell, our nails are chipped and our hair was tangled. In another kingdom, we’d be princesses. I’d tell that to little Isadora every night before bed.       

Isadora’s crate was right next to mine. She only had a bed and a doll she calls Cora. She had two dresses; one for day and one for night. Our clothes are filthy, but it’s not like we can change that.

Our crate homes were located in a field by a stream that runs through our kingdom. Right next to that, there is a thick golden gate that circled our manor’s territory.

That gate also held our kingdom’s namesake, Golden Gate Manor. Living on the perimeter could be scary, though. When there are battles, I could see the enemy approaching. When I stood too close, I’d hear unfamiliar noises. Sometimes I wondered if the gate holds magic.

There was a hole in my crate at eye level, so when I laid down I could look out into the unknown and wonder . . . and cry. The only people who have left and entered the manor were knights and tradespeople. So many people who live here refuse to leave. Is it superstition? What’s out there that scares them?

 

“Ida?” Isadora rapped on my crate.

“Coming,” I pulled on a scratchy wool sock.

“Ida, I want to come with you today . . . to the village. I want to see STUFF other than this DUMP.” She kicked my crate.

“No, Isadora. You need to stay here. I’ll be quick today, I promise.”

I crawled out of my crate as Isadora started to cry. “But, it’s starting to get scary.”

I grabbed a sack and pulled on my boots.

“You need to stay here. You know what Master would do to me if he saw you.”

 

Isadora clung to me like a baby, even though she was 8 years old.

“Isadora, for heaven’s sake, you've stayed here alone for 4 years now.  Why are you so scared all of a sudden?”

“I just am.”

I tried to walk, but she wouldn’t budge.

“Isadora . . . fine. You can come with. But if Master comes around you had better make a run for it.”

Isadora wiped away a tear and gripped my hand.

Once we reached the castle, (it was a half an hour’s walk) Isadora admired the castle. I explained to her that was where Prince Tobias, Princess Eliza, and Princess Cornelia lived. She admired the princesses and thought that the prince was very handsome.  Even though he was even older than me, she talked about growing up and marrying him, (as did all of the other young girls in the kingdom.) She paid no attention to the queen or the king like I did. I studied them very closely whenever I had the chance. They were caring and took good care of their kids. They had a good army are weren't all about themselves.

I got to my stand at the market and started arranging the vegetables.

Isadora stuck her hand in the sack and pulled out a piece of dried meat. She said, “Ida, can I eat this?”

I turned my head around quickly and scolded her.

“But Ida, I’m hungry!”

Telling her that I realized that, I traded a man a potato for a copper coin.

“Ida, your job seems boring.”

I grit my teeth. I said, “And how else am I supposed to get pay? Do you want us to have to sell our smelly old crates? You don’t realize how much I work everyday to feed us. You have to live through life sometimes, even if you are poor! I don’t like this any more than you do, Isadora!”

I was screaming now, but I stopped when I realized I was scaring her.

There was a moment of silence between us, until she turned and ran.

“Isi!” I yelled.

The village was crowded with people. I ran and pushed through the shoppers. I searched for a long braid flapping while she ran. I knew that Isadora had such little energy that she wouldn't be running for long before she’d become too exhausested. But then again, so would I.

“Isadora!” I called again. “Isi!”

I kept running until I saw her, sitting by the fountain just outside of the castle. She sat with- Prince Tobias! She was crying and he was crouched down by her, saying something.

Girls squealed and crowded around his majesty. I pushed through them and grabbed Isadora. She wailed and tried to find a way out of my hug.

“Excuse me,” the Prince cleared his throat.

The girls squealed.

“Excuse me,” he said again. I looked up, realizing he was trying to get my attention.

He had curly dark brown hair, with stunning blue eyes and handsome features. A few freckles dotted his nose, and he was wearing a dark blue cloak in the chilly fall air. He was indeed handsome, but I knew better not to be fooled.

“Yes?” I said.

“Is that your sister?”

“Yes.”

I picked Isadora up and started to carry her away.

“Wait.”

“What?”

“Is she ok?”

“Yes. She’s fine.”

“Do you need any help?”

My brain told me to say yes; we could get some food and a change of clothes. But instead I said, “No.”

So I left, my cheeks burning, carrying Isadora in my arms.

I had just turned down the prince! I pinched myself on the arm, and didn't stop until-

Oh no. I saw a man, very tall and stern, hovering over the crowd, standing at my booth. I dropped Isadora and tried to motion for her to hide, but it was too late. Master had seen Isadora and knew I had been away from my booth- from his booth.

I hung my head and walked over to him.

“Where were you?” Master said with a cold voice.

“I had to get something,” I said. That wasn't a lie.

“And what is that?” He motioned to Isadora.

That is my little sister. She has a name, you know.”

“And why is it here?”

“She is not an it!

“And why is it here?”

“I’m sorry.”

“You’re not going to be working for me anymore.”

I looked up. No, this couldn't be happening. This was the only way I could make money. It felt like a miracle when this strange man who insisted on being called ‘Master’ offered me a job 2 years ago, for enough money to keep me and Isadora from starving. It seemed simple enough, I just had to sell his produce for him and give him the coins at the end of the day. I had known he was grumpy from the beginning, and I knew he had warned me that he didn't want Isadora to come with, but I guess I was just too excited to actually acknowledge it.

I whimpered, “Can I have another chance?”

“No. Coins?” He held out his hand.

I bit my lip and handed him the coins. It was always so painful to watch that money leave my fingertips. That much could buy Isadora and I food for a month.

Isadora screamed at him, yelling, “You’re the real IT, not me! I’m a person!” I clamped her mouth shut.

He scowled at Isadora and turned away. As he did, I realized how much I really had depended on him.

What would my parents have done?  I should have accepted the prince’s help; we really could’ve used it. But no, I just had to get mad at Isadora and make her scared enough to run away, which led to me losing my only way to earn income.  That resulted in two young, nervous, homeless sisters living in two smelly crates. I didn’t blame Isadora; I blamed myself for all of that. So that night, I decided, I would make it all better. I just needed to know how.

 

Three days had gone by, and me and Isadora ate nothing.  It was horrible, and I thought a potato, a small squash, and a piece of dried meat each day was bad. We were losing weight, and there were dark circles forming around our eyes. Isadora complained all the time, but I never was mad at her.

That fourth day went by, and I noticed Isadora was sleeping in a long time. When I went to wake her, she could barely lift her head. She wouldn't talk.

“Isadora, you’re going to be fine! Just get up and talk! Please talk!” I told her, very frightened.

She only made a painful sound from her throat.

“Oh . . . Isadora . . . you need a doctor. But you can’t move. Oh . . . what to do?”

I paced back and forth along the fence.

The quest . . . no. That was a silly idea. I wouldn’t have a chance against the serpent and the other crazy stuff my mother wrote about in the old book. I tried blocking it out of my mind , but it just kept coming back, even though I know I couldn't accomplish it. So I set off to the village in hopes to find a doctor that could come and heal Isadora.

The problem was, I didn't have a coin about me. Most doctors, or anyone who could help me, would only work for pay. I just had me. Nothing else.

So why was I trying?

Because I had to. My little sister was in trouble, and I needed to help her.

I came upon the castle. I could ask the prince . . . take him up on his offer. But seriously; I couldn't just walk up to the guards and say, “The prince has given me permission to enter the royal grounds. Please let me in.” They’d think I was insane . . . I’d probably be sent to the royal dungeon in minutes.

Shaking my head, I moved on.

I knew there was a small doctor’s clinic at the other side of the village. I had to get there, but it was a long walk. There was a carriage going by, so I jumped onto the back of it. Hopefully it would take me closer to the clinic.

Five minutes later, I was only halfway there. The coach driver yelled at me to get lost when he noticed I had hitched a ride.

Well, at least I was closer to my destination.

The walk took me only a half an hour more. I shivered as I walked through the doorway. The air was colder inside than outside. There we about a dozen cots lined along one side of the wall. Half of them were occupied by sick or wounded bodies. One man, with a stubby beard moaned as he rolled over, bearing a bright red slash along his leg; puss oozing around it. There was a young lady looking to be a little older than me lying in a bed with a bad cough. A mother was sitting by her bed and stroking her daughter’s head. There appeared to be no other doors or rooms in the building. There were blankets, medicine, and everything else piled in one corner of the room. This was my only hope for Isadora, but I wasn’t feeling so sure of it.

“Yes?” Somebody said behind me.

I turned to face a gruff looking man with long dark hair and a stubby chin. His eyes were stern, and staring straight at me.

I cleared my throat.

“I have a sister who is very sick. We have no food, so I know part is starvation. But this morning I found red spots on her feet and her legs are turning an ugly shade of yellow. They have spots too . . . much worse, actually. We have no money, but I was wondering if you’d be kind enough to try and cure her?”

The man raised his thick eyebrow.

“You have nothing to trade? No money?”

“No, sir. Nothing I think you would benefit from.”

He straightened his back and said, “Well then.”

I was“Could you at least tell me anything I could do? Do you know what she caught?”

“I was just about to tell you what she might have.  Yellowing of the skin and bright red spots?”

“Yes! That’s what it seems.”

“And the spots are not like hives . . . they appear to be under the skin?”

I was surprised. “Well . . . yes, actually.”

There was a silence.

“Um . . .” I said. “Is it bad?”

“It has no name. One year I had many patients who had that same sickness. It would start on their feet, and gradually come upon their whole body. Once it reaches their head, it’s been nine days. The patients are so weak they can barely move.  They’re respiratory system is so weak they have a hard time breathing, let alone talking. After that, there is no hope for them. There is no cure, none of that we have found. Starvation will make her body even weaker and she will die even sooner.”

Fear rushed down my spine.

“No cure.” I mumbled.

The man's eyes were still stern.

“No. I’m deeply sorry.”

“No cure.” I mumbled as I stumbled out the door. “No cure.”

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