I fiddled with the skirt of the bright yellow sun dress, and I wondered for about the millionth time how to deal with having to wear it. The row of about ten girls all wore similar attire, most fiddling with either their hair or like me, their dresses. Female trolls like me hated wearing anything frilly, or feminine in any sense of the word. We were literally a people of those baggy, blowy pants. Except for her of course. We are a heavily matriarchal society, meaning we have a queen, and the women are held to the highest regard.
The girls around me ranged from twelve to sixteen years of age, I was the oldest at seventeen. Her Royal Highness, known for her ability to manipulate emotions and feelings was working her way down the line of girls, risking barely even a glance at most of them. She came to a stop next to me, and the young girl took a sharp intake of breath and I understood that her emotions were being toyed with, her perception of reality were skewed when her fear and adrenalin spiked so high that she fainted her worried mother catching her just before her head hit the ground, dragging her daughter’s body back to their house. She was not to be the Queens adopted daughter. It all slowed down then, I could swear my heartbeat halved, light purple eyes raked over my slightly curvy body, reaching my quiet plump face that were rosy with blush, and finally she took in my hair, which was mid-length hanging straight at my shoulder blades. At first I thought there was a hurricane nearby; the winds that shifted around me where incredibly fierce, lifting my hair off my shoulders. Before the feeling even settled there was the knowledge of fire, it wasn’t a calming fire like that of my fire place at home, but it was as if I was suddenly burning at the stake, fire surrounded me, burning at my clothes and hair even though I understood that nothing was harming me outside of my mind. Half a second later water surrounded me, leaving no room to breathe, I tried to calm myself forcing myself to think about how long this strange woman had been forcing these illusions into my head when the water vanished, replaced by a calm scene; glancing around I realised I was on a hill in the middle of a field, the area was so calm I just sat down, closing my eyes.
When I opened them again the Queen was staring at me intently, as if I was some kind of science experiment, she motioned with her hand and I stepped forward, knowing that all eyes were on me. I straightened my shoulders, staring at the woman before me. Her hair was going grey around the edges, but that didn’t make her old or fragile. The way in which she held herself said she was a warrior, a soldier that had seen too many wars. The troll Queen was verging on too skinny, but she was beyond beautiful, a trait that marked us all as one species. Her unique eye colour was the only one in the tribe, but we all had a slight quirk about our bodies. Most had an unusual colour of hair, or eye. I was one of the few that mad a mixture of both. While my hair was brown in one sense, some days it would end up with blue streaks throughout, and my eyes were blue, but I had been told silver and gold speckles floated within. The Queen shifted, her hands clasped behind her back, taking slow and deliberate steps around my body. I refused to flinch when she lifted my hair or moved the straps of my dress down my arms so that I stood in front of a crowd of girls, in a chemise and half a dress. This selection was beyond private, no threat was necessary to understand that a single word spoken to father, or brother, or any person, ever would mean a death more terrible than imaginable. The Queen had issued this a tribe secret, her daughter the real Princess was killed before coming back. Trolls, like some other creatures used a form of Changelings – human babies replaced by trolls. The trolls would then grow up, in human society, and then if they wanted to, they could come back to their tribe, where the oddities of their hair or eye colour only made them stronger. It was rumoured the dead Princess had a skin colour oddity; which is why she was killed. And now there was the official choosing of the new Princess, from here on out, all others would think – would choose to believe – that the girl the Queen chose today would be the real Princess with all the correct lineage and whatnot. In fact, I don’t think we could even know for sure that the current Queen had been the last Queen’s daughter. She turned away, and I got ready to step back in line knowing that I could go home, jump in my favourite pants and disappear into the grasslands near my house.
“Scarlett May Onar” The sound of my name had me giving pause “You are now my child, and will be moved immediately to the Palace where you will learn to be my successor.”
And that was it, that’s all the Queen – my new mother – had said before disappearing down the road, to an awaiting carriage, and the only thought I could process was that she was barefoot, and I was going to follow in her footsteps.