This is a story of three friends..known through their positions in a small region of the kingdom, drawn together by hugs, forever connected by royal titles, without the sense of entitlement. Well, perhaps Sandra feels entitled. Read on, people, and enjoy the majestic ride.
The Fair Maiden is Made Royal…
Long ago, twenty years past, there was a young, slender lass – a dark-haired fair maiden (before the grays set upon her) who succumbed to the call of an iron beast. The beast stirred and whirred between her thighs, tamed only by a man with long, gray locks, a gray beard to match, and an experienced disposition. She rode on the beast’s back, behind Graybeard, allowing the kingdom to pass by, in awe of it’s gracious beauty and solace. Nevermind the roar of the beast. It soothed her soul.
So, with leather armor and a smile, she spent many a day with Graybeard and the beast, learning lessons of bad weather preparation, the proper way to lean with the beast, and how to swallow and not chew the bugs that happened upon the open mouth of a Cheshire face.
In the newness of these days, Countess Linda, from a thriving village far away, learned of the lass’s burning desire of the beast. The Countess and the fair maiden had been in communication for a few years, using potion and wizardry to talk over the lines of voice rather than wait for the snail pigeon to deliver it’s piece of parchment. Countess Linda was known to be ruthless in most circles, but she found a soft spot in her heart for the maiden, believing her to be quiet, demure and a good citizen of the village. The maiden’s desire for rides on a beast shocked her to the core.
“What?” she exclaimed! “You ride the iron beast? Tell me truthfully, maiden, as I do not believe you!”
The maiden replied with a laugh, “Tis true Countess. I have given my soul to this beast and ride with Graybeard. I do not fear the wind, the rain, or the fire that I sit upon. It is a true love borne of free spirit and open spaces. Do not be shocked. Embrace the alter ego of the dark-haired maiden.”
“What do you call this beast?” queried the Countess.
“I call the beast Harley, its name means ‘eagle meadow.’ We fly through the kingdom at soaring speed.”
Countess Linda was duly impressed and humored by this development. This demure maiden rode a beast and a fast one at that. And she was not afraid. At that moment, with the authority given to her by King Davidson, Countess Linda dubbed the dark-haired maiden “Harley Princess.” No matter that the kingdom had a princess by royal birth, the maiden would be Princess in title and forever hold favor in the kingdom. Harley Princess was humbled by the title, but swore to carry on the good name of a beast rider and always respond with undying loyalty.
All Hail the Queen…
It was the day of a gathering. Many full moons ago. The Harley Princess, Lords and Ladies, the Chief of the valley region and his assistant held court to discuss matters of financial bearing and administrative process. They all knew one another and spoke hello’s with ease. Except for the newcomer. Sandra walked into the room with a high falutin air about her, not letting others feel the trepidation of her recently acquired post. She came from the dungeon, where she had kept books of parchment and her distance from the prisoners.
The Harley Princess and Lady Judith met each other with love and hugged tightly while Sandra looked on with a slight disgust. A few minutes passed and then the newcomer spoke.
“I don’t have to do that, do I? You know, the hugging thing. Is it a requirement of my position?” Stares ensued from those who stood near. Who is this Sandra who does not like hugging? Shall we trust her? Shall we welcome her to the fold? There was a murmurish hush in the air.
From the mouth of the Harley Princess: “It is not a requirement that you hug on your first day. You may greet with a ‘hello’ this time. Be prepared, Sandra, that with time you will succumb to the hug, much as I succumbed to the iron beast.” Sandra puzzled about the iron beast. “I am the Harley Princess, Sandra. Perhaps you have heard of me, of the iron beast and Graybeard. We ride the land often and many know of our exploits during the warm season.”
A smile came across Sandra’s face. ” I am a Queen, you know.” Sandra said this in voice loud enough to be heard throughout the entire court. The murmurish hush returned.
“We do not have a Queen!” replied the Princess. “Why do you say this?’
“I am a Queen. It’s inscribed on a wooden desk plaque. It has made a home in the office of my new position. Just ask Lady Susan, the one who is in charge of me.” Lady Susan had stood in the shadows of the court, knowing that this would be known before the day’s end, letting a smirk grow in width on her face. Lady Susan stepped forward and affirmed to all, “She is a Queen. I have seen it, I have seen the inscription in the wood. It says Queen.” The Countess of the Dungeon and her guards had given the Sandra the plaque and the title, for she had served them with a kind meanness and never a desire to hug. She wore the attitude of a Queen.
All hail Queen Sandra! She has a wooden plaque on her desk!
Within the year, the Harley Princess and the Queen secretly hugged and vowed never to tell a soul. An everlasting bond had been formed.
Within another year, they were openly hugging upon meeting, if only to skew the face of Sir Todd, who thought it inappropriately odd. He was a guy, not a hugger.
Whining Shall Get you a Title…
Within several years, another newcomer, Eli, held court with the Chief of the Valley and his minions. She was the keeper of the ledger and had also sat upon an iron beast. Eli was affable and easy-going and won over the hearts of everyone around her. It did not take long for her to win over Queen Sandra and Harley Princess. They all hugged effusively, the hug of good friends, of musketeers.
Eli, though happy with hugs, was sad over the lack of her own title. She was envious of the Queen and the Princess. A title would secure a place for her, never to be taken away, a symbol of trust and love. The Queen and Princess were oblivious to her desire. Eli sulked. Hugs were no longer enough.
So, one day, Eli used potion and wizardry to talk over the lines communication with the Harley Princess.
It was, perhaps, more like whining. “I want a title!” she wailed. “I want a title!” as she stomped the heel of her pump into the ground. “I want a title!” she yelled for a third time. The Harley Princess had a soft heart and could not bear for her friend to whine like a child who has not gotten her way. “Eli, I cannot allow you wallow in sadness over a title. Henceforth, you shall be known as the Duchess. Duchess Eli. Do you like this title?”
“Yes, yes!” she cried. Eli was ecstatic and the Princess could sense her dance of joy through the line. Duchess Eli was happy and secure and truly a member of the royal threesome.
Bow to the Duchess of Ledger.
The Beast is Gone, the Kingdom remains…
Today, Queen Sandra, Harley Princess and Duchess Eli continue as friends and cohorts within the kingdom. They rule over ledger, over peasants and keep the regional court a well-oiled machine. They use potion and wizardry to send silly messages through a large box, mull over the state of their government and give each other hugs at court. Sir Todd has stopped the skewing. They revel in their royal being.
Sadly, the Harley Princess has had to let go of her passion. She no longer sits on the fire or behind Graybeard. She does not miss Graybeard, but she misses that damn iron beast. It was her passion, her therapy against the confines of the court’s walls. The orange pedal carriage with two wheels is not the same. The leather armor hangs silently, only to be replaced with yoga pants and bare feet.
If you are looking for a title…sorry, there are none left except for court jester and town drunkard.
If you are looking for hugs, you’ve come to the right place.