In a far-off kingdom there was a king. He loved his queen dearly and when the queen died the king was in such a state of sorrow that nothing could cheer him up. He would not leave his chambers and hardly ate. For many months the king would only dress in black clothes. The king did not speak much and when he did it was only to his three best knights.
One day he heard a lovely singing voice coming from the servant courters. He followed the sound until he found Alice cleaning the floors. Alice had midnight black hair that was done in a simple braid. Her hands were black from dirt. She almost looked like a porcelain doll except for her dirty hands and her old tattered dress. Alice looked like the now deceased queen.
When Alice saw the king, she was startled. “I am so sorry your majesty.” Alice curtsied.
“Are you the one with the beautiful singing voice?” The king asked.
Alice nodded. “I am sorry if my singing bothered you my king.”
“Quite the opposite, I enjoyed your singing very much. What is your name?”
“My name is Alice.”
“Well Alice, I would like for you to sing to me.”
Everyday Alice sang for the king. The king in returned dressed Alice in fancy dresses and plenty of jewelry. The king even gave Alice one of the royal rooms and had her stop cleaning. Alice’s new job was to sing and spend time with the king.
After a few months of singing, the king began to fall in love with Alice. He asked to see Alice more and more. He would have Alice come see him just so he could talk to her. He told Alice often how he loved her and how one day he planned to make Alice his queen.
Alice did not love the king. Instead her heart belonged to the king’s messenger, William Hull. William had brown hair that curled at the bottom. His green eyes sparkled like emeralds and his teeth sparkled like diamonds. He was skinny, but tall. He was the best horse back rider in all the kingdom, even better than the king’s knights.
Every evening after the king would dismiss Alice, she would go see William at the king’s stable. She would always find William taking care of his horse. The two would sit in the stable and talk until it got late.
The king began to get suspicious of the messenger and sent one of his knights to spy on him. The knight followed William to the stable and watched William take care of his horse. When the knight was about to leave, he saw Alice enter the stable from the back entrance. The king’s knight watched as William and Alice sat together holding hands and talking about the future.
When the knight told the king what had happen, the king went into a rage. “I want William Hull killed! I want him hanged!”
“Are you sure? It could possibly upset Alice.” The king’s knight said hesitantly. “Why not banish him or kill him in secret and tell Alice he left her. Hanging is a public affair.”
“Wonderful idea.” The king calmed down and smiled. “I will send my best knights to kill him and when he is dead Alice will have no choice but to marry me once her love is dead.”
And so, the king called on his two other best knights. There was Sir. Cecil, Sir. Curtis, and the knight that had spied on William and Alice was, Sir. Robert. The king told the three knights his plans to kill William in order to have Alice marry him.
Meanwhile, Alice was alone in her new bedroom. She had changed out of her day gown and into her sleepwear. She was brushing her hair in the mirror when she heard the galloping of horses. She put done her brush and walked to her balcony. She saw Sir. Cecil and Sir. Curtis get off their horses and walk into the castle.
She thought it was strange that the king would call his best knights so late. She quietly walked downstairs to the king’s throne room. Before she could see what was going on, she was stopped, by one of the maids.
“Alice do you need something?” The maid asked. “You are dressed for bed.”
“Oh, I am fine. I was just going to see the king.” Alice tried to walk by the maid.
“You can not see the king dressed like that!” The maid said in horror. “If you want to see the king you need to change!”
“You are right. I will go back upstairs and wait to see the king tomorrow.” Alice stopped and sighed.
“Let me help you up the stairs.” The maid took Alice’s arm and helped her back to her room. The maid then sat Alice down and finished brushing Alice’s hair for her. When she finished, she pulled down Alice’s bed covers and left.
When the maid left Alice snuck back downstairs, but to her dismay the king and the three knights were no longer in the throne room. Instead the knights were already down at the king’s stable.
“William Hull!” Sir. Cecil called out. “The king has sent us to come talk to you!”
“What does the king want?” William asked walking towards the three knights.
“This.” Sir. Robert hit William hard, knocking William out.
William woke up alone in a small prison cell. Even though it was summer the cell was as cold as a January night. The cell held only a small bed made of old straw that smelled like it was molding. A little light came from outside the cell. The stone walls had stains that were a rusty red.
After a while William began to hear heavy footsteps walking towards his cell. When he saw a shadow of the person, he called out. “Who is there?”
“I am sorry for this, I really am.” Sir. Cecil told William. “I have no interest in your death, but it is what the king wants. I hate to kill the best horse rider in the whole kingdom.”
“You could free me now.” William begged. “The king does not need to know.”
“The king will find out and kill me in your place.”
“I understand, but please tell Alice something for me after I am gone.”
The next morning Alice was wakened early by a maid. The king had asked to see Alice. The maid quickly helped Alice dress and do her hair. When the maid was done Alice rushed to the throne room where the king was pacing.
“I am so sorry Alice, but the courts messenger has decided to leave us.” The king said.
“That cannot be true!” Alice was taken aback by what the king said. “He would not leave without letting me know. Where is he going?”
“He decided to be a messenger closer to his family. I talked to the king out there and he was happy to take William as his new messenger. He wanted me to tell you because he could not face you.”
Alice fell to the floor and cried. The king walked over and sat beside Alice. He handed her a handkerchief to wipe her eyes with.
“I am sorry to be crying in front of you, your highness.” Alice tried to stop crying.
“I know now may be a bad time, but I want to ask you something, Alice. Will you marry me?” The king smiled. “I care for you, and I would never leave you, especially without a goodbye.”
“Can I have time to think about it?”
“Of course, Alice you can give me your answer when you are ready.”
“I would like to go back to my room.” Alice said between her tears.
The maid walked Alice back to her room. Alice threw herself onto the bed and cried as the maid watched. The maid then slowly walked over and sat down on Alice’s bed. The maid placed Alice’s head on her lap and gently rubbed her back.
“It will be okay.” The maid whispered as she held Alice. “At least the king wants to marry you. Think of all the good you can do as queen,”
Alice looked up at the maid. The maid’s name was Agatha Kelley. Her curly brown hair was starting to grey. Her eyes were the color of a stormy sea. Agatha was 30 years older than Alice and had a motherly way about her. She had been the one to train Alice back when she first became a maid.
“I love William so much.” Alice cried loudly. “Why would he leave without telling me?”
“I am not sure, but you should accept the king’s proposal. No point in chasing after a man who left you without even saying a goodbye.”
“I do not love the king and I do not think I ever will.”
“The man you loved left and now a king wants to make you his queen. Love does not matter. You will have a good life as a queen.”
Alice did as Agatha suggested and told the king she would marry him. The king was so delighted that he told the newest messenger to tell the whole kingdom about the wedding. The king then sent for the best seamstress in the kingdom to make Alice a wedding dress.
Months went by and soon it was time for the wedding. Alice felt out of place in her white wedding dress. The train was so long that she needed help to walk. Her veil was so long that it touched the train of her dress.
Alice stood in front of the king. A tear ran down Alice’s face, but she faked a smile. The king on the other hand was happy and did not seem to notice the tear running down Alice’s face. The king and Alice said I do. The whole wedding Alice prayed for William to walk through the door and stop the wedding.
The day after the wedding there was a ceremony to make Alice the kingdom’s new queen. Again, Alice prayed that William would come rescue her, but once again he did not show. Her heart was more broken then the day the king told Alice that William left.
After the ceremony that made Alice queen, Sir. Cecil handed Alice a piece of paper that had dried blood on it. She waited till she was up in her changing room after the ceremony to read the paper and it read:
If you are reading this, that means I am dead. I want you to know that I love you dearly, and that I wish I could be with you. I want you to know I would never leave you without telling you, but this time I had no choice. I hope to see you again in the afterlife. I will be waiting for you.
A shattering scream was heard throughout the kingdom on the night Alice became queen.