Lies are powerful things. They can make you or break you, but whatever the result, they are not the truth.
Every human on earth has lied at least ten times. How could you not? Sometimes lying is instinctive, and you do it before really thinking about what you're saying. That's OKAY, it happens. But sometimes lies can spin out of control, and they come in a flood, one after the other, until you're not really sure whether what you're saying is the truth or not.
It can do a lot of damage to a person. Especially if that person is a queen.
Queen Fib, she was nicknamed. Her real name was Juno, ruler of Adahinnel. People thought she was wonderful. And she was--until, of course, she began to lie.
It all started when she got married. She was forced to wed a particularly boring man named Sir Bennington, and couldn't be more displeased. He spent nearly all day in his office, only coming out to eat and sleep. She only knew bits and pieces of what he was doing in there, but most of it sounded very dull. Something about fairy population. He was very interested in magical beings. Juno liked them well enough, but Sir Bennington liked to study their wing structure and flying balance and whatnot, which didn't appeal to Juno at all. Her father, who was king at the time, took care of political problems. Juno could barely even understand how politics worked, though her tutor was insistent that she learn just in case her husband died and she must become the ruler of the kingdom.
Which was what happened in the end. But she never really did learn politics.
One day, Juno's father went out on a secret mission. Only Juno knew where he was going: to King Hind's palace. King Hind wasn't a kind man, nor was he even remotely decent. He was insistent on taking over Adahinnel, with its lush green forests and abundance of fairies, unicorns and pixies. King Hind's kingdom, Vottlebrindle, had already turned dull and grey. The king wanted a fresh supply of creatures. Not for beauty, but for money.
King Hind had never been able to get past Adahinnel's borders, which gave Juno's father an advantage. He was to catch the king by surprise at dawn and finish their quarrel.
Juno hoped it wouldn't end in anything too gory.
On the day he left, Juno wandered aimlessly around the castle. The afternoon was perfect, so she went for a walk around the gardens. When she reached the front gates, she saw a little man standing outside, arguing with one of the guards. He looked frightened.
Juno walked over to them. "What is going on?" She asked the solider. He bowed to her before answering.
"This gentleman brings a message from King Hind," he replied, looking grim. "But he will not give it to me. He wishes to speak to the current master of the castle."
"That is me," Juno said firmly. There it was, that first lie. Sir Bennington was the current ruler of Adahinnel since Juno's father was absent. But he barely even comes out of that office, she thought to herself. It only makes sense for me to rule.
"I was told that the chosen monarch was Sir Bennington," the guard said.
Juno was impatient. "You must have heard wrong," she said stoutly. "I am the king's most trusted ally. Therefore, he has made me the master. Or mistress. Now, what is your message?" She asked the little man.
He bowed. "King Hind wants peace," he said. "He says that he would like to sign a treaty between Vottlebrindle and Adahinnel. He will arrive today at sundown--no weapons, of course."
Juno's heart sank. Her father was riding out now to attack King Hind, and he wanted peace!
"Well--yes, of... of course," she said, her smile wobbly. "That... that is wonderful. No more war!"
"Where is your king, and when shall he be back?" The man asked.
"Oh... my father is... going over to King Hind's kingdom." The guard looked at her sharply, and the messenger looked surprised. "He has a peace treaty as well." Her stomach churned with the second lie.
The little man was very happy. "Oh, good!" He cried. "King Hind will certainly be most happy. I will bring back your answer. Good day, your Majesty!" He bowed again and set off down the road, whistling as he went. Juno gave a curt nod to the guard and headed to the castle before he could ask any questions.
She waited for a long time, worry settling in. What would happen to her father? Finally, the next morning, five soldiers entered the grand hall during breakfast. Juno looked up from her toast and blinked at them. Sir Bennington was lost in his own thoughts, he didn't bother to care.
The guards looked very grim. "Your Majesties," one of them said. "We come to gravely inform you that King Vill is dead."
Dread filled Juno's body. Dead. Her father was dead. Sir Bennington's attention was caught, and he looked up, shocked.
"What happened?" Juno said quietly.
One of the guards took off his helmet. "They met at the border," he said. "King Hind and King Vill. A small messenger was there, too. Apparently he was very happy, saying that both kings were there to sign a treaty. King Vill thought it was a scam and charged at Hind, who was very surprised but was able to defend himself. He did surprisingly want peace, but changed his mind when King Vill displayed the behavior that he did. Thinking that their king was in danger, King Hind's soldiers charged at Vill and killed them. The messenger was also executed for lying, saying that Vill brought a treaty."
Juno's heart sank into the bottoms of her feet. It was her fault, all her fault. She killed her father. She killed the little messenger, of whom she had been quite fond of.
"Why on earth would he do such a thing?" Sir Bennington asked. "The messenger? Why would he want to cause confusion?"
The guard shook his head. "No one knows," he said. "And he's dead now besides."
Months passed, and Sir Bennington became king. King Hind was now a permanent enemy of Adahinnel, and almost every day their soldiers invaded villages, captured fairies and slayed unicorns. A war was coming, and it was all Juno's fault.
In early February, Juno was sitting with Sir Bennington in his office. Though he was king, she was the one that took care of the paperwork--and a lot of other things that he should have been doing. But she didn't mind. He was too busy with his experiments, and without her work she would be awfully bored.
"I do wonder," Sir Bennington said as he dissolved a unicorn tail in some sort of bubbling liquid, "what would have happened if a peace treaty had indeed been signed."
Juno shrugged sadly. "Not sure," she said.
"That messenger... ruined the whole kingdom, he did."
"It wasn't his fault!" Juno cried. Sir Bennington looked at her in surprise.
"You don't say? Well then, whoever was it?"
Juno's mind raced at top speed. She couldn't say it was her, she couldn't imagine all the trouble she'd be in. "It... was the guard," she said, immediately regretting what she had said.
"Yes. There was a soldier guarding the gate. The messenger came here, to the castle, bringing news of King Hind wanting peace... he wanted to speak to master of the palace, and the guard pretended he was you."
Sir Bennington's eyes grew wide. "What?"
"Yes." Juno swallowed. She couldn't very well tell the truth now. "He... was a secret enemy of Adahinnel. And so he told lies to the messenger, knowing that my father would be suspicious and charge, getting himself killed in the process. It was a very clever plan."
It was. A plan that was accidentally hers.
"But... why did you never tell me?" Sir Bennington asked.
"I... he... told me that if I told anyone, he'd say I did it." Juno squirmed with guilt, but Sir Bennington didn't seem to notice.
"We must get rid of him at once," he said sharply. "That knight is responsible for the death of our beloved king. He must be executed. Tell me his name."
Fear bloomed in Juno's heart, but she couldn't endanger herself. If that meant putting other people in her shoes, so be it. "Sir George," she said. "He is the one."
And so Sir George was found and questioned. He insisted that Juno was the one that told the messenger the lies, but no one would believe him. He was burned at the stake, and Juno watched the painful scene. She wanted to wash it from her mind forever, but it stuck there like old gum. She was responsible for the death of three innocent men. She was the villain.
Three years went by, but Juno still felt guilty. In fact, the guilt grew worse, coiling like a tight rope around her heart.
She had a child, a little girl named Rose. Juno loved her dearly and by the time the princess was two years old, she never left her side. She felt that she had to be with her at all times, or something terrible would happen to her.
A couple weeks after Rose's second birthday, King Hind declared war on Adahinnel. He gave them a month to prepare defenses, and then he would charge. Juno was terrified. Her husband was going off to battle, and he may never come back.
He left one day, promising to be back soon. Juno was left to be the monarch of the castle, this time for real, and she ruled with a firm hand. But one night, one of King Hind's soldiers found his way into her Throne Room, where she sat deep in thought.
"I come bearing no weapons," he said, holding his hands in the air. Juno had no knights to protect her; she wanted to be alone. What happened to the knights guarding the door she did not know.
"What do you want?" She asked him, scared.
"Where is King Bennington?" He said. "We have not been able to find him, we want to make sure he hasn't gotten cold feet. Tell me or your daughter will be gone forever."
Juno's heart caught in her throat. She could not let anything happen to Rose, her little angel. But she truly did not know where her husband was, for his route was a mystery to her. And so came her time to lie. Again.
She did not think. She didn't think of a good lie, of one that would save them all. No. It popped out of her mouth in an instant. "He's in your castle," she said. "In King Hind's castle. He means to poison the king."
The guard nodded, looking disgruntled, and left. Juno waited until he was gone, then rushed up to Rose's nursery, where she found her baby safe. She hugged her in her arms and prayed that everything would be all right.
Nothing ended up well.
Believing that Sir Bennington meant to poison King Hind, the soldier returned to Vottlebrindle, searching wildly for him. When they found no trace, they believed him to have not arrived yet. Sir Bennington had really meant to enter the battlefield the proper way, to play by the rules of war. He had no wish to fight, nor to poison the king, but was bound by duty and was forced into battle. He survived the fight and returned home, having won the war. Juno was relieved.
But still believing that he meant to kill King Hind, soldiers invaded the palace one night and murdered Sir Bennington in his sleep, leaving Juno and Rose unharmed. She was mortified, Juno was. She had killed her father and her husband--indirectly, but she had killed them all the same. If only she had told the soldier the truth, that he had meant to go into battle all this time...
Juno hid her secrets deep down. When Rose reached sixteen, she could bear it no longer. She confessed to her daughter, of the lies she had spoken. Rose was horrified and could not keep it a secret. She told one of the guards, who in turn spread the word. Juno was thought to be a traitor to Adahinnel. Rose became queen instead, and Juno was to be executed. She escaped, however, into a neighboring kingdom called Stronnaleud. There she lived a new life, disguising herself as a baker, taking up the new name Amanda Brittle. And there she still is.
So, you see, lying is really never a good idea. If Juno had only never lied in the first place, she might have saved her father, as well as all the others.
Please don't end up like Queen Fib.