Warm. Sunny. Bright. Can you connect that to Alaska?
Let me tell you. Alaska was once upon a time a Spring Wonderland, with perfect weather and beautiful flowers, until one unfortunate day.
“Can you please tell us the story of the King and the Witch?” asked the young kids.
She said. “Alright, sit tight, and I will begin.”
It all began on the night the King’s army marched into a young witch’s house.
Spring was just about to arrive. A few days before the ball of Juneau, in the home of the all-powerful witch of Juneau, preparations were being made to accommodate for a feast that was going to happen for her and her newborn daughter.
She had a million thoughts in mind, ‘Is the food well cooked?’, ‘Have I finished all preparations?’ among the other things a mother worries about when making a feast. She was a good mother and a powerful witch, known across Alaska for her power. This gave her the attention that even the King of Juneau did not have. Jealousy can be a venomous thing.
Suddenly, guards barged into the hut, armed to the teeth, and held the woman at spear-point.
“Dust... the smell of rotting potion brews... I expected more out of Juneau’s all-powerful witch.”
The witch curtsied to the King and said, “My king. What can I do for you? And would you please tell these men to point their weapons away from me? They could give me horrible scars.”
“I believe that it is no problem for you to get away from this predicament. You are an all-powerful witch.”
“I give curses, blessings, and potions m’lord. I am not immortal.”
The King took out his sword and slammed it onto the ground and yelled, “THEN WHY IS IT THAT THERE IS WORD AROUND THE STREET THAT YOU SHOULD BE CROWNED THE RULER OF JUNEAU?”
The witch took a deep breath, “M’lord, they are mere fools. Do not listen to the words of those who do not know how to rule.”
“I do not and believe me, witch. The issue here is that these people number in the thousands. A few among them being my nobles. There has been frequent talk of giving you a position in my court but I know the blasphemy of your kind.”
“Enough talk out of you, woman.”
The King grabbed his sword and stabbed it right into her stomach. She shouted out in pain and fell back onto the floor, bleeding profusely.
“How does it feel, witch? To die... with no memory of yours to be carried forward~”
She cut him off in between and screamed with her remaining energy, “I curse you with my last breath, the future of your throne shall reflect your personality. The kingdom’s heir shall be born with a frozen heart just like his father and the only cure shall be the one thing you have lost... my blood!”
As she closed her eyes, suddenly the King heard a baby crying. Where she is and how she is doing is unknown to mankind all we know is that Cornelia is her name, given to her by the king, after the street where her mom once used to live.
“That’s how it ends!” she said.
Ten Years Later
Ten years later, it was announced with great pleasure and pride by the King that the town of Juneau would be having its one-hundredth Spring’s Welcome Ball and that all were invited to attend, even the common folk. The people rejoiced as the honour of attending such an occasion was a rare opportunity and even rarer was the recurrence of such an occasion.
From their balcony, the second highest point in the castle, Jasper and Anastasia looked over at the celebrations that the people were having that evening. They had a great view of the town and could see right up to the bordering mountains. The town was brightly lit in honour of the King and his kind, just rule.
“Can you believe what father has done?” Jasper asked.
“Of course I can. He’s always been a just ruler. I had expected him to do this.”
“You’re just saying that because he took you in after he found you abandoned on the street.”
“If that does not show his kindness, I do not know what does, Jasper.”
“Does not mean he has no flaws.”
“Does not mean only he has flaws.”
“You and your tongue. Sharp enough to cut even metal I presume.”
“But you love it,” she said as she leaned in for a kiss.
He gave in and let her kiss him after which he said, “Well father did one thing right. He brought us together.”
“There’s that optimistic part of yours. Now come on, we are getting late for the festivities!”
Jasper sneezed into his sleeve and said, “Of course! Let me get ready first.”
Jasper arrived wearing his golden-white suit, which seemed to emit a light, a shine of his own. He wore silk gloves and carried himself with the poise and grace of a royal. Anastasia was already with the king, wearing her black ball gown and silk gloves of her own.
Jasper came next to her and whispered. “You look stunning, m'lady.”
Anastasia giggled and whispered back a thank you to him.
After some time of dancing and feasting, the King called for a gathering in the ballroom. He wished to address the crowd.
With a smile on his face and eyes twinkling with joy, he spoke,"Citizens of Juneau. As you know, the Spring Ball has been hosted for a century now. But for the first time, it has been opened for citizens beyond those who descend from nobility. I have chosen this very special occasion to deliver some very important news.”
He looked back at Jasper and Anastasia and smiled, "Today, I declare that Prince Jasper and Princess Anastasia will be married, ten days hence!"
The crowd broke into cheers and claps. Amid the commotion of the festivities, Jasper whispered in Anastasia’s ear, asking her to meet him at the astronomy tower before she went to bed. He would wait for her.
Smiling uncontrollably, she reached the rather dingy room at top of the dark tower. She was face to face with Jasper. The stars shone dimly, reflecting off their eyes. They had just enough light to see each other.
Jasper pinned her to the wall of the tower and whispered huskily, “My dear Ana, do you remember the stories my mother used to tell us? The stories of Pinnochio, Rapunzel, and your favorite? The one of the King and the Witch?”
“Yes of course! There’s no way I can forget. Those moments are the ones I’ll cherish forever.” She replied looking at the stars.
“You remember how you would ask her questions about Cornelia? Enacting your made up tales and fantasies about how you imagined her life to be?”
“Yes! It’s rather surprising you bring it up though. You hated those plays!”
“They weren’t just stories, my love. Mother wasn't making any of them up. They’re true, beloved.”
“Come on Jasper. How is that possible?”
“You are Cornelia and I'm the cursed prince” he stated, tightening his hold on her.
“You are lying, it can’t be —” she paused mid-sentence as she saw the shining dagger in Jasper’s hands.
“M’lady all that glitters isn’t gold. For I am not your lover, and you were merely the cure to my pain. Who could love someone of your kind?’ he said as he twirled the dagger.
“This isn’t you,” She said slowly.
Jasper dropped the dagger, something inside him breaking. “Ana, I'm helpless. The King plans to kill you on our wedding night. Love, please listen to me, let's run away, far away from all this evil”
“No, we can't keep on running on forever. How far till they catch us? You are the future King.” She replied.
“There is no king without his queen.” he tried to explain.
“There are no rulers without their people” she stated with determination in her eyes.
As she forced him to push the dagger down her, her last words echoed in the halls of the ballroom, “Alas darkness runs deep, I curse this land to forever reflect the hearts of its ruler, cold and inhuman. As true love’s blood spills on this land, no flower shall ever bloom, and only ice shall stay. For happiness has no place where tyrants rule. Just like my love for my Jasper, this curse, irreversible.”
Jasper fell to the floor, grasping his chest tightly. His life without her seemed impossible. He could hear small crackles and breaks echoing from inside of him as if a hammer was striking glass. His icy heart had melted the day he saw her.He breathed his last and fell beside his true love, dead-cold eyes staring at her face as the fate of the kingdom slowly started to seal itself.
He just wanted to protect her from falling in too deep in the King's tyrant but little did he know he fell alongside.
Author: Anubhi S and Aditya I Editor: Anushka S