When Humans first arrived on Hope
As Earth’s population overran the available supply of food, and women had become a scarcity most men could not afford, many chose to take their chances going to another planet. While the first planet named Hope could not survive all the privileged non-working people who arrived, a hardworking group from the original Planet Hope secured a ship and left the planet they now referred to as ‘Hopeless’ and found a new planet which, they again named Hope. (You know the saying that Hope springs eternal…)
This time, they would return to the ways of older times. No more democracies, parliaments, congress, or house of lords. The captain of the ship declared he and his crew would split up the small planet and each would be “Kings” of their lands. They divided up the livestock and the few women so each Hold would have at least one woman, and sufficient livestock to grow their herds.
Upon landing on Hope, a contingency of very small humans met the tall humans, claiming they already lived on Hope, but would welcome their company. They even offered to show the colonists the best spots to build their holds.
Since they were barely half the size and a quarter of weight of the arriving humans, the newcomers didn’t fear them, and accepted them as guides to their new homes. Later, when they saw the beautiful petite women of these small people, most of the kings, and the ministers took a beauty for their wife. Nor did any of the tiny men object. Thus, for the first two hundred years, Earth humans thought the little humans were harmless and weak.
Rana is only sixteen when she becomes queen. Her first challenge is to quell an internal coup while a massive army storms the gates of her castle. Her enemies believe her to be a child, but she has powers they’ve never suspected. She also has great dreams for her people, and she will do whatever is necessary to make them happen, even marrying a prince she does not want.
Rana’s father stared at her a long time. She saw nothing familial in his hard, black eyes. Finally, he sighed. “Come to the window and I will tell you my concerns.”
He was her father. She had loved him all her life, but she no longer trusted him. She walked to a different window on the same wall. “Tell me where you need help.”
He sighed heavily and stared out at the expansive grounds of the castle. “The left wall has been breached and the men are entering the shed. They will find a secret tunnel into the main castle. I have men posted at the tunnel door, but it won’t be enough to stop them from entering and killing the citizens hiding in the cellars.”
“Why would they kill citizens?”
“Because they have orders to find you and the citizens will not tell them where you are.”
She closed her eyes and focused her thoughts, calling banshees from the ground and sending them into the tunnels. She feared for the soldiers guarding the tunnel door, but better a few men die than the women and children. They were the future of the kingdom.
Certain twenty banshees could handle all who entered the tunnel, she refocused on her father. “What else?”
He rubbed his neck. “This would be easier if you could tell me what you can do.”
When he didn’t answer, she focused on the battle outside. “Those catapults seem to be doing a lot of damage.”
A burst of pain erupted from his chest. “Aye, they are.”
She focused on the ground beneath the heavy machines. A moment later, the ground shook, and a crevice opened along the line of catapults. She watched with satisfaction as the machines disappeared. Mother had let her practice opening a half-inch crevice in the vegetable garden once, but this was her first attempt at allowing her power out at full force.
Adrenaline surged through her body at just how powerful she could be. She was about to close the crevice except it cut off over fifty percent of the men attacking her kingdom. She decided to leave it.
She looked to her father, expecting him to be overjoyed with her abilities. Instead, he stared at her in horror. “What are you? You aren’t my daughter! I didn’t create you!”
His words stung like a whip. She stepped back from the pain as her body filled with a sickening sense of danger. A moment later, arrows shot through the narrow windows, one slicing through her father’s neck.
She watched in confusion as the giant man who had loved her all her life, save today, fell to his knees. Blood pumped out the exit side of the arrow, turning the walls bright red.
She remained where she was, tucked to the stonewall and watched his life spurt out of him.
Had he not attacked her with such words, she might have realized the danger came from outside in time to save him. But now, there was nothing she could do for him.
When the fountain of red stopped, she crawled beneath the arrows that still showered through the windows, to be closer to her father.
She slowed time so she could safely approach him and grip his hand. Dull eyes opened and stared at her, prompting her to speak before he died.
“I am your daughter! You taught me to care for our people. You taught me their safety comes before all else. I will not allow them to be conquered and enslaved. I will win this battle and make this kingdom a place of safety and happiness. I will do it in your name because you are my father, and before today, you loved me dearly.”
A single tear ran from the edge of his eye, off his cheek, and fell into the blood pooling beneath his head. His eyes slowly closed.
She placed her hand on his chest and smiled as tears of relief fell upon his chest. He had died in peace, not anger. His initial repulsion of her powers had not lasted. His last emotion had been relief.
RANA: TEENAGE QUEEN
About the Author
Liza O’Connor lives in Denville, NJ with her dog Jess. They hike in fabulous woods every day, rain or shine, sleet or snow. Having an adventurous nature, she learned to fly small Cessnas in NJ, hang-glide in New Zealand, kayak in Pennsylvania, ski in New York, scuba dive with great white sharks in Australia, dig up dinosaur bones in Montana, sky dive in Indiana, and raft a class four river in Tasmania. She’s an avid gardener, amateur photographer, and dabbler in watercolors and graphic arts. Yet through her entire life, her first love has and always will be writing novels.