Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write in the MYSTERY genre (04/05/07)
TITLE: The Monks of Devonshire Abbey
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The nanny whimpered, “I don’t know.” She spoke truthfully.
The rebels seized the palace and all it contained. The King, Queen, and their staff were killed. But the baby princess was never found.
Sitting on the table between the Abbot and Devon was a rather large and exceedingly rare green diamond.
A man of few words, the Abbot stated, “Happy Birthday.”
Devon bowed his head. “Thank you.”
On the way back to his quarters he pondered his future. <i>I’ve studied hard. I guess I earned it. But what good is it without the missing pieces?
I’m 18 now. I could sell the gems I have and live anywhere in the world… But this is the only home I’ve ever known. The Abbot is like a father to me, the other monks, my brothers...</i>
<i>How will we know when it’s time? Will I ever be ready? Please God, show me the way…</i>
Devon studied the ancient texts like the others, but he also studied current events and all the dialects of the continent. He earned his black belt alongside his brothers, but he preferred the gentleness of Tai Chi. Although he loved the monks, Devon craved privacy.
Hidden at the back of his armoire was a forbidden picture of the former King and Queen. Between them was a baby, dressed in pink silk and lace. Devon thought, <i>Someday I shall find her -- the rightful heir to the throne. It is my destiny...</i>
Devon’s gems were hidden in a velvet pouch in the pocket of an old robe at the back of his closet. He took them out occasionally, arranging them just so. He sighed. <i>How can I ever leave here?</i> But he knew, someday, he must.
The mountaintop Abbey was secluded and had few visitors. He strolled through the grounds in quiet meditation. <i>How I love these paths, these mountains…</i>
He sat upon a boulder, awaiting Kindra, the peasant girl who delivered the weekly newspapers he devoured.
Devon decided, <i>I can at least stop shaving my head. I can now grow out my hair, and beard, like my elders.</i> He grinned at the thought.
<i>I’d do anything for Kindra.</i>
<i>This is what I’m to wear to the coronation of the rebel King’s eldest son? Where on earth did Kindra get it?</i> The clothes were ornate, unlike the simple garb Devon had always worn. The shoes felt strangest of all. He usually walked barefoot or in sandals.
The journey to the city was long, but uneventful. Devon was nervous leaving the safety of the Abbey for the first time, but 28 years of quiet contemplation had prepared him well. He showed none of the quivering unease he felt. He prayed silently en route, <i>The Fifth Joyful Mystery: Finding the Child Jesus in the Temple…</i>
The monks met their associates outside the city gate. The aging Abbot didn’t make the trip. <i>What if I never see him again?</i> Devon thought. <i>Don’t think of it now, or you may weep.</i>
The other monks accompanied Devon onto the castle grounds. He walked quietly at the center of his entourage, his face hidden by his hood; his long blonde hair and ornate attire hidden beneath his robes. He longed to look all around and take in his surroundings, but he wasn’t a little boy on holiday. <i>We mustn’t attract undue attention.</i>
It seemed the whole countryside was there. He didn’t dare scan the crowd for Kindra. <i>I will miss her so. But it is time…</i>
Devon and his fellow monks approached the new King. Their comrades surrounded the courtyard. Devon made the sign of the cross. <i>It’s now or never…</i>
He incapacitated the new King with a few karate moves -- and then flung off his own robes.
The crowd gasped at the sight of him. As his compatriots quickly unarmed the King’s guards, Devon addressed the stunned crowd.
“Yes, it is true. The Princess Darya Svoboda Devonshire is alive and well. My family’s death has finally been avenged. Their rule shall continue!”
The crowd cheered wildly, for Devon was wearing the long lost crown of the Devonshire clan. The Abbot had given her the final piece when he bade her farewell.
With her long blonde hair and gown Devon looked just like her late mother, the beloved Queen. -- But during her years at the Abbey, surrounded by God, mountains, and men, Devon had found <i>herself.</i>
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