Here’s the beginning scene of the short story “The Day of Choosing.” It’s background as to how Alizaane of Darislay came to be heir to the throne of Rassa.
If I had the opportunity to cast this part for a visual adaptation, I’d choose Emma Watson. This picture really captures the young Ally at the time this story takes place.
Here is the first scene of “The Day of Choosing.” I hope you like it. As usual, all feedback is welcome.
THE DAY OF CHOOSING
Scene 1: Alizaane’s Escape
Alizanne opened her eyes to near darkness. Her room, normally a wash of muted, restful blues and greens, was a sea of grey in the hours before dawn. No servant moved around the room, no light flowed in through the partially opened French doors leading out to her private balcony. Even the normal cacophany of insects was muted.
A dense blanket of fog, thick enough to block the light of the full moon, shrouded the palace and grounds. The down quilt made a nest that warmed Ally and protected her from the dampness that seeped into her bedroom. It crept into the corners, testing the perimeter, sending out tendrils that snaked in around her open windows. Even the dog, normally active and alert, heard nothing and snored on in bliss.
She turned her head to look at the chrono on the bedside table. It read 04:32. Perfect. It was early enough. Guards and staff were minimal at this time of day, and Ally knew how to avoid them. She’d been doing it since she was about five. She could do it again. Carefully she began easing out of bed, trying not the wake the dog or her maid, who slept in the adjoining suite.
Ally was successful with the maid; her dog popped his head up as soon as she moved. He wagged his tail and barked a soft bark, his way of asking to be let out into the gardens.
“Shhh…you’ll wake people up. I love you, silly dog, but you really are an idiot. Just give me a minute, then we can go outside. But you’ll stay in the garden. Don’t follow me, all right?” Foolish yipped, joy shining out of his eyes. He’d grown into his name over time, so Ally knew he had no idea what she was saying. Talking to him was enough to make him happy. He never needed to understand.
She got out of bed. Stretching, she yawned so big her jaw cracked. Rubbing her eyes, she waked over to her wardrobe with Foolish dancing around her feet. “Just give me a minute. I don’t want to go outside naked, you know. Idiot dog.” Ally pulled out her riding clothes, and in just a couple of minutes she was ready to go out into the gardens with Foolish.
Foolish nudged opened the French doors wider and wiggled through. Fingers of fog clutched at Alizaane’s legs as she stepped out onto the marble balcony. Condensation made the marble slippery, and Ally clutched the bannister as she slowly made her way down the stairs and onto the grass.
Safely in the garden, Ally tried to watch Foolish through still-blurry eyes. No sooner did Foolish get outside then his nose twitched, his ears perked up, and he dashed off into the fog after something he probably only imagined. Ally chuckled. “Idiot dog,” she whispered, with an affectionate smile.
Ally walked over to the far edge of the garden. She looked around out of habit, but the fog obscured her vision. “If I can’t see anyone, then no one can see me,” she reasoned. Checking once more, she wiggled through the hedgerow and vanished.