Blood Crown
By Violet Day
Date: December 7, 2020
Ch. 1010

The next morning Senna woke up happier than she thought she would, considering what had happened with Lowelle the night before. She was ready to paint something and show that she had the artistic talent that was necessary for a queen to display.

Lowelle was gone when she woke up.

She felt a little weird choosing an outfit from Lowelle’s suitcase. She didn’t want to be wearing her clothes… but she didn’t have anything else to wear, so this was what she had to do. Share clothes with someone who she was really starting to dislike.

“Hi!” She got the attention of page outside her room. He turned to her. He had a youthful face, but a very bland one. Not memorable. “Could I get an easel and paint? Oil pant. And a canvas, not too big.”

The page nodded. “Darg!” he called. A boy that looked to be just past puberty came running around the corner.


“Easel, oil paints, brushes, medium canvas.”

“Yes sir!”

“Where would you like it set up, miss?”

“In the garden,” Senna said after a moment of deliberation.

“Which garden, miss?” the page asked, his voice bored.

“Oh. Oh yeah. The one…” She gestured in the direction of the prince’s library. “That way. It’s all flowers and a huge window overlooks it.”

The page looked at her oddly. “In the prince’s flower garden, Darg,” the page said, addressing the pimply boy.

“Yes, sir!”

Darg went running off.

“When you arrive, your easel and paints will be there. I believe Darg will remember a stool as well. If not, ask anyone you come across.”

“Okay. How long do I have?”

“The queen will announce when it is time to return to the great hall with your display piece. I believe it will be in three or four hours.”

“Thank you very much.”

Senna set off in the direction of the library where she had seen the garden from, not sure how else to get there.

“And –miss –” the page called.

Senna turned.

“Do not linger there any longer than you need to. The prince is not known to frequent his gardens, and he is away on business, but know that if you meet you will be disqualified from the competition.”

Senna nodded and continued on.

Soon she was standing in front of the library door. This time the door was shut, not open with its inviting golden light as before.

The garden was right nearby… there had to be a way to get there stemming from this hallway. She peered down the lamp lit hall in both directions from the library door. There weren’t any other doors or staircases that she could see.

Maybe Dorn would be able to guide her to the garden.

Trying to dampen the butterflies she felt in her stomach, Senna knocked on the library door. No answer for a good few seconds. Senna raised her fist to knock again, but as she brought it toward the wood the door swung open, inward.

Dropping her hand awkwardly, Senna smiled up at Dorn. He smiled down at her, adjusting his glasses. He had a book in his hand, his thumb and forefinger holding it open where he had stopped reading.

“I’ve been expecting you,” he said. “I didn’t see you yesterday.”

“There was a trial,” she said. “All day.”

“Not one you needed my help with?” His smile turned teasing.

“Shut up. No, it was about being good with kids. We spent the whole day doing activities with little kids.”

Dorn nodded. “I mostly likely wouldn’t have been much help with that. It’s not that I’m terrible with children, I simply… I never know what to say or do around them. They seem so different from me or you.”

Senna nodded. “I know what you mean. But I love little kids. They remind me to take life a little less seriously; to see things as they are.”

They stood in the doorway without saying anything more for a few moments.

“Do you want to come inside?” Dorn asked, finally.

“Oh! Well, maybe. You just reminded me of why I came.”


“The fourth trial is for us to showcase our artistic talent and I was going to paint something. I asked them to set up my painting materials in the garden outside the library window. I was wondering if you could tell me how I can get there.”

“There’s a door through here,” Dorn said. He opened the door wider. “Come in, I’ll let you through.”

“Thanks!” Senna followed him into the library, through the shelves of books, and to the area with the armchair and table. Dorn led her to the very corner of the room. He opened a door which led to a small wooden porch. Steps from the porch led the garden.

“If you wait a moment,” he said, “I’ll go ask someone for chairs.”

Dorn had noticed before she did that the boy –Darg? –had forgotten to bring a stool for Senna to sit on in front of the easel. Other than that, it was an idyllic scene.

As Dorn disappeared back into the library, Senna surveyed the garden.

Rows and circles and other patterns of bright flowers and flower bushes spilled out throughout the somewhat diminutive garden. The paths through the flowers were either thick, short green grass or paved in white pebbles. Surrounding the garden on all sides was a wide, tall flowering hedge. There was one gap in it. Senna walked over to it. The doorway of sorts in the hedge opened onto a rolling field cut off by more silver palace buildings in the distance.

Senna returned to her easel, which had been set up near the glass window, facing outward toward the rest of the garden. She had planned on painting something surreal and unusual, but she was incredibly inspired by the sheer multitude of flowers in this garden. She wanted to paint exactly what she saw.

Two servants came into the garden through the open doorway in the hedge carrying delicate metal garden chairs painted in a chipped white paint. After they left, Dorn came out of the library. He looked around, seemingly looking for something or maybe just enjoying the view, before he stepped from the porch onto the grass where the chairs had been set.

He sat in one of the chairs and opened up his book again.

“What are you reading?” Senna asked as she dragged the other chair through the grass to the front of the easel.

“Politics for the Educator of State.”

Senna raised an eyebrow. “Sounds like some light reading. Do you want to be an… educator? Or a politician?”

Dorn was silent for a moment. “No, I like being a librarian. But I also enjoy reading. There aren’t many books I have not read…”

“I see.” Senna began to paint. “Sorry if I’m not a great conversation partner; I only have an hour or two to paint a masterpiece.”

“I understand,” Dorn said. “I’ll try to finish this hefty tome.”

“You go ahead and go that.”

She picked up a wide brush and dipped it into green paint and began to block in all the grass and hedges.

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