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The Rosemallow Princess: Chapter 1

by EternalRain


CHAPTER 1 - Lila

Lila Everidge sat on one of the twelve docks on Vanilla Island, swinging her legs back and forth in the calm water. It was at this moment - with the sun setting and clouds pink - that a light blue bird dropped a yellowed letter on her lap.

Lila picked up the letter, flipping it over in her hands. The envelope was sealed with a Rosemallow Palace stamp in bright red wax. The back side only wrote “Lila Everidge, Vanilla Island” in a swirly, cursive font.

Lila never got any mail, much less mail from the Rosemallow Palace! She wondered if she was invited to a royal ball, or maybe granted money for helping around the island so much.

The sky was still streaked with pink, but Lila couldn’t see the messenger bird anywhere.

Lila turned over the envelope and carefully peeled the red wax stamp off. A page of long cursive writing fell out into her lap, along with a beaded bracelet and a boat ticket.

The letter read:

Lila -

Hello dear! It is your Aunt Clarabelle! I hope you are doing well. You may have noticed this is a letter from Rosemallow Palace; indeed, it is! I now work at the postal office at Rosemallow Palace - I deliver so much mail to and fro. And it’s so much better than my last job when I was waitressing. I’m surprised the palace let me work here! They must have been desperate! Ha, ha. Because I work here, I am free to use the magic post service as I wish. One of the benefits of this job.

Anyway, dear, I am writing to you to let you know that I would love for you to come visit me here in the city. I know your mother is quite the worrywart but I’ve moved since you last visited and my new home is much nicer and in a much safer neighborhood. And less magic folk coming to my door every day!

Let your mother know that I have purchased a boat ticket for you. It should be in here. There are more instructions on the back of this page. See you soon!

Aunt Clarabelle

PS I know this is sudden, but you know me! I love sudden. And I know your school lessons have just ended, so you’re on break now. Also, I do hope you like this bracelet. This lovely Elven girl was selling them at the market, and they were too pretty not to buy. Last time I saw you, pink was your favorite color.

It certainly wasn’t an invitation to a royal ball, or money, but it was an invitation to her Aunt Clarabelle’s house in Ellwhistle City, and she was beyond excited. On the back of the letter, there were complete, in depth instructions - from catching the boat to finding her home.

The bracelet was a chain of gorgeous pink beads. Pink wasn’t exactly Lila’s favorite color anymore - it had been, years ago - but she liked it nonetheless.

Lila pulled her feet out of the water and slipped into her sandals. She gathered up her things - the letter and her sweater - and then walked home.

“Mother?” Lila called as she stepped into their rickety door.

“In the kitchen!”

Lila could barely control her excitement. She had read the details of the instructions three times over and she was supposed to get on the ship in two days. “Aunt Clarabelle invited me to Ellwhistle City.” She turned the corner into the kitchen, where her mom was chopping vegetables.

“What?”

“She invited me.”

“My gods, are you serious?”

Lila set down the letter and ticket by the cutting board so her mother could see. “I leave Saturday.”

“What do you mean, leave Saturday? You are most definitely not going.” Lila’s mother started chopping the vegetables a little more aggressively. She didn’t even give a glance at the paper, just shook her head a little so her bunched up hair swung from side to side.

“What? Mother, she’s already purchased the ticket.” Lila pressed her lips together, annoyed at her desperateness, and only hoped her mother wouldn’t get mad. But this was just the thing she wanted. “She even sent it with a magic bird,” Lila added, forcing her tone to be calmer.

Lila’s mother sighed, set down the knife, and picked up the letter. She scanned it with squinted eyes and set it down with a huff when she was finished. “I don’t like this.”

Lila peered over at her mother, waiting for her to say something else.

“I suppose Clarabelle will be expecting you, though.” Chop, chop, chop.

“I haven’t got anything to do the entire break. And I did great in my studies this year,” Lila added, hoping she could get her mother in a good mood. She washed her hands in the sink and started to help out with the vegetables. She washed while her mother cut.

“Let me think about it, okay? How about you tend to the chickens while I finish up dinner. And then we can talk about it.”

Lila set down the scallion she was about to rinse and wiped her wet hands on her pants. She didn’t say anything as she headed out the back door, just bit her lip and wished to herself that her mother would say yes.

The sun was nearly set, but the lamplight in their yard provided enough light for Lila to enter the coop and feed and water the chickens. The wind picked up, and the familiar rush of wind that was so distinctive of Vanilla Island sent bumps along her arms. She knew her mother would say no. She would pay to get a message to Clarabelle in time letting her know Lila couldn’t go, that she had work to do over her study break, or some other excuse to keep her trapped on this stupid island with the same people she knew.

Lila stepped around the chickens, nibbling at scraps, to reach for the eggs from their wooden nesting box, which was starting to crack and swell from too much moisture. She gathered them and set them in her shirt to carry back inside. Her mother hated the city, which was why they never visited. But Lila had read so many stories of Ellwhistle City, with the horse-drawn carriages and elven magic and handsome lads with city wear.

The back door was half open, and Lila returned inside to carefully store the eggs in their egg basket on the counter. Spices tickled her nose, the onions pricked her eyes. Her mother was dropping vegetables into the pot of soup, where steam was wafting up to curl at the ceiling.

Lila watched her mother cook, and wondered how they were so different. They looked so similar - the thick dark brown hair, the pointy nose and chin, and the softness of their voice. But her mother was in tune with the rhythm of her daily work while Lila always yearned for something new.

“Do you really want to go?” she asked, as Lila sat down at one of the wooden chairs against the dining table.

“Oh, Mother, I do! You know I do.” Lila touched the pink beaded bracelet that she had fastened on her wrist, careful to keep it out of her mother’s view. Her voice quieted, afraid of what her mother would say. “I am so bored here. I just want to see something new.”

Her mother turned to her, the wrinkles at her eyes creased over. “I’ll let you go, Lila. I just want you to be safe.” Her fingers twisted together where they rested at her apron, but then she hid them behind her back.

“What? Really?”

Lila’s mother was silent for a moment. She spooned a heapful of the steaming hot vegetable soup into each of their bowls. “Yes, really.”

Lila looked up at her mother through the steam of her soup. She didn’t know what to say. In all truthfulness, she wanted to ask why. She wanted to know why her mother would let loose her shackle just a little. But she was scared to ask in fear of being shut down.

“However,” said her mother. “I want you to write me letters. I want you to stay good, and listen to Clarabelle, and you shall not talk to strangers unless necessary.”

“Mother, Ellwhistle City is perfectly safe. It’s not like Aunt Clarabelle is living in the middle of a bandit thicket or by an elven gang. Miss Mira has told us about all the new actions the palace is taking to improve Rosemallow.” Lila said this last part with confidence and the twinge of a smile. The last lessons of the year were all about the money the palace was funding into making Rosemallow a better place.

“I know. Just… well, Clarabelle isn’t…”

“Isn’t what?” Lila asked. She only had glimpses of memories of her aunt, all of them silly and fun.

“She sometimes doesn’t think things through. I know you’re a responsible girl. So I trust you.” Lila’s mother sent her a tightlipped smile, her dark eyes absent of the shine Lila used to see years ago when she danced with her broom in one hand and her father’s hand in the other.

“Thank you, Mother,” Lila said, sending a smile back. She was going to do everything to prove her mother right. She was a reasonable and responsible girl who always thought things through. 


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Sun Jun 07, 2020 2:54 am
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HarryHardy wrote a review...



Hey, Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night (whichever it is in your part of the world),

Lovely opening chapter, so I'll get right to the stuff,

"It was at this moment - with the sun setting and clouds pink - that a light blue bird dropped a yellowed letter on her lap."

Neat introduction though I've never seen a pink cloud personally.

"The sky was still streaked with pink, but Lila couldn’t see the messenger bird anywhere."

This seems to come out of nowhere a bit. Sorta took me for a loop. After focusing on the letter it seems weird to suddenly jump back to this. Put this a bit earlier maybe?

The bracelet was a chain of gorgeous pink beads. Pink wasn’t exactly Lila’s favorite color anymore - it had been, years ago - but she liked it nonetheless.

“Mother?” Lila called as she stepped into their rickety door.

Okay that's a bit confusing. Did she just try to walk straight through the door? Or did you mean "their doorway"

“My gods, are you serious?”

Lila set down the letter and ticket by the cutting board so her mother could see. “I leave "by" Saturday.”

“What do you mean, leave "on" Saturday? You are most definitely not going.” Lila’s mother started chopping the vegetables a little more aggressively. She didn’t even (give a)"I think that should be chopped" glance at the paper,

Lila set down the scallion she was about to rinse and wiped her wet hands on her pants. She didn’t say anything as she headed out the back door, just bit her lip and wished (to herself) "I think its implied that she's wishing to herself. Seems unnecessary to mention that."

Lila watched her mother cook, and wondered how they were so different. They looked so similar - the thick dark brown hair, the pointy nose and chin, and the softness of their voice. But her mother was in tune with the rhythm of her daily work while Lila always yearned for something new.

That's a really clever way to describe the characters to the readers. Good Job!

Lila’s mother was silent for a moment. She spooned a heapful of the steaming hot vegetable soup into each of their bowls. “Yes, really.”

At this point I wish I'd had breakfast before reviewing this. You're descriptions are making me hungry.

And that's all I've gotta say.

Really well written. I can easily imagine the scene as it happens. Would love to read more!

Hope you're staying safe in these time wherever you are :)
Harry




EternalRain says...


Hey Harry, thanks so much for your review! I notice I tend to place sentences in awkward spots at times (like the one you pointed out in your second comment), so thank you for that!



HarryHardy says...


Your welcome! Glad I could be of some use.



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Wed Jun 03, 2020 12:43 am
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Liberty wrote a review...



Heya Rain!!

Hope you're doing well. Here to review.

Lila Everidge sat on one of the twelve docks on Vanilla Island,

I find it funny that I was eating vanilla ice-cream when I read this. :p

The bracelet was a chain of gorgeous pink beads.

...Whyyy do I have a feeling that this bracelet will have some special role. Or maybe it's just the way it's been introduced to us. xD It sounds ~special~.

“Mother?” Lila called as she stepped into their rickety door.

You could say as she stepped into their house through the rickety door so that it seems less as if Lila is stepping right into the door, ya get?

“Isn’t what?”

pRaCTiCAl oR rEsPONSiblE I'm assuming. Also, the way Mother responded to Lila going to Clarabelle's, I feel like Mother and Clarabelle have some bad blood. Or it could literally just be the fact that Clarabelle is too care-free for an adult.

Speaking of Clarabelle, let's talk about her letter. It's very exclamation marky, y'know? Like, I mean, if you look at it, more than half the punctuation marks are exclamation marks. You don't do the whole !!! thing in the rest of the chapter so I'm assuming that it's just a very Clara (I'm just going to call her that throughout the rest of the story - ~nicknamesss~) thing to use so many exclamation marks. Let me also bring the fact that she's a care-free sorta person into the spotlight. :P

One last thing before I disappear under my blanket with some cake - you do a lot of telling! Probably cut down on that and do some more of what all readers love - ~showing~. If someone tells you there's a batch of delicious chocolate chip cookies in the oven, you won't hold on to the fact unless they show you the cookies, amirite? ;)

I love that example - I think I'll be using that for others lol.

Idk why I feel so weird reviewing one your novel. I think its 'cuz you reviewed my whole novel and I'm reviewing your novel now. I dunno, man, feels funny. xP

Anyways, hope this review helped! Lemme know if you've got any questions. Annnnd I'm excited for the next chapter!! I wonder where Lila will take us!

And as always...

Keep on writing!

~Liberty




EternalRain says...


Hey Lib!! Thanks so much for the review! It%u2019s so good to hear your thoughts. :)



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Mon Jun 01, 2020 10:58 pm
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myjaspercat wrote a review...



Hey there EternalRain,
Jaspercat here to leave you a review.

It was at this moment - with the sun setting and clouds pink - that a light blue bird dropped a yellowed letter on her lap.
It may be just me but I feel like there's too much color in this sentence. I love using colors in description but after a while it becomes a little extra. Just think, is it important for your readers to know the color of the bird or the color of the letter? If it is then please feel free to ignore this comment but if not then just chew on it a bit.

The back side only wrote “Lila Everidge, Vanilla Island”
I don't think the letter actually 'wrote,' more like it read so I would suggest changing it because right now it reads a little odd.

You may have noticed this is a letter from Rosemallow Palace; indeed, it is!
The ending of this sentence is a little unnecessary and I think you can defiantly do without it.

On the back of the letter, there were complete, in depth instructions - from catching the boat to finding her home.
This sentence is a little repetitive. I would either get rid of 'in depth instructions' or 'complete.' You don't really need both of them.

“Mother?” Lila called as she stepped into their rickety door.
Again, another minor suggestion but I don't think 'into' is the right word. You don't really step into a door, rather you step through a door and into a room.

Lila’s mother started chopping the vegetables a little more aggressively.
Instead of telling us that her mother chops the vegetables aggressively why don't you show us. Let your readers come to those conclusions, it will also help your readers picture the scene better.

And then we can talk about it.


The wind picked up, and the familiar rush of wind that was so distinctive of Vanilla Island sent bumps along her arms.
I would consider rewriting this sentence as well. My suggestion would be something like: The familiar rush of wind that was distinctive of Vanilla Island sent goosebumps up Lila's arms as it picked up.

Okie dokie I think that's all of the specific nit-picks I have for you. Overall I did like this story and I'm excited to see how it progresses (hopefully I don't miss any of your chapters.) For one the names of places are really interesting to me. It seems very Alice in Wonderland like and I wat to know how they represent the people and communities of them. I also really like the names of your characters, they're cute and clever. Anyway lets get on with the rest of the review:

This is another stylistic choice but you break up your text in really weird ways. For one you separate paragraphs that go together and would be fine as one larger paragraph. For example:

Spoiler! :
Lila Everidge sat on one of the twelve docks on Vanilla Island, swinging her legs back and forth in the calm water. It was at this moment - with the sun setting and clouds pink - that a light blue bird dropped a yellowed letter on her lap.

Lila picked up the letter, flipping it over in her hands. The envelope was sealed with a Rosemallow Palace stamp in bright red wax. The back side only wrote “Lila Everidge, Vanilla Island” in a swirly, cursive font.

Lila never got any mail, much less mail from the Rosemallow Palace! She wondered if she was invited to a royal ball, or maybe granted money for helping around the island so much.

The sky was still streaked with pink, but Lila couldn’t see the messenger bird anywhere.

Lila turned over the envelope and carefully peeled the red wax stamp off. A page of long cursive writing fell out into her lap, along with a beaded bracelet and a boat ticket.


This entire opening all revolves around the same subject; the letter that Lila receives from her aunt. Therefore it would be better if you kept it written together.


The next thing I wanted to mention was your use of exclamation marks. I notice that you tend to use them a lot. Typically an exclamation mark is used to add emphasis on sentences that express strong or forceful emotions. However, when you end up using too many it starts to make them less effective. Instead of solely focusing on using exclamation marks to convey the stronger emotions of your characters you should try and focus on using more vivid imagery. That way, when you do have to an exclamation mark it doesn't take away from the urgency and the emotion of it.

I would also focus on using more vivid imagery in general. Right now the piece is a little flat. You tend to tell us everything that is happening and everything Lila is feeling which can make the story feel a bit bland. Remember the super common and cliché bit of advice: "show don't tell." Give your readers some details they can hold on to. Let them come to conclusions and find the picture themselves.

Other then that good job here. Like I said earlier I can't wait to read more of the story later on. If you have any questions please feel free to ask. Good luck and continue writing.




EternalRain says...


Thank you so much for your review!! I definitely agree with your comments and I will be trying to hone in on the show-don%u2019t-tell. :) Thank you again!



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Mon Jun 01, 2020 9:17 pm
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Que wrote a review...



Hi Rain!

I saw this and remembered liking your Peace and Peaches so I thought I'd stop by for a review. :)

Lila never got any mail, much less mail from the Rosemallow Palace! She wondered if she was invited to a royal ball, or maybe granted money for helping around the island so much.

I think I had the same comment as Icy below here! It seems like if she's never gotten mail from Rosemallow Palace before, then it wouldn't be for work she's already been doing or a ball out of nowhere. Maybe it would make more sense if she thinks of others getting letters of this sort, and wondering if she's somehow been noticed.

Hello dear! It is your Aunt Clarabelle! I hope you are doing well. You may have noticed this is a letter from Rosemallow Palace; indeed, it is! I now work at the postal office at Rosemallow Palace - I deliver so much mail to and fro.

For some reason, this letter strikes me as a little bit off. I think it's a little on the peppy side, and while I can see that Aunt Clarabelle has that kind of optimistic nature, you could possibly tone it down a bit. I think part of it is that she's saying "It is your Aunt Clarabelle!" -- one thing is that she kind of mixes formal and informal tones a little oddly (?). And the other thing is that she's introducing herself. If this is a familiar aunt asking Lila to come visit, then it seems like they would've had more correspondence and some kind of natural transition. "Sorry I haven't written in a while, but as you can see, I've been busy getting this new job!" might have more of a flow and feel less like Clarabelle is introducing herself to the audience through her niece. :)

Also I love the name Ellwhistle City <3

“My gods, are you serious?”

Lila set down the letter and ticket by the cutting board so her mother could see. “I leave Saturday.”

“What do you mean, leave Saturday? You are most definitely not going.” Lila’s mother started chopping the vegetables a little more aggressively. She didn’t even give a glance at the paper, just shook her head a little so her bunched up hair swung from side to side.

Huh, this seems like a sudden shift in tone to me. I wonder what the history is between Lila's mother and Aunt Clarabelle? (and I'm a little bit looking for a more emotional reaction from Lila--clearly she would be upset about her mother telling her not to go, but is she surprised by her mother's opinion? Does she just now remember something she had forgotten between the two of them, or is it new and confusing?)

and handsome lads with city wear.

Can't forget about those handsome lads ;) haha

It was a little odd to see Lila's mother be so resistant at first, then give in so quickly. It seems like she was resistant initially because she wants her daughter to be safe and protected at home; I think you could build that up a little more, and put it into her initial rejection as well as Lila's thoughts about why her mother would say no. I know it's from Lila's perspective, and she probably doesn't completely understand her mom, but it might help to hint at some internal struggle for her mother, like trying to decide whether her daughter is ready or will be safe or whatever. Then her ultimate decision to let her daughter go might feel a little more supported, and less like she just said no and then yes on a whim. :)

Overall, I wish Lila's character could be built just a tad bit more. I like the line about her needing to experience new things when her mother is in rhythm with her own ways, but I think you could hint at that even more and build other aspects of her character. I know it's just the first chapter, so you don't have to know everything right away, but it would be helpful to have more hints at the depth of characters, their relationships, their history with the island. Like when Lila mentions always seeing the same group of people, but we don't know who even lives on the island to compare to other things!

Aside from that, it was a nice opening to your story. It has this very whimsical/pastel vibe to it that I love, and even with the preliminary rejection and adventure on the horizon, there's a sort of fluffiness and elegance that's a really fun tone to have. :) I'm interested to see Lila's exploration of this world as she emerges into it!

I know you said you were nervous about feedback--I hope this wasn't too much! <3 I'd be happy to read more if you want to tag me when you post more. Let me know if you have any questions, and have a great day! :D

-Q




EternalRain says...


Thank you! I am really glad to hear your thoughts about Lila%u2019s mother%u2019s reaction because that was one of the things I was really struggling with when writing this chapter (mainly I was worried her mother giving it would be abrupt- so I%u2019m definitely going to work on that!). Thank you so much for the review!! This is really helpful. :)



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Mon Jun 01, 2020 9:56 am
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IcyFlame wrote a review...



Hey Rain!
Thanks for the tag in this - always nice to actually read something from the beginning rather than jumping in at chapter 10 (which I have an annoying habit of doing).

I like Lila's character already (and her name is so pretty!) so this was nice and easy to read, and a pretty good start for a first draft! I have a couple of comments, though nothing major.

Lila never got any mail, much less mail from the Rosemallow Palace!

This is more a personal preference, but I really dislike the use of exclamation points in writing, unless it's after speech. I think readers should be able to determine the tone from the words and so ! isn't needed.

She wondered if she was invited to a royal ball, or maybe granted money for helping around the island so much.

Would she really wonder these things if she had never received mail from them before? Or if she did, perhaps she would wonder them with more excitement? She seems far too calm here.

The sky was still streaked with pink, but Lila couldn’t see the messenger bird anywhere.

This seems a little choppy, like it doesn't quite fit. Either remove completely, or maybe tweak the flow.

Let your mother know that I have purchased a boat ticket for you. It should be in here.

Should be? Didn't she send the letter?

But Lila had read so many stories of Ellwhistle City, with the horse-drawn carriages and elven magic and handsome lads with city wear.

This is a really key point for me, showing how much she wants to go. I think the reader would empathise with her more if they knew this before she comes home to ask her mother. Then they are hoping that her mother says yes too!

But her mother was in tune with the rhythm of her daily work while Lila always yearned for something new.

I don't think you need to say this, it shows in the rest of the chapter with Lila's desire to leave and her mother's desire to stay. Show not tell ;)

I think you've set it up well for now, though I always find that the further you get through writing it the easier it gets to go back and change the start. I'll leave it here for now... looking forward to the next part!

Icy




EternalRain says...


Thanks so much for your comments Icy!




The reason a boat sinks isn't the water around it. It sinks when water gets into it. Don't let what's happening around you weigh you down.
— dalisay