Once upon a time there was a princess so dangerous and so helpful to her father the King that she had to be locked away.
Her room was large. Perhaps larger than the rest of the castle. There were gardens the king had made with emerald leaves and gem stone flowers, the scent of the rarest and most fragrant flowers was filtered in from small tubes threaded up each brittle stem.
She had books enough to make their own geography. The ones bound in blue rolled into oceans, the green leather towered tall forrest (it was even rumored finches began to make untidy nests of the least read pages).
Sometimes she wasn't even lonely. There were no doors, no windows. There was a dome open to the stars and moon.
Just when the sky would deepen and the moon would fill the center of the dome a note would fall. Sometimes it was folded as a crane other times a dragon. The words inside were written in a language only ten people in the world would ever have heard of.
The princess would read these notes in her garden. If the note was shaped as a crane she would refold it after reading and place it in the hollow of the tree that bloomed moonstones.
If the note was folded as a dragon she would tear the edges on the wings and set it on fire, burying the ashes under the roots of the garnet tree.
Being that the princess was never seen and never saw anyone, she did not follow the court dressing styles. With no servant to scold or shape her she developed her own sense of clothing. The untoward would say she only dressed in black, but they would be unwise. If you looked closely, which of course you never would, you would find that every thread of her cloth was a different shade of shadow.
Her footsteps would be sure as she turned her face to the open dome. She stretches, rubs her hands together, and smiles before she jumps. Tonight her note was a dragon.
Story and illustration Monica Michelle