Cassandra of Stormhold @kelseyalicia
Chapter 1

Cassandra of Stormhold

Far away from the lands known as the Seven Kingdoms laid the mystical kingdom of Stormhold. A majority of this domain's inhabitants were hybrids, their origins, a mix of humanity and the supernatural.

Yet, this was commonplace in the Kingdom of Stormhold. After all, the royal line for several generations now had the magical blood of stars coursing within them. The descendants of the renowned Queen Yvaine had inherited outstanding beauty, compelling magic, and longevity. With each new generation, a brand-new mystical linage became incorporated into the royal line. Therefore the royal family held the most exceptional line of descent ever recorded.

Since the establishment of the fairy-like sovereignty, a fantastical living tree had as if by magic recorded all who'd been born into the imperial household. You merely had to examine the leaves and flowers to learn who. The men were transcribed on leaves while the women were on blossoms—a prevalent custom for the imperial household there a theme behind each generation naming.

For example? One generation's names came from the order they're born. Cassandra's husband, Michael's grandparents, had all been named after stars and deities connected to the stars and moon. The next generation is related to night and day, with Michael's generation being more normal names. However, Cass's daughter's generation appeared to be taking on gemstones as their theme names.

Currently, in the royal wing in one of the more luxurious bedrooms, Cassandra was sound asleep. Her dreams overflowing with friends and family, all smiling cheerfully. She was about to hug her father when an earsplitting noise awoke her. Shooting up from the king-sized bed, a small shriek was heard. An adolescent girl with short chestnut wavy-hair and large topaz eyes looked back at her.

"I'm so sorry for waking you, Lady Cassandra! I should've been quieter," the girl rambled in a panicked voice.

"Becky! Please calm down! You didn't do anything wrong! And please stop calling me a "Lady," I'm not a lady; I'm simply me, Cassandra," as the daughter of Gothel sought once more to reason with the attendants.

"Yet you're part of the royal family! It'd be incredibly uncouth of me not to address you as a lady!" the adolescent girl replied as she quivered worryingly.

"Becky," as Cass took a deep breath before saying, "Just because my husband is a prince doesn't mean anything. He's simply Michael. I'm simply Cass, and Opal is Opal. Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to change."

"Of course, I'll send for the handmaidens," when Cass stopped her once again. "Becky, I can get myself dressed, don't worry about it."

"Okay, if you're sure," to which Cass nodded as the maidservant disappeared. Though wherever Becky wandered, all the wildflowers bloomed splendidly. Furthermore, the fourteen-year-old girl constantly gave off the scent of trees.

Becky's mother was a wood nymph and her father human, which explained these attributes quite well. It taken Cass awhile in accepting creatures of otherworldly descent lived and thrived in Stormhold.

However, Cassandra didn't genuinely desire to strain her brain thinking of the nation's family trees; currently, she felt like getting some training. Despite her husband, Michael was a pacifist. He didn't object to his wife being a warrior or training their daughter. The agreement they'd with Opal they'd train her in self-defense and how to protect others. While simultaneously educating her in the ways of peace. Utilizing both her brains and words to solve problems instead of resorting to violence automatically.

The six-year-old had some difficulty with this. Opal took after her mother in numerous ways, from resembling her to having a majority of her personality. Bullheaded, sassy, sarcastic, and not wanting to disclose her feelings. Her father and grandmother Selena had been attempting to help be more open with her feelings, but it was slow going.

As part of her morning routine, Cass always made sure to stop in the conservatory to say good morning to her mother-in-law. Today she spotted the ravishing Selena sitting at a grand piano composing a brand-new musical composition.

Closing her gray eyes, she got lost in the music as her mind drifted away. Then all of a sudden, a melodious voice interrupted her thoughts. "Good morning, Cassandra. How are you today, my daughter?" as silver-haired stunner turned around to gaze upon her daughter-in-law. Today Selena wore her favorite royal blue gown, which went lovely with her starlight silver hair and midnight blue eyes. Whenever she smiled, her dimples showed.

"Morning, Selena. Everything is marvelous. Your current composition sounded incredible. Are you planning on performing at next month's recital?"

The royal family had transformed over the years, with an assembly of people to govern the country. Thus far, each member of the royal family supervised a different aspect of their country. Princess Selena supervised the cultural aspect of the kingdom. It suited her well given how unbelievably gifted she was in all the various arts. At every full moon, the kingdom held a cultural day.

"Yes, I'm intending on having my students demonstrate their capabilities by playing the music they've composed themselves. Speaking of the student, do you know where Opal is? She's missed practice twice this week."

"I believe Opal has been occupied with practicing her archery. Every time her daddy away on a diplomatic mission, she throws herself into either archery or sword fighting practice."

"It must be her way of dealing with her feelings of missing her father. I know I've been attempting to help her by teaching her to play the flute. To put some of her boundless energy into a non-violent manner."

"It does work sometimes, Selena. However, this is the second time in three months that Michael has been away, so I think that makes her misses her father even further.

Shaking her shimmering locks, the Princess of the Arts sighed, "I too miss my son. I lost him before he even turned a year old thanks to those radicals! Seven years doesn't make up for a lifetime away from my child," the radiant princess hissed bitterly.

"It didn't help Gabriel perished striving to save his son, did it?" thinking of her late father-in-law. She hoped she didn't upset Selena, who still wasn't over the death of her husband.

"No, it didn't," came the melancholy answer. She wiped a sky-blue teardrop from her eye and pulled herself together. " May the Lord watch over my husband. I wish you could've met him, Cass. A good-looking, ingenious, and matter-of-fact gentleman. We never had a more reliable person suited to supervise the kingdom's economic system."

"Didn't you say he had some fairy blood in him?" to which Selena nodded. "Yes, his grandmother Lenora was a fairy. Yet I don't want to bore you with that."

"It hurts attempting to memorize every single mystic creature and whose ancestry mixed with who. I rather not have a headache first thing in the morning."

"I don't blame you. Consequently, when you locate your wayward daughter, tell her I expect her to meet me in the conservatory no later then two. Also, I suggest you talk to the royal tutor about Opal's education."

"Is something wrong?" Cass asked concerningly, and Selena shrugged, "Not sure. He appeared concerned, though, regarding what I don't know. Well, I've to practice. See you later, my daughter."

"I'll see you later, too, Selena," as Cass continued on her way to the training grounds. Along the way, she met several of Micheal's cousins and their children fulfilling multiple obligations.

Ultimately reaching the practice ground, she witnessed a small girl wearing a turquoise and black outfit similar to hers practicing archery. She paused to watch as the little girl selected an arrow. The tip of the arrow glittered brilliantly for a moment. The child then shot it, and the projectile continued to gleam a silvery-blue color until it hit the mark, a perfect bull-eye. Cass applauded proudly, causing her daughter to turn around.

Cass couldn't help but laugh and think about her experience in the House of Yesterday's Tomorrow. Her daughter again looked and sounded like her at that age. Opal had a few distinctions from her parents. Her skin was deathly pale, her eyes lavender, and a streak of turquoise on the right side of her medium-length locks. Again she donned a turquoise and jet-black outfit matching her mother's traveling outfit.

"Hello, Mommy! How are you today?" she inquired cutely. Cass seldom found anything cute. However, when it came to her daughter, she was the cutest thing ever to her.

"I'm doing splendidly, Opal. I have got a message from Grandma. She's questioning why you skipped music practice twice this week? You know how important it is to Daddy that you practice your music."

Opal, who'd a faint glow encompassing her a moment ago dimmed. She sought to hold back the tears before crying. "I miss Daddy! He's never been gone this long before! I miss him and Kit! I miss him telling me bedtime stories! I miss him so much, Mommy!" as she buried her head into her chest. Cass instinctively comforted her.

"I know, sweetie, I know. I miss Daddy too. I wish he were here too instead of seeking to negotiate peace between the sorceress covens. They've constantly had territorial disputes. There has been anarchy for the last century concerning them. It's going to take a while to help them make peace and elected new leaders."

"Do you think Daddy's dreams will help him?" referring to Michael's magic manifesting as dream visions. Her mother shrugged her shoulders.

"I don't know darling if they will or will not. Though while we're on the subject of magic, how is yours coming along? I noticed you've been channeling it into your weapons."

"I can make my weapons as indestructible as the black rocks you once controlled, and I can channel light magic into them as well. It helps ward off evil and won't attack anything good," she answered proudly of her accomplishment.

"I'd say its an outstanding ability you've figured out. So your grandmother mentioned the royal tutor wanted to talk to me concerning your schooling," to which Opal looked anxious.

"Honey, is there anything I should know? You're not abusing your abilities or bullying anyone, are you? Or is he attempting to force you to write with your right hand?" she growled a bit on that last one.

Too many times had she witnessed scholars force anyone who was left-handed to write with their right. It angered her exceedingly to think someone may be doing that to her child. When Michael's foster father, Billy, educated him, he never forced him to learn to write with his right hand. Billy had been a good man for Michael to have in his life as a slave.

Their daughter seemed quite proud that she and her father were both left-handed as it made them different. Still, the question remained. Was she being forced to use her right hand?"

"No, Mr. Mosley isn't forcing me to use the wrong hand. I"m not a bully, either."

"Then you don't know what he wants to talk about?" shaking her head, no Cass sighed.

"Okay, well, let's get you to your grandmother so you can have music practice, and I'll go speak to your teacher. That is after we've both had a wholesome breakfast."

"No meat!" her daughter reminded her that, like her father, she was a vegetarian.

"I know you don't want bacon, sweetie. Still, some scrambled eggs, toast, and orange juice are a good way to start the day," as they walked back inside hand-in-hand.

After they'd breakfast and dropped off Opal for music practice, Cassandra made her way to the wing that housed the palace's classrooms. All the royal children, including those of the staff, were schooled here.

The imperial academicians were the most intellectual, forward-thinking, and most exceptional scholars in all the domains. Once again, from a diverse line of descent and taught a variety of subjects. It so happened Mr. Mosley had some centaur ancestry. He didn't have the body of one but certain horse-like qualities nonetheless. Cass located him in classroom seven.

Knocking on the door to get his attention, "Mr. Mosley? Princess Selena said you want to see me?" as she saw the dark-haired gentleman looked up. His eyes were wider then normal humans, and his nails were as hard as hooves. His skin and hair looked a little like a horse too. Still, he gestured respectfully for her to sit down, and the parent-teacher conference began. He took a few deep breaths before explaining in a calm and respectful voice.

"Lady Cass..." be Cass held up her hand to stop him. "It's just Cassandra or Cass. Please don't call me a "Lady." She was getting increasingly irritated by this.

"Very well, Cass. I shall address you as you requested. Now before we begin, I wanted to assure you that your daughter isn't in any trouble. She gets along exceptional with her peers, and other then needing one or two corrections with her behavior, she's a model student."

"Then what is the problem?"

"You're daughter is extremely clever and possesses a razor-sharp mind. I'm more concerned she might have a reading disorder."

"Reading disorder?"

"I believe she has dyslexia, given she struggles to read, and her writing shows the symptoms of someone suffering from the disorder."

"What is dyslexia precisely?" not having heard of it. The educator sighed softly before explaining the definition of the word.

"Dyslexia is a general term for disorders that involve difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols, but that do not affect general intelligence.

It's a learning disability. Plenty of children have a wide range of learning disabilities. With the right help, they can learn to work around them. Though each comes with its own unique challenges."

"Well, what things can be done to help Opal work around this disability?" she asked worriedly. Mr. Mosley smiled and gave her a book to read that explained how to help someone with is a particular disability.

1. Incorporate visual elements in learning

2. Involve body movement in learning

3. Use an explicit, systematic approach to teach reading to be sure that everything is taught that needs to be

4. Read out loud to utilize the auditory pathway to the brain

5. Utilize visuals in books and prompt the child to visualize in their mind as they read

6. Summarize and give the big picture first, then start with the details

7. Don't dwell on teaching phonemic awareness because that is not how they learn best

8. Use a multi-sensory teaching approach to reading (all at one time)

"Do you think these techniques will help Opal improve her reading skills?" to which the teacher nodded.

"I honestly feel they will, though I prefer to discuss with both you and the Prince about how we go forward from here. Do you know when he's due back?"

Shaking her head, "I've no idea how long it will take for him to mediate peace between the warring witches covens. I can only pray for his safety and hope he comes home soon."

"Well, we will revisit the subject once he's home. Until then, I'll keep you updated on your daughter's progress in school, okay?"

"Yes, please do that," as they shook hands, and Cassandra headed back to her bedroom to write a letter home. To her surprise, when she got back to her room, there was a letter waiting for her. Seemed Owl just returned with a letter for her. Throwing the bird a treat, she opened the letter and began to read.

"Dear Cassandra,

It's been years since I held you in my arms. Retirement is extremely lonely, and I wish you could return home for a short visit. I've never even met my granddaughter though you've told me so much about her. I'd love to see you and meet your family. Also, Rapunzel would love it if you came home for a short visit to met her twins Dawn and Flynn.

From the little I've heard about them, they are wicked with frying pans and, unfortunately, as talented as thieves as their father. Though Eugene assured me he's doing everything in his power to break this horrible habit, they picked up. Not that he's been successful so far.

Please send me a letter telling me if you're coming home or not.

Love your father."

"Dad," she cried at the thought of her father. The only parent she ever had. The only one to love her as a daughter should be loved. Such a great man, and he'd be so proud of his granddaughter. "If only we could go see him. I do miss him and the rest of my family. However, I can't leave until Michael gets back. However, I don't have any idea when that will be."

"We can leave tomorrow if you like," came a soothing voice from the doorway. Whipping around, Cass couldn't help but weep as she fell into her husband's arms.

"Oh, Michael! I didn't think you'd ever come home!" as she buried herself into his strong chest.

"Oh, Cass, I'd never leave you or Opal all alone. It took longer then I'd like as well. But my mission is completed, and the covens are no longer at war. Consequently, there is peace in Stormhold once more."

"Please don't leave us for that long again!" as he dried her tears and pulled her into a kiss. As they kissed, Micheal started to shine. Anyone who is a descendant of a star will have powerful magic tied to their emotions. Feeling powerful positive emotions will make them shine radiantly, while substantial negative emotions will diminish their glow. This trait stayed with any person who had the blood of a star in them. No matter how far down the line they are.

After the enchanting starlight kiss, Cass held his face in her hands, "So I can write my father we'll be coming to see him and the rest of the family?"

"Yes, it's about time I met my father-in-law as well as my sister-in-law. I can't wait for Opal to meet her cousins for the first time. I'm also interested in meeting my brother-in-law. After all the tales you told me regarding your family? I'm extremely enthusiastic about meeting these colorful characters in person!"

"Well, I'm sure you'll love all of them, and they'll love you as well. How long do you think it will take us to reach Corona?"

"I'd say if the weather doesn't hinder us too much, it will take about a month."

"Too bad we don't have any Babylon Candles," Cass muttered, knowing the quickest way to travel is by candlelight. However, Babylon Candles been in short supply for over a year now. Due to the warring witches covens, they hadn't had any magical wax, and without magical wax, they couldn't create any Babylon Candles. Another reason Michael's peace mission took so long.

They informed their family they'd be taking a journey to see Cassandra's family, and the royal family permitted them to stay with Cass's family for the next year and a half after they reached Corona. Two days later, the small family was on their way to Corona, and Cass could only think of how wonderful it was to be going home and seeing her family once more. Everything was bright and right with the world.

Opal- Cassie Glow- Young Cassandra

Selena- Mia Farrow- Lady Amalthea- Last Unicorn

Becky- Carrie Keranen- Alya Ladybug

Michael- Andrew Russell- Luka Ladybug

Mr. Mosely- David Kaye- Professor X in X-men Evolution

Since only one of my social workers figured this out, I'll have to tell you. If anyone else hasn't noticed, I've used some elements from my favorite fantasy film. 2007 Stardust. Starting Claire Danes, Robert De Niro, and Michelle Pfeiffer. So this and the story When Cass met Michael, both have a tiny bit of crossover with my favorite fantasy film.

So that you know.

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