2015 – 7th Grade National 4th Place Winner
Suzanne Gustafson, Minnesota.
The Two Sisters
Long, long ago in a great empire not yet introduced to the flaws of mankind, a noble queen of the time had just learned she was pregnant after many years of not bearing children. It seemed to her that she and the king’s every prayer had been answered with this precious gift. As soon as she told her husband, the king, he called for the kingdoms best soothsayer to prophesize about the next ruler. The soothsayer came at once to see the royal couple. The king, his queen and the soothsayer went to one of the many private rooms used by the king, because they wanted to make sure if they got bad news that no one would hear and try to harm their child. The soothsayer lay her hand on the queen’s belly, just starting to show the signs of a royal child, and closed her eyes. The words she said were normal at first, typical for a future ruler. Their baby would be unceasingly kind and loving, ready to help the lowliest of their people, then the soothsayer lifter her head slowly and dropped her hand with a troubled expression.
“You carry something I have never seen before,” she whispered. “A great good and yet I also see bloody battlefields and wild eyed soldiers. My queen you must not have this child for it shall be the downfall of us all.”
The royal couple sent the soothsayer away, troubled about what she had said. How could they give up something they had been wishing for for years? So they came up with a plan. A soon as their child was born they would send it to a place out in the country side where it would grow up in peace and come back to the royal life when it was ready to rule. The kind and queen only told their most trusted advisors of this plan and decided that they would send the queens most trusted lady in waitings to raise the child, whom of course would not find out about their royal blood until their 14th birthday.
Finally the day came when the queen gave birth. They were astounded when had not one but two! The twin girls had been born-one of them with her miniature hands around the other’s tiny throat. The two infant princesses were named Violence and Compassion, after the ancient words for bloodlust and kindness. The infants and their caregivers left under the cover of night, but right before they left the royal parents kissed each of their children on the forehead before sending them off with the two ladies in waiting.
The twins grew up as poor country girls living off their own hard work so as not to raise suspicion about their history, and so that the two girls would ask no questions about their own identity. Compassion grew lovelier with each passing day with fair hair and crystal blue eyes like her mother. She was kind and loving spending much time nurturing the plants and animals in the world around her. Meanwhile though Violence grew lovely it was not in the flowerlike way of her sister but rather like a knife, striking and deadly. She had hair the color of ravens winds and eyes deep and unnerving red. She loved to terrorize and ravage the plants in the surrounding forest. She was smart with weapons and had a love for hunting, skinning, and eating the animals that her sister so dearly loved. The two women sent to raise them worked hard to keep the siblings away from each other for Violence’s nature was of bloodlust while Compassion’s was of kindness.
Their fourteenth birthday came quickly and they were escorted back to the grand castle, where they were greeted with hugs and kissed from their parents. It was a wonderful change of rank for the twins who now instead of the poor farm girls they were raised as, to the princesses of a prospering kingdom. The queen absolutely adored Compassion while the king was taken by Violence’s striking self. News went quickly out into the surrounding kingdoms of the princesses’ return, many tales were told of Violence’s great beauty and if Compassion was mentioned at all it would’ve been her kind nature. Soon all of the eligible men of high rank were at the castle to meet them.
While Compassion charmed them with her delicate beauty and kind but quiet ways, it was Violence that enchanted them with her hypnotizing eyes and dangerous beauty. Many of the suitors gave her gifts of rich fabrics and jewels but the only gift that really caught her attention was a small hunting knife perfect for skinning small game. The suitor who gifted her the knife had noticed her love of weapons and blood and along with the knife quickly, offered her a place as a general in the battle between his country and another, Violence eagerly accepted and went to fight.
She was a demon on the battlefield as she ferociously swung her favored weapon, the battle axe, a smooth double sided axe inlaid with rubies the color of blood that she swung with malice into the enemy. The axes name was bloodlust, and with it Violence rose to fame as a warrior. On the battlefield she was touched by no man but she harvested blood like she couldn’t live without it, which she probably couldn’t. When she wasn’t on one man’s battle field another would come recruit her. She became known as Violence the angel of death. She became the dog that everyone wanted to master; the suitors now came to ask her bloody favors and ignored compassion completely. Violence married many Kings and noblemen, as long as they had a promising battle in front of them. If they didn’t have any wars, Violence would make one. With so many different husbands she came to have many children. Her firstborn was Malice, then Greed, Anger, and finally Victory. They all had their mother’s lovely long raven hair and garnet eyes, but each had a unique temperament. Malice was even more bloodthirsty than her mother whereas all Greed wanted was riches, Anger was a wild fire always furiously fuming where Victory was incredibly competitive.
On one of their many visits to Violence’s parents castle with yet another new husband, Malice slipped a knife in between the queen’s ribs and killed her. When the king learned of what happened he summoned the soothsayer to the castle as he had 20 years prior and asked her what he had to do to stop the bloodshed. As much as he adored Violence he could not allow anyone else dear to him be killed, for he feared that next Violence and her children would turn on Compassion. The soothsayer explained that none of this would have happened if the royal couple would have listened to her.
Then she said, “What Violence has done to the world cannot be undone. The best you can do is keep yourself and those you hold dear away from her. Violence has had a bigger affect on this world than Compassion ever will- or at least not in the same way. Violence will be remembered, feared, and followed. Go now and take Compassion to a place far away where Violence will not soon reach and stay there.”
The king took Compassion and fled to a smaller town in the distant mountains. Compassion married a nobleman in that area known for his kindness and charity, and they too had four children. Charity, Mercy, Kindness, and Humility who spread love generously wherever they went. When the twins eventually died, Violence was remembered, famed and feared by all. Her children lived on to make a legacy of evil to inhabit the land. They followed her appalling example and wreaked havoc where they could as well as fighting like demons on the battlefield. After Compassion died she was mourned by all who had been touched by her loving ways, and her children continued to spread love and kindness where Violence’s children had ruined it. Although Violence’s ways have had a huge impact on how people now act, we should all strive instead to act as the not so remembered daughter Compassion.ity.
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