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Fractured Fairy Tales

Sleeping Katey
Mike D

Part I: Princess Kathryn

Once upon a time in a kingdom called Alpha there was a kindly, proud and mighty king called Janeway. One day this noble King and his lovely queen were blessed with a little baby girl. They called their new daughter Kathryn. The little princess was admired by all the court for she never cried or complained and had a marvelous aura about her.

On the eve of the little princess' first birthday a great ball was held to celebrate the happy occasion. The king invited all the noblemen and noblewomen from his vast realm to attend. He even invited the three good Qs who had often aided him with their magical powers.

During the celebration, one after another of the guests brought to the baby's crib a gift suited for a princess. Finally, as it was getting late and the evening was coming to an end, it was time for the three magical good Q's to present their gifts to the baby.

The first good Q, Neelix, said he would give the princess the powers of wisdom and bravery. The second Q, Kim, used his inner light to endow the baby with strength of will and stamina. Just as Kes, the third and most beautiful Q, was about to present her gift, a loud crack of thunder was heard as a terrible darkness descended on the festivities. Suddenly, the evil Q with the ridged forehead, B'Elanna, appeared before the court.

The evil Q complained in a jealous rage that she was not invited to the ball and was very angry at this insult. As a punishment to the king and queen, she would also give the baby a *special* gift. The evil Q raised her hands and proclaimed, "The princess will indeed be wise, brave and strong of will, but these gifts will save her not from her fate, for she shall die without a trace on the eve of her marriage and no one in the kingdom of Alpha will know what became of her." Then the fearful king ordered his guards to seize the evil Q for her odious act, but the evil Q had already disappeared before the guards could bind her.

The king, queen and all the court were very upset by this horrible curse on a day that was meant to be so happy. But then the third of the good Qs, Kes, exclaimed, "Fear not, great king and queen, for I have yet to give my gift to the little princess."

Part II: The Third Gift

Kes explained to the tearful court and monarchs, "I cannot break the curse of B'Elanna, for her evil powers are much too great, but I can use my magic to weaken her spell."

With that, Kes' sparkling blue eyes turned a blindingly radiant gold as she mustered all her power to cast her final enchantment.

"My gift is that Princess Kathryn shall NOT perish the night before she marries, she will instead fall into a deep slumber and awaken in a far off Kingdom. There the princess will use her first two gifts to return back to our realm."

When gentle Kes finished her spell, she collapsed into Neelix's arms, for she had given up all her magic to save her beloved King's daughter. As she rested, Neelix whispered in her ear, "But Kessie, what was the third gift meant to be?"

Kes wearily responded, "The third gifts were meant to be faith and compromise, but I had to forsake bestowing them in order to weaken B'Elanna's curse and permit the little princess to one day marry, if she finds her true love."

Years quickly passed and Princess Kathryn grew wise, brave and strong. She gained much knowledge by reading many books and studying the world around her. She was referred to by her parents as their *obstinate princess*, for no one could tell her what to do or ever change her mind.

The King and Queen warned their daughter of B'Elanna's terrible curse and told her that she must never wed. This broke their hearts, for they dearly loved Kathryn and wished she could one day fall in love and marry.

Over the years, the great king's realm was threatened by his enemy B'Elanna's armies. Kathryn told her father, "I have an idea. We can unite our kingdom with our neighbor, King Picard, and strengthen our forces. He has often suggested that his son and I should marry."

The King responded, "My dearest princess, you have never even met the prince and you've been warned time and again why you must never marry."

The princess watched helplessly as her father's kingdom was besieged and his subjects lived in fear. She thought to herself, 'I do not believe in magic or the power of that silly curse. I will privately send a message to King Picard telling him I am going to his castle to marry his son.'

The princess told her unsuspecting parents she was leaving for a fortnight to visit cousins in the valley. Instead, the next day Kathryn hastily departed for King Picard's castle.

When she arrived, Picard, who was unaware of the curse, welcomed her by saying with great anticipation, "My son has not yet returned from battle, but he is due back on the morrow, whereupon you two shall be married. Our kingdoms will be joined and made stronger by this union."

Kathryn nodded solemnly in agreement and retired alone to her chambers.

As Kathryn wearily climbed into bed, lightning streaked across the sky, illuminating the room, and a clap of thunder reverberated throughout the castle. In that brief flash of light, she thought she glimpsed the dark shadow of a female figure crossing her chamber wall.n An unearthly chill entered her body. After her long journey, she reasoned that she must be even more fatigued than she had realized. The princess succumbed to a deep, still, dreamless sleep, never hearing the evil cackling that echoed in the night.

Part III: The Distant Kingdom

The princess awoke in a strange, unfamiliar place. Instead of the bedchamber she had fallen asleep in, she was now curled on the cold ground among leaves and broken branches. She stood up slowly and observed a clear, babbling brook flowing nearby. Her head was still groggy from sleep, so she splashed some of the cool water on her face, hoping it would help her regain her senses. When she fully awoke, she noticed she was no longer wearing her sleeping gown, but was instead clothed in the traveling outfit she had worn on her journey to Picard's castle.

She asked herself, "Could B'Elanna's curse have been real after all?" But she rejected that idea, reasoning that it was not possible and there must be some better explanation for how she arrived in this place. Perhaps B'Elanna had a spy disguised as one of Picard's caretakers. He may have slipped her a sleeping potion, rendering her unconscious. She might then have been kidnapped in the night and transported to this strange place.

"Of course, that must be the answer," she decided. "B'Elanna's supporters would try to prevent my marriage and the union of the Janeway and Picard kingdoms. That conniving villainess could then take credit for that ridiculous curse coming true."

The princess vowed that nothing would stop her from returning to Alpha and fulfilling her promise to King Picard. She would have her revenge on the evil B'Elanna.

Kathryn prepared for her journey gathering fruit and nuts for her breakfast, thankful that she had read so much and learned about nature. When she fully retrieved her strength, she made a decision to follow the stream and look for a village. All morning she walked, planning in her mind what her next move might be.

As she strolled along the stream she came across a large, beautiful, sleek mare drinking from the water; she was a powerful and noble-looking horse with solid gray hair, a black mane and black tail, and one very unusual feature: a large white marking on her chest shaped like the letter "V". On her back were some supplies, with a saddle, a sword and a shield.

The princess cautiously approached the great animal, thinking it might be startled and run off, but instead it just calmly turned and looked at her as if it had been waiting for the princess' arrival. To her astonishment, the horse seemed to be expecting her. The princess checked the area thoroughly and decided that the horse was alone, abandoned by its owner. She stroked its head and spoke to it softly saying, "It appears, my friend, that you and I were meant to be together on this journey."

Then the bold princess climbed in the saddle and took the reins. Kathryn rode the rest of the day until dusk. As darkness approached, she found a place to set up camp for the night and started a small fire to keep her and her new companion warm for the night. While the princess slept, the great horse stood by its mistress, watching her protectively throughout the long night.

The next day, Kathryn rode along the bank of the stream till she thought she heard a man's voice coming from somewhere in the nearby forest. She tied her horse to a tree and cautiously worked her way through the bushes to see who might be making the mysterious sounds.

As she peaked from her hiding place, she saw the back of a dark-haired knight who was kneeling over a fawn snared in a hunter's trap. The Knight was speaking to the frightened animal, saying gently, "Do not be afraid, I will not harm you. You are much too small for this hunter's trap. He will have to find some other game for his table."

When he had completed his job, he watched the little creature as it looked back at him once and bounded off gratefully into the woods. Then the kindly knight stood up tall, chuckling. The princess realized she had nothing to fear from this man and approached him saying, "Well done, Sir Knight!."

The dark knight, caught off-guard by a stranger's voice, swiftly drew his sword and turned to face the intruder. The princess saw him clearly now. He stood before her with the sunlight on his face and his armor sparkling brightly. She had never seen a man so handsome. His eyes were brown and he had markings on his forehead. For the first time in her life the princess was speechless. When she recovered the power to speak, her voice squeaked embarrassingly. She apologized for surprising him and asked for his name. He smiled warmly, bowed, and proudly replied, "My name is Sir Chakotay and I am at your service, my lady."

Part IV: The Dark Knight

After Sir Chakotay introduced himself, Princess Kathryn informed him of her own name. She told him she was on a journey to the Kingdom of Alpha, saying that she must return there to fulfill a marriage vow she had made. The Knight responded that he understood a vow must be kept. He explained that he too was heading that way and was, in fact, long overdue. He asked if he might join her. Kathryn agreed, happy for the company, and they rode off together.

As they traveled, the days turned to weeks and their fondness for each other grew. Each day they would ride as far as possible, stopping only when the princess insisted on examining a new flower or some other wonder she had never encountered before. At night she would show Chakotay how she learned to navigate using the stars as a guide. She pointed to the brightest star, saying, "That star is always in the North and can be used for guidance."

Chakotay looked where she was pointing and said that if she made a wish on that bright star and believed hard enough, her wish would come true. The princess just scoffed and laughed at him saying that it was just a silly superstition. Many nights he would point out a small distant star and make up a story about it to entertain the princess. He would spin fantastic tales, always including himself and Kathryn as the heroes.

At first she thought his stories quaint and silly, but after a time she started to treasure them. As he described their adventures, Kathryn would listen closely and in her mind she would picture every detail. When the princess would fall asleep, Chakotay would go to his place by the fire and watch as the light from the flames danced upon her beautiful face. He knew in his heart that he loved Kathryn and was deeply saddened to think she was betrothed to another.

Many weeks later they arrived at the border of Alpha. They agreed it was time they must part. Kathryn thanked him for his company and kissed her dark knight on the cheek. As she rode off she did not allow Chakotay to see the tears rolling down her face, for the princess knew she must be strong and will herself to fulfill her vow to King Picard and stop B'Elanna.

Days later, the Princess and her gray mare arrived at her parents' castle. She was greeted with great joy and celebration for all had believed she was lost forever. She told her father of her vow to King Picard and that she must fulfill it. Her father reluctantly agreed, knowing he could never change her mind and that her vow must be kept. Word was sent to Picard telling him of her safe return. Picard responded happily that he and his son would travel to the princess and the marriage would take place.

As the princess waited for Picard and the prince to arrive, she would often think about Chakotay. She would remember their days together and their nights telling tales about the stars. Finally, it was the eve of Picard's arrival. As she gazed out her window Kathryn noticed the bright wishing star Chakotay had told her about. Tearfully, she decided just this once she would try hard to believe and make a wish. Then she lay down and cried till morning.

The next day Picard and the prince arrived at the castle. Princess Kathryn was summoned. She braced herself bravely and walked down the staircase to greet the King and meet her betrothed. As she approached, she could not believe her eyes. Her wish had actually come true! There before her, stood Chakotay with that familiar impish smile upon his face.

They happily ran to each other and Kathryn leapt into Chakotay's arms, kissing him deeply. As King Picard and King Janeway watched, they could not believe how well their children reacted to one another at their very first meeting.

Prince Chakotay and Princess Kathryn were married and their kingdoms were joined together. The armies of King Picard and King Janeway eventually defeated and banished the evil B'Elanna. Chakotay and Kathryn had many children and their love grew and grew ... you might even say that ...

They Lived Happily Ever After.

The End