The Palace sat peacefully under its fresh white blanket; the early sun creeping up from the horizon, sending dazzling shimmers soaring from every surface as it met with the snow. There was nothing the Queen loved more than frosty morning walks whilst the world still slumbered, presenting her a rare breath of solitude before life would reawaken.

She walked through the snow with her usual air of grace; the maid drawing the curtains from a room above would recount how she looked to be gliding, almost ghostly, in her flowing, ice blue dress, skin almost translucent in the soft glow of the morning mist. She’d wonder how she didn’t seem bothered by the biting chill in the air… but then, she never did.

The Queen moved effortlessly, taking large inhales of clean, crisp air, feeling it tingle and jolt, energising her body… mind… soul. Awakening her once more. Striding with purpose, taking in the bare trees and quietly empty landscape. It might have looked barren, save for the glittering snow which still drifted softly from a sky of muted pink and orange.

Close now, the iron gates of the garden were drawing near. The light breeze whispered across her skin, tickling the hairs on her bare arms, inviting her into its secret. One corner of her mouth lifted in a small smile, and the Queen pushed the gate and entered with her last stride.

Pinks of every shade welcomed her, fuchsia and magenta, blush and peach. Bright shades for dark shades, soft for hard; every pink you could imagine popped out in a loud and startling contrast to the otherwise tranquil white world they’d arisen from, a charming symmetry with the rosy sky.

The camellia – Queen of the winter flowers, awakening in harmony with their Winter Queen. Perfectly poised and striking to behold, the Queen caressed them lovingly as she waltzed gracefully through the glorious garden, her musical laughter breaking the otherworldly silence. Winter was hers, winter was theirs, and they had awoken together again – to reign over the Kingdom in unison, ‘til the Springtime slumber embraces them once more.

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    2 years ago

    This Gem is a great story to launch our new Gems Portal. Nice writing! We look forward to more of your writing gems 🙂

    Carrie OLeary
    Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
    2 years ago

    I absolutely love this story. On first reading it evoked so much emotion in me. You’ve certainly set the standard for us all to try and live up to.

    2 years ago

    What a lovely story, Emily! I especially liked all the various shades of pink, in contrast with the white world of snow and ice around them. Camellias are so special, and the ones I love best are the ones that bloom in fall and winter – the Sasanquas. Your story makes them even more special. Carrie is right – you’ve set a very high standard for the rest of us!

    Reply to  Emily O'Leary
    2 years ago

    Wow – it’s amazing what a Google search can turn into. I love the way it all came out, and will probably read it all winter long, while watching the various Camellias bloom!

    Eric Radcliffe
    Eric Radcliffe(@eric-radcliffe)
    2 years ago

    Hi Emily, lots of imagery. I like the choice of character in the queen, it sets the fairy tale setting, which in turn enhances the Camellia flower to one of Royalty in the flower kingdom. Well done – a nice calm and lovely read.

    Linda Rock
    Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
    2 years ago

    Such a lovely story Emily. How elegant and graceful your Winter Queen and how stunning her surroundings, so beautifully described. I felt I was walking with her and could hear her laughter. Magical.

    2 years ago

    Emily, this story is sheer poetry! I will read and re-read this story many times throughout the winter to be reminded of the unique beauty of the season. I especially liked the description of the Queen gliding across the snowy landscape in her bare arms and ice blue dress. I only wish I had a crackling fire to sit in front of while I read!

    Christer Norrlof
    Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
    2 years ago

    A beautiful description of the early winter morning, the snowy, frosty landscape and the elegant Winter Queen, Emily! Since I live in Colombia with year round summer, and haven’t experienced winter and snow for many years, I (almost) longed back to the season and the coldness while reading your story.

    Susan Dawson
    Susan Dawson(@susan-dawson)
    2 years ago

    Harmonious, almost floaty tale with its airy wandering through a crisp winter landscape that is becoming increasingly rare.

    Last edited 2 years ago by Susan Dawson
    Katerina Bizirtsaki
    Katerina Bizirtsaki(@katerina-bizirtsaki)
    2 years ago

    Another wonderfully written story by this talented new writer. “Winter Queens Awakened” has this fairy-tale vibe that adds a magical feeling to the piece of art. Well-done!

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    2 years ago

    I love it, Emily.

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