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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11 days 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
11 days 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.

9 days 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!

9 days ago
Reply to  Emily O'Leary

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!

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