Genre: MG fantasy
Word Count: 38,000
Twelve-year-old Cordelia of Lavishton has never met a pirate. She's never tangled with a water sprite, or bandaged a troll's enormously smelly foot. She's led the sheltered life of a princess, never needing to learn the best way to battle a dragon, or outwit an evil sorceress.
All that changes on the eve of a peace celebration, when the royal families from the Three Kingdoms of Darland gather. It’s the perfect time to make new friends, and for the kingdoms to commemorate their unity and harmony.
It’s also the perfect place for sabotage.
Nigel, a bumbling, laughable bard desperate to be famous, crashes the ball, seeking revenge on the royal families for not granting him the position as royal bard. With the help of his mother—a wicked witch—they curse the three kings with a sleeping spell, and inform the remaining royals that Cordelia and the other two princesses, Maya and Dawn, must compete in a tournament.
Only one princess can win. And while the winner will free her father, she’ll also be forced to marry Nigel.
Now the prim and proper Cordelia is pitted against feisty misfit Dawn, and brainy bookworm Maya. To survive the tournament they must decide: compete against each other and free only one king? Or test the unity of their kingdoms, and work together to defeat Nigel and his mother?
Cordelia of Lavishton sat in a stagecoach, hands folded neatly in her lap. Her back was stiff and her left knee itched, but Cordelia didn’t dare move. Her maid, Gertrude, had spent hours pressing her gown and styling her hair, and informed her if she moved one inch the wrong way, the dress would wrinkle and her hair would droop.
Cordelia didn’t think anyone would mind if her gown had a few creases in it, or if her hair was less than perfect, but Gertie turned a very dark shade of purple when she mentioned it, so Cordelia promised to remain as still as possible.
Her little brother, however, was making that difficult.
Toby bounced in the seat opposite her. While she was twelve and expected to be a perfect demonstration of a princess, Toby was six, and hadn’t started his lessons in Etiquette yet.
That never bothered her before, but now she bit her lip. If she arrived at the ball looking disheveled and dishonored her mother’s memory, Gertrude would make her walk in extra-high heels for weeks.
Toby stood abruptly, and Cordelia pulled her dress back so his muddy shoes (how was he already dirty?) wouldn’t step on it. “Can you please be more careful?”
Her father, who sat next to her, reached over and patted her knee. “Toby, sit down. You’re making your sister anxious,” King Larkin said.
Before Toby could protest, the carriage jerked harshly to the left.