There was once a young kingdom ruled by two young queens. Each queen had two children, so there ended up being four young children in total, both with only one mother. They lived in a large, old castle together. The first queen had once been the Coral Witch, but no one knew that. The second queen had started off her life as a tree growing alongside the Mekong River, and because of this, her children grew flowers and vines instead of hair, despite the fact that she herself had pretty normal red hair that did not have thorns or weeds growing in it. The Coral Witch had spent most of her life underwater near the coral reefs, so her children had gills instead of a normal human nose, and the only friends they had were the fish that lived in the pond behind the castle.
The Coral Witch’s name was Cecil, and no one knew she used to be a witch. She had two sons, both of whom had the ability to dabble in magic but found themselves more interested in the bits and bobs they found in the underground cellars they explored at night. The second queen did not have a name other than Her Majesty, and even her two twin daughters called her that and only that.
The way these two women acquired their children is the same way everyone did. Her Majesty found two broken eggs playing on an archipelago and quickly snatched them up and brought them to her home. The Coral Witch found her two boys in a doll shop, carved out of rocks found at the very bottom of the ocean. She stole them in the dead of night and dropped them in the pool behind her castle. They emerged alive and very, very confused as to how they had gone from their comfy ocean floor to a landlocked country full of mountains and old boulders.
Their kingdom had no citizens for a long time, but eventually some elves decided to nest in the flowers on the daughters’ heads and a small dragon family took to the singular large mountain in the west and started a business harvesting plums.
The people in this young kingdom were all fairly young, and it was custom to have a young talking lizard around every corner. They liked to say they had descended from dragons, but the only dragon family in the area would simply scoff at them: “Ha! You, a descendant of mine? No, not at all!” And so the lizards kept to themselves, giving wise advice to those who took a wrong turn and ended up somewhere they were not supposed to be. Everyone in this kingdom was kind, except for the second daughter of Her Majesty, who looked young but had the heart of an old, bitter women who knew her grave was waiting for her just around the next corner. And there wouldn’t be any wise talking lizards to urge her away.
Her Majesty was a very lenient mother. She let the two princesses play in the cellar with the princes, wearing pants and belts instead of the gowns other princesses had to wear. Instead of learning to crochet, which all young soon-to-be-queens were told to learn, the princesses learned to fence and make deals with the dukes who came by every once in a while.
Instead of learning to write pretty letters to the men they were promised to marry, the two princesses cleaned up after their pet elephants and learned about trade deals with India and Lithuania. While other princesses might have been rehearsing choral hymns, Her Majesty’s daughters were drilled on how to set sail. They spent their days playing with the lions they had tamed in their youth, instead of memorizing the names of kings whose wives had gone missing the year before, or what side of the plate the salad fork was supposed to go on.
Her majesty named her daughters Mirate and Chaos, because Mirate was curious about everything and Chaos was always causing trouble. While Mirate hopped over the stones in the pond, Chaos pulled them up from the water and threw them at the princes, who only ever wanted to invite them to tea.