S9

A Stirring Speech

“Evan! How am I supposed to give a speech?” Alicia asked anxiously, pacing the floor of her tent.

            Evan raised an eyebrow. “You just faced down the King of Kentra and you’re worried about giving a speech to people who are already on your side?” He asked skeptically.

            “That was different!” She protested. “I was angry at him for what he’d done, and he wasn’t being nice to me, which was helping to keep me stirred up toward him, so that wasn’t difficult like it could have been! He wasn’t expecting anything out of me, but my people are! If we make it through this, I’m going to be their ruler. If I say something they don’t like now, why would they want to follow me at all?”

            He sighed, stopping her by placing his hands on her shoulders. “Look up at me Milady,” he told her firmly. It took her a moment to do so, but she finally looked up reluctantly. “You are going to be an excellent Queen, but no one is perfect and these people know that. If you stumble on a word, or pronounce something wrong, or even just say something that you didn’t mean to say, they are going to understand. You don’t have to do everything right all the time—you just have to be ready to admit that you made a mistake and move on.”

            Alicia bit her lip, thinking. “But I just know I’m going to say something completely wrong that’s going to mess everything up and—” she protested.

            “Milady, you’re going to do fine,” Evan assured her.

            “But—” she began before he promptly turned her around and pushed her toward the door.

“Go on before you figure out some other reason you don’t want to give the speech!” He urged.  

            “Fine,” Alicia grumbled, hesitantly exiting the tent.

 

“All right,” Alicia began slowly once she had gotten everyone’s attention. “We’ve done our waiting and planning and now it’s time to retake the kingdom. I won’t lie to you and tell you this isn’t going to be one of the most difficult things you’ve ever done in your life because it likely will be. Not all of us are going to make it out alive, but we can’t allow our fears and worries to keep us from doing the right thing. The people who have taken the city have no right to it—they killed my parents and many of our people in order to take the castle. They would take control of the entire kingdom without care for the people. I refuse to let that happen while there is still breath in my body. Will you follow me to take back our kingdom?”

            The response she received from the crowd was thunderous, an earsplitting roar of approval that ripped through the camp.

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