This is a culmination of my too many interests. It's is an in-between place. It's more focused than my Myspace blog, but less so than my author blog. Here you can find artwork, photography, writing, poetry, book covers, manga and pointless videos. All of these things mesh together to become a reflection of their creator in an in-between place colored like shadows and flavored like frappuccinos and chocolate. It's one heck of a world.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Dragon's maid - Part VII

As you may know I have been running a continuing fairytale (which I originally imagined at 3,000 words, but is now at almost 8,000). Thanks to the prompts this week, it is going to go longer than I’d planned, as a rather interesting scene popped in my head, and I wanted to see how it would go.

If you’ve missed previous parts, you can read them here:

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V
Part VI

Or you can take your luck with my synopsis: Fenrick answers the call to slay the dragon of a neighboring kingdom to win land and title. However, after a mighty battle that leaves her and dragon deeply wounded, he discovers that the dragon has hidden his soul in Telanja, Fenrick’s bride to be, and he can only kill the dragon by slaying her. In a daze, he returns to the castle, but the King and company think Fenrick has succeeded. Afraid of the consequences to Telanja, Fenrick stays silent, and accept the reward of land, title, and the hand of the princess he loves.

***************

The wedding was beautiful, in fact, in later years, old women would sit together in groups after every wedding and comment that “It was a lovely wedding, but not as beautiful as princess Telanja’s was.” Of course, that could have been because popular imagination and dim memories always make past events far grander than they really were. But, even in the present tense, it was a lovely wedding.

After the ceremony, there was a grand feast where mimes, jesters and musicians entertained them. A trained monkey danced to the beat of some foreign drums, and a cat did a rather convincing job of appearing to play a lute. But through it all, Fenrick had eyes for only one thing, and that was his blushing bride in her bejeweled gown.

They slipped away from the festivities early, and though they were finally, uninterruptedly alone, they didn’t discuss either their predicament or the dragon. Oddly enough, they had other things on their minds.

In the next couple of days, the new couple retired to their castle, and before they knew it a month had passed. As if by magic, all thoughts of the dragon had disappeared from their minds until a rather stormy night, when Telanja sat bolt upright in bed, her eyes wide.

Fenrick stirred next to her, and blinked away his sleep. Telanja?” he questioned. “What is it?”

“The dragon,” she whispered, her voice thin and drawn, like to tight shoes. “He’s calling me.”

At those words, all the blood drained from Fenrick’s face. “Calling you? But I can’t hear anything.”

“No, you wouldn’t,” she explained. “I can hear it, inside my mind. He’s summoning me.

Fenrick clutched the bedclothes violently. “He’s not… healed, is he? He isn’t…”

“No.” She shook her head, so that her long, unbound tresses danced around her pale face. “He’s still weak, and injured, but in time he will-“ she broke off and buried her face I her hands. “Oh, Fenrick! You need to get away!”

He caught her hands and tried to calm her down, but to no avail. At last, he shouted, “A moment, Telanja! A moment! Just give me a second to breathe and to think!”

“There’s nothing to think about,” she told him flatly as she threw aside the blankets. “I have to go now, or he’ll punish me.” Fenrick opened his mouth, but she laid a hand to her head and said softly, “I don’t wish to discuss it now, but he can be very persuasive if he chooses. He can… hurt you, without lifting a finger.”

Fenrick ground his teeth furiously, but in the end there was nothing he could do. Telanja slipped out of the castle, alone, and left him to pace in angry circles. He ran through every scenario he could imagine in his head, and every possible solution. Of them all, the best he could hope for was that his wife was lying to him and aiding the dragon on her own, but would that really be better? Finally, as the sun broke free of the horizon and drenched the world in pale red light, he decided that his only recourse was to find a seer.



The old woman lived on the edge of the cliffs in a ramshackle cottage that was filled with dried things. Fenrick tried not to think about what some of the things were as he crossed the floor and took a seat on a low stool.

The woman watched him from under heavy brows, with eyes that made Fenrick think of a vulture. She shifted uncomfortably, and cleared his throat. “A friend sent me to you-“

‘Friend?” The woman questioned. “You have no friends here, Fenrick, save one, and she did not send you. Though her plight is dire enough.”

Fenrick tried not to shrink from the woman’s words, true as they might be. He’d made no friends since coming to the kingdom by the sea, save Telanja, because once he had her he no longer saw the need for anyone else. “Yes. Well, it was my man at arms-“

“I care not,” the woman interrupted. “You are here, I am here, and we both know why. What is to be done about your bride?” She appraised him for a moment before continuing. “You are strong enough, though your weaknesses are many. Still, I see no need to hide behind sweetened words. Let me tell you something you already know. The world isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place, and there is not a magical remedy to all curses, just as there is not a cure to all poisons. Your bride will be released from her servitude when the dragon does so, or when she dies and drags him to his grave with her. There is nothing else for it.”

Though her words seemed dark, Fenrick saw a ray of hope among them. “You mean to say that he can release her from her bonds?”

The old woman laughed; a deep, gravelly sound. “Of course he can, or else how would dragon’s live lives longer than men? They would be doomed to the mortal’s life span. No, he can remove his soul from her keeping, as easily as he entrusted it in the first place. But, he must have reason to.” Fenrick’s eyes lit up. “If he thought she was sick?”

The old woman gave an almost imperceptible shrug. “He can read her very thoughts, so close is the bond, so a ruse would fail before it began. Unless you wish to make the maiden truly ill?” Fenrick sagged a little, but refused to give up completely. “Some plan will present itself,” he insisted firmly. “I’m sure of it.”

The old woman clucked her tongue and shook her head, but she refused to say anymore on the subject, and even gold would not entice her. So, Fenrick packed up, climbed back on his horse and headed home, desperately trying to formulate a plan.



TO BE CONTINUED……

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