|Skeren Dreamera (skeren) wrote,|
@ 2006-05-03 14:57:00
|Entry tags:||fairy tales, sleeping beauty|
Note: Yes, this is my own version. I wrote it because Shade (Weee MPD) decided to explain exactly the story that Cloud was working from when he broke his head. This is over at landels mind. You know, that place that's eaten my life? I created it entirely from the ground up, though I hope I didn't lose the fairy tale feeling of it. It took four comments too, so I know it's not exactly short...
In a land far away, in a time when dates were never clear, there was a princess being born into the world. This princess was to be special, she was marked by the sighted, known to be the only child her parents would ever have. They considered it magic she survived until birth at all, and in turn invited the most important of people to her naming.
Yet... They forgot a few, who were bitter that the king and queen did not consider them important enough to give their blessings, and they joined together, planning and preparing for how the insult would be handled. Those at the naming did not know what went on in the city below, gifting the child with beauty, power, knowledge, strength, will. Things she would need if she was ever to be the queen of the land.
When the child was about to have the finishing blessing, that of the court mage, those who had been forgotten pushed open the doors. There was no great crash, no angry words, simply the silence of the wronged. The queen feared for her daughter then, seeing the way the new arrivals moved with purpose.
They were not stopped. To stop one of these beings in a rage would have been suicide, and all knew it. Even if it had not been, interceding might have made it worse, might have led to them killing the child over the insult on top of this last.
In the silence of the room, there came the first voice of the three, words almost gentle. "I bless this child with fate." Then the next, lower, "I bless this child with hardship."
There was a long silence, then finally the last of the group stepped forward, fingers running gently over the girl's cheek. "I gift her with death," hearing the strangled sound from the parents, a malicious smile crossed the sprite's face, "the first time she looks into a mirror." Glancing around the room at the reflective baubles, the sprite laughed, heading for the door that the other two were already standing at. "Aren't you glad that none of you blessed her with vanity?"
When the door closed behind them, it was as a death toll. There was no turning away gifts, not of that kind, but they could be waylaid, changed slightly by someone that had yet to give their blessing. The court mage slipped silently forward, taking the girl from the cradle and peering into her face. There was usually no reason to use such old magic, but it had to be done. This child had done nothing. "I bless her with life. When it comes time to die, she will fall into eternal rest until the way is found to wake her."
Tracing a mark on her forehead, he moved and handed the girl to her mother. "Give her the name you have chosen, and this will be done."
Taking her daughter even as she heard the king ordering the removal of mirrors from the room, the queen sighed softly. "I name her Adana."
After the naming, things seemed to decline for the kingdom. First there was a drought that lasted the years of Princess Adana's early childhood, the dryness of the land spreading fires over crops on the too hot days. After that was hunger, a sudden cease as treaties collapsed of all funds into the kingdom, leaving heirlooms to be sold. By the time the princess was twelve, the king was dead, his heart unable to take the destruction of his land, and the queen was ill with the sickness so many had. When she died on the princess's fifteenth birthday, the queen could leave her daughter with nothing but the most loyal of the servants, who would not go even when they could no longer be paid.
They were not enough to quell her curiosity. The land was destroyed, her life was hard, but she had managed to carry through, secure in the fact she would fix those things her parents had failed at for their land. None had told her about the sprite's curse upon her, and she had never beheld a mirror, nor had been made aware of what one was. They'd been banished from the kingdom in her infancy, so what reason would she have to know?
She was always told of her beauty, yet she did not believe them. Her people were honest, but she knew they had a bias for her. They would not let her too close to reflective glass, and ponds were always rippled before she was allowed to look. All these things came together to be her failing, because she wanted to be certain she was not ugly as she feared, and the sprite was a vengeful thing who would put a mirror in her path.
Trusting and unaware of what lay ahead of her, the princess had followed the stranger in her castle, lured by sweet smiles and the face of one who was like her in age, not old as those who lingered around her. He'd praised her beauty, as those who at times came to the ever dwindling gatherings in the castle tended to. Empty flattery she did not believe. But then he'd taken her hand, leading her to what seemed to be a covered picture to her mind.
"You expect something of me, and I do not like this. Release me sir." Her tone was crisp, firm, and she met his eyes with no fear, failing to see what he did.
"I expect nothing of you at all. I just have something to show you." The cloth no longer covering the reflective surface, he turned her to face herself, slipping behind her as her eyes went wide. "Don't you want to see how beautiful you are?"
She had no chance to reply, and he caught her as she fell, but something was wrong. The sprite knew the problem as soon as the old voice spoke from behind him. "You've played your blessing, and now your hold on her is broken."
Hissing, enraged as he realized he'd been thwarted, he cast the girl into the arms of the court mage. "She sleeps does she? So be it! May the kingdom sleep with her! Come morning, none will wake, and the land will retake this place for its own!"
And so it was. There was little warning, yet one by one, those who went to their beds did not wake. The only thing the court mage could do against such a powerful spell was cast protections. Only the worthy would come, and when she finally woke, the curses would finally be broken.
The mage failed to take into account the blessings that had been placed upon the girl before the curses. They made it hard for any to be worthy, to be crafty and strong enough to match her, and slowly the land became a maze of trees and magic as the world turned away, forgetting that place in which it was claimed a great prize was held. Decades, then centuries passed as fewer and fewer forgot what that place was. Kingdoms grew and fell around that land, and while most who ventured there never returned, others were driven insane on the retelling of the horrors they'd crossed.
There are always those who believe the old stories though you see, and while magic had changed, the world had come back again to that place which was not so un-superstitious.
Though, it seems that the hero of the tale was nothing of the kind. He was dared, young and foolish, to try for the fool's gold that lay at the heart of the land that none ventured into any longer for the sake of their lives. The first he had to face were the trees, thick and tangled, a wall on their own, and it took him a near day to fight his way forward through those alone. From there were the cities. Empty, dusty cities that should have been dust but were not, and the sounds of laughter seemed to echo where children might once have played. The brigand was determined to show his bravery, to claim that prize that lay in the middle of the madness.
None who had ever gone so far had ever returned, for there had been no word of those cities, there had been nothing to tell of the strange, magical woodland beasts that he had to fend away with naught but his sword in hand as his provisions dwindled.
When he saw the castle, he'd thought himself close to his prize, but coming near had revealed a shimmer of fire, a mote on dry land around pristine walls that looked to not have been damaged at all. He could not rest to think, knew that his life would be at an end if he paused in such a way through an instinct he had never ignored. There was, at least, a pattern to the flames, a hypnotic flicker that finally revealed itself into a deadly maze of heat that drew him forward.
When he came out of the other side, he collapsed. His skin burned, and the whispers of those who once walked this empty room echoed around him like ghosts that would not be silenced. Ghosts of the dead, of the living, but they watched him. A week in this hell, and he was nearly dead when so close to his goal.
He forced himself to rise, to search, and only fortune had him find the apothecary, magic having sealed the potion into itself for as long as it had. It revived him, and he took others, but he saw nothing of worth in this place. The walls were bare, the rooms emptied and cold.
He'd wandered for hours, many hours, before he round his way to the royal rooms. If there was nothing elsewhere, surely at least the once nobility would have some trinket of proof he could return with. The rooms weren't empty. There were people, if not many, sleeping in the servant quarters. The deeper in he went, the more intrigued he became. It was day, yet they slept, and it seemed they had never moved at all. Many of them were old, to be ignored, but he finally pushed into the Queen's quarters.
There lay his prize. He'd never seen someone like her before, used to the haggard, used women of the cities through which he traveled, or the life haggard girls old before their time. This one though... she looked peaceful, tucked under the covers and quiet, skin smooth and unmarked by the trials of life. Long hair pale, he slipped forward cautiously to touch, remembering the horrors such simple curiosity had granted him before in this realm, and yet he felt nothing but silk strands. He grew bold and brushed a kiss over her lips, and yet her calm breath didn't so much as hitch.
Wondering if he'd found a dream in this place, he grew bolder, touching, looking at her in her sleep, and yet he got no reaction at all. He wanted something for his pain and determination, something he would take from the lifeless beauty who had been left to be found.
He was above most of his profession, only taking what was offered, but her silence was enough for him, and he took her, claiming hr as his prize in the most primal of ways. Only then did she stir, not waking, but shifting, making soft sounds that were so much more than his long hours of careful testing and checking had given. He pressed another kiss to her lips as he found his completion, and only then did she open her eyes, the green wide and confused, but not hurt.
He didn't pull away, lifting his head from the kiss and watching her as she realized what was happening, as a shiver seemed to shake through the very floors as everything came back to life.
He'd made her his, and through her, he had claimed his prize. The curses fell, but others... others had been set in motion. Fate was one such, but the brigand never needed know that.