Tale Weaver #25 “When the Wicked Witch Visits” and Wordle #135

135

Drusilla’s whiskey-laden breath tears at my eyes and nostrils like a razor blade, drawing either blood or some salubrious facsimile to the surface. I turn my head and wipe my nose hurriedly on the sleeve of my woolen robe. She drags a skeletal finger through the puddle of her discarded silk scarf. An article whose beauty is apparent only in her absence. Her smile climaxes at a befuddling angle, clearly hysterical, I swallow hard. My lanky figure shrinks behind her expansive shadow, searching for an anonymity and isolation that it cannot provide.

Where is it?!” Her murky eyes race around the room like frightened mice. The wand lies at the bottom of a, as of yet nameless, marsh but I have ample reason to equivocate. “I-I d-don’t know…” I show her my empty hands stupidly, they tremble. “Confound it…I knew better than to order an apprentice online…” She mumbles under her breath. “I bet Alcazar is behind this!” She snarls spittle and flecks of god knows what spewing from her lips. “Expect lashings…” She looks down her nose at me with disgust before turning to leave.

I take a deep breath when the door slams, grateful that she regards me as little more than an insect. Drusilla does not think me capable of deception or rebellion. She thinks me defective, ignorant, and weak. Tonight while she sleeps, defenseless without her wand, I will kill her. If Alcazar does not get to her first that is.

Stories have never been my strong suit but I wanted to do something different today.

On another note

On Tuesday I go in for surgery. This was not expected. I received a letter with instructions for a LEEP procedure in the mail a few days ago. I had a LEEP procedure in 2000 to remove abnormal cells from my cervix. I was not aware that abnormal cells had been discovered in my last exam which I had several months ago. Honestly, I thought I received a letter saying it was all normal which makes this whole thing even more confusing. I am scared. My first LEEP procedure was very traumatic. It is a simple procedure but the first time I underwent it I was forcibly held down by multiple nurses and screamed at/berated continuously. I do not expect the same treatment, different country, different doctor but still it brings up memories. I don’t know what they found but I go to the Gynecologist regularly  because I am on medication for Menorrhagia so hopefully if there is a problem it has been spotted early. For 4-6 weeks I won’t be able to do extreme exercise, whatever extreme exercise means. I remember being sore for quite a while after the first operation.

For

https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2015/08/06/tale-weaver-25-when-the-wicked-witch-visits/

Fairy Tale March 27th 2015, a new world

The journey began with a lecture, the way all utterly preposterous undertakings do. I will summarize that lecture rather than subject you to its entirety.

Destination: Arborea

Climate: Arctic

Description: mountain ranges exceeding in height any found on earth, dense forests with hearty frost-resistant vegetation, 3 moons, highly luminous sun fragments, purple-tinted sky, crystal clear lakes, abundant hot springs

Predators: Everything is larger in Arborea

Dominant Sentient Race: Nephilim

Since we came to visit the Nephilim it stands to reason that I should introduce you.

Physical Characteristics: Tall (7 ft average), brightly colored hair and eyes (more on the hair later), skin color variations comparable to those found in humans, small horn like projections around the eyebrows (males), wings, spots on the shoulders (females), horns (males, more on that later).

Hair Color: Hair color is often an indicator of magical persuasion

White- Weather (air/lightning)

Silver- Ice

Red- Fire/Lava

Blue- Water

Black- Necromancy, Dead Speak

Gold- Alchemy

Green- Earth/Druidic

Purple- Telekinesis, Psychokinesis, Binding

Orange- Magic Resistance, can turn body parts into weapons (mostly males)

Pink- Reanimation, Psychopompary (females)

Multi-colored- Can create pocket planes, travel through other dimensions, and can enter others dreams. If they have silver and pink they can remove things from the dream world (extremely rare)

*Females are more adept at magic.

Horn Size: The Nephilim hierarchy is determined by horn size (satyr, gazelle, ram) females don’t have horns and are thus exempt from the hierarchy. Only males with ram horns and females may assume governmental positions.

Race Life: The Nephilim live in small groups or tribes in the high mountains of Arborea They do not typically marry as they are polyamorous and rarely form close personal friendships among their own kind. The females only become sexually receptive once a year, as a result of this coupled with a high infant mortality rate the females often have large litters. The males are extremely virile, the more high-ranking a male the more females he may mate with during mating season. As part of the mating ritual they fight in fierce battles and participate in other extreme competitions of both strength and intellect to prove themselves.

For hunter gatherers, perhaps surprisingly, education is extremely important. University attendance is mandatory. They have huge lecture halls and massive libraries that rival those found anywhere else in the multiverse. As such it is not uncommon for scholars from other planes to visit. Travelers are welcome with great hospitality and open curiosity. The Nephilim do not even lock their doors lest a guest arrive when they are away (The Nephilim travel extensively). Their rugged landscape, high altitude, and abundant dangerous wildlife make if difficult for other races to survive in Arborea indefinitely and thus they have little competition and risk of invasion. Perhaps because of their high intelligence they do not make weapons of mass destruction, war is between leaders of different tribes, fighting has honor. Their only natural enemy is the The Watchers.

They are philosophical/spiritual but do not subscribe to organized religion. They live in accordance with nature.

Quiet a lengthy summary but the lecture proved difficult to condense in a meaningful way. Now onwards to the journey!

The journey began in a crystal cavern, which by all accounts is the origin of many a mysterious occurrence.

The Party

Name: Mokcyin

Race: Toroct

Position: Mage

Name: Set

Race: Xenos

Position: Familiar

Name: Shiuto

Race: Dragon

Position: Fighter/Comic Relief

Name: Yang

Race: Fenrick

Position: Opportunistic Merchant

And then of course there is me the lone human. As the official translator my utility was nullified on meeting Trias (a Nephilim and linguist we encountered early in our pilgrimage). If you have the misfortune of being born to the Prime Material Plane then you are probably not familiar with these races. Except dragons, everyone is familiar with dragons.

Mokcyin muttered some spell underneath his breath and the portal opened in what had been a nondescript sheet of rock. For those of you who are not familiar with dimensional travel, prepare to have your insides and outsides turned every which way. I threw up immediately on exiting the portal. I was, it turned out, fairly useless and cumbersome in many respects. Arborea is a place that defies description, though I have already done so at length (encase you’re wondering I had a special device in my nostrils that allowed me to utilize the thin air). It was terminally cold. In such temperatures a human female is subject to hypothermia, frost bite, and death (cryogenic stasis perhaps?). We needed shelter. For reasons beyond my comprehension living quarters had not been prearranged. Luckily the Nephilim are a hospitable race. Set transformed into a hawk and went to scout for lodgings. I spent the next 15 minutes engaged in a frantic jig. When he returned the hike began, it was an arduous one through rugged and unforgiving terrain. There was also some climbing involved but having lost consciousness the burden was not shared by me. When I woke we were in the cabin.

The interior walls were irregular and composed of the mountain itself, acclimation was minimal giving the space an almost cave-like appearance. The floor was likewise of stone but the texture was smooth and curiously warm. Sunlight spilled in from the ceiling, drenching the cavity in hazy golden filaments. There were still several hours of dayhaze left. A fireplace stood in the corner and from it hung a cauldron of simmering stew, the smell was otherwordly and mouth-watering. The main room was spacious and lined with wooden book shelves, all filled, all organized by specialty. In the center of the floor there were several large arm chairs made of hides pulled over bone, each laid with a soft blanket, they were facing each other. In the center of the ceiling there was a large ornate lantern (there were no visible cords as the apparatus was powered by magic). Against one wall was a wooden desk, with parchment, fine bone writing implements, and a smaller lantern which mirrored in many respects the overhead light (a facsimile of this light was in every room). In one corner of the room stood a chest, inside there were spices and dried meats. A round table with wooden chairs signified a dining area but there were only minimal cooking implements, plates, and eating utensils all of which were tucked away in a tall cabinet. Although there was a sink there was neither a refrigerator nor a stove. A refrigerator was unnecessary as perishables could be stored outdoors all year (in underground cellars). Food could be cooked at the hearth or as was customary outdoors directly after the hunt.

There were two corridors leading away from the main living area one lead to Kun-Jin’s sleeping quarters (the cabin was not, as it turned out, unoccupied), the other to the bathroom. The bedroom was spacious but contained only a bed and a wardrobe. The mattress lounged luxuriously inside of what looked like a hollowed out tortoise shell. The proportions of said carapace were enough to accommodate four human-sized males. The wardrobe was made of artistically carved wood of a deep purple hew same as all the wooden storage units. The only ornamentation was a set of gazelle-like horns nearly identical to those on Kun-Jin’s head. Nephilim shed their horns only once in their lifetime, a rite of passage and a sign of sexual maturation in males (the budding of wings signifies sexual maturation in females).

Although the house did contain a bathroom with running water it did not contain a bath or shower. Baths were taken outside in natural hotsprings. Bathing was a communal activity but as hot water was so plentiful in the mountains those of a more squeamish or antisocial disposition could still arrange for privacy.

You may be wondering at this point why I came to Arborea knowing that my human constitution was not significantly robust to endure the rugged polar climate. Well the truth is I came for the sake of my curiosity, which is a pitiful excuse but one more compelling than any other.

 

Our Host Kun-Jin (I made this using the Sims haha)

Kun Jin

*

For

https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2015/03/27/fairy-tale-march-27th-2015-a-new-world/

 

Mokcyin, Shiuto, and Yang are my friend’s characters but I am using their names here as I am currently writing a story with her about the Nephilim.

 

Tale Weaver Prompt #3 Making Sense of the Nonsense (and a note for photographers)

He called himself a Grezzle

Though no one knew

What the appellation implied.

Was it an endearment from youth?

Did it indicate his rank or station?

Was it a gang sentiment or warning?

Was it nonsense or the abbreviation

Of an equally improbable brand?

 

I could discern nothing in the vacuum

That had absolved him entirely from sight

And I suspect the nothingness

Ran deep for his smile too was empty

A basin, a scoop, queerly toothless.

Whatever may be gleaned from his omissions

He suffered no infirmary.

His thoughts were voluminous

Beyond our petty human musings.

I found myself fumbling

Within his scarred orifices

Infinite and minute

He became an object of great fascination

Like a local quarry or a derelict house.

 

I suspect he was not a man

An alien, a demon, a quasi god perhaps

But no man ever lived such as this.

A Grezzle may well have been a sentient

As of yet unrecorded.

He lived amongst us

Curiously, in his corner house

Arranged with doll-like fragility.

He never sat in those timid chairs

Or laid in his well-dressed bed

He didn’t even bother to disguise

The plastic fruit

The neat rows of unused china cups

The gape-mouthed closets

That held not a stitch.

 

I believe the only object

For which he had any use

Were the books

But he did not read them

He opened his great round mouth

And swallowed them whole.

Then to our amusement

He’d recite the entirety of them

Male or female, young or old

He could become anyone

And had he access to our diaries

He might well have taken our souls.

 

I think I may have loved him

To look into that mouth, like a universe

I felt things more immense

Than the heart set to contain them

I knew things that words cease to mention

Though not for want of trying.

His jaw and nose were perfect

The thick hair that never wholly settled

The great height and the athletic form

The patient eyelids forever pressed

And those lips behind which nothing

And everything was simultaneously glimpsed

There is no doubt that he saw me,

Every molecule

Even my nonsense must have meant

A good deal more to him than it did to me

For he always took the time unravel it.

 

We made a monument for him,

A great black obelisk

Which stood outside

The now gutted library

On the day he disappeared

(and he really did right in the middle of tea

his unfilled cup the very last implication

Of his occupancy)

Instead of flowers, sheaths of paper

Of poems and cockeyed manuscripts

From the grandest to the most feeble

Of our literary attempts

And though we never saw him again

I suspect he saw us quite clearly

For every page was seized by morning.

*

This character is influenced somewhat by a character called O in Planescape Torment but I put my own spin on it. I love creating characters and couldn’t resist using Grezzle as a name XD

For

https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2015/03/05/tale-weaver-prompt-3-making-sense-of-the-nonsense/

*

Photographers

If you are willing to share your photos for inspiration and use at my writing group Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie please  contact me either by email or in the comments below. We will give credit and link up to your site(s). If you have any additional stipulations or requests please explain in your message.

Fairy Tale February 27th 2015, “Atlantis”

There are some destinations that cannot be sought with a map. Life is such a journey. My heart not being north-bound has led me in circles more often than not but there is no proof that the most valuable paths are linear. I found it quite by accident and I was not even traveling by submarine. I found Atlantis in the bottom of a barrel (doors are not the only means of ingress). Sometimes I hide in barrels but that is another story entirely, sufficed to say I was hiding. It is very difficult to lose track of time when one’s heart is so intent on marking its passage. I counted to a hundred, two hundred, and so on unable to avail myself the luxury of pride. I waited until my knees burned, until they locked into a stoop. When at last I rose it was with a great pop and a flash of versicolored light.

 

So the water is to be my coffin? The barrel where has it gone? There was no sign of debris and I had never left it only stood. Panic is not linear. I flailed. I screamed. My voice carried under water and it was the sound of my voice that at last roused me. To hear it so plainly lead me to realize that I could, despite the most improbable circumstances, breathe. I opened my eyes again and saw that I stood and beneath me were bricks, yellow as the early summer sun. Anything can be a key. Even a scream can stir one from futility.

 

The city was symmetrical filled with helices and effeminate curves. Opalescent, lilac, willow green the buildings were lively and meticulously placed. Instead of trees anemones the size of cars and seaweed as tall as Juniper trees lined the walkways. I hid behind the wings of a purple kelp, pinching my cheeks for wakefulness. I did not start. I looked at my hands, at the webbing between. A curse on dry land but brushing my hand through the water, I felt the purpose of resistance. Sitting down I unlaced my boots and struggled mightily to remove them. I removed my socks and jacket next. The water was light/ethereal, the temperature of my own skin. There seemed to me a number of races, each curiouser in retrospect and none who could be wholly considered at a glance.

 

I could slip into the stream and none could declare me a stranger. Amongst travelers there are no strangers, only stories to be told. I walked a long while and though some looked at my shoes, no one frowned in my face. I was never so lost as when I held a predetermined course. Here is a city where admittance is free, a city where the windows have no glass and the doors no locks. A migratory city, that passes through dimensions choosing denizens. I had been summoned.

*

I struggle with Fairytales as you well know but I thought I’d give it a go anyway!

For

https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2015/02/27/fairy-tale-february-27th-2015-atlantis/

Fairytale Prompt #2

cate3

There is no malice darker

Than incessant jealousy

I have a blood claim, a history

A taste toward disobedience

With you being the sole witness

I am not chosen but indelible

I am the burlap-cloaked adversary

Of your loathsome schemes

 

There was a sign upon your heart

Declaring no vacancies in letters as red

As the pupils of a demonic vestige

All the gaps stuffed with oil-soaked cotton

Every entreaty became a lit match

I stood quietly at the base of your spine

An oft sighted impingement,

An obelisk shadowing every detour

Inescapable, unalterable, unwelcome

 

I slept in the stables with the horses

A delinquent without tarnish

An innocent unjustly held

To values unanswerably named

I could never appease my debt

For it grows without cultivation

If I died you’d lament still

The expense of my grave

Your husband’s negligent tears

As he wept the loss

Of his only daughter

*

For the Fairytale Prompt 

Where’s the prompt?

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Encase you missed the announcements. I have started a prompt site!

Which you can find here

 

Rather than have 1 weekly prompt. I now have a prompt for every day of the week! I have even brought in some talented writers to help with both hosting and managing the site. Everyone is welcome to participate. There are no obligations/requirements. Pick and choose the prompts that intrigue you. The time limit for each prompt is 1 week but you know me even if you posted late I would still read and comment to your entry.

Here’s the schedule

Monday- Wordle (hosted by Yves)

Tuesday- Photo Prompt (hosted by Yves)

Wednesday- Haiku/Tanka (hosted by Anmol)

Thursday- Short Stories (hosted by Oloriel)

Friday- Fairytales (hosted by Anja)

Saturday- Shadorma (hosted by Bastet)

Sunday- Freestyle (hosted by Yves)

 

Fairy Tale Challenge #1

princess

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Princes are very rarely like those that appear in fairytales. On paper Dante was the ideal husband. Wealthy, handsome, perhaps even intelligent. His personality, on the other hand, left a good deal to be desired. The princesses he met didn’t bother getting to know him and quite honestly he was only after one thing (a wife). As the only heir to the throne it was crucial he carry on his lineage. In truth he didn’t want to marry. At least he didn’t want to marry so soon. He was only 21 and he still believed in love (he loved himself a good deal at least).

 

The prince’s ideal wife

She must be beautiful with a waist no larger than her thigh. She must have a good singing voice. She must be able to talk to animals. She must make sandwiches. She must be able to ride a horse bareback. She must do precisely as I tell her. She must be constantly in peril. Yes the prince wanted a bonafide Disney princess. Oddly no matter where he looked Dante could find no such woman. Most of the princesses he met were practical. He was rich, they liked expensive clothes case closed.

 

Dante’s father King Renault sent for the oracle. The oracle presented the young prince with a plain girl, a blind princess living in a collapsing kingdom. A princess who had no suitors and from the looks of it no real inclination toward marriage. “Do you jest oracle? Have you seen me? I can do much better than that…try again…” The prince said, his smile smug.

 

“The oracle has spoken….I will send for the girl at once…” The king announced. He did not care what the girl looked like so long as she had a kind heart. Though long dead, his own wife, had been a remarkable woman and he wanted his son to know such joy.

 

“Do not send for her….I will find a wife…just give me a little more time…” The prince’s face was earnest, his father relented.

 

The prince fell into his old womanizing ways no sooner than he left the oracle. He still had plenty of time to find a wife. His father, though old, was reasonably healthy. Their kingdom was flourishing. He was handsome and of noble birth any woman would be lucky to have him.

 

As it so happens the prince soon found a wife only she belonged to someone else. The man for whom she did belong was jealous and though he warned the young noble on a numerous occasions the prince could not be dissuaded. The two men fought violently and though the prince was well-trained he was no match for a solider with real-life battle experience. To say that Dante lost would have been an understatement. He was nearly killed and his once handsome face was scarred beyond recognition.

 

Despite his wealth the princesses were frightened away by his grotesque appearance. That he’d been beaten by a lowly solider put into question his competence as a future king and no father was willing to commit their daughter to such an uncertain fate. Suddenly his courts were empty. Even the servant girls who’d admired him at a distance had lost interest.

 

“There is still hope let me send for the princess the oracle spoke of…” The king said for now his health was not so good and he was beginning to worry over the fate of his kingdom. “I do not deserve that girl or any other…I must first become a man….send me to war…” King Renault reflected long and hard on his son’s words but he could not risk the prince’s death.

 

“I will send you to the temple…live as the monks do….train with them and then if you still want to go to battle I will send you….”

 

The prince agreed to the arrangement though he underestimated the hardship greatly. He expected special treatment but even his rank did not afford it. He was made to shave his head, to dress as a monk, to eat nothing but rice and vegetables in meager portions, to sleep on a thin straw mat, to pray for hours, and to train until he could no longer move. Despite his complaints he never sent a letter to his father begging release. By the end of his first year his father came to visit. King Renault was astonished by the change but his son would not return home. The second year he came the young noble requested permission to exchange letters with the princess. Though it was forbidden for monks to have contact with women they allowed him this exception for the sake of the kingdom.

 

For the next few years he exchanged letters with the blind princess. Who he found was nothing at all like the other princesses he knew. Their letters were chaste. They spoke of their lives, their feelings, they composed simple seasonal poems to one another, and bit by bit the prince opened up to the girl. He told the princess about his scars and how he’d acquired them. He even told her about the oracle and she told him that the oracle had been to see her father as well. If he was scarred as he described than they were to be married.

 

The prince left the monastery after five years. Shortly after he and the princess were wed. The princess was stubborn and self-reliant. She made sandwiches just as he liked them but she did not do as he said. She could in fact ride a horse bareback but she could not sing. She talked a good deal (to animals, people, shrubberies and everything inbetween) and he found her most interesting (though sometimes infuriating).  Most importantly she had a kind heart.

*

I’m afraid I’m not very good at Fairytales. Finding a plain princess was impossible so I just went with a photo where you can’t see the face.

Mythology Workshop #1

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This time I feel the explanation should go at the beginning.

This was the prompt I was given
Vesna (a Goddess in Serbian mythology) is walking through the park one evening and sees a couple breaking up. She wants to stop it from happening. I gave the male and female leads names (Serbian names hopefully if the name guide didn’t deceive me) to make it easier to follow the dialogue.  I also specified who they were talking to in case that would be confusing. I have never done a poem 100% in dialogue so this was an experiment (not a purposeful one this is just what happened lol).


Mihailo 
(to Ana)
The only time I ever dance
Is in the ghost of your smile

It is your happiness that I seek
Even above my instinct to predation

It is not for lack of hunger
That I disarm these hands

I wait that our love may grow
Beyond a reactionary carnality

Ana (to Mihailo)
I am not the innocent that you endow
With uncompromising virtue

I cannot be the object of your worship
My heart suffers that I should deceive

I grapple faithlessly with the notion
That providence has abandoned me

My lover resides amongst the stars
By my own frailty, perished

We pretend, cease your fruitless wait
For no heart have I left to give

Mihailo (to Ana)
Tragedy has rendered you fearful
Do not renounce our love

Ana (to Mihailo)
It was loneliness that brought us close
You were merely a diversion

Mihailo (to Ana)
Your words mislead, do not speak
As if our relationship means nothing

If you would leave then speak only
Of your trepidation

Do not vilify yourself on my behalf
I know what I stand to lose if you go

Ana (to Mihailo)
I must go, better that you find
Relief in my guilty conscious

Mihailo (to Ana)
I find no pleasure
That you should suffer

I am the one lacking
I could not ease your pain

Vesna (to both)
It is vanity to claim omniscience
You have only to follow your hearts

Vesna (to Ana)

It is too late to keep distance
If you go now you will sicken with regret

Here he stands pleading before you
There is no greater gift

Would you turn your back
On such a blessing?

Would you dishonor those lost
By ceasing now to live?

Ana (to Vesna)
I would not forget those deceased
Would that not be a greater dishonor?

Vesna (to Ana)
Would your departed wish you
To remain crippled by grief?

If such a sadist was he
Then he was never worthy of your tears

Ana (to Vesna)
He would not wish for me this fate
That I, have in self-pity assumed

I understand now that I mourn
For my loss, not his

I was afraid to love too deeply
Lest death again betray

Ana (to Mihailo)

There is no man more deserving
If you will still have me

I know my heart capable
Of reciprocation

What do you say Mihailo
Care to try again?

=

For

Mythology Workshop #1

The Princess The Tortoise And The Witch

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“A package has arrived for you Princess! The card says it’s from your beloved….do you think it’s from the Prince?” The servant girl gushed passing the black box over to Willa, callused hand tremulous. “How did it get here so quickly? Who delivered it?” The princess asked reading the note again for herself. “An owl delivered it…white as snow…no doubt from the mountains…” The girl said watching eagerly as the princess tugged off the silver ribbon. Opening the box the servant gasped more exuberantly than the recipient. “Oh how beautiful!” And it truly was beautiful, a silver bracelet the likes of which belonged not to mere royalty but to the goddess Aphrodite herself. Plucking the armband from its soft bed Willa fastened it around a slender wrist. Even though she was not a girl taken by material possession, she could not but admire herself.

=

“Princess? What’s the matter?” The maid asked kneeling beside Willa on the floor. “My arm….it hurts…I can’t…it won’t come off…” She exclaimed panic welling in the back of her throat. “Let me see…it must be pinching pretty hard…I will remove it…don’t worry…” But the maid could not remove the bracelet nor find any means by which to pry it open so that it might be removed by one stronger. “Get tortoise…and please say nothing to my parents or anyone else….please Helena…not a word…” Willa pleaded gripping the girl’s frail freckled hands. “Of course not princess…I promise…” The maid said rushing out the door unable to quiet her hysteria and prevent herself from running.

=

When found, tortoise was in his human form, having just come from his conference with the king. “Please hurry…it’s Willa I think she’s in trouble…” The maid whispered anxiously in his ear lest anyone overhear. Ira took off with the maid, thoughts of marriage, of rivalries, of wooing out of mind for the time being. Whatever images he’d used to prepare himself for the sight of the sick/injured/upset/stuck girl were immediately dismissed for what he saw defied all logic. “Is that truly you Princess” He asked and the girl (who was anything but) looked up her cheeks swollen and red from unresolvable crying. “My hair is turning grey Ira…and my hands…they are not my hands…what of my face?! Tell me how old am I? What am I? I can’t bare to look….” The servant girl broke into useless sobbing and sat herself in the corner of the room. “You are human only aged….I don’t understand how did such a thing happen…” He asked kneeling down beside Willa on the floor. “The bracelet’s what done it…the wolf…” The maid said between sobs. “We don’t know that it was Aurelian…but maybe it was….I just can’t imagine why….” Willa said holding out her arm no longer able to look at the bracelet, for it was now an object of horror.

=

Ira examined the bracelet but no matter which way he turned the frightened princess’ arm he could find no way to remove it. “I know of one who might remove the curse but she is neither pleasant nor cheap….” He said helping Willa to her feet and grabbing a cloak for her to wrap around her head in disguise. “Not a word Helena and don’t leave my room until you have calmed down…you’ll only arouse suspicion…” Willa said threading her arm through Ira’s so that she might rely upon his strength in the absence of her own. She trusted tortoise whole-heartedly if he had a plan then she had every reason to believe it would succeed. She would be back to herself in no time at least physically, mentally/emotionally it might take longer to recover.

=

Once outside it became apparent that Willa was not well, she was weak, feeble in a manner that even her age could not justify. Kneeling down before her Ira could not bring himself to face the girl blushing. “Get on my back I will carry you….” He said and though she hesitated it was but a moment. She was frightened by the thought of betrayal most of all. Wrapping her body around his, she felt the comforting warmth of his skin, the broadness of his shoulders and back. Laying her cheek against him, the heady masculine air of his personal scent both soothed and disquieted her.

=

“Does someone truly live here?” Willa asked her gravelly voice almost harsh against his ear. The house to which she referred was not more than a shack and a dilapidated one at that. No light seemed to enter nor exit the structure and the breeze exacted from its rickety walls was like a chorus of chirping insects. She had no idea how long they had traveled, having dozed off from exhaustion. The character of the forest was much different than that which surrounded the castle grounds and from the placement of the sun they must have traveled a fair distance. This place wherever it was, was not a place she wished to remain. This lifeless place of smeared charcoals and methane fumes was frightening. “Yes in the absence of a culprit I believe she is our only hope…” He said even knowing the price of her services would be high, perhaps even unreasonable.

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“Is it you my dear boy…how I’ve missed you…who is that with you child? The woman asked stepping from the shadows a short stooped figure, with serpentine grey curls and eyes the color of fingerprint streaked glass. “My name is Willa….” The aged girl answered feeble limbs now so weary that she was resting all her weight upon her guardian. “Ah yes the princess…Ira do sit the girl down…” The crone answered to which tortoise complied laying Willa out flat on a cot, for she could not sit. “Good that you came quickly…she dies….we must not waste a moment…” The witch’s words were unnecessary for seeing Willa he understood all too clearly. She was no longer middle-aged but elderly, her life was being leeched away at an alarming pace, she was sickly and unrecognizable, almost a corpse. “Your price…speak it…” Ira said turning to the witch, whose yellowing tusks jutted from a noxious smile. “Ah the price….first there is the matter of removing the bracelet…for that I would have one of your eyes…the girl’s eyes are no good to me in her current state…” The witch said sizing up tortoise. “No Ira you can’t…I w-won’t..” Willa dissolved into a fit of coughing that shook her shrunken frame violently. “Done…” Ira said not flinching even when the witch’s talons drew near his left eye (the extraction was relatively painless as the crone took only his vision and left the eye intact).

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As soon as the transaction was completed the crone went over to Willa and removed the bracelet with an incantation. “Fang marks?” Ira asked looking at the girl’s now bare arm. “For draining the life…speaking of which…your dear princess has perhaps only weeks left to live…so much life taken…so little left it’s a shame…” The witch said shaking her head in parody of sadness. “Can her life be restored as it was?” Ira asked combing Willa’s brittle silver hair from her weathered cheeks. “Had she someone willing to part with 80 years…” The crone cackled. “She has…take my life…restore hers…” Ira said placing a hand atop the bony one now desperately clutching his wrist. “No Ira you mustn’t 80 years is a long time…” Willa said meeting his eyes, nearly incapable of discerning his face for the cataracts now obscuring her vision. “My life is long princess…longer than you can imagine…a life without you I do not which to….give her half my life so that we may die together….”

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Alright it is up for vote now! Do you want Willa to end up with Aurelian or Ira?

On Wolves And Vengence

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“I already told you…I won’t kill the girl…” Aurelian said extracting himself coldly from a grip that was meant to contain him. “Did you love my daughter so little that you will not even seek justice for her murder…” The woman spat the words into his face. “It is because I loved her so much that I cannot spill innocent blood under the banner of her name…” The wolf prince answered calmly, wiping the spit from his face with the back of a bare hand. “How can you call that girl innocent? She is the daughter of a spineless murderer….by her very blood she is evil….” The woman said grabbing hold of Aurelian’s wrist once more as if to plead with him. “That man stole the life of my only daughter I would spill the blood of his in return…that he may know my anguish….” The woman said dropping to her knees, tears springing to her already bloodshot eyes. “That is not justice Emilia…would you make me a villain…condemn me even in death? When what I truly want, even above fulfilling my duties for the pack, is to be reunited with Ellesime…” He said but his words did not console only caused the distraught woman to tighten her grip. “I see it now…you are a coward….you mean to replace my daughter with an inferior human girl….” The woman said her fingernails breaking through his flesh in her desperation. “That is not love…you are a traitor…” She growled digging harder this time in order to hurt him. “I wish only to be the man that Ellesime loved…the man that she married….she is not here….do you not understand that! She is not here and I cannot bring her back again!” He ripped his arm free, the sudden jolt sending the woman to the floor where she lie dragging herself toward his retreating figure.

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“What is that you would do Aurelian? What is this justice you speak of? If not for Ellesime what of the others who have fallen? Your comrades?” Emilia snarled, a pool of white against a marble backdrop, like a fallen Grecian deity, this woman of surreal and tragic beauty. “I intend to make the girl my bride…that man owes me a wife…” Aurelian said his voice edged with bitterness. “Make no mistake Emilia I mean her no harm…I will treat her well…I would not have her heart harden…as yours has…as mine has…” He said looking down though not at the ruined woman directly. “As for her father…he is the killer of this I suffer no doubt but I would know if he is a murderer…” The young wolf said eyes narrowing dangerously as if to frighten the woman into silence. “Any human who I deem to have murdered unjustly…remorselessly a member of my pack I shall kill….and that includes the Princess’s father…” He said dropping down into a squat in front of the broken down heiress.”Any wolf who would murder a human…will answer to me as well…though exile seems a far crueler punishment for you than death given that you still have a husband and son…or has vengeance blinded you to them?”

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“How can you be so cold…what does it matter the reason? Reasons will not bring back our dead…the humans will continue killing until we are extinct…do you really think your pathetic farce of a marriage will ease their prejudice against us?” The woman said drawing herself up to sitting, knees at her side, head haughtily tipped into the air. “You would have me start a war….a war that we cannot possibly win…our numbers are too diminished…we are too compromised to repopulate…you mean to destroy the pack…to use them for your personal vendetta and I will not condone it Emilia…” Aurelian said rising to standing looking down at the woman with unconcealed disgust. How could this witch be the mother of his beloved?  “How long will we remain cowering in these mountains? Pathetic…paranoid…there is only one way to resolve this without slaughter and that is to form an alliance with the humans…they only fear what they do not know…and do not speak to me of their murders…what of our murders…I tire of this argument…there is nothing black and white about it…I hate that man as much as you Emilia…with every fiber of my being…I do not recognize myself for all this unjust hatred but having met his daughter…can he truly be the monster I need him to be…” Aurelian’s face was tormented, that face that before Willa was so sublimely impervious, now fragmented and fragile. He blamed himself for Ellesime’s death she was fiercely independent and he hadn’t stopped her from going out, if only he had, if only, she might still be alive. “Go I will speak of this matter no more…I have to prepare for my trip….”

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(500 posts! Alright tomorrow will be a poetry day promise! I am nervous to post this one!)