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Author Topic: [May 2015] - Fairytales - Submission Thread  (Read 10434 times)

Offline xiagan

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[May 2015] - Fairytales - Submission Thread
« on: May 01, 2015, 10:56:26 AM »
Fairytales it is!

Some are funny and silly.


E. Stuart Hardy, The Book of Gnomes (c.1895)

Some are dark and strange.


"Poison for Snow White" by kakao-bean

But all of them have a morale, a (more or less fixed) narrative and rules.

Numbers are important. It's always three sons and the youngest is the smartest.
There may be seven princesses but never six or only two. One is okay.
The swineherd will marry the princess and if a talking animal is involved it will know secrets and generally help its owner (if he is poor but honest). They will usually take place somewhere far, far away (because stuff like that doesn't happen here). They're straight forward, simple stories - which doesn't mean that they are easy to write.

Fairy godmothers, witches, dragons, magical items, fairies, happily ever after - there are plentiful resources to draw from and casting moulds to use for your story. Make it as authentic as you can, maybe imagine having a horde of grandchildren sitting around you by the fire, listening to every word you say...

So, once upon a time...



Rules:


1. This must be prose. Poetry in fairy tales only exists in spells or magic rhymes.
2. Must be recognizable as a fairy tale.
3. Prose must be 500-1500 words long.
4. One story per person (not per account).
5. You will be disqualified if you exceed the limits, full stop. That's why they're called limits.
6. Your entry can't be published somewhere else before.
7. This is a writing contest, not a "I have written something like this ten years ago" contest. So if you happen to have a story that fits one of the themes, I'd like it to have a mayor overhaul/edit. Work for it. ;)
8. Please add your story's word count and, if you have, your twitter handle.
9. Please put your story in [ spoiler ] tags to make the thread easier to handle. :) You can find them above the smileys next to the 'youtube' symbol.

Entry will close June 1st 2015 and voting will begin somewhere around the same time too.

Please post your entry below. All members are eligible to join. If you are not a member you can join here. Sign up is free and all are welcome! :)

The winner will have their piece displayed on the main Fantasy Faction website sometime in the next months.

Remember that this thread is only for entries. Discussion or questions can be posted here.
"Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis." (Laplace)

Offline wakarimasen

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Re: [May 2015] - Fairytales - Submission Thread
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2015, 11:34:01 PM »
seriously.. I'm not making a habit of this first post thing. I go back on contract in a few weeks so who knows if I'll have the time to write then, so I'm revelling in it now.
 :)

Here's my Grimmdark submission (see what I did there? didja? didja?)
@baddayHappenin

The Fisher's Daughter And The Bannyfell

(1403 words)

Spoiler for Hiden:
 
Under a twisted tree, next to a black creek, in a valley that was a stranger to sunlight, lived the Bannyfell. It was a creature of raw night. It was the unknowable ink painted between the midnight trees and it was the hunger of the creatures that dwelt there. It knew no master other than the sun and needed for nothing whilst it could hide from his fire.
 
So it was as kingdoms rose around it and men, fevered for power, sought to control the dark. At last, a Sorcerer arose from those men and crafted a magical staff of black ash that could call the Bannyfell from its creek. With this terror at his command the Sorcerer made himself a King and bent all the lands around his city to his will, making their wealth his own.
 
The Sorcerer King had three sons and indulged them with every excess his riches afforded. The first son was a champion of the jousts, the thickness of his sword arm only rivalled by that of his head. The second was fleet of foot and won every festival race, never faster than when fleeing responsibility. The third was clever, unbeatable in discourse or games, his wit making him lazy and sour.
 
Each year the king would order his subjects to choose one amongst them to sacrifice to the Bannyfell so that he might call it out under the sun. In return he promised to keep it from devouring them all. First they sent criminals, until none were left and no one would commit a crime for fear of being offered up. Then they sent the lawyers, as without the criminals they were the next best thing. Next they sent the gossips and the tattletales. Then the drunks and the gamblers. Then the touched and infirm. At last they sent those whose crimes were simply that they were set apart in humour or opinion. The lives of the townsfolk grew evermore grey and mirthless, richer only in fear with every year that passed.
 
And so, there came the day when the sorcerer King ordered his subjects to send forth their anointed and none could be found. Daughters, sons, fathers and grandmothers found that finally there was not a single person they could blame or give up. The King became angry, striking his staff on the wooden slats of the platform in the town square, demanding a sacrifice or he would choose one.
 
Then a small voice came from the crowd.
 
"I will be your sacrifice."
 
The people parted and in their midst was a girl, half the height of most men and twice as dirty as most boys. She wiped her nose on her arm and started toward the stage. Around her waist was a scarlet sash and tucked into it was a knife as big as her arm. Her steps were swept forward with soft whispers of amazement. The whole town knew her as the fisher's daughter. Her parents had been lost to the shivers a year before but the girl had continued their work. She took the catch of the other river folk and gutted it with her father's largest knife, making it ready for market.
 
Whispers became mutters. Mutters grew to chattering. Chattering broke into shouts and by the time she arrived at the foot of the stage it was on a wave crest of cheers. It broke upon the scowl of the Sorcerer King and silence fell.
 
"I will be your sacrifice. On one condition."
 
The king sneered but before he could deny her she said.
 
"If I can defeat any one of your sons in a test of their choosing, they will take my place."
 
The King's laughter was sonorous and cruel. He called forth his sons, their smiles twisted, who lined up along the edge of the stage. The sea of shamed villagers sank back, leaving the fisher's daughter stranded on the shore of her challenge. Then the youngest son stepped forward. He looked the ragged girl up and down before snorting.
 
"Spell Mephistopheles."
 
The girl tried, but her learning had been gill and scale. Letters she knew only in passing for the market. The youngest son sounded out the spelling as he walked away, waving to his elder brother as he passed. The quick, thin prince pranced down from the stage.
 
"A race. To the outer gate and back. Ready?"
 
The fisher's daughter nodded and before she could turn the prince had sprinted away. Instead of following, the girl sat down looking hopeless. She was still there when, his brow thick with sweat, the prince returned. He shook his head at her and returned to his father's side. The eldest son drew his broadsword and chuckled as he leapt the space between them, thumping a plume of dust from the square when he landed.
 
"The first to knock the other's blade from their hand."
 
The girl nodded again and drew her father's knife. It was a sword on her but barely a toothpick to the prince. He jumped forward and she jumped back. He swiped, narrow eyed, but she rolled away. He twisted, but she dived beneath the stage. The prince only laughed harder and brought his mighty sword down, splintering the first plank. The fisher's daughter scurried further in and another swipe followed. With each dash into the stage the prince followed, smashing a path to her through the thick timber. Blow by blow the prince demolished the stage, laughing at his own trail of destruction. In the end there was nowhere left to crawl and the fisher's daughter held out the knife defiantly. With little more than a flick of his wrist the first son knocked it to the ground and turned away.
 
The girl gathered the knife, looking at it sadly before replacing it in her scarlet waistband, then pushed herself to her feet. The Sorcerer King and his sons stood in the wreckage of their stage and he beckoned her forward.
 
"You must have known this was hopeless, young fisher. Now you will feed my pet. Your bravery is revealed for the stupidity it truly is."
 
He held his staff aloft with both hands and screamed a summons for the Bannyfell. As he did, the girl whipped out the knife with the grace of practice and rammed it in to his belly. She shoved the gurgling Sorcerer back and he fell upon his eldest son. Weak from chopping the timbers in the duel, the prince could not hold his father’s weight and fell beneath him.
 
The fisher's daughter stepped forward and cut his throat. She might have been stopped by someone with great quickness, but tired from his sprint the second son arrived too late. He dropped next to his brother, still crushed by their father. The fisher girl's knife carved its dance through his neck and she stepped across them to the third son.
 
"That. Is not. In the rules." The lazy prince said with shock before the knife gutted its final catch of the day.
 
The fisher's daughter wiped another stain onto her brown streaked dress and then shivered. A shadow had fallen across the square, chilling the silent crowd. Expecting them to rejoice she looked at the townsfolk but  saw instead that their mouths hung open. Their expressions were oddly familiar from what usually crossed her workbench. She looked to where they gawped, to the gloomy edge of the square.
 
The Bannyfell had risen to its summons and from dark corners its black claws reached out to her. Even in the grey shade, those arms ran across the dust like a hawk's shadow on a field, tearing forward. Instead of trying to escape their grasp, the mouse of a girl stepped toward them. She walked to the Sorcerer King's staff and stamped hard.
 
It broke with a crack that shook the earth and the Bannyfell stopped.
 
"You are free. All are free." The girl told the claws reaching from the corners. "Let pride forever be tyranny's death."
 
The arms drew back, threads of night wound quickly in. The creature gave a howl, as joyful as wolves at a new moon, and was gone. It had fled back to the night, back to its black creek. Then the crowd broke into disbelieving triumph, and the fisher's daughter smiled.
 
Under a twisted tree, free from the sun, the Bannyfell sleeps its days still. Dreaming of that girl with a scarlet sash.
 

Offline RussetDivinity

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Re: [May 2015] - Fairytales - Submission Thread
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2015, 02:37:46 AM »
Wow, I got mine done pretty fast this time around. The seven princesses thing sparked something, I guess, so here it is, at 1,378 words: "Clara the Good".

Spoiler for Hiden:
Once upon a time there was a wise king who lived with a beautiful queen, and they ruled their land wisely and well. They had seven daughters, and all but the last were blessed by fairies at their births. Rosa, the eldest, was given the gift of beauty. Bianca, the second, was given the gift of song. Alba, the third, was given the gift of love. Elena, the fourth, was given the gift of dance. Tania, the fifth, was given the gift of wit. Delia, the sixth, was given the gift of steady hands. Only the youngest, Clara, was left unblessed, and this was because she was born at a time when the kingdom was at war with the fairies.

Clara didn’t have the gifts her sisters did, but her parents loved her nevertheless. Her sisters loved her as well, but some of their love came from pity. She was not as beautiful as Rosa, nor as sweet-voices as Bianca. She would not find her true love as Alba had, nor would she be as skilled a dancer as Elena. She couldn’t compete with Tania in a contest of wit, and Delia’s sewing would always best hers. When the court looked at her, they saw a plain, fragile child, one who would never amount to much.

Even as a child, Clara could sense this, and it stung her spirit to know that she would never be considered the equal of her sisters. Though she knew her family loved her, she felt as though she would never be able to do any good for them, and so one night, when she was fifteen years old, she packed a few dresses and some money in a bag and stole away to travel the kingdom.

The war with the fairies had gone on for decades, and Clara emerged from the palace to find a land blighted by destruction. She had heard rumors of this, but for the most part her life had been a sheltered one, and she hadn’t gone far before she could no longer bear to see what war had done to her home. She sank to her knees beneath a tree and wept, and she remained there until morning, when a farmer found her.

“Why are you crying, little girl?” he asked.

“Because my home has been destroyed,” she replied.

“So has mine,” the farmer said. “I once had a barn full of animals and a field full of crops, but now they have been burned to nothing. Will you help me rebuild them?”

“My hands aren’t as strong as my sister’s,” Clara said, “but I will try.”

So Clara followed the farmer to his home, and for days she worked to rebuild his farm. She grew strong from cutting wood and tilling soil, and by the time she left, she felt as though she was too strong to ever cry again.

After leaving the farm, Clara walked on through the kingdom until she came across a weeping girl by the side of the road. Remembering her own tears, she sat beside the girl and asked what was wrong.

“My friends have all been killed,” the girl said, “and now I have no one to talk to.”

“I may not be as clever as my sister,” Clara said, “but I will talk to you.”

So Clara and the girl talked, and soon the girl had dried her tears and was smiling. Clara felt her own spirits lift, and though she still felt strong, she also felt light, as though something that had been weighing her down was now gone. She bade the girl farewell and gave her directions to the farm she had left, thinking the girl and the farmer could give each other company.

Clara walked on, and then she found a man sitting by a river. When she asked what was wrong, he sighed and said, “My wife was killed three years ago, and I have had no one to dance with since then. I didn’t realize how lonely it could be to not have a dancing partner.”

“My sister is the better dancer,” Clara said, “but if you wish, I will dance with you.”

The man rose, and the two of them danced by the river. Though Clara’s feet were not as sure as Elena’s would have been, she brought a smile to the man’s face, and when their dance was done, she directed him to the farm. Perhaps he could dance with the girl, she thought, and continued on down the river until it brought her to a deserted city.

The emptiness of the city weighed on Clara’s heart, and she would have continued on as quickly as she could, but then she heard a small child crying in a building and climbed through a window to see whether there was anything she could do. The child was too young to speak, but she could already tell that the girl must have lost her family. When she saw Clara, her tears stopped, and Clara bent to lift her from the ash-covered ground.

“My sister is the one who can love the best,” she said, “but I will take you with me.”

The child wrapped her arms around Clara’s neck, and they went on, leaving the city as quickly as possible. Past the city was a field, and beyond that was a forest, though all the trees were dead. Clara would have gladly passed it by, but she saw people beneath the trees and decided to see who was there and whether she could do anything to help them.
A mother sat under a tree, rocking a child no larger than the girl on Clara’s hip. When Clara asked what was wrong, the woman said, “I lived in this forest for years and thought I would raise my child here, only now it has been destroyed. If I could only hear the birds once more, I think I could be happy again.”

“My sister could make you believe there were birds in the trees,” Clara said, “but if you would like, I can sing anyway.”

The woman nodded, and Clara sat with her back against a tree and sang. Her voice was not as true as Bianca’s would have been, but it was sweet regardless, and both the children smiled. When the song was finished, Clara told the woman how to get to the farm and then passed on through the forest, which no longer felt as ominous as it had before. When it had been full of life, it would have been a wonderful place to live.

Beyond the forest were some tall mountains, and Clara balked at the thought of crossing them. It was hard enough to find food for both herself and the girl, and it would be even harder in the mountains, which reached so high even the trees stopped growing. She had grown lean and bony in her attempt to make sure the child got the best food, and as she sat beside a pool, she saw that her already plain face had grown plainer still with the trials of travel. She had cut her brown hair short, and now it hung ragged to her chin. Nearly crying, she held the child to her chest and closed her eyes.

The sound of someone approaching from behind startled her, and she scrambled to her feet only to find one of the lieutenants in the Royal Army standing by a rock. “Who’s there?” he called, and Clara saw that his eyes had been cut away.

“My name’s Clara,” she said.

“Clara? The princess?” He sounded so eager and hopeful that it tore at her heart, and she set the child on the ground to tear a long strip of cloth from her skirt.

“Yes,” she said, tying the strip around his eyes so nothing would get into the wounds. “I’m not as pretty as my sister, but I don’t think that matters to either of us anymore.” Her hand found his, and she lifted the girl back to her hip, and she led the lieutenant from the mountainside.

The two of them walked to the farm, which was alive with dancing and song and laughter, and there they lived happily ever after.

Online Nora

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Re: [May 2015] - Fairytales - Submission Thread
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2015, 07:52:18 AM »
Here is my own submission! Let me know if it even qualifies as a fairy tale. It certainly has a morale.  ;D

Fairy Infestation, 1486 words including title, enjoy!

Spoiler for Hiden:
Fairy infestation

My father forbids me to play in the bottom of the garden. He says he doesn't want me to go missing, like Kida did. He says the wild part of the garden always had a few fairies, that it's what made the charm of the house, when they bought it.
But when Kida went missing, he called it an infestation. Mom disappeared too, except she was taken by another man, not fairies.
Kuro my cat laughs at me for listening to my father. He sits on a mossy rock near the old quince tree and calls me to him. He says Kida was stupid, that all dogs are and that the fairies would not get me if I were smart. I believe Kida was smart alright, maybe just too trustful.

You never see fairies, unless you sneak up on them. But you can tell they're here. They churn up the ground, collect shiny stuff; well, steal it, and leave out a lot of garbage.

Last night I went a bit late in the garden to feed Kuro.
He eats outside because father doesn't like the smell of his canned food. He says it's alright for Kuro to be out during the night. When I asked why, he explained that magpies and fairies are arch-enemies, and because cats kill and chase magpies, fairies leave them alone.

I don't know why I was so surprised to stumble on a fairy that night, so near the house. They stole enough of our garden tools, I should have known they often snuck up this close. Maybe Kuro should be more worried about how smart I am.

It was a little man. I'm not very tall but he was still half my size. I think he was as surprised as I was because we just stayed there looking at each other, him with a worn out batman school bag over the shoulder, me with my can of Whiskers.
It's true fairies wear a lot of jewellery. This one had more earrings and rings on him than I had ever seen on a person before, but it's his necklace that got him in troubles.
I could have recognised it anywhere : blue rhinestones glued on black leather, a golden medal. With Kida's name on it, and our address.

He cried out when I jumped him. I beat him with the can of cat food and kicked him hard.
He fought back dirty, scratching me and twisting in my hands, until I grabbed the collar.
We were panting then, and halfway down the vegie patch.
"Where did you get my dog's collar?" I yelled at him.
"Just let go of me, you crazy human!"
"Answer me you filthy fairy!" I raised the can of Whiskers high up menacingly, and it worked. The fairy started to squirm and whimper.
"Just let me go. I can grant you a wish if you want. How about a pony? You let me go, you get a pony."
"I don't believe you can do that! My father says you fairies are all full of shit!"
"And is your father happy with his little girl sporting such a potty mouth?" he squeaked.
"All I want," I said, "is to know where you took Kida!"
"Your dog you say?" I nodded and looked at his little, wicked face crumpling in concentration.
"She is a Pug. That's her collar you're wearing."
His little yellow eyes widened at that, and he smiled up at me. Maybe fairies could be cute, if they didn't have so many teeth.
"A pug! Why, yes, then I know where your dog is. This collar was traded to me you understand. I knew nothing about the dog then. But I know where it went and can introduce you to the fairy who last saw it." He looked at me dubiously. "Would that be a good wish to grant?"

I accepted of course. It felt like a smart decision at the time.
And that's how I entered a fairy grove.
The little fairy man took me far down in the wild part of our garden, behind the quince tree and under the thorn bushes. I suddenly felt very dizzy and stood up, finding myself surrounded by fairies; hundred of them, their clothes sewn with lots of bits and pieces, twinkling and clinking furiously. I thought they all looked like dragons would, if they insisted on carrying their hoard on them instead of hiding it.

I wish I could tell you more about the rest of the place and describe it. But it felt like a dream I couldn't really remember, as soon as I would look away from a house I would forget all but the feel of it. There were so many fairies rushing everywhere like late workers, pushing around me, that I remember thinking it was like being in the tube, that one time, father called it "rush hour" and cursed a lot.
My guide never did. He seemed to find this mess normal. Maybe any hour is rush hour for a fairy.
No one paid much attention to me. I got insulted a couple of times for bumping into someone. I saw several disputes as we walked, fairies shrieking at each other and angrily pointing clawed fingers.
My guide called it bargaining.
I noticed he stood out with his plain black clothes and figured he was dressed to go on a thieving expedition, what with the black batman bag and the sneaking around my house.
I started to feel angry again. I wasn't seeing any dog anywhere and I was impatient now.
The fairy man turned around just then and pointed to... something. A fairy house in a tree with a crowd around it. Like I said I can't describe it.
"Ask for Ruscuff there. He'll let you know where your dog is." The fairy smiled again and looked very pleased with himself.
Then he turned around and disappeared in the crowd, leaving me alone.

I gathered my courage, and approached the group of fairies that were all waiting by the tree. There I asked for Ruscuff, and I felt very excited. Yes, they all knew where Ruscuff was. Just there, just past this, just wait... I was going to get Kida back! I was getting so close at last.
No one seemed to care that I was human and so much taller than them all.
"What is this place for?" I asked one fairy who said Ruscuff would "come out" very soon.
"Why it's the mess hall darling" the fairy said. He eyed my can of whiskers with envy and asked if I was here to trade it.
He pinched my leg when three fairies came out with large steaming wooden boxes. They were filled with some kind of stew and all the fairies around me started rushing forward, shaking their bowls and calling out.
"That's Ruscuff there, doll" he said. "The one with the nice pendant."
The "nice pendant" was a CD, shiny side out, hung on a silvery chain. I thanked my helpful neighbour and pushed my way through towards Ruscuff.
He looked up at me with beady, curious eyes when I cornered him.
"Oh! Are you trading that can there big girl?" he asked. What was this cat food obsession about?
"No, I'm here for Kida, I was told you have her."
The fairy looked confused and only frowned. My hope turned into dread.
"A Pug" I said, waving my hand to picture how big she was, and hope returned, when Ruscuff eyes shone with understanding.
"Oh Pug, yes!" he exclaimed, but then he looked very sorry and patted my arm. "That was last month, love." He pointed at the box of stew being raided behind him. "Today isn't as good, it's German Shepherd. Pugs are hard to come by you know, we got lucky last month."

I stumbled away, shocked, and let the crowd of hungry fairies push me outward. I vaguely remember getting away from the mob, in a daze. I cried a lot. Because I was sad, because I was disgusted.
When Kuro found me I was pouring out tears of anger and frustration. I had tried to find my way out but appeared to be completely lost.
"How have you gotten yourself here?" Kuro asked, approaching me with a springy step.
"Oh, Kuro! I found out what happened to Kida and.." I sobbed, sniffed, knelt down and petted his silky shoulders. "I'm glad you came looking for me" I said.
"Well, my dinner wasn't there and is long overdue" he answered grumpily eyeing the can I was still holding. What a charmer.
But he got me home, past the quince tree and straight to his bowl.

"What did you learn tonight?" Kuro purred between two mouthful, as I sat pensively on the steps of our porch.
"Never trust a fucking fairy" was my grim answer.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2015, 04:14:48 AM by Nora »
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Re: [May 2015] - Fairytales - Submission Thread
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2015, 08:39:12 PM »
Let's give this whirl. 1485 including title. The City of Zeds and Xoes. @blakesterh97


Spoiler for Hiden:
The City of Zeds and Xoes

Once, upon a time now barely remembered, in a great city by the sea there lived two people’s-the Zeds, and the Xoes. Now the Zeds and the Xoes looked very much alike-each had a nose, a mouth, eyes, and ears. They walked on two feet, in strides long and short. Each bore skin that was shades of the ocean. But in one aspect they were different-all Zeds had five fingers, while all Xoes had four. No one knew why this was-it simply was. Even more perplexing, there were more Zeds than Xoes in the city, though again, no one knew why. Eventually, because there were more, the Zeds began to mistreat the Xoes, and take advantage of them for money and power. Finally, the king of the city, who was also a Zed, declared that the Xoes must be treated fairly, like Zeds. Many Zeds, agreed to this, though some still did not. But these ones kept quiet, and the Xoes prospered in the city by the sea.

As time went on, the city grew. People built shops and schools and courthouses. And as it grew, it seemed to be that most of these schools and shops and courthouses belonged to Zeds-for there were still more Zeds than Xoes. Zed schools and Zed shops and Zed courthouses lined every block, so that it seemed there was no room for Xoes. Many Xoes tried to fit in, and work in these Zed schools and shops and courthouses. But some Xoes didn’t. They wouldn’t work, or learn, and they caused trouble and committed crimes, and these were the Xoes the Zeds remembered, though no one knew why, so that Zeds began to work only with other Zeds, even though some of those Zeds behaved as badly as those other few Xoes. Now good Xoes could find no places to learn, no jobs to work. All the streets were lined with Zeds, and none of the Zeds would live with Xoes.

It came about after this had been going on for some time, that the old king, a descendant of the king who made the declaration regarding Xoes, died.  And his son became king after him. As a child, he’d had an accident. Two fingers were missing from either hand, the same as a Xoes'. Since that time, his parents had made him wear five fingered gloves, though two of the gloves’ fingers were useless. He would become perplexed, almost to the point of tears, and ask his mother why he must wear gloves. “Because only Xoes have four fingers.” Was all she would answer him. When he became king, his father’s wizened councilors advised him to continue to wear gloves. When asked, they would reply as his mother had “Because only Xoes have four fingers.” Frustrated with these lackluster answers, the king removed his gloves, and left the palace alone to see why he wouldn’t want to be mistaken for a Xoe.

He went first to a Zed school, and asked for admittance.  The Headmaster gave him a hard look, and said “Young man, this institution has no place for you. It would be best you moved on.” When the king tried to reason with him, the Headmaster snapped “This institution will never take on rabble rousers such as you over decent folk. Look down the way, perhaps they will have a place for you. Just leave us alone here.” So the king went to the next school over. The Headmaster of that school came out, and gave the king a pleasant smile. “So you would like to attend here, eh? Well I’m afraid only those who can pay can attend here.” The king pleaded that he was willing to learn, though he was unable to pay. That when he had learned, he would get a job and be able to pay. The Headmaster shook his head with a long suffering look. “I’m afraid it doesn’t work that way. You must have money, before you can learn. See if any of the shops yon down the way will hire you.”  The king inquired as to why a shop would hire him without learning. The headmaster turned away and said he didn’t know, but that sometimes they did. So off the king went again.

At the first shop he came to, many people worked there, keeping track of who’s money was who’s and where it should go. He asked the manager if he could have a job. The manager looked down his nose, not bothering to keep his eyes off the state of the king’s hands. “Do you have the learning for such a job?” The king said no, that the school wouldn’t teach him because he didn’t have money. “Then no, I will not hire you.” The king asked how he was supposed to learn if he couldn’t make money. “Perhaps the factory will have a menial job for you.” The manager said, striding off to more pressing business than a desperate Xoe.
The king traveled there next. Stories of brick loomed above him, and huge smokestacks of concrete. Surely here, they would have room. The foreman came out to meet him. With shake of his head and a sigh he said “I’m sorry, but there is no work here for you.” The king pleaded with him. “Surely there is room enough for me. Even if it is only to clean the floors. The foreman, sounding very much like the Headmaster, said “We don’t want any trouble here, and that’s all you’ll bring. Go look for work somewhere else.” “I have nowhere else to go.” The king pleaded desperately. “That's not my problem.” The foreman answered, shutting the gates of the factory behind him.

Night began to descend on the city. The king began to make his way back to the palace, his heart cold and heavy as stone. Suddenly, to men wearing the uniforms of the city guard approached him. “Stop there!” The first one said. "Don’t you know that curfew is at sunset? All citizens should be at home by then.” The king, startled, said “Yes, sirs. My home is simply very far away. I was headed there just now.” The second guard spat on the ground and said “Up to no good I warrant, sure as I’ve got five fingers. These Xoes won’t learn or work-they just take without giving back, and cause trouble for decent folks. It’s their own fault their as bad off as they are.” “Empty your pockets. Let us see if you have any illegal merchandise on your person.” The first guard continued. The king, offended, replied “Excuse me sirs, please, just let me-“ The words hadn’t left his mouth before the first guards fist swung up into his jaw. He fell to the ground, and the guards grabbed his arms on either side. “Let’s to the courthouse. The judge will set him straight.”

At the courthouse, the two guards and prisoner found the judge already passing sentence on a Zed. “For loitering after curfew, you will spend one night in jail.” He banged his gavel, and the prisoner was led away. The two guards brought the king forward. “What’s the charge?” the judge asked severely. “Loitering after curfew.” The second guard replied. The judge considered for a few minutes before banging his gavel. “Three nights in jail.” The king began to protest. “Did not that Zed before me commit the same crime, and receive three times less the penalty?!” The judge banged his gavel again. “Five nights, and more if you continue.” The king was thrown into a cell that night. And there he wept, not for himself, but for the Xoes.

It was by chance the next morning a guard recognized him as the king. Immediately, the was freed with much groveling and cringing on the constabulary's part. With resolution, he returned to the palace, and called forth all the people he had talked to the previous day, the Headmasters, shop owner, foreman, guards, and judge. Standing about the throne room in various states of fear and confusion, the king descended his dais so that all of them saw his face. The first Headmaster gaped in amazement. “My lord, was that you who came to me just yesterday and pled admittance to my school?” The king nodded. “Yes, and you refused me. As did you” he said, pointing at the second Headmaster. “And you denied me work. And you justice.” And so he charged them all. With terror they answered “My lord, we knew it not to be you.” Fiercely, the king declared “Today, let it be known throughout the city, that as you do to the least of my subjects, you do to me. And so shall my wrath be known.”

And though it took much time, while the king of four fingers yet lived, Zed and Xoe, lived in equality.
     
« Last Edit: May 05, 2015, 09:06:42 PM by Emperor97 »

Offline JMack

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Re: [May 2015] - Fairytales - Submission Thread
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2015, 04:52:02 PM »
Here is this month's entry. Big thanks to a forum friend for close reading, and to another for selecting the title. You know who you are.

1,496 words excluding the title, which is:

The Sun, the Moon and the Morning Star

Spoiler for Hiden:

There once was a stepmother whose husband died, leaving her with his two children. They lived in a small apartment so smothered by other buildings that they rarely saw the sun, the moon or the morning star. She worked all day; then cooked, cleaned and checked homework each night, until falling at last into her lonely bed.

One morning, the children woke and found there was no breakfast ready nor lunches packed. They knocked on their stepmother’s bedroom door, but she was so tired that they couldn’t wake her. Finally, they dressed and went off to school, saying, “Mother needs her rest; let's be grown-up and walk to school ourselves.”

As they walked, they saw meat vendors, pretzel carts, and donut shops. The stepson asked his sister, “Can't we get some breakfast?" But she said, "Hush, you know we have no money."

At this, a little man in a tattered leather coat stepped up to them and held out a glazed donut that shone with sugar. “No money?” he said in a voice of silk and oil. “That’s not a problem. If you come with me, you can have all the food you want.”

The girl refused, saying, “Our mother says we’re not to go with strangers. We just want to get to school.” But her brother was hungry, so he reached out and took the donut. As soon as he did, he turned into a donkey and began braying. The strange man hopped on his back, rode him off into an alley and disappeared.

Back at the apartment, the stepmother woke and saw that it was very late. She called for the children, but no one answered. She was becoming frantic with worry when her stepdaughter rushed through the door. “A little man has taken my brother and turned him into a donkey!” she cried.

“That is Moggmathkin,” said the stepmother. “He is a powerful wizard and drug lord, who uses children to do his bidding. Haven’t I told you never to speak with strangers? The city is a dangerous place.”

“But you were asleep,” answered her daughter, “and we had to go to school.”

The stepmother knew this was true. “I swear I will get your brother back,” she vowed. She walked her stepdaughter to school, called in sick for work, and set out for the warehouse where Moggmathkin lived.

Outside the warehouse, some of the wizard's boys had a rat in a pen and were taking turns poking it with sticks. The stepmother strode up to them and said, “Aren’t you ashamed of yourselves for torturing a helpless creature? What would your mothers say?” The boys tried to be tough, but they shuffled their feet and let the rat go.

The stepmother marched into Moggmathkin's lair. The little wizard was sitting on an enormous throne in a vast room filled with dust and cobwebs. She said, “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself for taking my stepson and turning him into a donkey? What would your mother say?”

Moggmathkin replied, “I never had a mother, so I wouldn't know. I will keep your son to do my work, unless you buy him back from me.” Thinking to get rid of the stepmother easily, he said, “I will sell him to you for one stone from the sun, one tear from the moon, and one song from the morning star.”

The stepmother went back into the street in despair, knowing there was no way she could meet the wizard's demands. She was sitting on a bench trying to think how to save her stepson, when she felt something tugging the cuff of her jeans. She looked down and saw the very same rat the guards had set free.

The rat asked her, “What is the matter?” So she told him about Moggmathkin, her stepson and the impossible price. “Don’t worry,” said the rat. “As you helped me, so I will help you. If you follow my directions exactly, you will be able to free your stepson and destroy Moggmathkin. For three nights running, you must climb the highest buildings in the city and capture the sun, the moon and the morning star in a basin of water. Demand of them the treasures you need, but do not look directly at their faces or you will suffer greatly.”

“How can I climb these buildings?” cried the stepmother. “Each has guards who will refuse to let me enter.”

“Don’t worry,” said the rat. “I am not what I seem, but a fairy in disguise. Moggmathkin captured me and gave me to his boys for sport. But now I give you my cloak of transformation so that you can take my revenge and save your son.” He took off the cloak, and gave it to her. And behold, he was no longer a rat, but a fairy with a frog's head and goat's feet. He spun about three times and disappeared in a swirl of leaves.

That night, the stepmother went to the tallest building in the city. She put on the cloak and became a cat to sneak past the guards at the door. She found the stairs and climbed.

When she reached the roof it was morning. She set a basin of water before her and caught the sun’s reflection.

“Who has caught me?” demanded the sun in a voice of flame and fury.

“It is a mother who must fight for her child,” said the stepmother, not daring to look directly into the water. “Give me just one sunstone, and I will set you free.”

The sun looked and saw that the world was turning to ash because he was staying too long in one place, so he dropped a golden sunstone into her basin. The stepmother took the stone, dashed the water onto the roof, and released him to continue on his journey.

On the second night, the stepmother went to the second tallest building in the city. She put on the cloak and became a mouse to run through the door. She found the stairs and climbed and climbed.

When she reached the roof it was midnight. She set the basin before her and caught the moon’s reflection.

“Who has caught me?” demanded the moon in a voice cold as the deeps.

“It is a mother who must fight for her child,” said the stepmother, not daring to look at the moon. “Give me just one of your tears, and I will set you free.”

The moon looked and saw that the seas were rushing over their banks because she was staying too long in one place, so she dropped one of her diamond tears in the basin. The stepmother dashed out the water, took the diamond, and the moon continued on her journey.

On the final night, the stepmother went to the third tallest building in the city. This time she became a beetle and skittered past the guards and under the door. She found the stairs and climbed and climbed.

When she reached the roof it was just before dawn. She set the basin of water down and caught the light of the morning star.

“Who has caught me?” whispered the star in a voice of heartbreaking beauty.

“It is a mother who must fight for her child. Teach me one of your songs, and I will set you free.”

The morning star looked into the stepmother’s heart and fell deeply in love. “I will teach you one of my songs, but you must look at me directly.”

Forgetting the fairy's warning, the stepmother looked at the star and was pierced to her soul. “Take my song," said the morning star, "and then come back to me.”

With the sun’s stone, the moon’s tear and the star’s song, the stepmother made her way to Moggmathkin's warehouse. She strode in and found him sitting alone.

“I hope you haven’t come to beg,” he said, “For I have no pity, and you cannot have your son unless you pay my price.”

The stepmother placed the sunstone in the little man's hand. It turned to flame and burned him from his fingertips to his bushy eyebrows. She placed the moon’s tear on his chest, and its icy touch froze him from his black heart to the soles of his feet. Finally she whispered the morning star’s song in his ear, and he wept with shame for all the terrible things he'd done.

“Take your son,” cried Moggmathkin, “and leave me.” The stepson rushed into the room and the two of them ran home, where the stepdaughter laughed with happiness to see them.

That night, the stepmother climbed again to the roof of the last of the buildings. She looked and saw the morning star shining on the distant horizon. “I cannot join you,” she whispered. “I still have work to do.” She waited there until the star faded away. Then she dried her eyes, straightened her shoulders, and went back to her children.


« Last Edit: May 11, 2015, 05:14:04 PM by Jmack »
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Offline SJBudd

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Re: [May 2015] - Fairytales - Submission Thread
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2015, 10:06:30 PM »
Here's mine titled The Raven Sisters - 1186 words. It's based on a Viking Fairy!
Enjoy  :D


Spoiler for Hiden:
The Raven Sisters

 “Brothers, there is no contest, I am the most valiant Viking there ever was, it is I that will be going to Valhalla;

 the immortal hall of champions” said the first brother. The two brothers laughed and scoffed.

“Tis I who will be going to Valhalla, one of Odin’s beautiful battle maidens will see me slain in battle and be

unable to resist my mortal charms,” said the second brother.

             The third and youngest said nothing, his eyes met by steely inquiring eyes belonging to three ravens huddled

together on a black branch under a black maelstrom sky.

“I can hear laughter brothers,” The first and eldest brother warned as he took out his axe and swung it in

preparation. The second followed suit, whilst the third used his ears and found no threat.

         They came to a secluded lake with bitter cold waters where three beautiful women bathed, their laughter

 swallowed up by the now raucous ravens that flapped and circled around the brothers.

The third brother narrowed his eyes, “We should be on our way,” He noted that each of the women had wings

upon their backs.

          The first and second brother turned to one another and huddled. After a while they turned to their

younger brother and permitted him into the fold.

“We will cut off their wings and bring them back to the village.” The first brother decreed.

The third brother looked down afraid, he had no desire to destroy such beautiful creatures who had done him no

 wrong.

But the deed was done.

               Their cries scratched and tore at the fabric of the winds that had risen up in vain around them. A

sound unlike anything the third brother had ever heard before. There were fists of thunder all around them and

as the last wing was severed the noise ceased. The other two brothers whooped with delight as they tied up the

women and brought them to the chief where they were immediately married. The elder brother hid their wings.

 No one knew of their heinous crime.

             The first brother saw his wife as a trophy and nothing more, he knew love was for the weak and was

frowned upon by Odin the norse warrior god. The second was indifferent he only wanted his wife to provide him

with strong sons, she was nothing more than a commodity.

        But the third cherished his wife he abhorred what he had done and on their wedding night he vowed to

atone for his  and his brother’s sins. He expected nothing from her, he only wished to make her happy.

          For nine years the sisters who were trapped in wedlock spoke not one word. They never came when

summoned nor opened their legs when the brothers felt lonely. The first brother would try beat and starve his

 wife into submission, but she stayed silent and cold. The second husband quickly grew bored of his, and turned

his attentions to his work.

          But the third brother worshipped his wife. Each morning he would bring her fresh sweet spring water for

 her to wash her blonde hair. He scoured the hills for beautiful flowers to give her and ensured that she never

had to lift a finger. However she too did not relent.

                  The first two brothers grew angry and bitter but the third was forlorn and desperate; He loved his

wife, but he wanted her to be as happy as she made him.

         One day she finally spoke, after his eldest brother had administered a particularly heavy beating to his

stubborn wife. He came back to his hut with his wife’s water to find her in a state of despair.

“What must I do to serve you my darling wife?”

“Help my sister, give her back her wings,” the brother nodded with a heavy heart. He had known this day would

come, he could deny it no longer.

         Dutifully he visited the cave containing the sisters’ wings and returned them to the elder two sisters, as

he came to his wife, he cleared his throat.

“May I ask one thing in return?”  He proposed with a breaking heart.

She nodded, “I will listen to what you have to say.”

“Can we spend our last night together, I only want to talk.”

During their last night, finally his wife spoke. He learned of her true identity.

“I am a Valkyrie, I am one of Odin’s battle maidens who chooses who can enter Valhalla – the hall of

champions. We pick only the worthiest warriors to feast with us and drink our mead.”

The third brother spied the sun rising slowly in the east, soon she would be gone. He turned to her in

desperation.
“Could you have ever loved me, like I love you?”

His wife shook her head, “I could not give myself to you,” She stroked his face, the first time she had ever laid

a finger on him, “For no one can give their heart if it is not done in freedom.”

Solemnly she stood and made her way out of their hut, she looked back one last time.

“But if you find me again, I will be yours.”

        The third brother wept as she left, for he knew he was no warrior. He was not as fierce as his brothers. He

 would never see her again.

     When morning came the other two brothers were furious that their wives had been set free. They challenged

their younger brother to a fight.

“You stole from us brother.”

“They were never yours, I just set them free.”

“But why would you do such a thing? “

“Because it was the right thing to do. I’ll do anything to make my wife happy, and that is what she wanted.”

“And you would die to make your wife happy?” The eldest brother swung his axe and the second entered the

ring. Right from the start the odds were stacked against the younger brother, but he had a plan.

             As the strongest elder brother swung his axe, the younger brother ran in to meet the swooping blade

 with his flesh. There was a hush from the two brothers as the youngest lay there dying. The clouds above

darkened, thunder rang out as the clouds cracked apart and on a bolt of lightning he saw the Valkyrie descend.

“A true warrior fights for what he believes in,” The younger brother smiled as he spoke his last words. The three

 ravens had gathered around him, this time their heads were bowed and their beaks silent.

       His vision was flooded with blonde curls and a strong hand gripped his and hauled him up into a horse.

“Welcome my einherjar,” whispered the Valkyrie plucking him from the mortal earth and taking him to the

immortal sky above. He smiled that his wife should be the last face he ever saw.

      And when he opened his eyes and found himself in the great hall of Valhalla ruled over by Odin, he smiled

 even more to find his wife beside him as an equal forever more.

In their immortality they lived happily ever after.

Offline Elfy

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Re: [May 2015] - Fairytales - Submission Thread
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2015, 08:38:17 AM »
My effort this month, A Collector of Curios, it weighs in at 1164 words without the title. It's a different take on an old tale, with a twist or two.

Spoiler for Hiden:
A Collector of Curios

Bea looked out the car window at the dingy old shop on the deserted street.  The bruise coloured clouds hung ominously over the grim cityscape.

“What are we doing here, Dad?” she asked her father.

“I just need to see a man about a debt, love. You can look around the shop. You like old places like this, don’t you?”

“Yeah, I guess…” the girl said doubtfully, as she followed him through the door.

                                                                   ****

A cadaverous old man rose as Bea and her father entered the cluttered establishment. “Monsieur Merchant!” he exclaimed, a wolfish smile spreading across his deeply lined face.

“Monsieur Gagnon,” Bea’s father returned the greeting nervously. “Go browse,” he told Bea, giving her a gentle push towards the jammed shelves in the strange old antique store.

Bea tried to listen to the conversation between the elderly proprietor and her father, as she walked slowly through the towering stacks of shelves. She could only hear snatches, and Gagnon’s accent didn’t make it easy for her to make sense out of it. 

“She’s the youngest one, correct?” he wheezed.

“Yes,” her father admitted in a defeated sounding voice. “You’ll take good care of her?”

“But of course! Maybe this will cure that habit of yours of betting money that you don’t have, Merchant.”

“Our debt will be cancelled?”

“Oui.”

                                                              ****

Curious as that conversation was, Bea’s attention was completely taken by the contents of a small room in the very back of the shop.

The first thing she saw was a mirror. It was an old oval mirror on a stand. Like nearly everything else in this strange shop, the mirror’s frame had collected a coating of dust. Bea peered closer into its surface, and then blinked. She could have sworn she saw a tortured face trapped in its depths, but when she looked again it was gone, and all she could see was her own shocked expression.

High up on a shelf above the mirror, was a glass shoe. Just the one shoe, it had a stiletto heel, and if it had been made of leather would have cost more money than Bea had ever seen in the one place before. Maybe being made of glass made it even more valuable, but why was there only one? Bea was tempted to take it off the shelf, and see if it fit her own dainty foot, but the sign stopped her. Do not touch! Management cannot be held responsible for any accident that may occur. The sign read in neat letters the colour of fresh blood. Bea frowned and jammed her hands into the pockets of her threadbare coat. She was an obedient child. The only one of her father’s three daughters that did do as she was told.

Then the girl’s eye fell on an old fashioned spinning wheel. She had seen people using them in a demonstration once. She preferred to buy her wool already prespun. Knitting was a hobby, a skill that neither of her sisters had ever mastered.

On a middle shelf was an old oil lamp. It looked like something out of the Arabian Nights. Once again Bea’s fingers itched to pick it up and polish it, as it was dirty and tarnished, and would look quite smart if it shone a little. Her fingers were reaching for it, when her eye fell on the sign again. She sighed, clenched her hands into fists, and contented herself with simply admiring the eclectic collection.

On the end of the shelf was a ceramic figurine of a lion. Bea went closer to it, and examined it as closely as she could in the dimly lit shop, then without thinking picked it up. As her fingers contacted the ceramic surface she felt a thrill of wickedness go through her body. She was breaking a rule.

The work was absolutely extraordinary. The fur looked real, if a breath of breeze ever entered this dark corner of the curio shop, the girl could almost imagine that it would ruffle the china lion’s wild black and golden mane. Its mouth was open in a snarl, and the prominent fangs looked sharp enough to draw blood. The claws weren’t painted on, they were individually crafted. How had the sculptor done that? Bea lifted it to her face, so that she could look into the golden eyes. She thought that maybe they were chips of amber. She drew back in surprise, as she saw something behind them, they weren’t glass, or a semi precious stone, at all, they were real eyes! How could that be?

“Ahhh,” a crackly old voice said behind her, “you have discovered my beast. Exquisite, is he not?”

Bea whirled to see the proprietor grinning at her, his dark eyes twinkling beneath their bushy white brows. One gnarled hand was clasped into the other, as he rubbed them together in a habitual movement.

The girl felt her cheeks catch fire with hot embarrassment, and she quickly replaced the figurine on the shelf behind her. “I was just looking…” she said.

“Looking is permitted, touching is not,” the old man said, his bushy brows drawing together in a severe frown. “Bad things happen to people who touch without permission.”

Bea licked her suddenly dry lips, and tried to slow her pounding heart. There was something not right about this creepy old man.

“Where’s my Dad?” she asked in a small voice.

“Monsieur Merchant had to leave,” the man said shortly.

“When will he be back?” Bea asked, trying to sound bolder than she felt.

“You do not need to worry about that, ma chere. How are you called?”

“Called?” Bea asked, the odd phrasing confusing her.

“Your name?”

“Bea.”

“Just Bea?” he sounded disappointed.

Bea felt a gentle flush creep up her neck and into her cheeks again. “It’s short for Beauty,” she explained.

“Such a pretty name,” the old man said, gliding forward to put one skeletal arm around her shoulders, and turning her so that she was again staring at the lion. “Do you like my beast?”

Bea fought down a shudder, and answered, “Yes, he is very beautiful. How was he made?”

A smile spread over the old man’s face again, and he whispered into Bea’s ear, “That is a secret, ma chere, but one you will find the answer to very soon.”

                                                                  ****

Monsieur Gagnon stepped back and examined the two figurines. The exquisitely crafted lion; the beast, accompanied by his mistress; the beauty. She was a girl in her late teens, with large deep brown eyes and flawless skin. Her chestnut hair was pulled back, and arranged into a long thick pony tail that covered one shoulder. She wore a layered bright yellow ball gown, the colour of which complimented the lion’s tawny fur.

For too long Monsiuer Gagnon’s beast had been without a beauty, and now that he had the pair Monsieur Gaston would be only too happy to pay a premium price for them both.
I will expand your TBR pile.

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Offline J9AC9K

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Re: [May 2015] - Fairytales - Submission Thread
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2015, 06:52:41 PM »
Hi, I'm new to the forum, and this is my first effort here. I hope you enjoy.
Title:  The Prince And His Elder Brother
Word Count: 1305

Spoiler for Hiden:
Once upon a time there was a prince who had a great power. He could tell stories, and they would become truth. In his kingdom, farmers would come before him, fall on their knees, and beg, “Please dear prince, please tell a story of how my crops prosper." And so he would tell this story, and the farmer would find it true. Merchants would come before him, kneel, and humbly request, “Your grace, my wares must be sold at the highest value to neighboring kingdoms. It will help bring greater wealth into our own. Please tell a story to make this so.” And the prince would.

            Other kingdoms stopped warring with the prince's own. What was the point? He could simply tell a story of how the enemy general led his troops in the wrong direction, or the other kingdom’s weapons would all turn to wooden toys. And so the prince's kingdom was peaceful. Because of this, the people of his kingdom gave the prince great gifts: a vast wardrobe, delicious foods, and splendid treasure.

            But not all in the kingdom were happy. The prince had a brother who was his elder. The kingdom should have been his, but the people would not have it. The power of the prince was too great. Tradition was thrown aside, and the elder brother was forgotten by his people. The elder brother lived in fear that the young prince would kill him to further legitimize his claim to the throne. But the elder brother was clever.

           He traveled across the world, studied from the wise, and sought out all knowledge mundane and mystical. The elder brother believed there had to be magic stronger than his brother’s great power. And he was right.

            He found an elixir in a beautiful crystal vial. When consumed, the elixir forced a soul to love another. The elixir would make the drinker think all their thoughts towards the one who served them the elixir. They could not eat unless instructed by them, could not put on clothes unless told they looked pleasing to them, they could not do the simplest tasks without first being instructed to do so by the object of their love. The elixir left only an empty shell.

            The elder brother then traveled the world searching for the most beautiful woman. He found a princess of a faraway kingdom. She was stunning and her voice unrivaled. Her entire kingdom would listen in silence, across hundreds of miles when she sang quietly to herself, hoping the wind would carry her voice. The elder brother approached her as a suitor. Against his expectations, she embraced him. She saw he was clever, learned, and well-traveled. She admired these traits. But this was not enough for the elder brother. He came to her one night with a beautiful crystal vial. He told her it contained a wine from a rare and wonderful vineyard. She drank it.
 
*     *     *

            Soon after, the elder brother returned to his kingdom with his new bride. The people greeted them warmly for they loved the princess on sight. When the prince laid eyes on her, the elder brother knew that he was successful. The young prince felt great lust for her, and when she sang at the elder brother’s request, the prince fell in love. Weeks went by, and the prince came to know the princess. She would speak only of the love she held for her husband, and the prince, for the first time in his life, grew jealous.

            The elder brother said he had to leave on an errand. He'd be gone for a year and a day. He would leave his bride behind for he was traveling to a dangerous land. The young prince spent all of his time with the princess. He refused to see his farmers, merchants, and military advisors. He wanted the princess to see the greatness in him that his people did. But she continued to only speak of the prince's elder brother, and she began to whither away. She would not eat or drink without her husband there to tell her to do so. Servants had to force food and water down her throat to keep her alive. The prince grew mad and desperate by this love. The princess would hardly acknowledge him no matter what he said to her or what he gave her. He had told many tales before, but in none of them had he taken another’s will from them. He would manipulate fate in various ways, but never a person's desires or thoughts. He attempted this now.

            He wove a tale of how the princess felt hatred over his elder brother leaving her behind. How she felt terribly alone. But the prince was there. She grew intimate with him, and finally she fell in love with him.

            This tale would not come true. The prince tried weaving it many times. Changing small details, adding subtleties, but none of it became truth. The servants could not feed the princess enough, and so she slowly starved to death. The prince could not stop grieving. All around him his kingdom fell apart. The farmers had bad crops, and so the people grew hungry. The merchants could not sell their wares, and so the people grew poor. And other kingdoms once again threatened the prince's own, but his soldiers had grown unused to war, and so they lost many battles. A year and a day past. The elder brother returned to a kingdom in ruins.

            “What have you done to me?” The prince said to his elder brother on his return. The elder brother wore fine black silk, his eyes cold and blue. The prince dressed in tatters for his vast wardrobe was gone - stolen by peasant mobs.
            “My dear brother, whatever do you mean?” The elder brother said.
            “Do not play with me,” the prince said. “Somehow this is all your doing. You've hated me for years, and you couldn't stand to see the kingdom prosper under my rule.”
            “My brother, you could have continued your prosperous and magical rule,” said the elder brother. “I have been far away. However can you claim I am blameworthy for all this destruction?”
            “You are still playing with me,” the prince said. “You brought that woman here. I loved her. I loved her more than you ever could, and you did something to her. You broke her, and I could not weave a tale to make her love me.” The elder brother drew his sword.
            “Vile and small man," the elder brother said, "Destroy a kingdom because you couldn’t force a woman to love you.” The prince told a tale of how he too held a sword. The tale became truth.
            "Sinister and dark being,” the prince said, “Steal a woman’s soul so you can bring your brother to ruin.” Their swords clashed. The prince began to weave a tale of his victory, but the elder brother in his last travels found a way to make him his brother’s equal. The prince was caught off guard by this, and so the elder brother drew first blood. But their swords kept clashing. And they each told tales they desired to become truth. Much of what they said contradicted the other. Paradoxes came into being across their broken kingdom. Their people fled in fear and madness.

   And then, the elder brother pierced his brother’s heart. The prince collapsed to the floor as blood pooled beneath him. The elder brother saw what he’d done and wept. He tried speaking words to bring order and happiness back to his kingdom, but found that everything he said only created further darkness. He kneeled next to the dying prince and held his hand. Looking into each other’s eyes, they both knew what words needed to be said,

“The end.”

Offline Rukaio_Alter

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Re: [May 2015] - Fairytales - Submission Thread
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2015, 05:39:26 PM »
Welp, irreverent comedy it is. Complete with snark, copious amounts of meta-humour and a very delightful pun halfway through.

Coming in at 1320 words, here's The Villain Bar.

Spoiler for Hiden:
The old crone took another swig from her mug and let out an exasperated sigh.

“Kids are little shits, aren’t they?”

The grizzly bear sitting further along the bar let out a low cough.

The crone rolled her eyes. “Don’t give me that. I meant human kids. Not bears.”

“So what happened?” The imp seated to her left leaned closer. “Did you catch one of them nibbling at your window frames again?”

“I wish it was just that.” The crone took another sip. “But no, a couple of the little bastards turned up gnawing on my doorstep a few days ago. Can you believe they were abandoned in the woods by their evil stepmother?”

“Evil stepmother?” The bear furrowed his brow. “You mean-?”

“It wasn’t Lady Tremaine.” The crone said. “I asked. Anyway, I took those kids in out of the kindness of my heart, gave them food and beds and comfort. And all I wanted in return was-“

“To eat them?” The imp suggested.

The crone scowled. “They were going to die anyway. At least I would’ve given them comfort in their last moments. And a nice apple to chew on while they cooked.”

“Apples are overrated.” The wolf two seats away said sagely. “I find there are lots of better fruits that really capture the juices much better than-“

“Anyway!” The crone tried to get her story back on track. “I fired up the oven, all ready to cook when, guess what the little shits did? They went and pushed me in!”

The rest of the group gave her a sympathetic glance. Except for the imp, who just started cackling with laughter.

“I got locked in that oven for three days, until I managed to jiggle the lock free!” The crone took a long swig from her mug. “I can tell you, I was not a pretty sight when I came out.”

The bear frowned. “How come you didn’t burn to death?”

The crone gave him a level stare. “Francis, I’m a skilled enough witch to build an entire house from gingerbread and powerful enough to stop it from devoured in seconds by bugs and birds. Do you really think I can’t handle a few flames?”

“Well, apparently, you can’t handle a locked oven door.” The imp pointed out.

“Aw, shut it Stiltskin.” The crone scowled.

“You know, that’s something I’ve never been able to figure out.” Francis the bear said. “You live in a house made of gingerbread. Why do you need to eat kids?”

“Well…” The crone glanced to the side. “Gingerbread is really fattening these days.”

“And children aren’t?!”

“He’s got a point, Agnes.” Rumple Stiltskin grinned. “You’ve been putting on weight recently. In fact, I dare say you’ve got a bit of baby fat.”

The entire table erupted in groans.

“You’ve been holding onto that one for a long time, haven’t you?” The wolf sighed.

Rumple leaned back, satisfied with his work. “I am a patient man.”

“Still, you’ve got a better track record than my cousin.” The wolf turned back to the crone. “He can’t go a single meal without being cut open by some do-gooder woodsman and filled with stones instead.”

“How come you never seem to have any trouble with your prey, Roger?” Agnes asked.

“I just go for the ones who lie all the time. The parents never believe when they calls for help.” The wolf took a sip from his mug. “In a way, I’m doing them a favour. The surviving kids learn an important lesson about lying and I get a free lunch. They should give me a medal for it. But no, all I get for my thanks are torches and pitchforks. And one very determined old lady with a weedwhacker”

“I wish I was allowed to eat kids.” The bear growled. “The missus has me on this new-fangled diet. Nothing but porridge these days. And I swear there’s something messed up about that porridge pot. Every time we have it, my portion is too hot, my wife’s is too cold and my son’s is the only one that tastes right. But we’re serving it from the same pot! How does that work?”

“Ah, that might be my fault.” Agnes admitted. “I think she got it from that backyard sale I had a few weeks back. You remember, I was clearing out my backroom of junk? You know, magic beans, enchanted crockery, people I cursed into animals, the like.”

“But why did you have a pot that serves porridge at randomly changing temperatures in the first place?”

“My taste in food changes frighteningly often.” The crone admitted. “How else do you explain my house? Biscuits aren’t exactly a solid foundation for construction, you know. But I was really into gingerbread at that moment. Kinda wish I’d made it out of something else now.”

“Like what?” The wolf inquired. “Pork?”

“Nah, I tried making a house out of meat once.” Agnes said. “After a month, the stench got unbearable. Plus there was that problem with the walls bleeding.”

“And you can’t make one out of children.” Rumpel said. “Believe me, I’ve tried. The little feckers just will not stay still.”

The wolf blinked. “So was that what that ‘I’ll take your firstborn child if you can’t guess my name’ thing a few years ago was about?”

The imp gave an embarrassed cough. “Actually, that was just something that kinda happened on its own. I have no idea what I was going to do with that kid. I didn’t really want it. But when that girl asked what I wanted in exchange for helping her spin straw into gold, I panicked and said the first thing that came to mind.”

“I get it.” The bear smiled. “And, since you didn’t want him, you deliberately let the girl follow you to your house and started singing about your real name in front of her, so she wouldn’t have to lose her child. I thought it was odd you’d make such a ridiculous mistake.”

“Uh… yes… letting her know my name… it was all… er… deliberate…” Rumpel let out an innocent whistle. The group didn’t seem to buy it. “Alright, fine, it really was just a mistake. But in my defense, I’d just had a drinking contest with Maleficent and was rightfully plastered.”

“I miss Maleficent.” The crone nursed her drink sorrowfully. “And Lady Tremaine and that lot. But they’ve all gone over to that godforsaken Disney place. Why don’t we get our own Disney movies?”

“Pfft, we don't need any of that crap.” Rumpel said consolingly. “We're just fine the way we are. I'd never want to be in one of those lousy flicks.”

The wolf furrowed his eyebrows. “But weren’t you in that Shrek sequel a few years ago?”

“I thought we agreed never to speak of that again.”

“Still, this place has been feeling empty of late.” Francis admitted. “Perhaps it really is time to move on.”

“Move on?!” Agnes spluttered. “We can’t move on! We’re the goddamn Fairy Tale villains! The despicable, malevolent people that everyone loves to hate! We can’t give up on that!”

“You’re right Agnes.” Roger nodded. “Those kids tales would be nothing without us! We’re the stuff people really remember! The characters that bring them back over and over again!”

“Damn straight.” Rumpel grinned. “We’re the best. Right guys?”

“Yeah!”

“Yeah!”

“Well, technically, I’m not really a villain since Goldilocks was the one who broke into my house, but-“

“Don’t ruin the moment, Francis.”



Meanwhile, in the Disney bar…

“Still nothing but fruit juice?” Maleficent scowled into her cup. “God damn PC bastards. When are we going to get some hard liquor into this place?”

The witch’s grumbles were interrupted when the door broke open and a large bipedal wolf staggered in. The wolf clutched his clumsily stitched up stomach, from which several stones slipped out, clattering across the wooden floor.

The wolf, his face haggard, stared across the room at the stunned occupants.

“Guys...” He wailed. “It happened again...”
5 Times Winner of the Forum Writing Contest who Totally Hasn't Let it All go to his Head.

Spoiler for Hiden:
Also, <Insert GOD EMPEROR OF THE WRITING CONTEST joke here>

Offline ClintACK

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Re: [May 2015] - Fairytales - Submission Thread
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2015, 05:40:50 PM »
Here we go.  1494 words (or 1496 with the title: "Fairy Godmother").

I was worried when the first draft came out over 2400 words, but I had a crazy 600 word scene that was easily replaced with 50.  The last fifty words of cutting were painful, but I think I only cut out one major plot point, and I caught myself and put it back.

It's not *precisely* a fairy tale, but it has fairies in it, and the moral isn't explicitly stated, but it's there if you look for it.

Spoiler for "Fairy Godmother":
Fairy Godmother

“Tag, you’re it,” said Saffron, the Princess of Dandelions.

“Nah uh, you missed me,” said Aubrey Cartwright, her new human friend.

“Look,” Saffron said, “I got powdered sugar on your dress.  Sorry.”

“Did not,” Aubrey persisted.  “That’s ashes.  A wicked witch made me scrub the fireplace in my ball gown.  She wanted to get me in trouble, but I was really careful and didn’t get any on my dress.  Um, except this little bit.”

Saffron took a moment to understand. Aubrey was telling her a ‘story’. Saffron clapped her hands and laughed, spinning in circles.  Humans were so much fun with their wild imaginations.

Voices out in the hall.

“Hide,” Aubrey said.  “We aren’t supposed to be in this part of the palace.  We’ll get in trouble.”  Saffron was fascinated by the idea of making people believe things that weren’t so, and thought hiding was one of the silliest, zaniest, most fun games she’d ever played.

They hid behind the curtains and Aubrey’s mother and Saffron’s uncle didn’t see them when they came in giggling and touching on their way to a spare bedroom.

The girls snuck out and then Aubrey poked Saffron, crying, “You’re it,” and they were off and running.

They ran straight into Aubrey’s father, still laughing and squealing.  Aubrey ran around her father, keeping away from Saffron’s sticky hands.

“Where did you two run off to,” he glowered down at them. 

“Nowhere,” Aubrey declared, and Saffron giggled.

“Hmph,” her father dismissed that.  “Have you seen your mother?  She seems to have wandered off to nowhere as well.”

“No, Father,” Aubrey said with an innocent voice, making Saffron giggle again.

Mr. Cartwright frowned and asked Saffron directly.

“Have you seen her?”

“Yes, Sir,” Saffron said.  “In the Forsythia Suite with my uncle.”  She lost interest in conversation and went looking for more powdered sugar cookies.

Mr. Cartwright found Mrs. Cartwright shortly thereafter, playing games with Saffron’s uncle that he preferred she play with him.  For some reason this made him angry.  He shouted, she screamed, and together they made quite a scene.  Later that evening, Mrs. Cartwright threw herself from a balcony and died.

Perhaps this made sense to the human guests.  The Faerie Court was completely mystified, especially Saffron.

“I hate you,” Aubrey said.

“Why?” Saffron asked.

“You killed my Mom.”

A lifetime of only hearing the truth spoken aloud had ill prepared Saffron for this moment.

“Oh, Aubrey,” she said, blinking back tears.  “I’m so sorry.  What did I do?  What can I do? I’ll make it better somehow, you’ll see, I promise.”

Shocked silence filled the ballroom.  The Dowager Duchess of Daffodils with centuries of dignity and preternatural grace dropped her champagne glass to the granite floor. 



The next day, Saffron’s great Aunt Polly met with Aubrey’s uncle.  Saffron tried not to fidget while they spoke as if she weren’t there and decided her fate.  What was she going to do?  A fairy cannot tell a lie // She must fulfill her oath or die.

“Take Saffron into the Cartwright house,” Aunt Polly said.  “Give her the chance to help heal the rift in young Aubrey’s heart, and perhaps the rift between our peoples will follow.” 

“So be it,” Sir Robert said. “I will speak to my brother.”



“Girl,” Aubrey called.  “The hearth is filthy.  Scrub it out.”  In a fortnight, they had gone from “Saffron, could you brush my hair?” to this.

Saffron sighed.  Her dress was ruined anyway.  She fetched a bucket and brush, trying to recall the delight she had felt at Aubrey’s story the night of the ball. She removed all the ironwork and set to scrubbing the stones.  The stone was hard on her knees and physical labor was unfamiliar.

“Girl?”

“Yes, Aubrey?”

“Ma’am.  Servants call me ‘Ma’am’.”

“I’m not a servant, Aubrey.  I’m your friend.”

“Oh, then what are you doing in my fireplace.”

Saffron stopped scrubbing.

“I’m helping a grieving friend.  If scrubbing out your fireplace can make things better for you, even a little, I’ll do it.”

“I had a friend once.  She betrayed me and killed my mother.  How could anything ever make that better, even a little?”



Years passed, as they are wont to do.  Aubrey grew older while Saffron didn’t, or perhaps Saffron grew up while Aubrey didn’t.  Either way, young men began to come courting.  Aubrey married one, and Saffron tossed white rose petals in the procession.

Married life and motherhood agreed with Aubrey.  Aubrey Talbot was a happier woman than Aubrey Cartwright had been.  But it still hurt Aubrey to see her, so Saffron kept her distance, even though it gave her little hope of ever redeeming her vow. 



“Auntie Saffron,” Petunia called.  Saffron was not her aunt, but she’d been around humans for so long she found the lie endearing.

“Yes, child?”

“How do I look?”  Petunia was nearly the same age her mother had been years ago at that fateful ball.

“That’s a lovely gown, but riding boots are an unconventional choice and your hair is a mess,” Saffron said.

Petunia pouted.  “Mamma says if you don’t have anything nice to say, you shouldn’t oughtta say anything at all.”

“Hmm.”  Saffron took Petunia by the shoulders and guided her over to the standing mirror.  “What do you see?”

Petunia tried to keep pouting, but broke down and giggled.

“Now tell me, if I could make this a magic mirror that would always show you flawless and perfect, would you want me to?  What if you had chocolate smeared on your face or spinach between your teeth?  Would you want the mirror to lie to you and let you go out in public that way?”

“But I like to look pretty.  Can you really make a magic mirror?”

“Oh, child, I wouldn’t even if I could.  It is our flaws make us beautiful.  Today you are lovely in the innocence of youth.  Magnificent in the guileless freedom of your riding boots and gown.  And thanks to the honesty of your mirror, we can fix the hair.”

Petunia giggled and let Auntie Saffron brush her hair.



At Petunia’s wedding, Saffron looked barely fifteen, too young to be a maid of honor. But Petunia insisted, and it was her day.

“How do I look, Auntie Saffron,” Petunia asked in her wedding gown, striking a pose just like when she was a little girl.

“You are lovely, dear Petunia.  You are radiant with joy, the dress is quite stylish and suits your shape well, and your hair is magnificent.”

And Petunia knew every word was true, because her Auntie Saffron never lied.



Years passed. Aubrey grew older still.  Her ankles swelled, and the doctor wanted her to get a cane.  Instead, she leaned on Saffron.  They went walking every afternoon in a courtyard filled with yellow dandelions.

“I’m old,” Aubrey said. “I feel old, but I look at you and I’m a little girl again, hiding behind that curtain.  We shouldn’t have been in that part of the palace.  We killed her.  I will carry the burden of that always.”

Once, Saffron had had no answer for this, but she was no longer a child, and she had lived a lifetime among humans.

“We were just children, Aubrey.  You didn’t kill your mother.  She chose to sneak away with my uncle, and she chose to jump from a balcony rather than beg your father’s forgiveness.  Her choices, not yours.”

They sat together on a bench in the garden.  Aubrey cried and Saffron patted her back.

“It’s not enough,” she said. 

“I know,” Saffron said. “If you don’t forgive me, I will die when you do.”

“I know,” Aubrey said.  “Do you want me to lie?”

“I don’t know,” Saffron said, shocking herself.



Within the year, Aubrey took to her sickbed.  Petunia came to be with her at the end.

Saffron paused in the hallway, not wanting to intrude.

“You don’t know what you’re asking,” Aubrey said.

“I will soon, mother.  I’m about to lose you.  Don’t take my Auntie Saffron from me too.”



Petunia and Saffron took turns sitting by her bedside.

“Saffron,” Aubrey said.  It was the first time she’d called her by name in many years.  “I see it now.  You have made it better, just a little.”

“A kind lie, Aubrey.”  She gently held her friend’s hand.  It was kind, but a lie wasn’t enough.

“No, Saffron.  Not better for me, perhaps, but for Petunia.  She lost her grandmother even before she was born, but you’ve been like a godmother to her, a substitute.  You’ve helped to make her the strong, beautiful woman she is today.  I love her every bit as much as I loved my mother, and she is better because of you.  I see that now, just like you promised I would.”

Petunia never stopped calling her Auntie Saffron, but her children and her children’s children called her their Fairy Godmother.  And she did her very best to be just that.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2015, 06:17:43 PM by ClintACK »

Offline Carter

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Re: [May 2015] - Fairytales - Submission Thread
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2015, 09:43:00 PM »
Here's mine for the month, coming in at 1493 words including title.  I took something of a folkloric approach to the topic this month.  Enjoy. 

Spoiler for Hiden:
The Old Man of the Moor

Atop the golden, gorse-soaked moors, amidst the cairns and the mists, there lived a widow.  The winter stole her husband and the first, sun-washed hints of hints of spring lured her sons across the hills to seek their fortunes.  Only the cow and the hens remained to keep her company in the stone-wrapped croft. 

One crisp, clear morning, breath blossoming from her lips, she noticed a man watching her as she went about her chores.  He leant against the drystone wall as she milked the cow.  He spoke not a word as she gathered the eggs.  He whistled tunefully and tapped his oak walking stick against the stones while she cut peat for the fire. 

“Come away with me,” he said.  “Become my wife.”

Weariness tugged at her joints.  The cold breeze bit her knuckles.  The days of managing the croft, the responsibility resting uncomfortably across her shoulders; everything gnawed at her.  The proposition to leave it all behind and start anew was tempting.  She looked at the man with his silver-streaked hair, his weather-beaten face, his cloak of moss that wrapped the moors around his frame and her heart fluttered. 

“I cannot.  I could not leave the hens here alone.”

“Very well,” he said and walked away between the gorse.   

The next day dawned wreathed in fog.  Her breath was damp and heavy in her lungs as she struggled around the croft.  Invisible in the mist, she nevertheless heard the old’s man whistling tune as she milked the cow.  When she fetched water from the spring, she recognised the sound of his stick on the stones, the tantalising rhythm hinting as melodies beyond her ken.  He fell silent as she entered the chicken coop.  The musk of fox the metallic tang of blood hung in the air.  Feathers lay scattered across the floor, fragments of bone and smears of gore scrawling tales across the planks. 

Her heart sank and her stomach heaved. 

“Come away with me,” the old man said.  “Become my wife.”

Sorrow wrapped cold arms around her.  She thought of her husband’s bones beneath the turf, of sons far away.  She yearned for release, for the chance of a new beginning.  Peering into the mists she strove to catch sight of the old man, espying just a glimmer of a hazel eye, the gnarled tip of a stick.
 
“I cannot.  The cow is old and I fear to move her.”

“Very well,” he said and the mist swallowed him.
 
The widow woke to a freezing wind besieging the house.  She rubbed heat into her limbs and breathed the earthy embers of the fire back to life before braving the new day.  She forced the door open against a swirling snowstorm, admitting a scattering of flakes desperate for sanctuary.  She battled the elements as she made her way to the cowshed.  Amidst the snow, the old man’s cloak stood out like the first, tentative shoots of spring. 

The cowshed was silent.  The door hung from its hinges.  Crisp snow covered the hay-strewn floor, crunching beneath her hole-riddled boots.  The widow placed her hand against the cow’s side, her fingers teasing through the matted, freezing hair.  Leathery hide was stiff, cold and still. 

“Come away with me,” the old man said.  “Become my wife.”

Grief clawed at her chest.  Frozen tears clung to her cheeks.  The prospect of cutting it all away, of moving on, enticed her almost beyond reason.  All it would take was a single word and she knew the old man would spirit her away into the blizzard.  He smiled as she met his eyes.

“I cannot.  I would not get far in this weather.”

“Very well,” he said, his cloak swirling around him as he disappeared into the driving snow. 

A chorus of lilting birdsong roused her from the comfort of sleep.  Warmth seeped through the walls.  Everything felt a little brighter, a little easier.    The widow thought of the old man stood outside, of the days he had spent at her boundary, and she frowned.  She remained abed as she contemplated her future.  She considered all that remained for her at the croft; the water to draw, the peat to lie and the cow to be jointed.  Yet she remained cocooned within her sheets. 

“Come away with me,” shouted the old man, his voice carrying to her ears.  “Become my wife.”

She answered with silence. 

Soon there came a knocking at the door.  It boomed through the house and brought a smile to her lips. 

“Come away with me.  Become my wife.”

“I cannot.  I’m ill and cannot leave my bed.”

“Is there anything I can do?”

“Leave your stick by the door and fetch water from the stream,” said the widow. 

She watched the door creep open.  A hand appeared and deposited the stick, propping it carefully against the wall.  She admired its smooth, polished surface as she listened to the old man clattering outside.  She heard the old man’s tuneful whistles and admired the swirling patterns of light that danced across the wood.
 
Before too long the door creaked open once more and the old man stood silhouetted against the sun.  A bucket sloshed at his side.  With a weak gesture, she directed him to place it near the hearth. 

“Come away with me,” he said when his task was complete.  “Become my wife.”

“I cannot.  I’m too cold and sick to leave my bed.”

“Is there anything I can do?”

“Leave your boots by the door and lay peat for the fire,” said the widow. 

The old man placed his mud-caked boots by the door.  Well-worn, sturdy and shining beneath the grime, they drew her eye as he laid peat in the fireplace.  With a coaxing tune and deft hands, he encouraged dancing flames from the earth and embers. 

“Come away with me.  Become my wife.”

“I cannot.  I’ll ill and hungry and will need provisions for the journey.”

“Is there anything I can do?” the old man said, the faintest edge of frustration creeping into his voice. 

“Leave your cloak by the door and fetch cheese, bread and salt from the larder,” said the widow.  “Make some porridge for my breakfast and once I am fed I may be well enough to go with you.”

The old man tramped tunelessly back to the door and slung his cloak over a hook.  With sharp, angry movements he collected the cheese, bread and salt and flung them into a knapsack.  He threw oats and water into the pot hanging above the hearth.  Without a whistle, with barely a sound, he jerked the spoon around and around.
 
Noiselessly, the widow moved.  Inch by careful inch she extracted herself from the bedsheets.  Step by slow step, she approached the table, dipping one hand into the salt and the other into the pail of water.  Taking a deep breath, she summoned words to her lips and strength to her heart. 

“By salt and water I bind you here,” she said, flicking her fingers. 

The salt flakes caught the light, shimmering as they landed on the old man’s back.  The water darkened his shirt, the dampness spreading with startling speed.  The old man stiffened, the spoon falling from limp fingers and sinking into the porridge. 

“By fire and hearth I bind you here,” she said as he started to turn. 

The old man staggered, his knees buckling as if struck.  He flailed, a hand catching the brickwork around the fireplace.  A flame licked out, caressing his arm as if welcoming a lover. 

“You cannot bind me, mortal.”

She ignored him as he struggled to pull his hand away from the hearth, his flesh refusing to be parted from, stone. 

“By home and servitude, I bind you here,” she said as his eyes turned black. 

The old man laughed.  A harsh, manic sound, it skittered across her skin and pulled at her bones, scarping along her nerves.  She forced herself to stand straight, firm and unafraid.

“I see you, Old Man of the Moor.  I see you and I know you.  I see you and I bind you.”

The old man cackled and thrashed, every movement increasingly desperate, every noise tearing at her, straining against the strength of her words.  After a seeming eternity, finally reassured, she gave a nod of her head and took up the knapsack of food and turned her back on the Old Man of the Moor. 

“You cannot escape me, mortal.  You are mine and I will have you for my own.”

She paid no heed as she draped the mossy cloak around her shoulders, savouring the smell of heather and gorse.  She put on the supple boots that moulded themselves to her feet.  She picked up the stick and listened as its music thrummed through her.  Without a backwards glance, she opened the door and strode off onto the gorse-soaked moors, a merry tune whistling from her lips. 

Offline D_Bates

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Re: [May 2015] - Fairytales - Submission Thread
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2015, 06:12:19 PM »
Oh well, I gave it a shot. I think I nailed a moral point at least, but apologies if it doesn't fit the criteria. Hope people enjoy nonetheless. Coming in at ~1338 words I give you:

Idyleece

Spoiler for Hiden:
A very long time ago in a place far, far away, there lived a lonely girl whose hair shone like light breaking through clouds on an overcast day. Why lonely, you ask? Oh, she had many handsome admirers, but never to her tastes: some came too tall, others far too small—too wide, too thin, or else they had a stupid grin. Sometimes she wondered whether she'd ever find Mr. Right at all.
Then one night, while outside wishing upon a star, her bright hair attracted a roaming cosmos deity from afar. He flew down before her and admired her from head to toe, then said in a gravelly voice that was most faint and slow, "My lady, I find your exquisite beauty truly quite divine. You’re so far above mere mortal men, you deserve only to be mine."
Returning his stare without a smile, she slowly turned up her nose; for his arms were long and fingers bent, and through holes in his boots poked crooked toes. "I thank you for the offer," she said. "But I'm afraid I must decline. For while you see me as a worthy equal I don't think I could ever call you mine."
Unaccustomed to such rejection the deity's eyes turned blood red, and pointing a sharp claw her way he said, "You would dare to turn me down?"
"That I would," she replied with a most unimpressed frown. "I'd not be yours even if you offered me a crown."
"If not mine, then nobodies," said the deity, waving his finger from side to side. "For I curse you to be alone until the end of time. Unless, that is, you learn humility and decide to change your mind."
With that he vanished to leave his wicked words to take their ill effect. And wicked words they were indeed, for no sooner had he gone, the poor girl began to change in many ways that felt so wrong. First, expanding like a balloon, her body bloated—getting lighter, and lighter, until out towards the stars she floated. Then her blood began to burn like fire; her skin cracked and hardened to stone; and her breathes spun all around her, howling to her every painful moan.
As a new-born planet lost in space the girl knew not where to go. So she floated forward... searching... forever searching... for how long she did not know. Years turned into decades, onto centuries, a thousand and more; yet still she kept on searching... forever searching... her journey never ending no matter how long she'd soar. And she wept and wept and wept some more, her salty tears raining down upon her surface, gathering into oceans, which left her wet and sore.
Occasionally she'd meet another celestial body and try to form a bond. But just like in her former life she couldn't bear to be with them for long. Black holes proved too clingy and so very, very cold; while the heat of pulsars burnt her surface and made her waters scald. So on she went, alone again, the deity's harsh words still haunting, forever taunting, tempting her to call.
Much, much later, on the outskirts of the galaxy, a rogue moon passed through her trail. And she thought nothing of him, until realising that he'd turned around to follow on her tail. She found Moon rather odd, yet curious—not nearly as powerful as a black hole, nor as bright and sparkly as a pulsar—in fact he was nothing special at all. Just a bland old rock full of craters and scars, a dull eyesore compared to all the surrounding stars.
At first his presence annoyed her, and she'd fly nearby to nebulas in the hopes of setting him astray. But Moon was most persistent, needing more than pretty clouds of gas to send him on his way. So when she spotted a field of asteroids—who were so very loud—she flew straight in among them planning to lose Moon among the crowd. And lose him she did, but a new dilemma would she soon face, for asteroids are a territorial race, most possessive of their belt of space, and angered by her presence they gave chase.
Frightened by the angry mob the girl flew and flew and flew, yet no matter how far she went the asteroids numbers grew. With no escape she stopped to face them, praying they'd understand if they’d just let her explain. But those asteroids weren't about to slow, intent on dealing her a heinous blow, and so she braced herself for impending pain.
When out of nowhere appeared Moon, putting himself between them, prepared to endure the storm of rocks upon his bones. And the girl could not believe it, for all this time he'd been in orbit, protecting her from the vicious onslaught of scary stones.
The asteroids crashed against Moon's surface—
Boom.
Pow.
Bang.
Smash.
Yet not one did he let through to strike her too. And once silence fell, he said a fond farewell, and floated off to find something else to do.
"Wait!" the girl cried. "Don't leave if you don't want to. You're most welcome to travel with me by my side."
Moon was most pleased to hear that, spinning straight back into orbit, and she giggled as he tickled her by giving her oceans' tide.
From then on they remained together, dancing among the stars as one, until they were so exhausted that they settled near to a mighty sun. There the girl floated drowsily, baking her earthen skin in warm rays, while Moon kept a vigilant watch, ready to stop any more stones that came her way. And whenever she became uncomfortable while exposed to the sun's strong light, he'd move around to shade her, ensuring she wasn't too hot... nor too cold... but just right.
Millennia’s of peace would follow where the two shared each other's grace, and from that marriage of celestial bodies a new transformation took place. Wooden hairs sprouted from the girl’s surface, their tips all fluffy and green, and so many magical creatures wandered beneath their canopies, it was like a wondrous dream. Insects kneaded her fine earth skin while fish swam through her lakes and seas, and not long after her skies were filled with the songs of birds and bees.
Content with this conclusion, all trace of the girl's sadness faded away, for she was finally happy, settled, never to be alone again until the end of days. But though she'd discovered joy from her seemingly endless quest, another was not so overjoyed when he came upon her nest.
"What is this?!" the deity hissed, flying up into her orbit. "You being happy was never part of my plan. My devilish curse was supposed to put on that an unbreakable ban!"
"No," she said. "In jealousy you sought to damn me to an existence of endless strife. But you failed, because in this form I've been blessed with the most precious gift of all... the gift of life."
"Aha!" cried the deity. "But this unintended gift can be recanted, for that you will soon see. Because now I shall reverse my curse, returning you to a life of misery!"
With that he raised his wicked claw, preparing evil words once more, and the girl trembled with fear for every creature she now bore. But before the deity could say one word the heavens were torn asunder, and out flew Moon with a furious roar that sounded just like thunder. And he struck the wretched being with such a mighty pop, that to this day he's still zooming through the cosmos showing no sign he'll ever stop.
Once the deity was vanquished the girl could settle back down to rest, her beloved children on her surface and Moon up in her orbit, her chosen champion, the protector of her nest. And to this day they remain together living happily ever after, her clear blue skies forever filled with jubilant songs of laughter.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2015, 08:27:26 PM by D_Bates »
David Bates
Works in progress:
Ciara: A Faun's Tale - 90,000; The K.B.G. - 100,000; Maria and the Jarls of Jotun - 90,000; The Shame that lurks in Stableton - current project; Ezra'il - Plotted. TBC July 2018

Offline Henry Dale

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Re: [May 2015] - Fairytales - Submission Thread
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2015, 05:44:30 PM »
Kablam, wrote it in 10 minutes, inspired on a place I've been to in japan :3
Only 522 words.

Picture from my trip to Japan :3
https://www.imageupload.co.uk/images/2015/05/30/P1070532.jpg

The Fox Spirit

Spoiler for Hiden:
Once upon a time there was a mountain where foxes lived around a shrine. There was a rich forest there with plenty of food, but none dare gather from it because it was a sacred place. The shrine was led by a shrine priestess and while she was young, she had long white hair.

Now there came a time when the kingdom had several bad harvests in a row and the villagers pleaded to the shrine priestess to let them- just this once- gather food from the mountain for the coming winter. At first, the shrine priestess refused the gathered villagers, but when she saw the hungry children, she was moved and climbed the mountain to ask the deity for food.

As the shrine priestess was gone to plead to the mountain god, a black fox approached the villagers. His fur was smooth and his tongue silver.
"Do not fear me." He spoke. "I've heard the tidings of the land, your hunger and misery."
The fox shook his weary head. "The spirits of this world don't understand what it's like to work each day for the sweat of their brow. They live in the opulence of nature and know not of your labour and grief."
The black fox smiled at the children and played with them.
"Go ahead and take your food. The spirits won't miss a handful of berries from this mountain." The people nodded at the wisdom of the black fox. They climbed the mountain with baskets and filled them to the brim with sweet berries and powerful roots.

Meanwhile the shrine priestess had climbed the many steps of the shrine, cleansed herself with water and tolled the bell to call to the god of the mountain. "Oh, spirit, the people living upon your land are starving. Please be benign to them, spare them. Let them live another day."
The spirit fox answered her call and appeared before her, grand in his majesty.
"Then why is it they are already scouring the sanctum, stealing the food of the animals that live here? Why didn't they wait for me to speak? I see everything that happens here and what I see is greed without reserve. I cannot grant your wish."

The shrine priestess looked down and saw the spirit fox was right. She pleaded for forgiveness, but it was too late. Tears burned hot on her cheeks and she was never seen again after that. Some say she left out of shame for what the villagers had done, others that the spirit fox had taken her with him. The spirit fox abandoned the blessed mountain along with all his foxes. When the large group of foxes passed through the village, they devoured every animal there, leaving the villagers to die.
All black foxes, who were traitorous, were turned to stone as punishment to watch over the mountain and sometimes people would talk about seeing a white-haired fox roaming the dark forest.

No longer would the forest be as rich, no longer was it spiritual and full of life.
Let it be learned that he who steals from nature, only hurts himself.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2015, 01:00:56 PM by Henry Dale »

Offline Saraband

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Re: [May 2015] - Fairytales - Submission Thread
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2015, 01:13:48 PM »
As always, I was only able to come up with something at the very last minute.

With 1207 words (including title), here's The Dragonfly's Dilemma:

Spoiler for Hiden:
There once was a human kingdom ruled by generations of good kings and queens, and that kingdom enjoyed much prosperity and joy. Until the day the dragon came, a beast without reason or compassion, for those qualities ceased to be after the dragon’s babies were killed by a group of wandering knights. That day, the kingdom almost fell into ruin, if not for the help of its newfound allies, the neighbouring empire of fairy insects.

The two nations saw many of their bravest die that day, but they eventually succeeded in putting an end to the dragon’s bloodthirsty rampage. Afterward, the prince of the suffering kingdom joined with the princess of the empire in marriage, an occasion so joyful that the celebrations lasted for weeks.

On the last day of these celebrations, the king, who was very happy for his son, declared two things.

“First,” he said, addressing the joined gathering of humans and fairy insects. “Let it be known, that from this day forward, all dragons shall be killed on sight. We have faced tyranny, and we fought it. But others may not be that lucky, and so we must purge this evil from the world once and for all.”

The crowd applauded, but their faces were heavy. It was a grave decision, and some dragons were known to be generous and wise, but they were afraid, their losses too recent. If it would help their children sleep at night, the choice was easy.

“Secondly,” the king continued, “Let it be known, that from this day forward, it is forbidden to bring harm to any insect, from the smallest ant to the largest beetle. Thus, we come to honour the empire’s aid at the hour of our highest need.”

The crowd cheered once more, and again there were some who could not hide their doubt from their faces. After all, were they now expected to let every spider wander freely? But the fairy insects cheered with such joy, that their allies readily accepted this edict, and happily celebrated the newfound bond between humans and fairy insects.

And so many days passed, and then many years, and the two nations grew so close they became indistinguishable after many generations.

New winds blew, full of prosperity and health, and the people rejoiced. Every new prince and princess was fairer than his parents, and also wiser.

And then one day, many years after the dragon had almost destroyed the kingdom and everyone had forgotten about the origin of those two laws, a princess was born, and all the prophets agreed that she would be the wisest and fairest of all that there had been.

Little Caroline met these expectations, growing brighter each day. She was very curious, and would often escape from the city and into the woods.

It was during one of these incursions into the woodlands, that the princess stumbled upon a very strange creature. Small, with two pairs of wings and two large eyes, the creature seemed to be struggling to get out from under a rock that had fallen on it.

Caroline approached the creature without fear, and looked at it attentively. Then it spoke.

“What?” the creature asked. “Have you never seen a dragonfly before?”

Caroline immediately jumped back. A dragon! How could it be, if all the stories about dragons were nothing like this small creature?

“No,” Caroline answered from afar.

“Well,” the dragonfly said, “I could use a little help.”

Caroline saw that however hard the creature pushed, the rock did not move one bit. The princess could easily pick it up and help the creature, but she knew the law of the land very well. Dragons were not to be helped, much on the contrary.

“I can’t help you,” Caroline said. “You’re a dragon.”

The dragonfly looked very surprised. “What?” it asked.

“You told me so yourself.”

“I am a dragonfly, not a dragon.”

“But if you are not a dragon, then how come it’s your name?” the suspicious princess asked.

“And they say humans became the brightest of all creatures when they joined the fairies,” the dragonfly whispered to no one. Then it sighed. “Tell me, if you assume I am a dragon because I am a dragonfly, then would you go around spreading butterflies on bread because they are butter?”

Caroline was very confused. She had not given much thought to the matter of butterflies.

“Listen,” the dragonfly said. “I know you are supposed to kill dragons on sight, and that is all very good. My species is actually with you on that, as those beasts can kill an awful lot of us with a single breath. But I know that there is another law which prevents you from bringing harm to insects, and if you believe I am a dragon due to my name, than you cannot ignore that I am a fly too, and therefore an insect.”

The dragonfly noticed that it had a chance, as Caroline struggled with the dilemma.

“Maybe I should call my parents, and ask them what to do,” the princess said.

“No!” the dragonfly shouted. “Adults are very practical about these things, and they are not as smart as you. Once they hear my name, they’ll only be able to look at me as a dragon, and so I will be killed.”

“My mother says better safe than sorry all the time,” Caroline said.

The dragonfly began to lose hope. Humans could be annoyingly stubborn at times, and the smarter they were, the more incurable that stubbornness became.

“I’ll be back with my parents,” Caroline said, turning her back to the dragonfly.

“Wait,” the dragonfly pleaded. Caroline looked back. “My children are waiting for me to bring them food, and I won’t survive much longer if I’m stuck beneath this rock. Listen to reason, then. You believe I am half-dragon and half-insect, correct?”

Caroline nodded.

“Then, if there is no other way, why don’t you just cut my body in half? My dragon half will be left under the rock, and you will be protecting the half of me that’s an insect, thus upholding your law.”

Caroline thought for a moment. Then she approached the dragonfly, kneeling down. “Okay, I know what I will do with you.”

The dragonfly took a deep breath, knowing that it would hardly survive with half its body. But at least it would have a chance to return to its children. The creature covered the eyes with its wings, and expected the worst.
And then a great relief came, as if a great weight had been lifted. And when the dragonfly dared to look up, a great weight had been lifted indeed.

Caroline smiled. “My mother also says that laws are meant to be broken,” she said, picking up the creature. “Promise me that you nor your children will not bring any harm to our kingdom.”

“I promise,” the dragonfly said. “They say you are the wisest princess, but I think you are the kindest.” The creature flew up. “Farewell, princess. May this be a lesson you don’t forget once you become queen.”

And so the dragonfly flew to its children, and Caroline went back to her city. And she smiled the entire way.
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