Friday, August 30, 2013

The Prince and the Desert Queen, part 2

It wasn’t long before the prince came upon a large, shining white structure rising up out of the sand. It must be a mirage, the prince thought. I am going so mad from all the heat and the light and the exhaustion from chasing after that peahen that I am beginning to see things! The structure resembled a temple or a palace, and was constructed of mother of pearl and reflected a variety of colors in the light: white, silver, orange, gold, pink, blue, teal, and even pale purple. The door was flanked on both sides with large pillars made of the very same material, and at the top of these pillars were carved sculptures of peacocks. The palace was surrounded by a moat of shining objects that, upon taking a closer look, the prince could see were actually a mix of jewels: sapphires, pearls, diamonds, ambers, rubies, garnets, turquoises, and others. The prince marveled at the sight, hoping to take the entire magnificent thing in before he came to his senses and it all disappeared. But when it did not disappear, he carefully strolled up to the shimmering door and reached out to touch it. He expected that his hand would phase through it as if he were a ghost, and then it would finally disappear.
            But he was perfectly able to touch the door, and even run his hand over it to feel the stone. Except for a few carvings in odd shapes, and three small oval-shaped indentations in the center, the door was smooth and flawlessly cut. He traced his finger over the carvings; whether they were language or decoration, he could not tell.
            The prince tried to open the door and found that it was locked. His first instinct was to knock and see who would let him in, but then he remembered that this was likely fairy territory; being invited into a fairy’s home would even further lessen his chances of returning home safely. So he left the grounds and continued on his way.
            The prince was beginning to feel quite tired and hot, though he could not have guessed how long he had been walking. His legs were beginning to ache, and he thought that it would be quite refreshing to sit down in the warm, golden sand for a rest, and have some of the water he had brought with him when he left to go hunting. But the moment the prince touched the sand, he felt a sharp sting through his tunic. He immediately tried to grab whatever it was that stung him, but he felt nothing but the hot sand. The prince ran his finger over the sting, which was painful to touch. He thought it must’ve been a bite from a spider.
            My word, the prince thought, I shall die before this day is over. The idea didn’t scare him; rather, it made him feel very inconvenienced and uncomfortable. His death meant that his aging mother would somehow have to produce another, healthy heir. His beloved turquoise princess would be devastated and mourn for him every day of her life, and perhaps she would be so caught up in her grief that she really could not bear to find another lover. His friends and hunting partners would grieve for him, and he wondered who would take over the care and feeding of his dog.
            Something shot out of the corner of the prince’s eye, and he turned to see that it was the peahen he had been chasing, which had surely led him to his demise. He certainly didn’t care for a turquoise feather from her neck now. Horrible creature!” he shouted at her “You have brought doom upon the kingdom of Ellian! If I had the energy, I would kill you right here!”
          The peahen cocked her pretty head to the side, before vanishing before his eyes. In her place stood a woman, with hair the color of blue topaz and skin the tint of rubies. Her gown was covered in hundreds of brilliant peacock feathers, which were moving closer and closer to him as she approached him. He saw nothing but this flurry of feathers as she pulled him to his feet. He was enveloped in her hair as she moved in and kissed him hard on the mouth.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Secret Worlds and Fantastic Creatures: The Sylph Princess' Dress

Secret Worlds and Fantastic Creatures is a new series of short fairy tales told in vignette format. Each vignette has a distinct focal point, can either feature many points of view or else only contain one character, and is told in a short and sweet format designed to get the imagination working and to provide "brain candy" for the mind to indulge on. They are not written in any particular order or chronology, and do not connect to form a complete story. These tales are written to inspire beautiful imagery for the mind's eye rather than tell a complete story, and are very good "winding down" tales.

The Sylph Princess' Dress:

The dress was made for a princess of one of the cloud kingdoms in the sky. It was the princess’ birthday, and the king and queen had called upon fine tailors and crafters from the elven and fairy worlds to make the dress for her. The dress was beautifully made, airy like the autumn mists and light like the clouds the sylph princess knew so well. Pink ribbons hung like carnations around the collar of the dress, matching the dainty embroidered threads at the hem. Truly, it was a dress that was fit in every way for its royal recipient.
            On the morning of the princess’ birthday, the king sent out several deliverymen to claim and deliver the presents from the various crafters they had been ordered from. Three of these deliverymen had been tasked with bringing the dress. They received it from an elven tailor named Pokegreen, who had been the main contributor to and supervisor of the dress’ creation. The deliverymen took one look at the dress and marveled at just how beautiful it was and how perfect it was for their princess, and thought admiringly of how lovely she would look when she wore it. They gave the tailor a bag of gold pieces, had the dress packaged in a golden box, and set off for their kingdom in the sky.
            But in a moment of horrible luck, the three deliverymen were caught up in a storm. As they were violently tossed and turned and shaken, the three of them held on to the dress box as if their lives depended on it, so that the dress was tossed around with them. But despite all their efforts to hold on to it, a mighty gust of wind was able to yank the package from their hands. It was blown away, and though they spent the rest of the morning’s hours searching for it, they could not find it. They were forced to return to the palace without the dress, and though the king and queen were very disappointed with the loss of the hard work, and very sorry for their daughter who would be getting one less birthday present, they were too kind to place any blame on the deliverymen. Nobody could stop a storm, after all.
            The golden box landed in the tidy front yard of a cottage, where it was soon discovered by the young woman who lived there. When she opened the box and discovered the dress, she let out a joyful cry and hugged it to her chest. “Oh, it’s the most beautiful dress I’ve ever seen!” she exclaimed. “Oh, if it doesn’t belong to anybody, I would just love to keep it! But who could it belong to? It seems to have appeared out of nowhere. I will keep it until someone else claims it.” The woman, whose name was Iris, was overjoyed to have the dress, even if it was only temporary. She pulled her black hair up, held it in place with a pearl clasp, and slipped the dress on.
            Iris made up her mind then and there that the dress was the very best she’d ever owned; it was the prettiest, the lightest, the most well made, and made her feel better than anything she’d ever worn had made her feel. And though she had nowhere to go today, she decided that she would go out into the town square just to show the dress off to anybody who was willing to look. She put on tights and pink shoes and walked down to the town square.
            As it turned out, just about everybody she passed by was willing to look; it was not only the prettiest dress Iris had ever seen, it was the prettiest dress anybody in town had ever seen. They could not have known that it had been made for a princess, but what they did know was that it was something special. The women and girls wanted one just like it for themselves, yet somehow knew that there were no others like it. The men bowed their heads to Iris and paid her pretty compliments: “Who is the beautiful young princess in town today?” “Why, I do believe she must be a fairy from another world.” “Are you a fallen angel, or is it just your dress?”
            Iris took every compliment with ceaseless modesty, and at the end of the day she thought that the dress must be magical, or perhaps a gift from a fairy. Nobody ever came to claim it, so Iris kept the dress, and from then on she was rarely seen without it. The sylph princess received many other dresses over the course of the year, and was very happy with them, and never had any reason to think of this one lost dress. Nobody from the palace bothered to look for it. The dress became Iris’ signature outfit, and in her small town it became what she was known for.
        Neither Iris nor anybody who knew her ever found out that her iconic dress had been made for a princess. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Elf and the Magnolia, part 7

“What should I call you?” Goldenrod asked the magnolia as he tucked it into bed beside him that first night. “I don’t suppose you have a name, and as beautiful a word as it is, I don’t feel right calling you only ‘magnolia.’ I suppose you don’t mind if I name you myself? I would like to call you Summer, for you are as bright and radiant as the summer sun, even in your poor condition. And I would like to be reminded of this beautiful summer that brought us together. Would you like to be called Summer?”
            The magnolia did not protest, so Summer she was named. Every morning, Goldenrod kissed her and said, “Good morning, Summer, darling!” Then his mother would do the same for him and his brothers and sisters.
            Summer would stay by his side for the entirety of the day; sometimes, he would take her high up into the tree and find a private branch for the two of them to sit on and enjoy eachother’s company. Sometimes he took her down to the ground to visit his friend the spider. He would dance with her, holding her up high and swaying her back and forth in the sunlight—his mother had told him that blossoms needed sunlight to thrive. At night, he would tuck her into bed, kiss her goodnight, and rest his head on her petals.
            Goldenrod’s brothers and sisters told their friends that Goldenrod was courting a magnolia blossom. Goldenrod had never thought of himself as courting Summer until then, but he found that he liked the idea immensely. “Finally,” he told her, “I’ve found somebody to court, and she is the loveliest girl I ever could have found! Summer, we’re lovers now. I love you devotedly, dear Summer!”
            Goldenrod completely forgot about finding other elves. After all, he thought, no elf girl could ever match Summer. He kept her close to him throughout the rest of that glorious July, and when August came, Goldenrod thought it was time for him to ask for Summer’s hand in marriage. It would only be a half-year before he would be old enough to wed, and he wanted to ensure once and for all that Summer would be the only one for him.
            But on that first day of August, when Goldenrod had made up his mind to ask for Summer’s hand, he woke to a horrible sight: Summer’s petals, which were once milk white, had tarnished to an ugly dingy brown. Instead of forming five lively points, they were curled and shriveled. She had grown pale and dry, and her once yellow center was beginning to blacken. Goldenrod shrieked, which woke everyone else in the nest that had still been asleep.
            “Summer’s dying!” Goldenrod cried. Then he let out an ear-splitting wail, which his family was sure could be heard throughout the entire tree and the next tree over. They all embraced him and kissed him and patted him and told him gentle-sounding things that held no meaning to him. His mother gently stroked one of Summer’s petals. “Summer has lived so much longer than I expected her to,” she said. “Why, any other blossom would have died in only a week, or perhaps even a few days. She’s surprised me by living for four weeks.”
            “She’s surprised me too,” said one of his brothers. “Goldenrod must’ve taken very good care of her.” The others nodded and murmured in agreement, and said things like, “You ought to be very proud, Goldenrod,” and “You’re a real hero for that poor little blossom!”
            But Goldenrod only sobbed and cried, “She can’t die yet! I am going to marry her! I was going to ask for her hand in marriage today…oh, she really mustn’t die! She mustn’t!” And though he really knew it was hopeless, he cradled Summer gently in his arms and said, “Summer, my darling, I love you, and I would like to marry you when we are old enough to wed. You simply cannot die right now! You…must…live…so we…can be…together!
           Goldenrod held the blossom to his chest and fell into his mother’s arms, sobbing and wailing with ceaseless intensity. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Elf and the Magnolia, part 6

Goldenrod returned to his tree by himself, cradling the little magnolia blossom the whole way and saying the sweetest words he could think to say: “Oh, you lovely beautiful pretty magnolia blossom, sweet and dainty lady, precious adoring darling.” He patted its petal and kissed it over and over again. When he finally reached the tree, he shouldered the blossom carefully and scrambled up the branches that led to his nest.
            “Mama!” Goldenrod’s mother and all of his siblings were home now, and his shrill bellowing sent them all running over at once with concerned looks and concerned voices; “Goldenrod! Are you all right?” “What happened, Goldenrod?” “Did something hurt you?” “Did you fall off of something?” Goldenrod shook his head at all of them and said, “I found this poor little magnolia blossom, and she’s hurt. Mama, please make her well again!”
            “Goldenrod,” said one of his sisters, “magnolia blossoms aren’t ‘hims’ or ‘hers.’ They’re not like birds. They’re just blossoms. And it’s not hurt. It’s fallen from the tree, that’s all.”
            Goldenrod refused to accept this. “But oh, just look at her!” he cried. “She is hurt, and I know she feels it! Please, Mama, please do something!”
            The mother finch took the blossom from Goldenrod and looked it over carefully. His brothers and sisters gave him odd looks, and he overheard one of his brothers whispering, “Has he gone mad?” Goldenrod glared at him, but said nothing. His heart and his mind were entirely focused on the poor blossom.
            Finally, his mother sighed and said, “Goldenrod, I don’t know what I can do for this blossom. Once it’s fallen from the tree, there really isn’t much you can do to keep it alive.”
            “Then let her stay with me!” Goldenrod cried. “I’ll take care of her! I’ll talk with her and tend to her all day, and sleep with her by my side all night. Can she stay here, Mama? Please?”
            Goldenrod’s mother smiled and said, “I certainly don’t see why not.” 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Elf and the Magnolia, part 5

Goldenrod followed the spider, who he found to be very good company. He now assumed that all spiders were as friendly and well-spoken as this one, and so he no longer had anything to fear from spiders. As they walked, Goldenrod talked with the spider about everything he could think to talk about: he told her about his family, and about how dearly he loved his mother and siblings. He told her about the tall tree they lived in, and the other finches that he had made friends with. He told her about his siblings’ flying lessons, and the impressive tricks they were now learning. The spider enjoyed his chatter, and when he had finally worn himself out from talking she told him that he was a very charming little elf and that she had thoroughly enjoyed his company. Goldenrod was very pleased to receive a compliment from his new friend.
            “Have you ever seen any elves?” Goldenrod asked the spider. “What do they look like? Are they a lot like me?”
            “Yes,” the spider replied. “I’ve seen very many elves, and my favorites are always the little children, who come to me without fear. Elves have long, golden hair the color of a sunbeam, and their faces are as sweet as roses and their voices as musical as bells. So yes, other elves are very much like you.”
            Goldenrod’s pleasure in hearing the spider’s compliments was interrupted when he caught something out of the corner of his eye: a small, faded milk-white thing lying on top of a patch of bright green moss. Goldenrod had never seen such a thing before—a five-pointed thing with patches of brown at the tips of the points, looking dirty and out of place against the beautiful white of the rest of the object. The object was shriveled and curling in places, and to Goldenrod it looked sick and weak, and he was filled with the desire to help it and care for it. He turned to his friend and said, “Miss Spider, what’s that?”
            The spider turned her head—and to do this, she had to turn her entire body—and said, “What’s what? Please point to it.”
            Goldenrod pointed to the sad-looking object lying on top of the moss.
            “That’s a magnolia blossom,” said the spider. “They fall off of the magnolia trees one month after they’ve opened up.”
            Magnolia blossom. They were the most beautiful words Goldenrod had ever heard. Gingerly, he picked up the sweet little object and cradled it in his arms the way his mother often cradled him. “Poor little thing,” he crooned. “Poor little magnolia blossom.” The words were so lovely that he sounded out each syllable as if he were trying to savor them, like he would savor a sweet fruit. “Is she sick, Miss Spider? Is she very sick?”
            “Blossoms always weaken when they break from the tree,” explained the spider. “Once that happens, they have nothing to give them life anymore. That blossom will grow weaker and weaker over time, and eventually it will die.”
           “Oh, no, no, no!” Goldenrod pulled the blossom close to him, as if he were protecting a child. “That can’t happen! This magnolia blossom is too young and pretty to die!” The spider attempted to say something, but Goldenrod would not be spoken over. “I won’t let her die!” he went on. “I will take her home, and my mother will know what to do to save her! The other elves can wait!”