And so we are come to it, the finale. Let’s see what you think… if you are just joining us, part one is here 🙂
The Princess of the Howling Waste.
by JR Manawa.
The princess waited until nightfall by the lifeless body, but eventually she realised there were no answers here, and no hope to be found in waiting by death. So she stood up, brushed the dirt off her ragged clothing, turned her back and walked away.
That night the princess cried herself to sleep. She cried and cried until she drifted off at last just before sunrise,with her hand pressed to her cheek.
Hyenas, vultures, and even the crows gathered around the place where the king had died, but the princess stayed away. She wandered further and further into the wilderness. She had given up looking for keys altogether. What she searched for now was something she would never find – an outstretched arm, a smile, the warm touch of a hand on her cheek. Her desolate world had been completely turned upside down by something she did not understand.
And she was quite put out by it. She left the light altogether, and wandered into lands covered in darkness, lands where she could hide from the thoughts that tormented her, and lands where the laughter of the crows could no longer be heard. Lands where there were things to drown her sorrow, and things to make her forget her pain. But try as she did to convince herself; there was no solace to be found there, and she knew there was now a great distance between her and the box called hope.
Eventually, she learned an important lesson; that all roads we wander, no matter how far they go, or how desperate we are to get away, will always lead back to the place where our heart lies.
The world turned, and eventually she found herself kneeling on her old bed of stones, staring once more at the box called hope. The hyenas and vultures had long moved on from her lands, and the sounds of the murder of crows had faded to the back of her mind.
She scratched her nose, and pushed the matted hair out of her face, and then finally she reached out and picked up the box.
The chains and locks clinked and jingled with every step she took. Her bare feet were blistered and sore from all her walking and wandering, but the extra weight did not affect her. There was only one place left she had not been.
On her way she passed the place where the king had died, so long ago now. She paused and rested the box called hope down in the sand before she went aside to take a look.
Passage of time and the hunger of the wild had left only bleached bones and dust as a memorial to the stranger-king,but as the princess approached his resting place, something sparkled there in the sunlight, beneath the bones.
The princess pounced on the key, snatching it up out of the rib cage and into her hand, forgetting everything else but to run back to the box called hope.
Falling to her knees in the sand before the box, she hardly dared to breathe as the key slid into the lock.
And the lock opened.
The master-key, the skeleton-key, it opened every single lock that chained the box called hope.
At last the princess was left with only a lid to open. With the key still held fast in her hand she took one look behind her to the resting place of the King, and then a look forward toward the locked gates of the city in the distance, and then she looked down at the box.
She opened it, and inside there lay beating her happily ever after.
With love, from this side of darkness xxx
If you liked this, and want another Fairytale, click here to read The Winter King