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:iconscarletbird: More from scarletbird


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Writing by dragonshinobi13

Prose by BonesBleachedBare

Lit by 4cross7he5ky


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June 13, 2011
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I remember lying in the dark the night after we killed the troll. My bandaged side hurt like hell, and I thought maybe the arrow the monster had used had been poisoned. I shivered at the thought and pulled my cloak farther up to my chin. This left my feet, bare, of course, so I sighed heavily as I tried to bend down and cover them again. I had barely moved before he was there, pushing me back down gently and settling his own cloak over me.

"Idiot," I heard him mutter.

I fell asleep with a grin on my weary face.

That I can remember clearly, though it seems so long ago now.

This journey of the king's faithful young knight and a starry-eyed tomboy started months even before then, in the days when we were still infected with those twin diseases, stupidity and recklessness. Others called it youth and bravery. I've discovered there's very little difference, really.

Either way, here we are now, on the cusp of victory. Soon, our trial will be over. It's what he always wanted.

I glance to my side, where the knight crouches in a defensive stance, sword held sideways in front of him, feet planted firmly apart. His tousled hair glows auburn in the light from the stained-glass windows, and his caramel-colored eyes are tired but alert.

We've come a long way. I thought that simply reaching the end was all I wanted, too.

I copy his stance and grin at him. He scowls back, though his mouth twitches in something I've learned is his equivalent of a smile.

Why, so close to the end? Why did I have to realize this now?

Maybe those thoughts were a prayer to God. If they were, He doesn't have time to answer before the sorceress attacks, flinging wild thunderbolts at us with gleeful abandon. We dodge them, working in perfect tandem with one another. Our movements flow as one, the slightest glance or flick of the wrist communicating everything we need to say. We try to make our way to the front of the chapel, avoiding the ruined statues and half-burned pews that clutter the floor. Every once in a while I stumble over some bones as well. I try not to think about who they belonged to.

"You really think you can defeat me?" the sorceress taunts, cackling maniacally. "Fools!"

Her voice deepens and thunder tears through the air. The paintings on the ceiling send down a torrent of rain, quickly flooding the chapel. Soon the water is up to my shoulders. I struggle to stay afloat as my armor and sword threaten to pull me under. Shrugging off my pauldrons and breastplate, I scan the room for the knight. Precious seconds pass, the sorceress cackling all the while, but I can't find him anywhere. My heart thuds in my chest, panicked like a caged bird, as memories of our encounter with the lake sprite flash in my mind. He can't swim. Oh, God. He can't swim.

At last I spot him, clinging to a piece of blackened wood. He can barely keep his head above the water. The sorceress has seen him too, and is stalking toward him with a malevolent grin twisting across her face. She walks on the water's surface, prancing like a feline about to catch her dinner. Even then she is breathtakingly beautiful, from her luscious, flowing locks to her glowing violet eyes to her curvaceous figure. For a few moments I'm too entranced by her swaying form to move.

Then I see the blue flames that flicker to life on her fingertips. She cradles them in her hands, crouches down in front of him, and brings the flames to her lips. He can only stare at her in horror; his only choices now are drowning or immolation.

The second I realize this, I break out of my trance and scream, "NO!"

The sorceress glares in my direction. She breaks into a wicked smile and purrs, "Would you like to be first, my de—"

She cuts off suddenly with a wince. Stroking her neck in annoyance, she glances down at the knight. With his smug silence, realization dawns on the sorceress' face.

"Why, you little prick," she squeals. "Who gave you that?"

The water begins to flood out of the chapel through some invisible drain. Soon it's only as deep as our ankles. And that's not all. The sorceress looks far more bedraggled than before, and she has sunk a few inches into the water.

"A magic nullifier," I announce proudly, "from a friend. Now we can fight on equal footing."

For the first time, real fear darkens her once-beautiful features. "No! It can't be! I thought I killed him! I thought…" she continues to babble as she struggles to conjure more magic to her fingertips. Blue sparks splutter and spit in vain, and then finally die out when I lunge forward and slice off the sorceress' head in one stroke.

I fall to my knees, breathing heavily.

"It's over. It's finally over."

Without warning I find hot tears trickling down my face and salting my cracked lips. For the longest time I can't get up from where I crouch, palms flat on the stone floor, unkempt hair shielding my pitiful face. I can't move. I can't take the next step, knowing how painful it's going to be.

Before I can feel sorry for myself too long, the knight strides over to me in silence and offers me his hand. "Idiot," he says, his voice rough. "Let's go."

The moment my fingers intertwine around his, I find the strength to stand. I manage to smile the tiniest bit, and only after knowing him for so long can I see that he smiles back. I follow him through a narrow door in the corner of the chapel. Beyond is a dimly-lit chamber filled with horrid-smelling skins and stuffed toads and vials of odd-colored liquid.  A strange, circular pattern drawn in blood covers the floor, and at its exact center lies a young man dressed in white cloth, his eyes closed as if he's in a deep sleep. Reluctantly, I release the knight's comforting grasp and kneel down beside the prince. His fair eyes flutter open and focus on my face.

He smiles deeply. "At last, some brave maiden has come to rescue me."

Even as he struggles to rise to one knee, I know what is coming next. I had been waiting for this moment, dreaming of it, since I first began this journey. This moment was the reason I had fought so hard and for so long, against such bitter odds. And still….

And still, I can't help but glance at the one who took this journey with me, my ever-faithful knight. Is there pain in my eyes, a desperate plea, like what I see now in his own? If my hands were not trapped so tightly in the prince's hold, would they be trembling just like his?

The prince is watching me with an adoring gaze. He's quite handsome, really. And kind, and wealthy, and everything else I could ever want.

At last he asks the question.

"My lady, would you forever be mine? Would you take my hand in marriage?"

I hesitate for a long time before I can reply. This is a privilege beyond anything anyone could hope to be given. Any woman would dream to be in my place.

This is what I always wanted.

Isn't it?
Sorry for the lapse in posting anything! My free time decided to go on vacation without me, it seems.

Just to prove that I'm still alive, here's a quick little story I wrote a while back after binging on way too many fairytale-inspired books and T.V. shows. I really wrote this to ask one question: when the brave knight rescues the princess, who says that they want to get married? What about the other people they met along the way? Except in this case a tomboy rescues a prince...

Or maybe I just wrote it to indulge myself. Fantasy-style action scenes are so fun to write!

I'd be willing to revisit this (whenever my free time decides to come back) so comments/critiques are very welcome.

Questions:

:bulletblue: Is the connection between the main characters evident? I have difficulty writing romance without it coming off as too cheesy or awkward, so this is one thing Iíve been focusing on improving.

:bulletblue: Is there enough backstory to understand whatís going on? I wanted to keep this to a minimum, but is it necessary that I add any more?

:bulletblue: Is the ending too abrupt? Should the narrator reply, or should I leave it open-ended?

Critique for :iconthewrittenrevolution: [link]


[EDIT] Thank you so much for the DD! You people are amazing. :iconcuteblushplz:
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Daily Deviation

Given 2011-09-12
How the Fairytale Ends by ~scarletbird questions the classic ending of a fairy tale. And what's more, as the suggester writes, it is "a marvelous work perfectly combining pace and action with detail and expression." ( Suggested by wyldhoney and Featured by Halatia )
:iconglassmuses:
GlassMuses Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2013
Rarely do I find such a skillfully written piece as this. If it's not perfect, it's darn near close. Well done.
Reply
:iconsigma-echo-seven:
Sigma-Echo-Seven Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2012  Student Writer
I find myself returning to this prose again and again. This will always be one of my favorite pieces of fiction on DeviantART.
Reply
:iconscarletbird:
scarletbird Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012  Student Writer
My goodness, that's the sweetest thing I've ever heard! Thank you, dear! :tighthug:
Reply
:iconsigma-echo-seven:
Sigma-Echo-Seven Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2012  Student Writer
:D
Reply
:iconallthingzporpoise:
AllThingzPorpoise Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2012
Epic! I wasn't actually going to read this, assuming that it would be corny, but then I scanned the first few paragraphs... and it was awesome! :)
Great job not being cliched... you're very talented :D
Reply
:iconscarletbird:
scarletbird Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you! I'm glad you ended up enjoying it. :heart:
Reply
:iconallthingzporpoise:
AllThingzPorpoise Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2012
You're welcome :)
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Fun and fast paced :) I kinda wanna see more of her dynamic with the knight.
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:iconscarletbird:
scarletbird Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2012  Student Writer
Thanks! I kind of do, too. :)
Reply
:icongleekfreak547:
gleekfreak547 Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2011  Student General Artist
take what you have, and make a novel startingfrom the begining. then have the chapter before last come right after ths, then have the begining of the chapter her deny the prince, and kiss the knight she obviousy came to love ove the course of the journey, even though it's pretty obvius he annoyed her at the begining. then the epuloge should be the wedding between the main charachter and the knight. i would be buying this book ho off the press. trust me. lots of others would too.
Reply
:icond3v1l-child:
d3v1l-ChIlD Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
yesss
Reply
:iconkj-illustration:
KJ-Illustration Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Hi (:

Your great piece has been featured in my monthly feature; [link]

:heart:
Reply
:iconscarletbird:
scarletbird Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2011  Student Writer
Thank you! :love:
Reply
:iconkj-illustration:
KJ-Illustration Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
You're very welcome! (:

:heart:
Reply
:iconxxxxzz:
XxXXzZ Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I simply love everything about this. But hey, what do I know? I guess I like how strong the visuals are, especially in the first couple of paragraphs. Good job!
Reply
:iconscarletbird:
scarletbird Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2011  Student Writer
Thank you! :heart:
Reply
:iconquirkytoothbrush:
QuirkyToothbrush Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Your work has been featured here: [link] :D Congrats on the DD! You earned it!
Reply
:iconscarletbird:
scarletbird Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2011  Student Writer
Thank you very much! :love:
Reply
:iconquirkytoothbrush:
QuirkyToothbrush Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You're welcome : )
Reply
:iconthetorbalan:
TheTorbalan Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm no critic but this is absolutely perfect in my eyes! If you ever consider to do a re-write could you keep this one up as well (just in case).

5*
And I hope your free time brings you back something nice :)

~The Torbalan
Reply
:iconscarletbird:
scarletbird Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2011  Student Writer
Thank you! My free time came back for a while, but has since disappeared again. It did bring a lovely summer though, so no complaints. :)
Reply
:iconeve-rebil:
Eve-Rebil Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
First of all, beautiful piece :iconbummiesplz:
I love the various twists of the traditional Fairytale that you've worked in, makes it so unique and fascinating!
To answer your questions:
:bulletblue: The connection the female character feels for the Knight is fairly obvious, and doesn't come off as cheesy to me :D I wish there was a bit more about the Knight's reaction to the marriage proposal (although we assume he expected it?). Does he urge the female protagonist to marry the Prince although he secretly would rather she not? Does he signal her (in his not-so-obvious way) that he wants her to marry him instead? Does fake indifference? The shaking hands are a wee bit vague :hmm:
:bulletblue: I'm not sure I like where the story starts off, as a flashback. Maybe it should start in the present, and then switch to a flashback? As for the amount of backstory, I think it's pretty good. The reader can fairly easily envision the Knight and the protagonist fighting several battles to get to this final point.
:bulletblue: I like the open-ended ending! It definitely makes the reader want more, but at the same time it is so beautiful as it is :aww:
On a random note, I almost wish the Knight had a name. The fact that he doesn't enhances the feeling of this as a twisted fairytale, but distances him from the protagonist. Also the Sorceress is dispatched a bit quickly (with only one chop!). Maybe I'm morbid, but I'd like to know if she explodes, or crumples, or whatever. There's so much detail everywhere but none there :hmm:.
All in all however, the piece is gorgeous as is :iconisaylaplz:
Reply
:icongleekfreak547:
gleekfreak547 Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2011  Student General Artist
agreed.
Reply
:iconscarletbird:
scarletbird Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2011  Student Writer
Thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. :D

I'm so happy you took the time to critique this as well! You have some salient points there, and I'll definitely take them into consideration if I ever find the time to polish this up. :nod:
Reply
:iconeve-rebil:
Eve-Rebil Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
Yes, it was a bit of a long comment :blush: I'm glad the points were helpful though :D
Reply
:iconshembre:
Shembre Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2011
I really enjoyed reading this, and especially so because the ending was so abrupt. It should be that way since one of the reasons why you wrote this was to ask the question of whether or not she chooses the prince or the knight who's been helping her all that time. :D
Reply
:iconscarletbird:
scarletbird Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2011  Student Writer
Thank you!
Reply
:iconshembre:
Shembre Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2011
You're very welcome! :D
Reply
:iconsnowwhiteak:
SnowWhiteAK Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Personally, I would love it if you made it into an entire book. :D! I love it!
Reply
:iconscarletbird:
scarletbird Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2011  Student Writer
Haha, if only I had the time! Thank you! :heart:
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:iconsnowwhiteak:
SnowWhiteAK Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You're welcome!
Reply
:iconsquallsrinoa:
squallsrinoa Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2011  Professional Writer
Wonderfully written. It's a great metaphor to choosing between the "prince charming" of fairy tales, and the "knight" who has stuck by your side through the hardest parts of life. It also breaks the cliche of the damsel in distress. Bravo. :)
Reply
:iconscarletbird:
scarletbird Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2011  Student Writer
Thank you!
Reply
:iconsanguinesmile:
sanguinesmile Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2011
PS. Congratulations on the DD!

PPS. Have you ever read the fairytale The Boy Who Drew Cats?
Reply
:iconscarletbird:
scarletbird Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2011  Student Writer
Thanks! :aww:

I just did, and it was adorable. I'd never even heard of it before, so thanks for mentioning it!
Reply
:iconsanguinesmile:
sanguinesmile Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2011
You're very welcome.

That faerie tale has always been one of my favorites.
Reply
:iconsanguinesmile:
sanguinesmile Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2011
I really like this, very well written. I could see the emotional tie between the companions from the start. There were a couple parts where the flow seemed off, but that might just have been due to my fatigue or the fact that reading words on a screen is. . . less than ideal. I like how the ending is open to interpretation-- It left me wanting more. I'd be interested in seeing this as a full book with more details about their escapades, but the way you started this story at the end with just a sketchy outline of a history really works. All in all, very enjoyable.
Reply
:iconscarletbird:
scarletbird Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2011  Student Writer
Thank you! I'm happy to hear that you liked it enough to want more; sadly, I doubt this will ever become a book. (but that doesn't mean I won't write more tidbits about them, when I'm in the mood. ;P)
Reply
:iconsigma-echo-seven:
Sigma-Echo-Seven Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2011  Student Writer
Answers:
1. Yes. Nothing is really said outright, but the implied emotion is all there.
2. Yes. Sometimes you don't need to do anything more than reference a single mutually shared event to get the point across.
3. I enjoy endings like these. It leaves the question to be answered by the reader's mind.
Overall: A short, powerful piece of work. Thumbs up!
Reply
:iconscarletbird:
scarletbird Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2011  Student Writer
Thanks!
Reply
:iconmanda-of-the-6:
Manda-of-the-6 Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2011  Student General Artist
Congratulations on the DD! Very interesting, well paced and well written piece!
Reply
:iconscarletbird:
scarletbird Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2011  Student Writer
Thank you! :)
Reply
:iconspiritwinned:
spiritwinned Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2011
Here are my responses to your questions:

1. Yes. While it isn't strictly LOVE in the romantic sense, it's very apparent that the two companions are very close friends - quite possibly best of friends. The knight's feelings become more explicitly love when his emotions play on his face in the last part, right before the prince asks the lady for her hand.

2. By the end, I got the general gist of it. It took me a while to place where the troll part came in, or if it was even part of the same quest (I guess I was a bit thrown off by the end of the reverie, and didn't realize that the pair's "quest" was a single entity and wasn't just a series of [semi-]independent adventures. Immediately after the reverie, I got the impression that a lot of time had passed, and that the maiden and knight - now much older - were living a life of adventure together.) Another thing that I wanted to know more about was the magic nullifier; although you explain what it DOES, I kept wondering WHAT it was (was it some kind of weapon that the knight used to stab the sorceress in the neck? Or was it a passive tool and the witch just rubbing her neck in reaction to the sudden loss of magic? I couldn't figure it out.)

3. I think the ending is perfect. I know some people hate endings like this, but I personally think that they are perfectly valid if used correctly (and I believe that you used it correctly). Have you ever read "The Lady, or the Tiger" (by Frank Stockton)? This is somewhat like that, only you make the reader consider the protagonist's options for themselves (rather than just telling them about them) more than Stockton does.
Reply
:iconscarletbird:
scarletbird Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2011  Student Writer
Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :aww:

About the magic nullifier-- it's something very small and sharp, laced with a poison that eliminates one's magical abilities. It can be flicked or thrown, and it would feel like getting pricked by a thorn. Sorry if that's a bit vague; I didn't really spend much time working out the details. :shrug:

I've never read "The Lady, or the Tiger", but it's come up twice now. Meaning, I probably will read that sometime soon. :)
Reply
:iconsilenceisseductive:
SilenceisSeductive Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
loved it
i love your writing...flows beautifully

and plus, the ending is so true because sometimes we'd think about that heavily ever after but when we really think deep into it and alll the slithering things attached to that classical happy ending, we really start to think

for instance, i'd think about cinderella and id think, do i really want to live the rest of my life couped up in a castle, mesmerized by my prince...i mean, id want so much more...adventure and freedom...not to just be dotted upon

amazing, it really touches on the darker side of every little's girl perfect dream
Reply
:iconscarletbird:
scarletbird Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2011  Student Writer
Thank you! The classic "happily ever after" is never as perfect as it sounds, is it? :nod:
Reply
:iconfearless-leo:
Fearless-Leo Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I like it. Short, but powerful. Well written.
Reply
:iconscarletbird:
scarletbird Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2011  Student Writer
Thank you!
Reply
:iconsunshine-valley:
Sunshine-Valley Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I could say many wonderful things about this piece... if I weren't at a loss for words. Extremely well done, I absolutely loved it. Well deserved DD!
Reply
:iconscarletbird:
scarletbird Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2011  Student Writer
Thank you so much! :)
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