Story: Wolf Queen

Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash

A princess is a creature of grace, poise, decorum. They are soft, gentle, patient. I, however, was none of those things, much to my parents’ despair.

  They only brought that upon themselves, of course. A firstborn daughter, a royal invitation to greet the new monarch not sent, and therefore an insult perceived by a powerful magical being. You know how the story goes. I was cursed and, in my story, there were no blessings to gentle it. No other wishes for my future, or what little she left of it. Just a creature of shadow and talon which appeared, damned the bright vision my parents had of my life, and vanished.

   My childhood was a moderately happy one, even with the dark cloud of the curse hanging forever in my periphery. My parents loved me. My sisters, when they were born, did the same. And I of course love them with all that I am. My parents hired tutors, made sure I learned what it meant to be a monarch, made sure I was prepared for a future of rule. They simply made sure my sister learned as well.

   “Just in case.” My father would say, his gaze flitting across the empty hallways as if something unseen was always listening, always watching.

   And when I got too restless, when the green of the forest and the blue of the lake called to me and I couldn’t help but give in to the need to run, to chase, they took me riding. We’d make trips, have picnics, run around on the heather-filled fields and watch the sky change her colour with the setting sun. For the longest time, we were as happy as we could be.

   My eighteenth birthday was a beautiful and clear full moon night. The air rife with the scents of fresh bread and roasted meats of the feast held in honour of my coming of age. Gentle and joyful music filled the ballroom as people danced and laughed all night.

In an empty hallway, as far away from people as I could get, I screamed and cried as my body tore itself apart. As the wildness that had always lived inside of me wanted out. The howl that tore from my newly changed throat was loud enough to wake the entire city.

   I should have been terrified. I should be lamenting the turn my life had taken, all the things I now no longer could do. I should have felt all of those things. But when I made my way out of the castle and into the forest, the ground soft underneath my paws, the silver moonlight a gentle caress on my fur, I couldn’t help but think that his curse tasted a lot like freedom.

   The wildness that had always lived inside of me, the parts that longed to shed the tight clothing and even tighter responsibilities of nobility, were torn from the inner shadow where I had hidden them and shoved into the light. The parts of me that wished to run, to hunt, to feast, finally had a chance to be free.

   Things changed after that.

   Now, people are wary, afraid. My parents try, they really do. To teach me to act normal, ladylike, human. It’s of no use. The wolf lurks under my skin, peering out of my eyes.

People whisper about how much of a waste it is, such a shame, that a curse has changed me so. They don’t see, they don’t understand. The wolf, the wildness, the hunger, has always been there. It is me, the deepest parts of my soul given physical form.

   Life goes on. My sister, perfect, composed, kind, steps into the limelight. Or is pushed, I should say. To placate those who question my place at Court. Meanwhile I am forced into the background. An animal in the shadows meant to be forgotten.

   My wolf balks at the idea of corsets, of rules, of restriction. Doesn’t understand the need for playing nice with nobles it doesn’t like. She’s a creature of instinct, simplicity, and therefore, so am I.

   I spend my days roaming the grounds, protecting what is mine. The people of the city avert their eyes as I go past. Whisper about curses and how they spread, about what it means for the Kingdom that their princess is now a different creature altogether.

My wolf claims the entirety kingdom as her territory and as I get older, I travel further. Checking in daily with the people on the far edges of the lands. The misfits and the outcasts. The ones with wisdom and magic who have been pushed towards the edges of the kingdom long before I was born. Hatred and fear pushed us all here, to the lands where the briar grows three men tall. Where the trees and the shadows move on their own and where the water of the lake is always smooth, no matter how fierce the storm.

I help where I can, chasing off the foxes for the farmers, climbing trees to hang fetches and talismans for protection, bringing food to those who need it most. Most time is spent drinking tea and discussing life with the old lady whom everyone calls ‘witch’. She teaches me all she knows. Things the tutors at the castle never knew to teach me. About the plants and trees that grow, the animals that roam deep within the forest. About life here, on the outskirts of society, and all the peoples and creatures that are part of it. Here, the people look me in the eye. They bow their heads in respect but never in fear. The bravest of the children ask to card their hands through my fur. The old woman laughingly gifts me a crown of twigs and burrs and rowanberries the colour of blood. Every time I’m in my human skin I wear that crown with pride.

   One day, deep within the forest at the edge of my territory, I meet her. The being who has brought all that was hidden within me to the front and then illuminated it. I shift back to human, standing before her, naked and open, but never vulnerable, thanks to her. I thank her for the gifts she has given me. For the freedom and power and strength. The look on her face when I name her fairy godmother is priceless.

   She smiles at me then, a flash of razor-sharp teeth. I bare my own fangs back at her. She asks me then, if I understand. How they are being treated. Those who do not fit in, those who are made of wildness and shadow and blood. How they are shunned because of what they are.

   She tells me this will change, once I am queen. When I tell her that I never will be, that my parents will never find a match for me, she simply laughs and tells me not to worry. After all, I have a fairy godmother now.

   She keeps close after that. Always watching, always near, but never interfering. Not unless I ask her to. So when war, inevitably, finds itself at our borders, I ask for her aid. I stand in the middle of the bloodied battlefield, staring at the incoming forces. The wolf in me is itching underneath my skin. She wishes to hunt, to kill, to feel flesh rip underneath her claws, blood filling her mouth as she tears them apart. So I call out to my fairy godmother, asking if she would join me for a hunt, before I shed my skin along with my humanity and charge forward.

   The battle is brutal and short. The enemy army is better trained, but not against the army of outcasts led by myself and my fairy godmother. Their swords and shields quickly fall against our teeth, claws and magic.

Afterwards, I greet my father on the battlefield. Bare and covered in blood. There is fear in his eyes, yes, but also respect. And, for the first time, trust.

   Things change once again. I am brought back into the castle, but nothing is the same. I spend most of my time in the forests, still, but I also find myself fighting. Training with weapons other than tooth and claw. Weathered old men, tutors, hired by my father to teach me all they know. I learn how much I don’t know, how much there is still to learn. I earn my scars, even if they never stay for long. I earn their respect, even if it is hard won. I am no longer alone, some of my people from the outskirts join me and never leave their princess’ side.

   It doesn’t take long before suitors come from all over the world, wishing to marry one of my sisters. Singing praises about the small kingdom that could so quickly put an end to war. That could tame monsters and wild things. Silly men, none of us were tamed, we simply chose to fight.

   My parents and sisters work hard to get the most advantageous matches. To make sure that both the kingdom and my sisters will continue to grow and prosper. Bargains are struck, feasts are had. One by one my sisters move away, happy with their chosen husbands. All of them are visited by a giant wolf at least once. They know to treat my sisters well, or one night feel the sharp tips of my fangs against their throat.

   Years later I am gifted another crown. It is a beautiful thing. Delicate golden flowers and bright shining gems. It feels uncomfortable to me the way all pretty things do. “It might not suit you,” my father tells me, “but you have earned it.”

“As you have earned your rest.” I tell him.

“You will be wonderful, my Queen.”

   Rumors start spreading, about the Wolfqueen, the Wild One, sitting upon a blood-red throne. About the Kingdom of monsters where beasts, fae and man live free. About the Queen with the Iron Heart, who turns away all who wish to court her, and kills all who dare more.

   It’s not that I do not want someone at my side. I do. I wish for the love that my parents share. That my sisters eventually found with their husbands. But all those who come for my hand, those who finally dare when I have no more free sisters left, come for just that. My hand but not my heart. They are all poised and polished. Perfect little princes who look towards the wealth of the castle but away from the wildness within me. They are afraid to meet my wolf’s cold, assessing gaze.

   Some even try to change me, to find the human underneath the wolf. They only try once.

   For years, I rule alone. Through another war, through a plague born of magic, through prosperity and abundance. My people always by my side but no one to claim my heart.

   But then, a commotion. A man, dressed in furs. No scars on his body, but plenty on his soul. His eyes glowing the same gold as mine in the gentle torchlight. A wildness in them that my wolf recognizes. A challenge that my wolf is eager to take, to rise up to.

   “Your Oracle told me to come here.” He tells me, “I asked for guidance, to find what my heart truly desires, and she sent me to you.”

   My fairy godmother steps up behind me, laying a hand on my shoulder. I can’t see her, but I know she is smiling a smile of sharp pointed teeth. No doubt the oracle he speaks of.

   “My Queen,” he continues, bowing deep, his eyes never leaving mine, “I came looking for connection, for freedom. I believe I will find it with your time and your company. Will you grant me it?”

   “And what, my prince,” for if my fairy godmother sent him, he can only be that, “will you grant me in return?” I lean forward, eager, hungry.

   “Loyalty,” he steps forward, onto the dais, “companionship and understanding.” He leans over me for a single, challenging moment, before kneeling before me, baring his throat. “Perhaps in time even love. But for now, the thrill of a hunt. Of a chase.” He grins, baring sharp fangs. A breath, and a beautiful black-furred wolf sits in front of me.

Oh – the hunt is on. A thrill goes through me as I shift, ready to run, to chase him down and claim him for my own. For if one thing is certain, it is that I am a wild thing, a Queen, a hunter, but never, ever, prey.

Poetry: Moon Phases

Magic flows
Power grows
As the moon so brightly glows

Vices cease
Old release
As the moonlight does decrease

Darkness guide
Look inside
As the moon Her face does hide

Goals refine
Create divine
As the moonlight grows in shine

Background photo: Ganapathy Kumar on Unsplash
Poem: Marjolijn Ashara

Poetry: Find me, sister

A poem inspired by the Goddess Baduhenna.

Find me, sister
In marsh-filled forest
In sacred grove
The places which are wild and raw and free
Filled with magic and power

Find me, sister
Through ties of blood
Through bonds of spirit
See me in the faces of your kindred,
Connected and rooted to all life

Find me, sister
In spring’s green delight
In summer’s bright splendour
For, like you, nature grows and blooms
It perseveres through all adversity

Find me, sister
In the call of the crow
In the howl of the wolf
Join the frenzied roar of thousands,
And fight for those who are oppressed

Find me, sister
With fangs bared
With claws curled
Head held high and strength in your spine
Never giving in nor giving ground

Find me, sister
Crowned in iron
Crowned in madness
With shadows twisting behind my rooted throne
Whispering of all your deepest fears

Find me, sister
In darkened forest
In the depth of night
When you are wounded and bleeding
Open and vulnerable for all to see

Find me, sister
Through your tears
Through your rage
Bruised but never weak nor defeated
Bending but never, ever broken

Find me, sister
Within your heart
Within yourself
You, who are mettle-tested and battle-worn
Wear your scars with dignity

Find me, sister
Within your eyes
Within your bearing
Stand in your power without reservation
With pride in all that you are

Poetry: Wings

Photo by Evie Shaffer (free stock image)
Poem by Marjolijn Ashara (me!)

When they granted me wings
they wished for white feathers
But I painted them black
with the ash of bridges burned
Dyed them blood red
with the embers of my rising

They thought me an angel
pure in careful gentleness
They are wrong
I am a Valkyrie
choosing the slain
on the battlefield
of all that I once was.

Writing fiction as shadow work

Amanda Ylva, a writer who is also on Tumblr posted a reply earlier about how writing fiction helped her through some pretty tough times and deal with some pretty intense emotions. Because it is so personal and contained some triggering subjects I didn’t want to reblog it directly, but it did get me thinking.

She speaks about how she wrote with her depression as the antagonist in the form shadowy creatures. And that is just so amazing to me. It’s a tool that lets you confront your feelings in a direct way without being overwhelmed. You have a degree of separation between you and your depression, namely a character, or at the very least, a pen and paper. And like she says, you can have conversations with your shadowy antagonists, which will probably give you a lot of answers that you didn’t even knew you had.

She also says that she will give dialogue that has been painful for her in the past to her characters. Things said to her that were painful, or thoughts that she’s had about herself. Then other characters react to that in a very healing way. (”I am not worthy, do I even deserve to have desires”) (”your life is your own, you are worthy simply for being alive”). And that is such a good way to deal with that. I have had therapy (and am on the waiting-list to go back) where these techniques were used, but then as a visualisation, where you see yourself as you are now, saying these things to the self you were when this dialogue was born. But with writing it as a different character, you will get different, but no less meaningful, things that will be said.

I’ve had some realizations about my own fiction writing and trauma recently, but that had to do more with certain recurring themes. Certain plotpoints that I keep injecting into my writing in various ways. Some subtle, some less so, but all of them have some themes the same. Using the writing of fiction in this way would be a more direct approach to working through certain thoughts and emotions and yes, shadows as well. I could see this as a technique to “speak” to your shadows, to get them to show themselves and to integrate them.

Thank you, Amanda for giving me something to think deeply on.

(First posted to Tumblr, revised for the blog)

Flash Fiction: Familiar

Sleeping Arctic Fox
Sleeping Arctic Fox

I’ve been working on something, something big. Like worldbuilding big. As you may know by now I love fantasy and I love writing. So it might not come as a surprise to you that one of my dreams is to write a fantasy book {or series of them hihi}. It’s kinda scary, but in a good way. So I’m trying to, very slowly, build a world and all the races, creatures and people that go in it. What helps is writing tiny scenes and stories to flesh out these things. The following story is one of those. This might be part 1, if inspiration for this pair of characters strikes again, who knows! Enjoy, and tell me what you think!

Keep her safe, it was all he could think about while running through a forest he didn’t know, remembering nothing, not even his name. He could remember her name though, Nialura, which was a strange name, he knew, he just didn’t know why. It didn’t matter now anyway, he was still running, still trying to get somewhere safe. Get her somewhere safe.

There was a rumbling noise, lights illuminating the forest around him. A car passing him and pulling to a stop at the side of the road. Was this what he was running from? He couldn’t know, not with the adrenaline and magic coursing through him, pounding against his skin. He swerved away from the car and kept running. If he could find some buildings, maybe he could find shelter, somewhere to hide. A shape stepped out from behind a tree, forcing him to stop.

“David,” the woman asked, “are you alright?”

“Get away.” He all but growled at her, clutching Nialura’s tiny form closer to his chest. She was so small, so vulnerable.

“David? It’s me, Zoe. Why are you running? What’s after you?” The woman stepped closer, her brown eyes wide and worried. Her dark skin looked warm in the afternoon sun that dappled through the trees. She didn’t look dangerous, but how could he be sure. She reached out, as if to touch him. It was too much. He jumped back, twisting to keep Nialura away from her, throwing up a glowing blue barrier between them. The woman, Zoe, jumped as if burned, her eyes flashing a bright silver for a moment before turning back to warm brown. “David!” She exclaimed, a combination of panic and incredibility in her voice. “Will you just tell me what’s going on? You disappear for three days, nobody knows where you went, and you show up here, smelling like fear, naked, running through the forest like the devil himself is chasing you. What happened to you?” She continued, stepping closer to where the blue barrier had been.

“I don’t know.” He, David?, ground out.

She studied him for a moment more. “You don’t even recognize me, do you?” At the shake of his head she continued. “We’re friends, part of the same – family I suppose. We were all really worried about you. What do you remember?”

He closed his eyes for a moment and thought back. There were some flashes of walking through snow, fighting, throwing his magic at people who tried to get him, running towards a giant wall of purple light, seeing Nialura, her white fur almost invisible against the snow and her amber eyes sharp and knowing. He doesn’t say the last part, but tells Zoe about the snow and the fighting and the wall. Her eyes go wide when he mentions it.

“You went Through the Veil?” The way she says it makes him add capitals, like it’s important. “Why would you go there?”

To get her, he thinks but doesn’t say, her huddling form warm against his bare chest. She stirs then, looking up at him with her amber eyes. “You should show her.” A soft voice rings through his head and he knows instantly that it’s Nialura. “I think you knew her, before. She’s not a threat.” 

“Are you sure?” He thinks back, knowing she can hear him too.

“Yes.” She answers, rubbing her cheek against his chest. “She feels safe.” 

“David?” The woman before him asks. “Let’s get out of here, okay? We’ll get you somewhere warm and with clothes.” She’s grinning as she says the last part, but there is too much worry in her eyes. Instead of answering he took a tentative step towards her, still ready to jump out of her reach, despite what Nialura said. He held out his arms, showing her the small white fox nestled in them.

“Nialura.” He tells her as Zoe’s eyes go wide.

“A Familiar.” Zoe breathes in awe and the word strikes a cord within him, yes, that’s what Nialura is. Familiar in a world where he doesn’t know or remember anything. “But – it’s so rare. And – you’re  too young. You should’nt be able to -. How?” She finally seemed to settle on.

“I don’t know.” Was the only answer he was able to give her.

“Finding a Familiar comes with a cost.” She says, dreamlike, like she’s quoting something. She closes her eyes for a moment and when they open again there’s a new light in them, one filled with determination and respect. “Alright, come on, we’ll figure it all out. I’m taking you both home.” She stepped forward and gently curled her hand around his upper arm, being mindful not to touch Nialura. That touch and her words of home are the first things that seem to make sense in this world that he should know but doesn’t. With one last questioning look towards Nialura he does the only thing that feels right; he follows.

 

Flash Fiction: Aftermath

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Lady Wolf by the wonderful Shannon Maer

There was a scene that I’ve had in my head for a long time, but I never quite knew how to start. So when I came across the writing prompt from Sarah Selecky I was very excited! It gave me the opportunity of writing out the scene without the immediate need to turn it into a full story. So here you go, a scene that takes place directly after a tragedy. Let me know what you think!

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I woke up slowly, the heartbeat under my ear a comforting rhythm. The chest I was laying on was solid, rising and falling with his every breath. Strong arms circled me, holding me close. For a moment I snuggled closer into its warmth. That’s when the pain started. There was no sound except for a harsh ringing. My entire body felt like it was on fire, which, now that I remembered what happened, could actually be true. I lifted myself off of my saviour with a pained whimper. I wasn’t on fire, which was a good thing. There was a piece of rebar sticking out of my right thigh, which was a bad thing. Going by how it felt, the bones in that leg were fractured and blood was pouring out of the wound in frightening speed. Now was not the time to freak out, I chastised myself, trying to calm my panicked breathing. Gently I lifted my left leg over the piece the of rebar, rolling onto my back. Now I could finally sit up. The man next to me was still out cold, but I needed to stop my own bleeding before I could check on him. He healed, I didn’t.

Closing my eyes I tried to calm down, deep breaths in and out, willing my body to stop shaking. A rather tough feat when you’re experiencing shock, a voice in my head said. It sounded like my brother. A laugh bubbled up in my throat, but I pushed it down, knowing that if I started laughing I wouldn’t be able to stop. Focus, I told myself again, grabbing the piece of rebar with my left hand. Pushing down the shock and the pain I began chanting the healing spell. I waited until I felt my right hand pulsing with magic, the air around it crackling with energy. It wasn’t the elegant magic I was used to, too filled with terror and pain, but it would at least make sure I wouldn’t die out here, laying in the middle of the street. With one smooth move I yanked the rebar free, pressing my other hand onto the wound and setting the magic free. I screamed as it tore through me like fire, knitting skin and bone back together again.

Still panting through the pain, but certain that I wouldn’t bleed out, I turned my attention back to the man next to me. He looked almost peaceful, laying on his back like he was asleep. He was still breathing and I’d heard his heart beating steadily earlier, so he wasn’t that hurt, just knocked out. He’d also saved my life. I gripped him by the shoulders and started shaking him.

“Hey! Wake up!” No response. “Come on, Wolfman, nap time is over!” Still nothing. I braced myself, knowing he wouldn’t be happy being woken up like this, but he left me no choice. I slapped him across the face with all that I had. “Sam, wake up!” His green eyes flew open and flashed gold as I got out of his way. He sprang up, unnaturally fast and changed. The sound of ripping fabric, bones realigning themselves and suddenly I was face to face with a huge snarling wolf. “You’re okay.” I told him, holding my hands up to show that I was unarmed. “You were unconscious, but you’re alright.” The wolf seemed to calm down at those words. His golden eyes looked me up and down for a moment, no doubt taking in the blood soaking my jeans. He whined low in his throat. “I was hurt, but I’m better now. We need to get out of here, however, I think we both don’t want to be stuck here with the police asking questions we can’t answer.” The wolf bobbed his head up and down in answer. “Alright, your car was around the corner that way, correct?” I asked, gesturing to the west. Another nod. “Then let’s go. Do you know anywhere safe where we can hide, lick our wounds and prepare for the next step?” An enthusiastic whoof and tail-wagging this time. I grinned at him. Slowly I got to my feet, keeping my weight off of my right leg as I straightened. As soon as I tried to take a step however, it buckled under me, almost sending me face first into the rubble. Strong arms gripped me again, keeping me on my feet. Sam was holding me up, in his human form this time.

“Are you sure you’re not hurt?” He asked, helping me step over a big piece of building.
“I tried a healing spell. It patched me up for the moment, but I was too panicked to focus. I’ll need rest and do one when I’m not fearing for my life.” I confessed, gritting my teeth and taking a few steps on my own. Sam stayed close, which I was grateful for.
“We’re not far now. I’m taking you to my family, we’ll be safe there. At least for now.”
I looked into his green eyes, “Are you sure you want to involve your family in this? They already tried to kill us for getting too close.”
A muscle in his jaw clenched in anger. “Which is why my family would want in. Besides, seeing what they can do, we need more manpower.”
I couldn’t argue with that. We’d been taken by surprise and almost hadn’t lived through their attack. Up until now it had just been Sam and me, but if we were to defeat the evil bastards that did this, we needed more people. “Alright.” I told Sam as he opened the door to his black Chevy Camaro and helped me in. Pain shot up my leg from the muscles that weren’t healed properly and I hissed in a breath through my teeth. “I’ll be fine.” I reassured a very worried looking Sam. He nodded and walked to the driver’s side, climbing in and letting his car roar to life. My phone buzzed with an incoming message.
Why are you limping? EV
Spying on me again, brother? TJV
I typed back as we sped down the road towards the edge of the city.
No need, little sister, you are on every news broadcast. AV
Indeed, fleeing the scene with a naked man. Mother will be so proud. EV
“Shit.” I breathed, really not needing my brothers or, heaven forbid, my mother to get involved. But it looked like I had no choice on this one.
“What is it?” Sam asked, his eyes never leaving the road.
“There is news footage of us.”
Sam snarled. “They’ll recognize us.”
“Yes. But I’ll make it go away.” I answered as I typed in a number and pressed my phone to my ear.
“TJ, are you hurt?” My brother answered on the first ring.
“Not at the moment. I’ll need some rest and another healing spell. I’ll be fine.”
“Alright, what do you need?” Augustus asked, his voice all business.
“Get the footage off the air.”
“Done.” He answered, then seemed to pause for a moment. “Is mister Weston still with you?” He asked.
“Yes, we’re heading towards his family. They’re safe.”
“Yes, I read that in the files. Mister Weston, I know you can hear me. Take care of my little sister or this Brotherhood will be the least of your worries. Is that understood?”
I looked apologetically towards Sam, but he simply nodded. “He understands.” I answered Augustus.
“Good. Security teams have been dispatched to your next location along with a healer. They will meet you there. I’ve got Emerson on research, we should arrive with new information around eight. See you then, sister. Be safe.”
“You too.” I answered and ringed off. Relief fought with rage. We were still alive despite the Brotherhood’s efforts, but they harmed a lot of innocent people today. They needed to be stopped, whatever the cost. And now, with our people pulling together, we finally stood a chance.
“We’ll get them.” I said into the quiet interior of the car.
“I know.” Sam answered, the same rage in his eyes. I gripped his hand where it rested on the gear shift for a moment and squeezed. We were safe. At least for the moment.

Flash Fiction: Torrid

once_upon_a_time_by_ironshod-d64kslp
Once Upon a Time by the amazing Anne Stokes

Time for another flash fiction story. This one was written for the prompt: write about the dragon who rescued the princess from the knight. I just had this image of a princess sitting in the palace garden of her home, not happy being rescued at all. Then this happened! Enjoy, and tell me what you think!

This wasn’t the life I’d imagined for myself. Not at all. Not that I’d ever had a lot to say about what my life would look like. I was born a princess, the course of my life had been set in stone since the moment I first drew breath. But stone can crack, and it did when my powers first manifested. My parents were terrified and gave me away as a virgin sacrifice to the dragon that lives high in the mountains on my sixteenth birthday. Needless to say, I wasn’t sacrificed, in fact, the dragon is actually quite nice once you get to know him.
He had vast libraries and loved to talk about all the places he had seen. Even though my life wasn’t my own, it was the only time I’d felt free. There were no expectations to live up to, no mask that I needed to wear. The dragon, I called him Torrid, showed me my true self, and accepted it unconditionally. For a time, I was happy. This, of course, couldn’t last. After just a few years of peace, the princes came to defeat the ‘terrifying dragon’ and save the lost princess.
Eventually it was Prince Evan who defeated the dragon and won me. He didn’t kill my dragon, I begged him not to. Promised I would go with him if he just let Torrid live. Evan dragged me away to his lands, my life again not my own. Our marriage was a huge affair, white flowers on every surface, people arriving from all across the continent to watch the lost princess finally returned. The people of the kingdom fell in love with me, and I with them. But Evan was cruel, both to his people, and to me. Instead of locked in a mountain cave with my dragon I was now trapped in a castle with only animals for company.
The castle gardens were my only place of solace, the one place where I could be away from expectations and the torment that was my husband. The soft petal of a yellow rose was like a caress against my hand as I picked it and smelled its sweet perfume. I turned my head towards the sun, his golden light warming my skin. Days like these were when I missed my dragon the most, his easy company, his gravelly laugh, his eyes glinting when I did something he didn’t expect.
A shadow fell across my face. I blinked up at the figure looming over me. It was a man, young of face and body, but his eyes and silver hair spoke of a soul far older. I knew that soul.
“Torrid?” I gasped.
A soft smile adored his handsome face. “Yes, my princess, it is indeed me.”
“But how? You’re – human?” I wondered, reeling from this revelation.
“Not quite.” He answered as his eyes flashed golden yellow for a moment. “It’s a new trick I learned from an old friend.”
“Torrid, I am so glad to see you. But why are you here? If Evan found out -.” I couldn’t even finish the sentence, a chill running down my spine.
“My dear princess,” the dragon in front of me started, gently taking my hands into his, “my love, I’ve come to win you back.”
I couldn’t stop my wide grin even if I wanted to, knowing that everything I felt for my dragon was clear on my face. And for the first time since I was taken from his, no – our, cave in the mountains, I felt hope stir in my heart.

Short Story: Breathe

breath
Breath by the amazing Selina Fenech

As you might have figure by now, I adore mermaids. I love artworks of mermaids, myths of mermaids and of course, stories of mermaids. So when I found a writing prompt that said to write a story about a mermaid and a princess, I just had to write something. Let me know what you think and enjoy!

He was drowning. He fought with all he had, flailing wildly. Anything to just break through the surface and just breathe, but it was hopeless. His vision was darkening, shifting from black back into colour and he was losing his focus. The ship was becoming smaller, the shimmering of the sun on the surface impossibly far away.

Something moved in the water. He looked at it, watched as it came closer impossibly fast. His eyes grew wide as the shape became more human. A mermaid, his slowing mind provided.

“John!” the mermaid called out through the water. He wondered how he could hear her, and how she knew his name for that matter. A vision, he decided, conjured up by his mind so he wouldn’t die alone. It had to be a vision, for the mermaid wore the face of his captain.

“Marina” he whispered, the last of his breath escaping his lips as she took his face in her hands. She looked worried, her eyes sad as her grey-green hair floated away from her face. The scales of her tail were the same colour he noted, shimmering lavender where the sun hit them just right. It was the last thing he saw before the world turned black once again.

Soft lips pressed against his own. Softer than they were in his dreams and fantasies. It was the most natural thing to breathe in as she exhaled. The pain in his lungs lessened, which his doctor’s mind told him was not a good thing. He clung to his fantasy, deepening the kiss while breathing in her sweet air.

Too soon she pulled back, wonder and desire both glinting in her pale silver eyes. She smiled at him, the soft smile she sometimes wore when they were the only two on deck, gazing at the stars. He smiled back as she gently caressed his face with her fingers. He closed his eyes under her touch. He opened them again when he felt her wind her arms under his armpits, gripping tight around his chest. She pulled up and he had no choice but to follow.

They sped through the water, straight up towards the light of the sun and John thought that if he were to die, this was actually quite pleasant.

At that moment they broke through the surface. There was a lot of shouting and suddenly there was a rope around his chest, pulling him up to the ship while he tried to cough up the water from his lungs. They lowered him to the deck and after more shouting, another figure was laid beside him.

His breath left his lungs on a sharp exhale as he watched the glittering scales of the mermaid’s tail melt away, leaving in their place two very human looking legs.

“Marina?” He rasped as he looked into his captain’s face. The corner of her mouth quirked up in humour at his shock.

“Your pup was right.” Marina said as she nodded towards his daughter, staring at them with wide eyes.

“You’re a – a mermaid pirate captain?” John asked, his voice still raw.

Fondness twinkled in her eyes as she leaned forward. “Mermaid pirate captain princess.” She corrected. Before he could do anything more than gape at her she pressed her still wet lips against his, not caring that the whole crew was watching.

“Ew!” Little Emma’s voice called out. “Does that mean you’ll get married now? Will I be a princess too?” She gasped as she excitedly bounced on the balls of her feet.

John laughed, he couldn’t help it. He laid back down on the deck, pulling Marina into his arms and looked up at the blue sky. As he pressed her close he thanked the lucky stars that it was this ship that he and his daughter had stepped on, so many months ago.