Roses, Briars, Blood: Part 4
My dark version of Briar Rose continues…
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When the Princess’s wedding day approached, the King grew anxious. He squabbled with the Queen when she interrupted his brooding and pacing the long corridors, with news of another wedding guest needing the Royal Suite, plus extra rooms for his retainers, or threats that the Prince of Bohemia was going to entertain the Court with his devilish collection of automatons, or that the entire west wing was haunted, so who could they expect to stay there?
The King nodded while the Queen worried on, but did not hear a word she said. He continued to ruminate, certain of only one thing: that whatever he did to protect his daughter must be kept absolutely secret. After many weeks of deep conflict, he simply had her moved, in the dark of the night, into sumptuous, but neglected, chambers in a remote part of the Palace. These rooms were so rarely visited, he had to have a map drawn up just so he could find them again.
Now the Princess was alone. She spent the whole day looking out over the balcony, wondering if she would be able to see the Prince’s entourage approaching along the road for the wedding. But she saw only the mountains , pines, clouds, and birds flying past on the wind. Her nurse was often asleep beside the fire, for the Princess made few demands. Because she was locked in, she saw no reason to wear the beautiful but uncomfortable diamond gloves all the time, so they often sat on her dressing table beside her hair brushes and bottles of scent, outshining of all her other unnecessary jewels. Reading by the fire, she occasionally looked up from her book, and sighed with resigned expectation.
One night, the Princess was awakened when a shaft of bright moonlight was caught in the filmy curtains that blew into the room from the open window casement, setting the room alight, and like moonbeams, the nine ladies from the woods floated in, murmuring, and gazing at the Princess with deep eyes like shadows in their luminous faces. The sound of gongs rolling under the shimmer of silvery bells, came drifting down from someplace higher up within the Palace. The music was haunting and seductive. The Princess sat up to listen to it while the nine ladies stood around her bed in a ring of pale shadows.
“What is that music?” asked the Princess, for she thought she heard a voice among the bells, calling her name in a scale of falling, ghostly notes.
She was answered by a breeze whistling in, that blew the lighted curtains up so that they swirled like white smoke.
The nine ladies stepped forward as of moved by the sound of the bells. They swayed and rippled in the mottled shadows, there, and then not, and there again, like a flash of lightening. A low moaning chant erupted from them like a warning.
“Someone wants me?” the Princess said sitting up.
The Princess got out of bed slowly, and putting a long cloak on over her nightgown, walked toward the door of her chamber. She heard whispering voices, and felt the nine ladies touching her as if to hold her back, but the voice was calling, and calling, just audible under the steady jingling of the bells.
“Someone wants me,” she said. “I must go.”
The Princess was suddenly startled by a sharp whack! She turned to see the diamond gloves had fallen onto the floor. The nine ladies called for a storm. Winds began to buffet the room, and the sound of thunder rolled. The nine ladies stood before the door, blocking the Princess’s way.
Another, louder voice cried out.
“Mirabelle! What is going on in there?”
All of a sudden, the door grew as tall as a tower, and the nurse burst in, dwarfed in the doorway to the size of a terrier. The Princess screamed and ran back into the room. Spinning around, she came face to face with a tapestry of a dying swan edged with shining blue light.
The bells bonged and shimmered and the distant voice called her.
“I must go!” she cried.
Pushing the tapestry aside, the Princess found a gap in the wall. She hurried through it and entered a passageway with stair leading up into the darkness where the bells came from, and the voice was calling, calling, calling her.
The bobbin of her spindle dangled from her long hand, spinning faster and faster, as the beautiful Sorceress stood before her enchanted mirror and watched the Princess ascend the stairs. She sang the song of her name, Mirabelle, insinuating her thoughts into the Princess’s mind as she had always done, stealing the girls’ many gifts, given by the nine ladies, for herself. Now she would take back the Princess’s whole body, for was she not the true mother of this child? Had she not given of her own essence so that the Queen could carry her to birth? Mirabelle would be hers now, for one-hundred years, long enough for the Sorceress to feed off of, taking in everything, even greater beauty, and adding another century to her life.
To be continued…..
Top Image: Waiting Sorceress by Kimded
Click for Part 5: Roses, Briars, Blood: Part 5
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Roses, Brairs, Blood is in 11 parts:
- Roses, Briars, Blood: Part 10
- Roses, Briars, Blood: Part 9
- Roses, Briars, Blood: Part 8
- Roses, Briars, Blood: part 7
- Roses, Briars, Blood:Part 6
- Roses, Briars, Blood: Part 5
- Roses, Briars, Blood: Part 4
- Roses, Briars, Blood: Part 3
- Roses, Briars, Blood: Part 2
- Roses, Briars, Blood:Part 1