Roses, Briars, Blood: Part 6

Roses, Briars, Blood

My dark version of Briar Rose continues…

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Roses, Briars, Blood: Part Six

As the snow fell, the kingdom slept.
The beautiful Sorceress stood at the window. It had once looked out over deep slopes of pine and rock, waterfalls and caves, but now the glass was encrusted with ice that admitted only a dim, cold light that shone along the throat and facebones of the Sorceress so her skin shone like a pearl under water. Bored, listless, she traced the lace-like patterns in the ice with a long, jeweled finger. The heat of her finger melted the frost, uncovering a layer of opalescent glass etched with snowflakes. The beautiful Sorceress sighed.
“They look the webs of spiders. The whole castle is ringed with them. The Princess and I wait in the middle to be devoured by Old Spider Time.”

The wavering flames of candles and torches were the only light the Sorceress ever saw now, for winter days were naught but an endless twilight that bled into darkest night. She wandered the endless corridors, drifted up and down the grand stairways, lighting and re-lighting, by sorcery, her thousands of candles as she passed. By sorcery, she changed her gowns as she walked, and by sorcery, she flew over the gardens to look at  the roses that continuously crept up the sides of the tower, in full bloom, despite the snow.
On this day, she gazed in awe at the roses, for they grew very high about the tower and had begun to entwine around the portals, windows, and gargoyles of the castle. the roses were scarlet red and open like gouts of blood against the soft pallor of the snow, their black thorns curving like hooks. It reminded the Sorceress of the Princess’s white hand dripping with blood from the wounding spindle.  But, since she believed this vision was a mirror of her own magic, the Sorceress did not question the true meaning of roses blooming in winter, nor the death that was buried under them.

But on this day, the Sorceress discovered the body of a Prince hanging in the roses. He was tangled in the branches high above the ground as if he had been climbing up the side of the tower, had missed his footing, and fallen to his death, impaled on the strong, black talons of the thorns. His eyes sought the high window of the tower for eternity now.
Why was he there? She must find out, for she thought the nine ladies form the woods had put them all to sleep for one hundred years. Perhaps the Prince had come from a far kingdom.
“They said she would sleep for one-hundred years unless wakened by a Prince’s kiss. I must find out how fast this news has spread among Princes.”

*********

As Mirabelle slept, she dreamed. Gazing from the top of a high tower, she saw a Prince coming along the road. Over and over again he came, but he never got farther than the outside walls of the castle. Sometimes she flew through the air, over forests and mountain peaks. There was a castle in the mountains covered with snow and roses. She flew into the tower where the roses grew over the windows, and forgot where she was. Then she felt she was lying in a pool beneath a layer of ice.  It was dark under there, and the water was cold. Someone walked over her, their boots squeaking and their voice muffled by the snow. Blood splattered down on the ice, staining it bright red. The blood turned into rose petals. Their stems twined around her, holding her in a cage held together with thorns over which roses bloomed and died and bloomed again.

I shall go mad, she thought, for she could think in her endless sleep, if someone doesn’t wake me up.

*********

Not long after the kingdom fell into its enchanted sleep, a troupe of Traveling Players wandered into it, looking for an inn and audience. They found the inn, but the audience looked like figures of wax posed in the acts of drinking and conversation. The Players, finding the castle gates open, and the Gatekeeper frozen with his keys, went into the castle yard, and through the entrance to the Great Hall.

There was a large audience in the banqueting hall frozen in the midst of a feast — a waxworks feast, the players declared all at once.  Another troupe of Players was already there, fixed in grotesque cartwheels, or frozen in the air in the midst of a somersault! They displayed, what the Traveling Players described later on in their tales, a complete lack of elegance and grace. They obviously failed to entertain the two Kings whose heads were on their hands, and their mouths open and snoring. A handsome Prince sat around the corner of the table near the Kings, slumped in his chair holding a small bright object in his hand in which he seemed enraptured even in sleep. The food on the table was still very good, for the very forces of life and death had been arrested under the sorcerous enchantment.

“What can have happened?” the Players muttered as they explored on room after another.

Finally they gave up trying to figure it out and, used to living in an enchanted world, they each found a sumptuous Royal bed and spent a few days living in high style. But Traveling Players being what they are, they were soon on their way, now armed with the most astonishing story of a lost kingdom populated with life-sized dolls.

While on the road, the Players had also seen, high above the trees, a strange tower covered with roses and snow. What could possible live in such a place but a captive Princess guarded by dragon. And so the tale was spread through villages and towns, earning the Players warm hospitality, and much money. Eventually, they were invited to into the Royal Court of the Kingdom on the Other Side of the River where the Queen and the Court were hungry for news of their vanished King and Prince Agramant.

Candle image by Matt Austin

For Part 7 click here:

Roses, Briars, Blood: part 7

Comments are always welcome!

Roses, Briars, Blood is in 11 Parts:

Roses, Briars, Blood: Part 11: Finis

7 thoughts on “Roses, Briars, Blood: Part 6

  1. I AM REALLY ATTRACTED TO THE SORCERESS NOW CAUSE SHE BEHAVES LIKE SNOWFLAKE, I LOVE HER DESCRIPTION AND IT MAKE ME THINK OF THE ICE QUEEN. EVERYTHING IS SO WHITE AND SO SILENT, THE WOMB IS FROZEN AND I WONDER IF THE BEARS MADE IT BACK IN TIME IN THEIR CAVES.I DO ENJOY HER INQUISITIVENESS AND FEEL THAT THE ROSE INSIDE HER IS KIND OF WAKING UP WHEN SHE SEES THE ROSES OUT OF THE SNOW. IT S LIKE FLOATING CAUSE THE GRASP HAS KIND OF BEEN RELEASED. THE PRICE IN THE ROSES IS FUNNY CAUSE HE LOOKS LIKE A DECORATION. I LIKE ALL THE REFLECTIONS OF THE STORY AND HOW THE CHARACTERS WALK THE PATH OF ILLUSION TO RECOVER WHAT IS LOST, ESPECIALLY FOR THE SORCERESS CAUSE SHE IS IN HER OWN PRISON, AND INSIDE SHE WOULD HAVE WANTED A PRINCE TOO, HER BEAUTY SEEMS TO BE THE ONLY LIVING THING AROUND. THE MUSICIAN ARE COOL AND REALLY FAST AND BURN EVERYTHING ON THEIR PATH AND I WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THEIR MUSIC WOULD HAVE WOKEN SOMETHING UP, BUT INSTEAD THEY JUST SEEM TO BE ABLE TO DO A LOT OF NOISE.I DONT KNOW IT REALLY GETS SO SLOW NOW THAT IT IS ALMOST ON THE POINT OF RUPTURE IT TAKES THE SHAPE OF AN ICICLE READY TO PIERCE THE HEART OF THE TALE.IT S ALSO INTERESTING THAT THE BEAUTY OF THE ROSES AND THEIR IDEA OF FREEDOM DOESN T REFLECT HER TRUE BEAUTY AS IT IS FAKE.THE MUSICIANS REALLY BREAK THE SILENT SLUMBER IN WHICH IN THE END YOU D LIKE TO LET YOURSELF GO FOR A WHILE.I LOVE THE FROZEN GATEKEEPER AS I THINK HE IS REALLY IMPORTANT FOR THE REFLECTION OF THE OTHERSIDE. HE S GOT AT LEAST TWO KEYS AND ANOTHER ONE THAT SEEMS TO JOIN THE OTHERS AND SOMETIMES HE GOT IN HIS POCKET. AND THE ROSES ALSO MAKE ME THINK OF SPIDER ROSES AS WELL THE WAY THEY GROW ALONG THE TOWER.IT IS INTERESTING TO SEE THE PAIN YOU VE TO GO THROUGH TO FREE THE PRINCESS BECAUSE OF THE THORNS.OS I WONDER IF THEY ARE STILL GROWING AND CREEP INTO THE ROOM OR JUST MAKE A CURTAIN IN THE END TO DECORATE THE MOON, AS THEY SEEM TO GROW AS THE STORY GOES.I THINK THIS PART IS EVEN MORE PAINFUL AS THE OTHER ONE, CAUSE THE BEAUTIFUL SORCERESS IS AN ILLUSION AND SHE SEEMS TO BE THE KEY HERE TO THE OPENING OF THE GATES, AND AL ELESE IS FROZEN AND ASLEEP TO TH POINT OF MADNESS. IT IS A WINTER THAT HAS NO HOPE NO COLOURS AND JUST A REALLY SMALL IDEA OF REDEMPTION CAUSE THE ROSES STILL GROW BUT WITH THORNS. LABYRINTH ARE USUALLY FULL OF BRIAR ROSES AND CURTAINS AND HISSEN GATEWAYS. BUT IN THIS ONE YOU FEEL YOU HAVE TO ABANDON ALL HOPE AS A NATURAL PROCESS TO REGAIN IT ALL AS IT IS THE ICIEST OF WINTER WHICH VERGE ON BOREDOM, CAUSE EVEN WINTER WANTS TO RETIRE, AND EVEN WINTER SEEMS TO BE TIRED OF DOING THE BIDDING OF THE SORCERESS.I THINK THE 9 LADIES MADE INTO A CAVE THOUGH EVEN THOUGH THEY SEEM FROZEN TO DEATH AND JUMP INTO ONE ANOTHER IN AND OUT TO KEEP WARM.THIS PART IS REALLY PUSHING YOU TO THE BRINK OF THE PRECIPICE NOT BECAUSE YOU WANT A NICE ENDING OR AN ICE ENDING BUT JUST BECAUSE NOTHING MOVES. AND THE ONLY THING IS THE BLOOD THAT DRIPS AND GIVES HOPE.I LOVE YOUR LANSCAPE DESCRIPTION WITH THE SNOW AS EVERYTHING SEEMS TO BE UNIFIED AND THE SAME AND REFLECTS THAT BOREDOM OF THE BEAUTIFUL SORCERESS WHOSE BEAUTY DOESN T REALLY SEEM TO ENETERTAIN HER.BUT YO KIND OF HAVE IN YOUR HEAD THE IDEA OF SELF SACRIFICE, AS EVERYTHING ALSO SEEMS TO CONVERGE TO THE FACT THAT BY MAKING EVERYTHING SPIN AROUND THINGS HAD TO STOP SPINNING AND NOTHING IS THERE TO ENJOY HER BEAUTY, NOT EVEN THE MOON CAUSE IT IS NOT THERE, BUT AS A REFLECTION, JUST LIKE THE 9 LADIES SEEM TO HAVE NO FACE BUT THE FACE OF MIRRORS WHERE YOU CAN SEE YOURSELF WHEN YOU GAZE UPON THEM.IT IS TOTAL FRIGIDITY EVERYWHERE, AND THE INTERNAL ORGANS OF THE EARTH ARE HURTING A LOT.THE PRINCESS SEEMS TO FIND A KIND OF ESCAPE LEAVING HER BODY BEHIND, WHILE ALL THE PEOPLE WHO ARE SLEEP DON T EVN SEEM TO DREAM.AND EVN THE QUEEN SEEMS TO BE FROZEN IN HER OWN COUNTRY AS SHE CAN T EVEN GO TO LOOK FOR HER KING. WHY THE MUSICIANS GO THERE IS A MYSTERY BUT THEY SEEM TO ME LIKE A FIERY SNAKE AS COMPLETLY OPPOSED TO THE 9 LADIES OF THE WOODS.NOW THEIR FIRE IS PROBABLY TO SEXUAL AND RAW AND DON T REALLY CORRESPOND TO THE ELEGANT GARMENT OF WINTER, THEY SEEM TO GO A BIT IN CIRCLE ACTUALLY AND BLINDED AND BURNING WITH DESIRE, BUT A DESIRE OUT OF CONTROL AS IF THEY VE BEEN SEPERATED FROM THEIR HEART.YOUUR TALE IS REALLY MIRRORING LOTS OF THINGS AND EVERYTHING SEEMS TO TOUCH WITHOUT MERGING, IT IS LIKE A WORLD FULL OF WALLS EVERYWHERE AND ENIGMAS WHERE YOU HAVE TO FIND THE KEYS TO KEEP ON GOING ON THE QUEST. I REALLY FEEL LIKE MOVING ALONG THE WALLS MYSELF AND SEEING ALL THOSE CHARACTERS, AND EVERYTHING GETS MORE AND MORE CONFUSING SO IT IS VERY NICE CAUSE I AM ON THE POINT OF ACTUALLY FREEZING MYSELF SO ACTUALLY ONLY CONCENTRATE ON THE ROSES AND THE SPLATTERED BLOOD TO THINK OF GROWTH.

  2. I JUST SAW THE PICTURE OF THE MUSICIANS, AND ACTUALLY I WAS WONDERING HOW MANY THEY WEE AND IMAGINED 4 BUT THE MAYBE 5. IT LIKE THEY CARRY THE ELEMENTS, IT A COOL PICTURE.

  3. ACTUALLY I FEEL COMPASSION FOR THE BEAUTIFUL SORCERESS, AND THE MOON IS CRYING BLOOD, AND THE BLOOD FLOWS SLOWLY ALMOST SPIRALLING DOWN THE MOONSHINE AND DRIPS IN THE ENDLESS RIDDLED OCEAN BELOW, AND I FEEL BETTER CAUSE I FEEL ELEVATED AND FREER FROM THE EMBRACE OF HER ICY GRASP CAUSE SHE IS REALLY GETTING TO YOU, AND THE THE ROSESGROW BEYOND THE WALLS AND ABOVE. YOUR STORY IS REALLY COOL, I DIDN T KNOW I WAS THAT MUCH INTO IT, SO I AM LYING IN THE FOREST AND THE ROSES COVER ME VERY QUICKLY LIKE A WOMB, SO MMMPPHHHH!!!

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