Roses, Briars, Blood
My darker version of Briar Rose continues….
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As the priests tied Princess Mirabelle to the stake, the rabble, raising their fists, screamed curses at her. From her senses spinning with fear, all she could see was a sea of contorted black holes spewing waves of pollution into the air.
“This is a mistake! I am Princess Mirabelle!” she cried as the ropes went around her waist.
As the smoldering brands were being laid at her feet, the Princess marveled that these villagers could have been no more than infants in the Sorceress’s time. Many of them had not even been born, yet they acted as though they had been harmed by the Sorceress personally, had been present at her exile.
Such is the power of tales, she mused as the Executioner lit the scrawny kindling, that they believe the dead past can still harm them.
“Sorceress!, Witch! Now we will watch you die!”
As she stood bent and wild eyed, the Prince of her dreams rode by on his ornately caparisoned white horse. He sneered her as the flames bloomed at the edges of the pyre.
“Now I shall go and find the real Princess Mirabelle,” he shouted over the crackling of the flames. “I’ll see what you have done to her, you Witch!”
The Prince charged off in the direction of the forest followed by his entourage of fifty armed men.
The heat grew stifling and the Princess closed her eyes against the brightness of the flames. Her heart fluttered in dread of the fire singing her hair and licking her bare feet.What would happen when it reached the hem of her shift? And as she trembled and cried, she heard the sound of voices singing her name. The dancing flames grew taller, and as they danced, they became Nine Ladies who mysteriously walked out of the inferno to encircle Princess Mirabelle.
Mira…Mira…Mira….belllllle. Do not be afraid. Did you not know that you are immortal?
“Oh, please!” the Princess murmured. “Take me out of here. It is a terrible mistake.”
Suddenly, a wand of fire swept up the back of her dress, and the ropes that held her to the stake broke. Princess Mirabelle crumpled down and would have fallen fell face first into the blaze if something hadn’t lifted her up in time.
The power of flight is still yours, Princess Mirabelle. Had you had forgotten it?
She was floating in the air looking down at the drunken, leering crowd that danced in a ring around the high, snapping fire, celebrating her death, as the Sorceress’s body was consumed in the conflagration.
I am not the Sorceress. She is dead. Now I must go back to the castle before the Prince gets there. I must show him who I really am…
The nine ladies accompanied the flying Princess back to the Sorceress’s castle.
As they flew over the forest, she saw the Prince and his entourage had passed into the region of winter, and were fast approaching the first of the ring walls whose stones were barely to be seen under its cowl of snow, and the wild tangling branches of the briar roses.
At the sight of the wall. Prince Agramant reined in his steed and stood up in his stirrups.
Under a trellis of briars he was able to see the structure of the castle gate. Disconcertingly, he also saw bones hanging on the wall, whose ripped and ravaged silk doublets and satin cloaks flapped like the flags of Princes in the bitterly cold wind, catching on the thorns of the blood red briar roses .
Impatient, and jealous that others had tried to assail his rightful Bride, the Prince shouted at the gate.
“The enchantment is over! The Wicked Enchantress is dead, burned to a crisp, and her soul damned into Hell. Let me in, in the name of God!”
And slowly, the gate was filled with light. And as the light grew, the roses that hung upon it began to sizzle and burn as if they too were subject to the fire. Now the gate stood open, and the dazzled Prince went through.
As she watched the Prince pass through, in that way, from one gate to another, as he made his way up the mountainside toward the castle, Princess Mirabelle’s anxiety increased.
“We must hurry! If he gets into the tower before we do, he shall awaken the sleeping Princess, and thinking she is me, will marry the Sorceress!”
Now the Princess felt as though she was flying through syrup, and wondered if the Sorceress was already awake and trying to prevent her getting to the tower in time. Then she remembered that there was a great force field around the castle, proving the enchantment of that place was not quite over yet.
“We must stop him!” the Princess cried as she watched the Prince trot up the the paved parapet that sloped up to the door of the tower.
She turned to see if the Nine Ladies were still with her and found, to her dismay, that she had merely been talking herself. Suddenly, a loud roar split the air like thunder! Princess Mirabelle spun around and, in her utter terror, almost lost altitude. An enormous dragon was coiled around the turret where the Sorceress slept, spewing flames at the Prince as he climbed towards the entrance. The Prince’s horse reared, bucked him to the ground, and swiftly galloped back down the parapet. The Prince stood up and pulled out his sword to face the monster. It seemed to laugh at him as a flame licked the sword and it fell to the ground like melted wax.
As the Nine Ladies in the form of a dragon, for she knew that was who it was, held the Prince at bay, Princess Mirabelle was able to float through the tower window and into the chamber where her nemesis lay, in all her golden glory, waiting for the Prince’s kiss.
To be continued…The last installment comes next!
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Roses, Briars, 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