Leisbeth crooned to her pet dragon, Brand. She had raised him from when he was nothing but a babe, pushing his way out of his golden egg.
Brand would never be a huge dragon, but he was worth a lot of money to many people. His scales, his wings, and his teeth were valuable so Leisbeth protected him. She cared for his wounds from hunting for large animals and after locals injured him.
Despite being gentle, Leisbeth could be fierce. She knew she was fragile, but she possessed a gift, sorcery not even Brand knew she possessed.
In turn, Brand was Leisbeth’s protector. He knew she was a soft woman, her voice small and melodic. Her hands uncalloused and her long blond hair shiny and flowing. All these traits of beauty put her in danger.
She knew nothing of the cruel world, that men spilled blood, both dragon and human for small amounts of silver. Brand still remembered the screams of his dragon parents slaughtered, as he fought his way from his golden egg. He was tiny then, but he remembered their terrified roars.
However, Liesbeth had saved him so they would always be together. Brand would protect her inherit gentleness while she would guard him with her magic. Those who would hurt her intelligent companion would regret it.
To Leisbeth, Brand was her friend who in private, loved to be held and stroked. Both their abilities would keep the other alive for thousands of years.
For Day 8 of NaPoWrMo the prompt is writing a poem with repetition. For letter G of the A to Z Challenge. I’m also completing the challenge of writing for Friday’s MusicPrompt from MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie and the song “Jeter Un Sort” by French-Canadian musician Alex Nevsky.
“We be light, we be life, we be fire! We sing electric flame, we rumble underground wind, we dance heaven! Come be we and be free!” ― Kate Griffin, A Madness of Angels
——- I cast a spell, not knowing what resulted,
Whatever the time or secrets you kept.
We’re so closely linked it’s hard to default.
Casting a spell you poisoned; I was swept,
Your magic undid me, your mystic chase,
When I’m without you, life feels bereft.
I did not know how long our lives would each grace —
Cinderella could feel her back begin to ache as she washed the floors by hand. The mansion she now cleaned had been her father’s mansion before her stepmother poisoned his tea. Her stepmother had convinced her father’ s old solicitors that Cinderella was too young to take care of the mansion when she was twelve-years-old. The vile woman had claimed Cinderella’s home for herself and her two spoiled daughters Giselle and Monique.
Cinderella wouldn’t legally be able to have the mansion back until she was married or twenty-five-years-old. She knew her stepmother wouldn’t allow either to occur. Her only hope was to be able to have enough money to afford the solicitor her stepmother had offended.
Her stepmother had refused to marry a well-known solicitor after Cinderella’s father had passed. She knew he was the only one who would take a servant’s case to get back at the stepmother. Until then, Cinderella’s jailor would keep the house and Cinderella as a slave working in it.
She finished washing the floor pleased as they shined. Then, her homely stepsisters walked across it with muddy shoes. When one tripped, both Giselle and Monique began to hit Cinderella. She pushed them away and they kept walking, calling her names. She had to rewash some spots on the floor but she didn’t care. Cinderella had a secret and it was going to free her from the tyranny of her stepmother and stepsisters.
A lonely beggar wandering past the front gate had seen Cinderella crying last night. She had
wanted to attend the ball and with the beggar’s surprising magic powers, he had granted Cinderella’s wish. She realized, however, the beggar wouldn’t be granting this wish without thinking about his own well-being. She could see he was a crafty man and wondered what he was up to, why he would grant her such a request.
He’d created a beautiful frothy blue gown for Cinderella to wear with the most stunning diamond high heels she’d ever seen; Cinderella had a thing for gorgeous shoes. They were so wonderful Cinderella asked if she could keep them after the night ended. The beggar had agreed with a mischevious smile.
Cinderella had a purpose in keeping her diamond heels. She had planned to sneak out of the house in one of her mother’s old dresses and sell her priceless heels to higher the solicitor who so despised her stepmother. She wanted the mansion and what was left of her father’s fortune, especially her sizable dowry, which her stepmother couldn’t get at no matter how hard she tried.
Moreover, Cinderella’s stepmother didn’t know about the money her father had illegally acquired on the black market. It was hidden away in offshore accounts only Cinderella knew about. She couldn’t access them until the day after the ball which was her twenty-fifth birthday.
Cinderella had attended the ball and knew the prince liked her as soon as he saw her. There was a glint in his blue eyes and he had this charming lopsided grin. She hadn’t meant to let him go so far with her — but then they did.
“I really like you,” he told Cinderella, “You’re much more fun those other girls who want to be my wife but won’t put out. Plus, you’re intelligent and make me laugh. Most of the other girls are too scared they will appear unladylike.” She’d giggled surprised at his comment and Cinderella found herself liking him.
She gave the prince a playful punch. He was entertaining but she knew she’d never see him again. Cinderella gazed up at him and said, “Look, this is a one-time thing and that’s all you’re about all going to get from me because I have a curfew. I’m not allowed out often.”
“I’m ‘the prince,’ I can overrule your curfew or any other rules your father has.”
Cinderella sighed, “Sorry, you can’t. I mean it, I have to leave.” Cinderella ran off
before her gown disintegrated and she was left in rags. She swore when she realized only one of her diamond heels had been lost. She’d left one behind while running from the prince but she needed both of them to afford the solicitor. Frustrated she went home and cried herself to sleep.
Then, the prince announced the following day, every young woman in the kingdom needed to try on the diamond heel left behind by the girl he desired above all others.
Cinderella rolled her eyes because she thought the prince was daft. Many women in the kingdom could have the same size feet. She thought about her missing shoe and the beggar, how she was sure he’d been up to something when he granted her wish. She thought the shoes might only fit her feet due to the beggars magic.
The beggar knew Cinderella valued the shoes above all and that’s why he let her keep them. It was strange she would lose track of such beautiful shoes because she loved them so much and had never had shoes this nice before. She knew the crafty beggar had to be responsible for her lost shoe. He probably made the prince fall for her and so that she wouldn’t be able to return to her plan, to sell the shoes and retain her birthright. The beggar had seen the shrewd woman beneath her simple wish.
Cinderella had only been interested in going to the ball because as she was cleaning outside, she recognized the beggar was a powerful wizard in hiding, who had the power to grant wishes. She hadn’t sought to meet the prince but to be provided with a beautiful dress and shoes she could sell to escape. She was upset about ending up with only one diamond heel.
The following week the prince and his servants arrived at the mansion. Her stepmother tried to lock her in a closet but Cinderella had hated her stepmother for many years. She’d had enough of her tyranny and punched the old bat, knocking her out then stuffing her in the closet.
Cinderella hurried down the stairs in one of her mother’s old day dresses. She interrupted Giselle and Monique trying with all their might to jam the shoe on their chubby feet. Cinderella feared her beloved shoe would shatter.
“Careful that’s a diamond shoe,” she cried bringing out the shoe’s twin, slipping both shoes on, doing up the straps, and parading around in them both for the prince to see. He was confused a moment because Cinderella appeared out of place in her outdated dress but he had her brought closer to him by a servant.
The prince gazed into her face and then moved her long hair out of the way to find the tattoo of a bluebird on her upper back. He declared she was the girl from the ball and she would be his new mistress.
“I’m delighted to see you again,” he said to her with a flirtatious raise of his brows. “You’d be the perfect bride but I’m guessing you have little wealth or dowry to go along with your shoes. On the other hand, you’re much less maintenance than any other girl who nearly fit your shoe.”
Cinderella huffed and being as polite as she could, asked to speak to the prince in private. She explained her entire situation to him concerning her stepmother. She told him how priceless her shoes were, that the mansion was legally hers, and that she had a large dowry along with whatever money her stepmother hadn’t used from her father’s wealth; it turned out to be a lot, more than her stepmother had ever realized. Cinderella smirked, it was so like her father to hide more of his money.
Consulting his advisors, the prince decided Cinderella would make a fantastic bride who would add considerable wealth to his kingdom. He sent for the bishop and they were married immediately. A large public wedding followed months later and the stepmother was forced to retire to the countryside.
The prince was generous and gave Cinderella her father’s mansion (with the
deed in her own name) as a wedding present. He married her sisters Gisele and Monique off to two of his dullest cousins but kept their dowries for himself.
He didn’t know about the money hidden in offshore accounts by Cinderella’s father and she decided not to tell him. She was no idiot and decided that every woman, even a princess, needed ‘get away’ money.
The prince was pleased with Cinderella and was happy to have found a princess who was fun and learned quickly. She was smart and helped him increase the value of his kingdom by increasing taxation on the peasants and middle class. Unfortunately, a revolution broke out in the country around the same time, disturbing their happiness. The king and queen were beheaded along with many other nobles.
Cinderella had grown fond of the prince, she was certain she loved him. They
had two twin girls together and it was lucky Cinderella had kept secret the money in her father’s offshore accounts. She used the money to escape to the US and start a new life with her family. The prince wasn’t upset Cinderella had hidden the money. He praised her for being shrewd and prepared for an emergency situation he hadn’t foreseen.
Life was rougher in the US but the money Cinderella had kept hidden allowed the prince to become the owner of several factories and make his way in business, mass-producing expensive shoes of all kinds for woman and men. Cinderella helped him design shoes woman paid hundreds and thousands of dollars to own.
Their twin daughters married well and a century later the Prince’s ancestors would bring out Cinderella’s diamond heels, showing them off as precious heirlooms. In the end, she hadn’t had to sell her diamond heels. Cinderella was allowed to keep them before they married in public. She’d told the prince, “Promise me we never have to sell my diamond heels. If we do I’ll disappear and you’ll never see me again.”
The prince knew Cinderella was a savvy woman who could easily slip away and by then he loved her more than he wanted to admit; he granted her request. He learned that day and later taught his grandsons in America, “Nothing comes between a woman and her shoes.” And that’s how Cinderella and her prince lived happily ever after.
Kyria had been warned since she was a small child, beyond the veil was dangerous. Her older siblings had told her monsters lived there, that there were witches waiting to eat a young child.
What the adults said wasn’t much better. Her Grandma Iris said she’d lose her soul if she was caught in the veil beyond. She talked about shape shifters and immortal creatures of the dark such as vampires and werewolves.
One day hanging the laundry on the line at her grandmothers, Kyria gazed at the veil nearby. She hadn’t thought of it for a long time and she wasn’t sure why it called to her now. She’d never admit she could hear the whispers of the creatures which lived their. They were tempting her and she knew it.
Did everyone in the village see the veil as she did? Kyria believed they had no idea where it physically was, that to them it was was only folklore for children and not a real thing; it was extremely real to Kyria and she knew for her grandmother as well.
Kyria was twenty-four and long past the age of adulthood. Her parents lived together and her siblings with their families. She hadn’t found a suitable man to marry so her father decided she should move in with her ailing Grandmother and care for her. He thought she needed to be of use somewhere since she hadn’t married quickly as her sisters did.
The more Kyria thought about the veil and the mist shrouding it, the more she thought about how she’d never put herself out there in life. She’d always done what she was told and when others failed she was the one who took their place, who filled in so everything went smoothly.
It was how she made up for her so-called “selfishness,” still being single and not having children for her family and village. She wondered why she had never pushed her boundaries and was tired of being ruled by her father’s and her grandmother’s whims.
Kyria loved her Grandma Iris the most because she understood Kyria better than anyone. But her grandma still cautioned her to never cross the veil daily. But grandma was inside sleeping and Kyria heard the whispers from veil more and more these days. They were a sirens call to her.
She ignored all she had been told by her grandma, her family, and her friends as a child. She decided today she would cross the shrouded veil into the other world. Dropping the laundry Kyria walked towards the veil and into the mist surrounding it. The veil shimmered as she came closer and sonorous voice could be heard singing on the other side.
When she reached the line where the spiritual and natural worlds met Kyria stopped for a moment and stood. She smiled and with both hands raised in front of her she was able to feel the mystical energy she was about to pass through.
She stepped into the shimmering fog and breathed deeply. Her long blond hair flew out behind her and it was the last thing her grandmother saw as she watched her granddaughter cross into the other world.
Grandma Iris sighed in frustration but she knew as it had been with her, the veil had been too much of a temptation for Kyria. She knew that adventure and discovery awaited her sheltered granddaughter. As it had been with Iris, the veil and it’s magic was in Kyria’s blood. Grandma Iris was the only one besides Kyria who actually could see the veil, she had made herself guardian of the gateway and hoped Kyria would take over for her one day.
But as the last of Kyria’s blond hair slipped through veil and disappeared, Iris couldn’t help being thrilled for her granddaughter. What awaited Kyria would shape and change her. It would motivate and hurt her, it would be an experience far beyond the scope anyone in the village would ever experience.
Iris blew a kiss towards the veil and whispered a blessing for Kyria. The feelings of excitement in Iris were so intense it was as if it were fifty-years-ago and she herself was crossing the veil.
Thanks to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting last week’s Tale Weaver Prompt. The prompt is to have a character visit this centre of relaxation and cover and recount their experiences. I will use it as continuation of my Teegan’s Potion story. This is Part 4. Here are the links to the other parts of the story. I apologize for taking so long with this last part.
Teegan couldn’t recall ever being at a spa before or a place of retreat. But he hadn’t been given a choice. He was a thief, a crookster. He conned people out of their money, he had been doing so for a couple of hundred-years.
He was almost nomadic, roaming the forests and the woods. He could not help when his curse took over him. He was learning to control it, but even to control it a little was difficult for the first one-hundred-years he lived as this ‘thing.’ Whatever you would term him.
Teegan wasn’t sure himself what he was. But he knew when he was upset, he was still prone to rages where darkness, the shadow of the beast hiding inside him took over. He was in a little town when it happened this time. He’d been in a lodge having a bath, cleaning himself up, shaving his beard when his room was suddenly filled with men. They had come to collect him and in turn the bounty on his head for his years of murderous deeds.
“Teegan of the Forest, we’ve been after you a while. My Father spent his life chasing you and my Grandfather, half his life too. I’m ending it here and bringing you in. You’re a plague on society. I don’t care you can control your wickedness at times. I only care when you’re angry you cannot,” a man named Henry Barger said. He was the brother to a son of the local earl, who had come across Teegan on a bad night.
He vaguely recalled Henry’s father and grandfather, both had been named Henry and hunted him. It wasn’t Teegan’s fault they’d died. They kept pushing him, attacking him, refusing to leave him in peace.
Presently, the men surrounding Teegan tried to rough him up, so he’d be easier to take the Earl of the land. But this wasn’t going to happen so he let his anger grow and consume him. In moments, Teegan’s bedroom had become a bloody battle field. Not one of those men had stood a chance. He hadn’t wanted to kill them, but what choice had they left him? Why in God’s name had the wretched wizard cursed him in the first place? He hadn’t been that evil had he?
He sighed getting back in his still warm bath among the carnage, bathing himself clean of blood before changing his clothes. Teegan snuck out the window and with his wits about him, entered into the forest he knew well.
Hours later, he found himself surrounded again by monks from the local monastery. He laughed, but at the same time, definitely did not want to kill men of the cloth.
“Please let me go,” he said. “I don’t want to hurt any of you. Especially since you’re holy men. Leave me in peace and you’ll never see me again.”
A priest appeared from among the monks. His face lined but his stature regal. “Teegan of the forest, I know a greatdeal about you. I’m Father Matthews. I know you were cursed to live a long life, to suffer. I know what you initially did to invoke your curse. I’m not here to turn you in for coins to the Earl, I’ve come to save you.”
“Save me, why?”
“Because Teegan,” Father Matthew’s replied, ” More killing or trying to kill you, only results in more death. Also, I have a bit of insight into the souls of men and I can see, yours is shredded from your deeds. You will never be able to stop the monster inside alone. But I know someone, a woman of blessed magic who can.”
Teegan rolled his eyes but Father Matthews continued talking.”I have spoken with Hazal and we both feel, she can help you. As long as you drink her potion twice a year withher, she says you will not turn evil when your temper ignites, when you’re unable to harness the beast inside you. We can help Teegan, please let us.”
“I don’t want, I don’t need some witches help,” Teegan sputtered indignantly.
“She’s not any witch and not pureevil as the Wizard who cursed you. He was a ‘Wizard Demon,’ and know one wants to find him after dealing with the fall-out of the curse he gave you. You don’t have much choice Teegan. You need to retreat with Hazal and her clan, they will help you.”
“But if you don’t,” Father Matthews said ominously, “We will end your life right now and we know how to do it. If you choose to meet Hazel, I will bring you to her and once you’ve worked with her for a while, you can go about your life. As long as you always find Hazel and her femaledescendants, to take your potion twice a year, you’re a free man.”
Teegan nodded his understanding at Father Matthews. He gazed around him at the monks in their sack clothe, with torches lit. He peered confused at the priest who instead of trying to hurt him, wanted to help Teegan with his curse. No one was kind to Teegan, not since he’d been human.
He felt the priest was a good man in his heart, trying to help Teegan for Teegan’s sake and everyone Teegan came upon, so he didn’t hurt them unknowingly. Father Matthews promised him what he had always wanted to be able to do, to live his life without the darkness, the shadowy curse which made him a monster.
“Alright Father,” Teegan said. “I will come with you. But promise me this woman Hazel, she will not harm me? Or kill me, herself?”
“I promise and she will say the same.”
Teegan followed Father Matthews back to the monastery. He hoped no one found him before he saw Hazal. He would have to start over in the new world he thought, perhaps, convince this Hazel to come with him if she was pretty? But for now, the monestary was the safest place for Teegan to rest. As he fell asleep, he wondered about this witch, could her potion actuallycontrol his curse?
Sighing he dreamt of a woman with hazel eyes and a soft touch. When he awoke he found himself not in the monestsry, but asleep in a tranquil room in a comfortable bed as those of nobility slept on. The room was ornately decorated and sighing, thinking it was all a dream, Teegan faded back into sleep.
When he awoke again, and the sunlight was pouring into the lavish room, Teegan arose from the softest bed he’d ever slept on. It was plush with furs and woven sheets. He longingly gazed back, wishing he could sleep forever away, but he realized he was here to receive help from the gifted witch of blessed magic named Hazel.
Her family lived well, he thought to himself. He wondered again why, the priest would save someone as terrible as him. Teegan had murdered and hurt so many people when the beast overtook him, especially in the beginning of his cursed life, when he had no control at all. The priest knew what Teegan had initially done to be cursed. Teegan thought back to that day ages ago, almost two-hundred-years.
Back then, he’d only been around twenty-five winters, he wasn’t exactly sure. He’d grown up spoiled, a son of the aristocracy. A future Lord and Vassal, yet he hadn’t known enough to value his position. He hadn’t cared much but for mead, women, and fun.
No women ever caught his attention long. He imagined he had a few bastards here and there among the village lasses and the barmaids. Then there were the maids and courtesans.
There had been a lovely one with dark black hair and blue-eyes. Eyes such a stormy blue, he felt he was drowning in them the first time he saw Eleanor’s eyes. But everyone knew Eleanor was off-limits. She was the Earl’s personal and most current favourite mistress.
But Eleanor had beguiled Teegan as a young man. She was a seasoned suductress and she drew him in.
“Such a handsome man as yourself, all alone in the Earl’s court? I’ve noticed you’ve stopped bringing the servant girls and other courtesans to your bed? The Earl prefers his vassals to be properly taken care of, is something the matter?” Eleanor had asked him, fluttering her lashes and rubbing his arm.
“No Madam, nothing is wrong. But I’m not interested in those women because they’re all the same after a while. I have in my eyes the picture of the most elegant and graceful women in the land and no other woman compares with her beauty or kind manner,” Teegan told Eleanor, who laughed.
“Ah, so is the son, of the Lord of the Forests, in love then?”
“He thinks perhaps, but he is waiting to see what the woman he longs for says to his request. He cannot touch her, but desperately wants to be with her. He would defy all authority to have her. Do you know who she is Eleanor?”
Teegan must have shown he was a tad nervous. He’d never had to proposition a woman before. He’d known what a dangerous situation he was getting himself and his family into, but the price was more than he’d ever dreamed.
Eleanor laughed again,”You play a complicated and deadly game young Teegan. You wouldn’t be the only person defying an Earl or the wretched wizard who follows him around. You’d best consider some other courtesan. Then you will not be killed or worse for touching me. Then again, I like a guy who lives a bit dangerously. Shall we go for a walk in plane sight, so no one thinks we’re doing anything wrong?”
Teegan had agreed and Eleanor had been a wonderfully skilled storyteller, entertaining him, but never touching him, making it seem as if they were keeping each other company, while she waited for the Earl to call for her.
Then, Eleanor had pretended to fall and while Teegan aided Eleanor in righting herself, she whispered: “Meet me at the gamekeepers cottage, tomorrow night.”
Teegan had agreed and they had made love madly there for hours when the Earl and his consort, walked in on Teegan and Eleanor. Eleanor pleaded and was instantly forgiven, the Earl adored her so much. She did nothing to try and save Teegan, saying the whole idea was his fault.
“I’m only a woman, how could I resist him, he charms all the women where ever he goes,” she told the Earl.
He kissed Eleanor, “I forgive you, my love. You couldn’t help yourself. My Wizard will deal with this scoundrel. He’ll make Lord Teegan sorry.”
Then the Earl and Eleanor left the cottage and it was only half-naked Teegan and the evil Wizard. The old man cracked his fingers, his dark eyes eating into Teegan’s soul. Teegan was terrified . . .
Then someone was shaking him awake.
“Teegan,” a melodic and gentle voice said. “Teegan wake-up, we need to have your potion now.”
He mumbled something than yelled. When he was finally awake, a woman with auburn hair, milky skin, and vibrant green eyes was staring at Teegan appearing worried. She brushed the hair back from his face and rocked him as the edges of his nightmare faded.