Monday, September 1, 2014

I WILL ALWAYS FIND YOU: L. Grace Buller



Once Upon A Time,
A prince and a Faerie met.
They fell in love.

one
they fell in love

            Tessa May scritched out the last of Dame Imraldera's instructions onto the parchment, then set the quill pen aside and stood.
            “You're sure you want to do this?” Dame Imraldera asked, looking Tessa over.
            Tessa smiled. “I'm sure.”
            “And you have it all written down?” Dame Imraldera glanced at the scroll Tessa held.
            Tessa nodded. “I'm all ready. Is Sir Eanrin going to come and see me off?”
            Imraldera shook her head. “Eanrin is busy at Rudiobus.”
            Tessa nodded. “Of course.” Imraldera sighed and handed her a pack. “This should suffice until you reach Parumvir.”
            Tessa slung it over her shoulder and thanked Imraldera.
            She set off into the Wood, taking a Path. Within minutes, she was at the Old Bridge. She trudged through the water, soaking her dress up to the knees.
            “What are you doing?” a voice startled Tessa, and she recognized her charge, Prince Felix.
            “I'm crossing the river.” Tessa said, making it to his side of the bank. She wrung out her skirt.
            “Why not use the bridge?” Felix asked, pushing himself off the ground.
            “Because Dame Imraldera told me not to,” Tessa said. As soon as she saw the happy look on his face, she knew she had said too much.
            “You know Dame Imraldera?” Felix stood, and walked over to Tessa.
            Tessa wrapped her arms around herself. “Yes.”
            “You aren't supposed to say anything, are you?”
            Don't get involved, Imraldera's voice echoed in her head. “You should probably keep it a secret that I said anything,” Tessa explained, sighing.
            “It's okay. No one here even knows who she is anyway.”
            A wood thrush called out somewhere in the forest, and a few lines of song flitted through Tessa's head.
            Beyond the Final Water falling,
            Songs of Spheres recalling,
            When the— Felix distracted Tessa from hearing the rest of the tune.
            “What did she send you here for anyway?” Felix asked, toying with a leaf.
            “Ummm... I just wanting to come see the new palace,” Tessa said, then mentally kicked herself. Good one.
            “Yeah right.” Felix huffed. “I suppose you'll want to get on over there, then?” he asked, sounding a bit disappointed.
            Tess bit her lip. “I could stay if you—“
            Felix shook his head. “No. Go.”
            Tessa frowned. As she turned, she heard him mutter something under his breath. Sighing, Tessa went on her way.

*****

            It was easy enough to get a job as a maid, and Tessa was sent up to clean Felix's room. She entered, and heard a voice behind her. “You're the girl from the Old Bridge,” she recognized Felix's voice right away.
            Tessa debated on whether it was better to respond or do her job. She settled on the latter, and started to clean the ashes out of the fireplace.
            “So, what do you think of the palace?” Felix asked.
            “It's... nice,” Tessa said, and smiled.
            “Do you think Dame Imraldera would like it?”
            “Ummmm....” Tessa bit her lip. “She'd... she'd... um, She'd like it.”
            Felix snorted. “Father wants me to get married.”
            Tessa jerked, spraying ashes all over the clean tiles. Obviously, Tessa chastised herself. Besides, what else did you expect? You aren't supposed to get involved.
            “Ummm...” Tessa struggled for an answer to that. “You're fifteen, sixteen?”
            “Sixteen.” Felix corrected. “Which, when you're a prince, is obviously a marriageable age.”
            “I suppose so,” Tessa said, scooping the ashes into her bucket.
            “Insipid, much?” Felix asked, and Tessa finished scooping the ashes and set to scrubbing the inside of the fireplace. “At least you aren't insipid in appearances,” he said, “after all, not many maids scrub the inside of my fireplace.”
            Tessa blushed fiercely and pulled back. “What do they do, then?”
            “They wash the floors, dust, change the sheets on my bed, and then make the bed.”
            “And I suppose that's what you want me to do?”
            “Sure.” Felix shrugged. “But I suppose it doesn't exactly matter.”
            “It does if I want to keep my job,” Tessa bit her lip and wiped her soot-stained hands on her apron, leaving blackened handprints. She stood.
            Felix sighed. “I've got a meeting to get to,” he muttered, then stood and left her alone in the large chamber.

*****

            The months passed quickly, mostly full of drudgery and spots of sunlight that passed as her conversations with Felix. A friendship was forming between them.
            Tessa stared out at the Old Bridge. The beauty of the fall forest was wonderful, and it framed the vintage bridge as the perfect background. It was these times that made Tessa miss home. She sighed. Soon. Soon I might be able to go home.
            “You okay?” Felix's voice startled Tessa. She turned to him.
            Tessa nodded. “I'm... I'm fine.”
            “You look sad.” Felix sat down on the moist ground.
            “I... I miss home.”
            “Ah. Did you leave family behind?”
            Tessa shook her head, then frowned. “Kind of, I guess. Sir Eanrin is my uncle, but he left me with Dame Imraldera, and he isn't around enough to be considered that. Dame Imraldera's like family, I suppose.” Tessa sat down as well, folding her legs under her. “How about you?” Tessa asked. She knew the answer—one sister, married to the Prince of Farthestshore. But she wanted to hear it from him.
            “I have one sister—Una. She married Aethelbald—the prince of Farthestshore. We used to play here when we were kids. We found Monster here.”
            “Monster?” Tessa asked, glancing over at him.
            “Sir Eanrin. He was our 'Flowing Gold of Rudiobus'. He was the ugliest cat I ever saw.”
            Tessa smiled. “Eanrin did mention something about you one time. He was complaining, though. Do you, um, snore?”
            “Really, Tessa?” Felix rolled his eyes.
            “Eanrin said you did.” Tessa giggled.
            “Honestly,” Felix huffed. “No, I don't snore. That blind cat lied to you.”
            Tessa pulled her hair over to cover her right shoulder. “You said when we met that your father wanted you to marry. Do you have anyone in mind?”
            Felix looked sad for a few moments, then shook his head. “No. I don't.”

*****

            “This is all giving me a headache,” Felix complained, and Tessa smiled, but continued to scrub the office floor. “Would you accompany me on a walk through the gardens?”
            “I'm working.”
            “Imraldera Palace can spare you for an hour to indulge the prince, Tessa.” Felix said propping his chin up on his elbow.
            “I'm filthy, Felix. I'm not quite sure this is the best idea.”
            “Come on, Tessa,” Felix grinned.
            Tessa sighed. “Fine.” she stood and wiped her hands on her apron.
            Felix walked over and held the door open for her, then offered her his arm.
            Tessa took his arm and they walked to the gardens together.
            “So...” Felix glanced over at Tessa. “Did you grow up in Dame Imraldera's care, or were your parents...?”
            “Were my parents alive?” Tessa finished for him. “They never died. They left me with Eanrin when I was twelve and never came back. They could be dead, or maybe they just wanted to get rid of me.”
            “They could be out there somewhere. You could find them.”
            Tessa shook her head. “It's not quite so simple. If they were just getting rid of me, they don't want me. I wouldn't want to force myself on them.”
            “You don't hate them? For what they did?” Felix's brow furrowed in confusion.
            “I could never. They're my parents.” Tessa bit her lip. “Even if they did abandon me, I love them. They raised me for the first twelve years of my life.”
            “It seems like a lot of heartache to carry, not knowing.”
            “It's a burden I have to bear. I don't have the time to go on some wild search for people who could very well be dead.”
            “I could help.” Felix said.
            Tessa frowned. “I don't want to quit my job, if that's what you mean.”
            “No, no, no,” Felix shook his head. “You misunderstand me. I could help you look. I could send someone to look for them.”
            “You would do that?” Tessa asked, glancing at him.
            “You're my friend.”
            Tessa blushed. “Thank you so much.”
            “What are their names?”
            “Erin and Calden Jost.” Tessa said. “Thank you, Felix.”
            “It's nothi—get down, Tessa!” Felix grabbed Tessa by the shoulders and pulled her down to the ground. An arrow hit the bench they had been standing by, then clattered to the ground. Tessa shuddered. Someone had tried to kill them—who? Not them. Felix.
            Felix groaned. Tessa glanced at him. His arm was twisted at a weird angle, and a scrape decorated his head. “Felix,” Tessa swallowed hard. The arm was obviously broken. Tessa helped Felix to his feet once it was obvious that the attacker was gone.
            “You should not have done that,” Tessa said, frowning.
            Felix smiled. “You're my friend.”

*****

            “My father came to see me,” Felix told Tessa as she dragged a chair towards his bed.
            “Hm,” she said in response.
            “He wants me to get a bodyguard of sorts,” Felix said.
            “Oh,” Tessa answered, confused.
            “Tessa.” Felix said. “Pay attention. I'm trying to offer you a job.”
            “A job?” Tessa frowned. “What—oh. You want me to be your bodyguard?”
            “It pays better. And you get a nice room.” Felix smiled.
            “But... I'm, uh...”
            “You're my friend. And I went to your room yesterday. It's the worst I've ever seen.” Felix grinned. “So?”
            Tessa smiled, though she was still quite surprised. “Uh... okay?” she said, then grinned right back at him.

*****
            “You are my son's new companion?” King Fidel asked.
            “I am, my lord.”
            “Where are you from?” The question paused Tessa, and she scrambled to remember the cover story she and Felix had invented.
            “Beauclair.”
            “How did you meet my son?” King Fidel asked, and Tessa suddenly realized what he was thinking. Oh, goodness. This was desperately awkward.
            “I had, um, I was....”
            “She'd gotten a job as a maid, Father,” Felix stepped in for Tessa. “She was scrubbing my fireplace, and I decided I'd rather have her as my companion than anyone else. She was interesting.”
            King Fidel didn't look pleased. “Do you have any romantic interest in my son?” he asked.
            Tessa's face burned, most assuredly scarlet with embarrassment. “No,” she said, at the same time as Felix. This was a bad idea. Why had she ever told Dame Imraldera she could do this?
            Tessa glanced at Felix, but he looked embarrassed as well and avoided eye contact. She looked back at the king.
            “Very well, I approve,” King Fidel said. “Felix, you may go. I wish to speak with Tessa May alone.”
            Alarmed, Tessa glanced at Felix, who just shrugged and then left.
            “I am willing,” the king said, “to raise your pay in exchange for your promise that you will not fall in love with my son. He doesn't need a distraction.”
            “I will make no such promise,” Tessa said, “not for money. Felix is a prince, my lord, and I am but a peasant.”
            King Fidel looked the slightest bit pleased. “So you will not try and marry him?”
            “I will make you no promises, Your Majesty,” Tessa said, and quickly left.
            Felix waited outside the door. “I'm headed to the barracks yard to practice my swordplay,” he informed her as they walked. “I could give you a lesson or two, if you want.”
            “That's okay,” Tessa said, “I know how to handle a sword.”
            “Dame Imraldera taught you how to use a sword?” Felix asked, surprised.
            “No, it was actually Sir Eanrin who taught me.” Tessa answered, shrugging.
            Felix nodded. “We'll test your knowledge, then.”
            Tessa sighed, then nodded back at him.

*****

            “I would believe we all owe you a debt, Lady Tessa,” one of the Parumvir knights said, approaching Tessa while she watched Felix spar.
            “Do you?” she asked, frowning.
            “Prince Felix has many things, but friends are not among them. The men in his life are there to protect him, and the women in his life see only his title. We are indebted to you for giving him friendship and showing him there's more to your gender than greed.”
            Blushing, Tessa cast her gaze at the floor. “There is no need to thank me,” she said. “I am happy to serve him.”
            “Are you two in love?” the knight asked.
            Not again! Tessa groaned silently. “No, we aren't.”
            The knight shrugged and walked away.
            “Would it be such a bad thing,” Felix said, “to be in love with me?”
            Tessa turned to him. She hadn't realized his fight was over. “It would be completely impossible,” she answered carefully.
            “Am I that horrible?” Felix asked, frowning.
            Tessa shook her head. “You lose my meaning, Your Majesty. If I ever fell in love with you, your father would...”
            “Do something horrible, I'm sure. I heard what he said. But what do you think?”
            “In truth?”
            “In truth.”
            “In truth, you'd make a good husband for any girl. In truth...”
            “In truth...?” Felix asked, looking her deep in the eye.
            “In truth, you're wonderful.” Tessa murmured, suddenly aware that he held one of her hands.
            “I think the lady means that you smell, Prince Felix,” one of the knights called out, and the others laughed.
            Tessa's cheeks burned as she remembered where they were. She jerked her hand from Felix's and straightened.
            “Am I truly wonderful?” Felix asked her, before she had a chance to move away from him.
            “Yes,” Tessa said, swallowing, “you are.”
            It was then she realized she would hate any girl that married him.

*****

            Sprawled in the huge bed that came with her new job that night, Tessa couldn't sleep. If she listened closely, she thought she could hear Felix snoring four rooms down from her.
            She sighed. No—that was silly. Her imagination.
            Tessa shifted slightly in bed, and then, with a huff, sat up and lit the candle on her bedside table. She pulled on a robe over her nightgown. Blowing out the candle, she quietly crept from her room. In the hallway, her imagination didn't seem so over-reactive. In fact, loud snoring filled the hall. Tessa smiled, and made her way to the gardens. She walked the paths for what seemed like hours, but then she was stopped by the sight of someone else.
            Someone else, who was so obviously Felix.
            “What are you doing out here?” Tessa asked as she approached him.
            “There you are. I couldn't sleep, so I wanted to go for a walk. When I went to find you, you weren't in your room, so I just went for a walk anyway.” Felix shrugged.
            Tessa wrapped her robe tighter around herself. “I couldn't sleep either.” she said, acutely aware of how close he was to her.
            “Tessa,” Felix breathed out her name, and then kissed her. Tessa melted into the kiss, putting her arms around his neck and kissing him back with all her might. Felix pulled away from Tessa, and studied her expression.
            Then he kissed her again.

*****

            The next morning, Felix seemed to have forgotten their kisses the night before. He woke her early the next morning to attend breakfast with him, and nothing had changed. He was still the prince, and she was still his companion.
            When the prince joined his tutor for classes, King Fidel called Tessa to him.
            “What is the meaning of this?” he asked as she entered.
            “What, Your Majesty?”
            “You were seen a three past midnight kissing my son in the gardens. I demand to know why.”
            “He kissed me, Your Majesty,” Tessa explained, blushing at the thought of the night before.
            “And what were you both doing out there?”
            “The prince couldn't sleep, Your Majesty. He asked me to go for a walk with him.”
            “If you ever kiss my son again or in any way show that you are in love with him, Tessa May, you are finished.”
            Tessa nodded. “Your word is law, Your Majesty,” she said, then added in her mind, But not law I'm bound to follow.
            “You may go now.”
            Tessa turned and left, hoping he hadn't seen the tears running down her cheeks. Tears that told her one simple thing:
            She was falling in love with Felix.

*****

            “Where did you go?” Felix asked as Tessa rejoined him and his tutor. Her eyes burned with held-back tears at the sight of him.
            “I needed to think,” she said.
            Felix scrutinized her face. “You've been crying?”
            Tessa shook her head. Was it really that obvious? “No.”
            Felix shrugged, then gradually paid more attention to his tutor, leaving Tessa to her thoughts.

*****

            That night, in her bed, all Tessa could think about was Felix. She got out of bed and crept to her balcony. Pulling aside the curtain, she looked out. Felix stood where they had met the night before, so very obviously waiting for her. Tessa swallowed and walked back over to her bed, sinking onto the mattress. Sobs overcame her and she fell back, curling into a ball and sobbing.
            “Tessa?” Felix's voice only brought on more sobs. “Are you alright?”
            She felt his hand on her back, and with his other hand he stroked her hair and murmured to her.
            Beyond the Final Water falling,
            Songs of Spheres recalling,
            When the tears come crashing down,
            Won't you come to me? the rest of the wood thrush's song echoed in Tessa's head as Felix took her into his arms, soothingly stroking her hair.
            “What happened, Tessa?” he asked.
            Tessa sniffled, desperately trying to reign in her tears. Oh, why had she cried in front of him?
            Felix's face hovered close to Tessa's, then he leaned forward and kissed her. The kiss was just as beautiful as the night before's, but Tessa's mind refused to let her enjoy it, and brought up King Fidel's words.
            “If you ever kiss my son again or in any way show that you are in love with him, Tessa May, you are finished.”
            Tessa jerked away from Felix. “No,” she said.
            “What?” Felix asked, frowning.
            “We can't do this, Felix,” Tessa said, her heart aching as she spoke.
            “Tessa,” Felix's voice was pained.
            Oh my goodness. I'm breaking his heart, Tessa realized. I can't do this! “Felix, I don't love you.”
            “No,” Felix said, “be quiet. You don't know what you're saying.”
            “I do know, Felix,” Tessa said.
            “No!” Felix said. “You can't do this. I love you.”
            Tessa's heart, without fail, shattered. “I think you should leave my room, Felix,” she said, tears stinging her eyes.
            Felix shook his head. “No!” he kissed her. Tessa melted. What was she doing? Felix pulled away. “See? You love me.”
            Tessa swallowed, then lied. “I don't love you. I never did.”
            Felix's face morphed from heartbreak to anger. “You're done, Tessa. You're not my companion any more. You can't even be a maid here. You will never get a job here.”
            Tessa swallowed. No, no, no, no, no, no! She couldn't even see him??
            Felix stood and walked over to the door. Before leaving, he stopped, and turned to her. “Goodbye, Tessa. I want you out of your room by morning.”

*****

            Several months passed, and Tessa stayed near Felix, but out of sight at all times. Just because she had refused him, it didn't mean she could shirk the job Dame Imraldera had given her.
            The heartache never dulled, a sharp reminder of their love—the love they had lost.

Their love was not to last.
The king separated them.
But there was a ball....


two
but there was a ball

            “Lady Isabel was sayin' to the other ladies that there'll be a ball in the prince's 'honor,” the maids whispered together. “They say the king wants him to pick his bride at the ball.”
            Tessa's heart crushed as she absorbed the words. Felix was going to get married.
            “Who's he shown interest in?” one of the maids asked, a pretty blond who quite obviously had a crush on the prince. Tessa perked up.
            “He's been rather attentive to Lady Isabel, but Lady Karel's maid has had plenty of stories of Lady Karel's encounters with the prince. It seems he favors them both.”
            Looks like he didn't have any trouble getting over me, Tessa thought disparagingly. Oh, Felix, if only I could forget you as readily you've forgotten me.

*****

            Felix shoved the papers aside and growled.
            Tessa.
            Even her name sent warmth through him and set his heart aching. He'd seen her around the palace—she'd worn disguises, but he knew her. Simple disguises couldn't hide her true self.
            Or whoever he thought she was.
            A girl who'd toyed with his heart then tore it in to. Heartless. Bored.
            And the worst part? He had truly believed she cared.
            “Your Majesty?” Felix glanced up at his assistant.
            “Yes?” he asked.
            “Lady Isabel is here to see you.”
            Felix's stomach twisted with disgust. “Let her in, then leave us.”
            His assistant bowed and nodded, then left. Lady Isabel entered mere moments later.
            “Your Majesty,” she said, smiling and curtseying.
            “Lady Isabel,” he said, inclining his head. “You wished to speak with me?”
            She giggled, and it grated on his ears. Felix tried not to wince. “Your Majesty, I know you're busy, but I was thinking I could help you get your mind off of your work. Would you like to go for a walk with me in the gardens?”
            The gardens.
            Felix swallowed. “No, I can't. There's simply too much to be done. I do hope you will forgive me.”
            Lady Isabel faked disappointment. “Very well.” she curtsied, then left.
            Can't you see what you've done to me, Tessa? Felix thought, and then returned to his work.

*****

            I've got to tell him. Tessa realized. There's nothing Fidel can take away from me. I lost Felix because of him, because I was afraid. I can not let him intimidate me anymore. He might be the king off Parumvir, but I'm hardly his subject. He has no authority over me. Tessa stared into her soup. And what's a better place to tell him that then at his son's ball?
            Tessa grinned and started planning.

*****

            “The ball is tonight,” King Fidel said.
            Felix grunted.
            “There will be many eligible ladies there.”
            Felix grunted.
            “Lady Karel was looking for you today.”
            Felix grunted.
            “Felix, say something.”
            Felix muttered something under his breath.
            “What?” King Fidel huffed. “You can't be constantly thinking about that girl, Felix. She gone now. What I did, I did for you. You need to put her behind you.”
            Felix turned quickly towards his father, upsetting his bowl of soup. “What you did? What?”
            King Fidel winced.
            “What did you do to her?” Felix said, jumping for his chair.
            “I told her she is not allowed to fall in love with you.”
            She was following orders, Felix realized. “How could you?”
            “I wanted what was best for you, Felix. Despite what you think, that girl was not the best thing for you.” King Fidel sighed.
            “How are you to judge who is good for me?” Felix asked, then turned and left.
            He had to find Tessa.

*****

            In eight hours, Tessa had managed to create a dress. It was simple enough, a testament to what one could do if they had a maid's outfit and apron. A cut here or there, sleeves, neckline, and skirt hemmed with fabric from her apron. The bodice inlaid with more of the apron, and a ribbon of her blue dress in her hair. All in all, she actually looked pretty good. Tessa emerged from her room, and she heard music coming from down the hall.
            The ball. This was it.
            Tessa took a deep breath and let it out shakily as she made her way down the empty hall to the ballroom. She forced herself forward, parting the crowds, heading for the prince.
            He was dancing. With Lady Karel.
            Tessa shuddered, but then shook it off and headed straight for him. He saw her, and immediately stopped dancing.
            He looked happy to see her.
            Tessa opened her mouth to talk, but Felix rushed forward and hugged her. Tessa leaned against him, feeling safe.
            “Tessa...” she heard King Fidel's disapproving voice. And suddenly, her plan rethought itself. Tessa broke away from Felix's embrace.
            “Felix,” she said, “I love you.”
            Then she ran for her life, out the doors and down the steps.
            She forgot her shoe.

The prince searched, day and night.
He found his Faerie hiding in the forest,
And then something horrible happened.


three
and then something horrible happened

            Felix ran after Tessa, but by the time he reached the steps, she was gone. He glanced down and noticed her shoe lying on the step, then smiled.
            He would find her.
            And when he did, they'd be married.
            Felix picked up the shoe, then turned and took the steps two by two. I will find you, Tessa. I will always find you.

*****

           
Tessa stopped by the Old Bridge, and collapsed in the dirt. She let the tears come.
            The wood thrush sang.
            Beyond the Final Water falling,
            Songs of Spheres recalling,
            When the tears come crashing down,
            Won't you come to me?
            The river roared.
            The trees rustled.
            And someone yelled her name.
            Tessa sat up, sniffling.
            There it was again.
            Closer.
            And again.
            Tessa wiped dirt and tears from her face as Felix emerged from the treeline, carrying her shoe.
            “Tessa?” he said, softly, then smiled. “You forgot your shoe.”
            Tessa stood slowly, then walked over to him. “It's just a shoe.”
            “You were following orders,” Felix said.
            “What?” Tessa asked, confused.
            “When you said you didn't love me all those months ago. You were just following orders.” Felix said. “Why did you come back?”
            “I followed your father's orders because I didn't want to lose you, Felix. But I lost you anyway. I came back because I had nothing more to lose, and something to gain.” Tessa sniffled.
            Felix went down on one knee and held up a box with a ring inside. “Tessa, would you please do me the great honor of becoming my wife?”
            Tessa blanched, then smiled. “Yes.”
            Felix stood and pulled Tessa into a hug. “Well then,” he said. “Shall we return to Imraldera Palace?”
            Tessa nodded. “We should probably think about what to say to your father.”
            Felix took her hand and they walked towards the Palace together. “How about, 'We're getting married'?”
            Tessa smiled. “That'd be fine if he was fine with us getting married. But he isn't.”
            “Hm.” Felix considered this.
            Tessa nodded as he said something more, then concentrated on the forest around them. An arrow whizzed from a bow. Tessa dove in front of it before it hit Felix, the hit the ground with a thud. Pain lanced through her arm and spread through her body.
            Felix fell to his knees beside Tessa. “Tessa?” he asked, then tore her sleeve off around her wound. Black cracks of some poisonous substance littered the skin around the arrow. Felix worked the arrow out and then pulled his tunic off and held it to the wound.
            Tessa groaned. “Felix?”
            “Shhh... The attacker is gone now. He must have thought you were me.”
            Tessa adjusted herself and winced. “Felix...”
            Felix swallowed, obviously crying.
            “Felix, I'm dying.” Tessa said, holding back tears. She had to be strong. For him.
            Felix nodded numbly.
            Tessa let the tears go. “And I love you. So much.” The wood thrush sang.
            Beyond the Final Water falling,
            Songs of Spheres recalling,
            When the tears come crashing down,
            Won't you come to me?
            “Yes,” Tessa said, “yes.”
            Something struck Felix on the neck, and then everything faded from Tessa, as she traveled beyond the Final Water.

*****

            Felix winced, and pulled a dart from his neck. Tessa was gone.
            Tessa....
            Tessa....
            Tessa....
            Tessa....
            Tessa....
            Tessa....
            There was something in that dart...
            How had they met?
            Who was she?
            Why was there a body by him?
            What was he doing in the wood?
            Everything faded, and when he woke up, the body was gone and Felix had no memory of who Tessa was. He returned home with her shoe, and locked it up, unable to throw it away. There it remained.
            And over the years, he forgot about it too.

The End



  


VOTING: If you would like to vote on this or any of the other fan fiction submissions, email your top three titles to me at aestengl@gmail.com. Voting is for fans of the Goldstone Wood series only.

12 comments:

Allison Ruvidich said...

D : Oh, my goodness! I am sad now, which means you were quite brilliant. Great job!

Meredith said...

Poor Felix! I enjoyed Tessa. Good job.

Anonymous said...

that was really good. Was it a Cinderella?
Jemma

Hannah said...

Ah, that was sad! But clever to bring Cinderella into Goldstone Wood. :)

Clara Darling said...

What? I wanted a happy ending! Oh, well. I enjoyed Felix and Tessa, and I loved it that Eanrin had told Tessa that Felix snored!

ghost ryter said...

WHO WAS SHOOTING THOSE DARTS???

This is indeed an interesting addition to Goldstone Wood. Also, I am quite glad someone did a fairy-tale retelling. Thank you. :)

Chloe Wicker said...

Good job making a Goldstone Wood Cinderella. Um...who shot those arrows?

L. Grace Buller said...

@Allison: Thank you!

@Meredith: Thanks so much!

@Anonymous: Somewhat. :)

@Hannah: Thank you! :)

@Clara Darling: Thank you for reading!

@Ghost Ryter: I was going to edit it to make it more coherent, but I didn't have time. Still not quite sure WHO was shooting the darts, though. It was someone who didn't want Tessa and Felix together, definitely. :)
Thank you!

@Chloe: Thank you! And, as I explained to Ghost Ryter, I'm not quite sure. :) :P

-L. Grace Buller

Sara said...

I knew it would take someone special to win over Felix! I love the idea of her being his bodyguard/companion (not to mention Eanrin's niece!) The ending was very sad, but Tessa clearly loved Felix enough to give her life for him.

Melanie J. Morgan said...

(-bzzt- Paging Anne Elisabeth. Come in, Anne Elisabeth. Story Junkie to Mama Cat, do you copy? I believe I've discovered quite the interesting development. It seems that, especially following his swash-buckling hero role in Shadow Hand, there is a vastly growing group of imps (especially yours truly), that are chomping at the bit to see the character of Felix succeed in the role of main character of his own book...and find a ladyfriend. Can we be on the lookout for this development any time in the near future? It seems the imps are beginning to grow anxious...I will keep you updated. Story Junkie, over and out. -bzzt-) ;)

My first question is why do we fans have such a pension for TRAGEDY? You make me squeal and sigh, then I end up horrendously sad...you have done your job well, my dear...you've got me emotionally invested in the story and it's beautiful and romantic and sad...This can't be good for my health. ;)

Well done, dear!! I loved it! In all its sweet romantic sorrow...amazing job!!

Blessings!
Melanie

Anne Elisabeth Stengl said...

(I read you Story Junkie, loud and clear!)

Dear Felix-loving imps, I do have the barest, faintest, tiniest inklings of a story idea featuring our favorite younger-brother-prince as the hero. And it might have to do with Bloodbiter's Wrath . . . and an irritable tiger . . . and a certain young fellow turning eighteen and deciding it's high time he returned to the Wood and won the hand of the beautiful lady he's taken such an enormous fancy to . . .

. . . and it MIGHT even have something to do with another prince who's found himself trapped in amphibious straights . . .

. . . and yes, there's a young lady involved, though not quite the young lady Our Intrepid Hero had in mind . . .

But it's all in such a faint, vague, niggling stage of development, it's really hardly worth mentioning at this point. And there are rather a lot of stories I really would need to tell first, including at least one more about Childe Lionheart. So we'll see!

(Mama Cat, over and out.)


P.S. This is a great little story, L. Grace Buller! Loved the Cinderella-esque twists along the way and the tear-jerker ending.

Melanie J. said...

(Copy that, Mama Cat!

Wow, it's been far too long since I should have replied to this.

YOU. HAVE. NO. IDEA. for HOW LONG your answer has rendered me an ABSOLUTELY INCOHERENT MESS OF FLOUNDERING EXCITEMENT.

...The answer is DAYS.

And I have a terrible habit of going back headlong into the mode of complete and utter flailing geekery every time I read it, thus the inability to actually formulate a response.

I AM ALL OVER THIS IDEA. I can't tell you how much I adore this niggling of a premise. I am so immensely incredibly mindblowingly excited!!!

In the meantime, whilst I fidget in wait, anxious for this little tale, I shall indulge in reading what tales you spin for us in the hope and expectation that this idea will eventually come to fruition.

And I'm really rooting for that Lionheart story, I'm ready for you to blow away my rather frequent and rather unflattering opinion of him. I'm ready for that redemptive arc.

I honestly can hardly contain my squeals!!

10-4, Mama Cat. Story Junkie, over and out.)

And L. Grace? Chances are next time I might actually join you in writing a little homespun Felix romance. ;) You've done well, my dear.