Dear Queen Bebo,
You shall never believe where my travels have taken me to this time. Before I plunge into my tale, I shall explain myself a bit. This story is for you ears only (and perhaps your winsome cousin; if she isn’t napping when this arrives). In my eyes this story is not nearly exciting enough for it to become a song or epic. In fact, it may be somewhat embarrassing. Which is the reason you are to keep it between us, all right?
Unless you don’t want to, of course. I ask no special privileges of my queen.
Anyway, now that I have that longwinded introductory out of the way, allow me to plunge right into my story.
I was walking along one of your Paths, and feeling rather safe because of it. Usually I take whatever Path I please. Adds to the excitement, I feel. Now, I thought that I was heading towards the Lord Who Walks Before Night’s demesne (simply because I’d never been). I’ve heard tell of his demesne, of how hot and dry it is, and naturally that is what I was expecting. You can imagine my surprise when I found myself all of a sudden enveloped in very wet, very deep water.
It was all very horrifying, Your Grace.
As you well know, water is my least favorite thing. Luckily, (or perhaps, not so luckily –you decide later) the Mherfolk found me. Now that is where things get interesting.
The two mermaids were quite beautiful to behold, but as I am not mortal, their charming looks and enchanting voice had no effect on me. Well, nearly no effect. Oh, who am I kidding? It’s embarrassing, Your Grace, but as soon as the first one spoke (she had long, golden hair and the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen –besides your cousin’s baby blues, of course) I fell head over heels in love with both of them. But the other was to be my downfall, as you will soon see. (She had thick, voluminous blue hair and gray eyes and the cutest little nose…)
So the two of them brought me to their kingdom. The entire thing had a bubble of air around it, because the Mherfolk need both air and water for survival. The palace was made of shimmering, pale blue crystals, and all the other buildings were made of some other, bluish bricks. And while it pales in comparison to our Ruane Hall, it was quite pretty.
Apparently, the blue-haired beauty was the young princess of the kingdom (or so I thought at the time) so she brought me to the castle. It was just as gorgeous on the inside as it was on the outside. But honestly, I hardly noticed my surroundings, because at least ten mermaids all of a sudden entered the room. They began to dry me off, offer me dry clothing, and one (the blue-haired, once again) attempted to take off my clothes for me. Quite interesting, that one was.
After I was dried as much as I would allow them to dry me, they all departed, leaving the princess and I alone. I think this part is best described in a dialogue.
“Are you married?” she asked.
“N-no, fair maiden.”
“Splendid. Am I pretty?”
“Thank you. You’re pretty too.”
“That’s very kind of you, my lady.”
“I’m going to kiss you.”
And so she did. And quite nicely, might I add. For a very long time. Afterwards, she gave me this stunning smile and held up both of her arms. On each of her thin wrists was a bracelet made of pearls. They couldn’t hope to rival her beauty, but they were nice, all the same. She slipped one off and forced it onto my wrist, but as I was completely stunned by the kiss, I just grinned.
Later, I found out that those bracelets were given to each mermaid when they reach marrying age. At their betrothal ceremonies, they were to give one bracelet to their future groom. I suppose that explains what happens next.
The golden haired one, who was apparently the blue-haired mermaid’s sister, came back into the room and saw the bracelet on my wrist. What happens next is a blur, Your Grace, and I couldn’t have possibly seen it coming!
Three guards entered the room, shouting at me in a different language and shoving me along rather rudely. The blue-haired beauty appeared unalarmed as she clung to my arm, her tantalizing scent clouding my already dazed mind.
The guards lead us to the throne room, where we were placed in front of the king. Huh, the king was oddly young, definitely not old enough to be her father, almost young enough to be her…
Oh. Oh great hopping dragons. Was the princess married?
From what I could gather, her betrothal ceremony was that same night, and she had abandoned her lover to kiss me all night long. The king was very angry indeed, and he threatened to cut off both of my wrists. I thought that was completely ridiculous and didn’t hesitate to say so. I mean, the bracelet was only on one of my wrists, not both! The king threatened to cut out my tongue as well, saying I was being disrespectful.
He pried his lively young lover away from my arm, yanked the bracelet off my other arm, and promptly began to give me a rather intense thrashing. Yes, that’s right, Your Grace –black eye and everything.
Once I was near unconsciousness, he drew his sword, ready to swing the finishing blow…when someone stepped in the way. My vision was going black, but I did catch a few final words.
“You may not harm him, for he is one of mine.”
Oddly enough, his voice sounded very familiar…
Oh well, that’s the end. I woke up back where I started, in the Wood Between. And while this story is very interesting, it’s much too embarrassing to be told.
Anyway, if you’ve actually taken the time to read this far, well, thank you. Tell Gleamdren I said hello.
Bard Eanrin, soon-to-be Chief Poet of Rudiobus.
PS: Now that I’ve read over what I’ve written, I’d be much obliged if you did not read this to your fair cousin. You know, just in case.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Voting is for fans of the Goldstone Wood series only.