Finally decided to make my Youtube channel that I have been debating on making for a while now. The first video has been posted and I hope you all enjoy it. The link to the video can be found below. Warning the sound quality is not as good as I would have hoped.
In the kingdom of Berne, it came to past that the only daughter of the noble King Iomair came of age to claim her birthright. Preparations were made while the father and his daughter, who had locks of gold, met in secret to discuss the trials that lay ahead of her.
“This trial will not be easy my child.” Stated the king cautiously. “Not even I can know the details of the perils that await you. It is decided by the people who have placed their trust for you to rule as their future queen. In this way, you will have an unwavering faith from those you have sworn to protect. That does not mean that they will go easy on you. I have been told that they even enlisted the help of some of our high priests to ensure that you are thoroughly tested. Take heart my dear Goldilocks and know that I support you from afar.”
“I will my father and I will make you proud. There is nothing that will deter me from achieving that which I have trained for all my life. No more words for now, let me go forth to prove my worth to the people that will follow me.” Eagerly responded Goldilocks.
The man moved to the side as he followed his confident daughter out the door, feeling nothing but pride. They were met with cheers as the royal duo paraded down the streets to a great maze. The two looked at wonder at the greenery that stood before them. Not even the night before did this stand where it grew now. It was clear to the royalty that the people wanted to ensure their future.
As they stood flabbergasted, a priestess dressed in a white dress approached them. Upon her head she wore a ring of flowers and a golden belt carved with knots that sat around her waist. Across her skin were painted marks that faintly glowed.
She addressed them, “Hail King Iomair and his daughter Princess Goldilocks. I sincerely hope that you succeed today your highness. Allow me to explain the rules of this trial. You can bring within the maze a sword, shield, flint, hammer, wrappings, and a pot. There are three trials you must overcome before seeing the end. Only then will you be allowed to exit the maze, otherwise the vines will keep you closed in. Here are you supplies, now venture forth and may you find victory!”
Goldilocks nodded before raising her fist to her people. A cry of support came from them as they watched their princess cross the threshold and into her trial. As the priestess said, the vines closed the entrance behind her while the warrior shrugged at the mist that creeped and darkened her view. She feared not what lie ahead of her. Carefully, she followed the winding ways until coming to a clearing. To her surprise, she found stuck on top of a high tower a full size adult bear. It growled and snarled at the intruder but had no means to reach her. Vainly, it pawed at her from the edge of its platform before reeling back in fear of falling from such a height. The princess smirked at the ferocious creature before passing the tower. She only stopped when she heard a whining coming from behind her. Hopelessness was beset in the creature’s eyes as she felt a pang of pity hit her heart. Looking around, she found rubbles of wood and nails scattered about. One nail after another she constructed a great staircase to reach the beast. At first, the princess put her shield up and sword pointed at the bear. She was certain the creature would attack her at first sight, but she was soon surprised as the bruin walked gently towards her and nuzzled into her neck. Patting the great animal on the head she continued her journey, followed closely by the male bear.
Together the duo moved ever down past what seemed like miles of vine until again they came to a clearing. This time their lay in the middle of the plain a female bear. It slowly began to arise only to fall in a faint. A growl emanated from the creature but not from its mouth. The poor bear had been starved to the point of exhaustion. In her mind, the princess ridiculed the treatment her people had given the creatures as she pulled out her pot. Growing close by were stalks of wheat of which Goldilocks broke down to grains. Next, she went to a nearby pool of water and filled the pot. A mixture began to brew as she threw the grain in with the boiling water and spurtled the meal. To finish, she picked from her armor bits of sea salt that had fallen off the salted pork she had eaten earlier in the day. Once the food was ready, she placed the pot in front of the great female. With what seemed like gratitude, the bear gobbled down the meal spilling it everywhere. It was only mere moments before it got back on its feet and cuddled into the male bear. A sweet sight even for the abrasive princess. The creature duo began crying out into the open ear and then listened. Curious, Goldilocks listened too as she could hear a faint cry. It seemed the bear couple had heard it too for they barreled through the walls of the maze. Closely following behind, the warrior could hardly keep up. Finally, the two in front of her stopped and gave a sad sound. There in a bed was a cub with two of its legs broken by human hands. The parents watched over snuggled into their cub as they tried to comfort their offspring. An anger whirled inside the warrior, someone was going to pay for this when the trial had ended. Grabbing the bandages and ripping two legs from the bed, she made a support cast for the young creature. It seemed to help as it stumbled onto its feet and leaned on its parents. The warrior smiled seeing the three together as she continued onward, followed closely by her three new friends.
Only an oak tree lay in front of the groups escape toward beams of light. They made their way toward the exit before the land began to shake. The tree came to life as it swatted its limbs at the intruders. Fearing for the cub, the warrior caused her new friends to retreat behind a nearby wall of the maze. Over and over in her head she tried to think of a way to get around the creature but could not find an option. At last she cried to the gods to help her against this new foe. Her prayer was answered as a beam of light shone in front of her. The bears bowed at her coming as the goddess Artio stood before them. Quickly, the princess followed suit but was brought to her feet by the deity.
“Arise my child. You have not faltered yet in this trial; so why should you start now? I have chosen you to teach a lesson to the mortals of this realm to respect nature; something they sorely lack. This I know you can achieve for you are my daughter through the King Iomair, who kept it secret to protect you from harm and prodigious. With these, you will not only be able to communicate with these great creatures, but instantly heal any of their injuries. These are called the Wheat of Leigheas and any leftover you will be able to grow more of, but only by your own hands. Now go, claim your birthright so that you may impart my will against these mortals.”
Quickly, the warrior gave some wheat to each of the bears as each was strengthened and healed of any affliction. The adult male talked for the three as he looked toward the princess.
“My thanks from myself and my family for helping us in our time of need. Those vile humans know not of natures true intention; only how to warp it for their own plans. For now, let us focus at the task at hand. Our bite can easily break that tree to bits if we do so in the correct locations.”
Goldilocks thought for a moment before answering, “If we take out its roots it will have no life to continue upon. Follow my lead and we will attain freedom only together.”
The creatures nodded as the princess led them into the fray. Limbs and branches swatted at the group as they ducked the onslaught. One such swing almost took out the warrior if it were not for the youngest bear breaking the limb in two. Goldilocks used this to jump up from its back and strike the tree at its core. Of course, the creature seemed almost unfazed until it came toppling down from the two parents that had torn off the roots from the trunk. The battle being won, the new friends set forth towards the exit. A rain of cheers came from the crowd before it came to terrified screams. No one had expected her to return with those beasts, they wanted her to let them die.
Loudly, Goldilocks screamed, “Who is responsible for this?! Who dare disrespects these magnificent creatures?! Speak now and I may just spare you.”
No one dared to utter even a whisper. It was only broken when shocked murmurs spread once they heard bear noises erupt from their own princess. The murmurs turned to screams as thirteen men were dragged to the stage by the great bears. With a single slash of her blade, Goldilocks beheaded the disgraceful men. Then she looked toward the crowd and shouted.
“Let them be an example of what happens when one decides to disrespect nature itself. Under my rule we will attain peace with the land around us, healing it from the wounds we have inflicted upon it. For I, Goldilocks, Daughter of King Iomair and the goddess Artio, will not stand for anything less. Go now and release any wild animals you chose to tease in your homes and help saplings grow to mighty trees.”
Both scared and admired at the strength of their new queen, the villagers did as they were told. Next the warrior turned onto the priestess who stopped her with her words.
“Hold great queen. I am not your enemy in this cause, for I too serve the gods, more specifically the god Gwydion. You see, it was I that set the final obstacle, unbeknownst to the villagers that now lay dead at your feet. My lord wanted me to test you to see if you could live up to the name of your mother, the great goddess Artio. This you have succeeded and more for you could have only gotten past the mighty oak with the help of all three. I look forward to seeing how you transform this kingdom.”
With that the priestess of the trickster god vanished in a puff of mist, cackling before fading away. King Iomair was delighted at his daughter’s success and bestowed upon her his crown. The next few years were a form of transition as the human town soon grew side by side with nature. Bears were not uncommon to see walking beside the citizens and helping them with their day to day activities. All the while Goldilocks remained upon the thrown knowing that some day that her and the alliance of the bears, would be put to the test.
There once was a kingdom where not an ounce of conflict grew. No one sought ill will from one another and they prospered under the rule of King Humpty Dumpty. All was well until the jealous brother of the king placed a curse upon his sibling. Violently, his victim began to change into a great stone egg. As the monster tried to attack his brother, another spell was placed upon him. His once kind mind was erased and left hallow. The wicked brother claimed the throne while placing Humpty as the guard to the castle. Day in and out, allies tried to enter the castle, but were stopped by the former king. This monster would only allow them to enter if they could beat him in a game of riddles. If they lost, the egg would swallow them whole and gain their knowledge to fill his empty head. Soon, Humpty had an unfathomable hunger for information. Time passed on as the kingdom lost hope and was forced to live in a state of chaos. But, as fate would have it, a hero came to save them.
Aurora, accompanied by Captain Phillip and a werewolf known as Red, came abound into the royal city. They could see for miles the obstacle that awaited them while it sat upon the wall of the castle, Humpty Dumpty. Quickly, the group ducked into a local tavern to discuss their plan.
“Ah, finally I can get a drink.” Sighed Red as her hand reached for the bottle. It was soon slapped away by Captain Phillips who looked at the werewolf sternly.
“What do you think you are doing little man?” Questioned Red.
“Keeping you on task. The booze will only cloud your judgement and comprehension of the plan that Lady Aurora has developed.” Answered Phillips. A low growl came from the woman as the man put his hand on the hilt of his blade.
“Enough.” Commanded Aurora as she sat down between the two. “In fighting will never accomplish our goal.
“What is that exactly? You were not very forthcoming on the details while on the ride to here.” Asked Red.
“Our mission is to slay the great beast Humpty Dumpty and then his master. They have long held this land hostage in a state of chaos. Once they are disposed of, this kingdom can then again prosper.”
Red shook her head, “And what exactly is wrong with this land? As far as I can see, it is the same as any other pathetic village that we have passed.” As if the gods had taken the cue, swords poked the back of all three foreigners. Slowly, they turned to see the whole tavern was armed.
One of them spoke boldly, “We will be taking your valuables if you please. It should sustain our kingdom a little while longer. Maybe we can even have some fun after each of you are stripped of even the clothes on your backs.”
The man saying this had begun to touch Aurora’s chest. In turn. She grabbed one of her arrows from her quiver and dug it into his shoulder. The man screamed in pain as he began to panic, realizing that he had also lost his sight. A brawl broke out as Red smiled. With a howl, she transformed before the terrified townsfolk. In vain they tried to slash at her, not landing a single blow. Red grabbed one of the blades and broke it to pieces, to the horror of the wielder. One punch and the man was sent flying across the room. She grabbed a bottle from the floor and took a swig before smashing it at an incoming opponent. It shattered to pieces knocking the man out as she used the remains to stab another attacker. Captain Phillips had begun meticulously slashing down one foe after another with expert swordsmanship, much different than the barbaric tactics of his ally. Parry then a blow before his enemies were struck down. Aurora, on the other hand, had not moved since stabbing the man who had dared to touch her. Her arms were crossed as she watched the display of strength from her allies. Finally, some of the villagers rose up in arms against her. She looked at them with a stern look before slowly pulling forth her sword. Immediately, the battle was over as their attackers looked at the cursed blade; pale as death from the blood of Dain. They fled screaming in terror from the tavern and the inevitable death that would come from even encountering such a weapon. Pleased with herself, Aurora sheathed her blade and sat down with her comrades once again.
“By using the Amulet of Go Léir A Fheiceáil as we rode here, I noticed that there is a weakness on a corner of the castle. For three days and nights, I will distract Humpty with a game of riddles. While doing this, the two of you will hack away at this weakness with pick axes. Once the wall begins to crumble, Red will attack from the other side and push the beast forward. Only then will he fall to pieces. After that, his master should be no problem.” Finished Aurora. The three spent the rest of the night enjoying each other’s company; sharing wine and good food that was left in the tavern.
The next morning came as Aurora approached the great beast known as Humpty Dumpty. Rumbling came from the creature as it snored in its sleep. Slowly, his colossal eyes opened as they looked upon the maiden in front of him. To Aurora’s surprise, he began to chuckle a guttural laugh.
“Aurora the Warrior, the hero that saved her kingdom from the sorceress Carman and her three sons. Flying from her bow, arrows covered in the blood of Dub that blinds anything unfortunate to get struck. Her blade dipped in the blood of Dain of which a single cut will kill any living thing. Wise enough not to wear Dother’s armor of which her father was not. Once an ally of my kingdom, it was somewhat unfortunate to hear of his passing. Now upon his throne sits a goddess since his lazy daughter does not want to take her birthright and now comes to challenge me. I suspect you wish to restore this kingdom due to your father’s and I’s former friendship?” Lectured Humpty.
The warrior thought for a moment before answering. Obviously, the creature had attained much knowledge by the way he spoke; surprised that the beast had recent information that happened only a few months ago. She had to be careful about how she proceeded.
“Such a sharp mind for someone who used to be so empty headed. I am glad that you remember my father Humpty. He did speak fondly of you while he waited at my bedside.” Started Aurora.
The great beast chuckled again as he interrupted, “You misunderstand warrior. I have none of my memories, just others’ knowledge of who I was as a king. A fool I used to be, trusting others and insisting on peace. Only conquerors and deceivers get what they want in this world. Enough reminiscing, you know there is only one way to pass me. So, which battle of wits shall we partake in today?”
“A game of riddles. Back and forth we shall go, telling and answering riddles until one of us can neither solve or concoct. Over and over we will go with no breaks to ensure that only the smartest prevails.” Explained Aurora.
The egg rubbed his hands together before he said, “Good. This should provide with some much-needed stimulation for my brain. I shall begin this game of riddles. It grows more and more with every passing minute, breathing while consuming all around it. Its hunger is never satisfied while its anger grows. Dancing and leaping in destruction while it makes its way. Its roar terrifies every being that stands in its path. Only when it no longer breathes can the creature disappear. What am I?”
“A fire.” Answered Aurora. The egg nodded before the warrior gave her riddle, “It flies ever straight as it screams along, the very air fleeing from its path. From one end to another it flies, only stopped when something crosses in front of it. Its victims scream as its bite digs in deep, sometimes it poisons and others it burns. What am I?”
“An arrow. My dear if you are going to make it this easy you might as well climb into my mouth already.” Remarked the egg.
The warrior smirked as she looked up defiantly at the monster. “You are in for a surprise then Humpty.”
Back and forth the two went, each of them getting more clever and clever with their riddles. All the while Captain Phillip and Red continually pick axed the corner of the wall; cracks began to crawl through the bricks as each day ended. Three days and nights came and passed as the two riddle makers never stopped. The fourth morning came as the eyelids of the egg were heavy.
With a groggy voice he boomed, “How are you not tired by now child? Neither one of us have gotten a moments rest and yet you stand as if you have gotten several nights of sleep.”
“For twenty-one years I slept, I no longer require much to function. You will soon no longer need it.” Commented Aurora.
“What do you-“ The egg began to say before the wall started to crumble. Bewildered at the commotion he did not notice as Aurora pulled back her bow and landed an arrow in each of his eyes. Blinded, the creature panicked as he was pushed forward by Red. He took a great fall and broke into many pieces. The knights behind the walls rushed out to see what had come of their protector. In vain, they could not put the great beast back together and fled at the sight of Aurora walking towards the castle. Captain Phillip and Red soon joined her as they made their way into the inner throne room. Cowering behind the throne was the being who had caused this catastrophe. The king’s brother held his hands in front of his face as Aurora picked him up by the collar and threw him into the wall. With a steely resolve, she looked at the man, who to her surprise was blind.
The warrior smirked as she spoke, “The man in the bar. My does fate smile upon me. You scurried out of there like a coward, only able to be so daring when you can rely on others, then leaving them to die. The audacity you had at touching me with those sickened paws, let’s just say I hope the gods find you the most ill-fated end for your miserable soul.”
Not even giving the man his last words, she slit his throat with her sword. His dead body turned to ash before flying off into a swarm of flies. The three finished with their task, sat in the floor of the throne room. Each catching their breaths before laughing at the simplicity of the adventure.
The laughter soon ended as Red arose and asked, “Am I free then from my curse? Was that the mission you needed me for? If so that was incredibly easy and way too nice of the gods.”
“Unfortunately, that was what I would call a team building exercise. Before we can even hope to undertake the task that will free you, we must learn to work together as a team. Fear did strike me when you and Phillips were not getting along in the bar. It seems it was for not. I promise you that you will be free, but you must humor me so that we all survive the oncoming trials.” Admitted Aurora.
Red nodded in acknowledgement, although she was bitter at the lack of trust from her leader. The werewolf looked over to Phillips who had an apologetical look on his face and held out his hand. Tentatively, she grabbed his hand and gave it a shake, a symbol of a new kinsmanship between the two. Aurora smiled as she saw comrades that she could live and fight for.
How long had it been since she had seen the outside world? All she knew was the inside of her father’s castle, well at least in the last ten years. Most of that time the woman spent in the dungeons, only being let out to clean the castle that her step mother and step sisters now ruled over. The three made her life a living hell. Every day she was let out of her shackles to clean. Her cruel sisters would blast her body with spells to make her scream. Constantly, pain wracked her body only matched by the way the woman felt like dirt. She was not allowed any help through her daily cleaning routine. Although, when her sisters and mother were busy with other matters of the state, she summoned animals to help her finish her chores. This gave her time to rest and to catch up on reading. Today was not one of those days. Today they had shackled her particularly tight and had thrown the usually cinders into her eyes. They called her Cinder, not even addressing her by her real name.
Cinder was fading in and out of consciousness. Someone stood in front of her; a person she swore was glowing with light. She shook her head thinking it was only a hallucination from the lack of food.
Then the figure talked, “Ella, daughter of the king of the land of Gaul, a place bathed in sunlight and blessed with the rich soil of volcano. You have suffered greatly these past ten years. The injustice you have suffered is incalculable, but it was not without purpose. Unknown to you, you have been building up strength to take back your kingdom. Your father had a noble heart and that same heart beats in you.”
Finding her voice, the princess responded, “Who… who are you?” Her eyes could now focus on the stranger. She wore a long pink dress embroidered with flames as a red veil lay over their head. Around her neck she wore a golden necklace embedded with a Ruby in its center. The red head had a sweet smile and lovely complexion as warmth seemed to radiate from her.
“My name is Hestia, goddess of hearth, architecture, domesticity, and fire. I was a virgin for many a century until meeting your father. He was such a kind man, taking me into his home without seeking anything in return after I was injured by a chimera. He intended to my wounds and listened to the advice I gave him about his castle. I felt so warm around him. This filled my being until I decided to no longer contain it. That was how you were born. The only reason I left was due to an urgent matter on Mount Olympus. When it had passed, and I had finally returned, your father had been enchanted by your stepmother before being killed by her.”
A tear fell on the goddess’ face before she continued. “I sought advice from an oracle in the far-off region of China in the territory owned by the Shang. She revealed to me the only way to defeat the wretched woman and her enchanted daughters. She foretold to me that my daughter would avenge the death of her father once she reached the age of nineteen. Within you has the potential to blaze a fire bright enough to snuff out your oppressors.” Her mother said as a fire lit in her hand. She floated it to her daughter’s chest as it sank within it. “Trust in the fire that burns within you my daughter. Know always that I am with you.” With that, she disappeared within a burst of flames.
As her mother vanished, the princess could hear footsteps coming down the staircase. Her vile stepmother Tremaine dressed in an expensive gown made of silk and other fine linens. Jewels adorned her fingers and the crown of the former king set upon her head.
The old bat stuck her nose up to Ella as she spoke, “Ah, if it isn’t my deceased husband’s bastard child, all full of ash upon your face. The name Cinder really suits you my dear. Now, the only reason I grace you with my presence is that you left the kitchen quite a mess the last time you cleaned. You should no better to leave specks on my dishes. So…” The cruel woman pulled from her side a cat of nines whip. “You must be punished.” Strike after strike hit the princess’ stomach as the warmth her mother’s fire began to spread. The more she was hit, the more the fire burned brighter as she felt a new surge of power. Still, her cruel stepmother did not notice as she continued her attack.
The old crow’s words soon confirmed her doom. “Your mother was nothing but a common whore. No wonder she left you to rot.” That did it. The cuffs around her wrists and ankles melted away as fire erupted from her fingertips. Tremaine scurried back like a rodent at the sight of pure power standing in front of her. The locks of hair that hung from Ella’s shoulders acted as an inferno while flowing into the air. The princess’ eyes turned into a crimson red while she stared at her abuser. Pure terror was the last feeling the stepmother felt as the blaze burned her to an unrecognizable crisp.
From the charred corpse, Ella ripped the crown from her stepmother’s head and placed it upon herself. She strode up the stairs, scorching the floor with each step. As the door opened, she was met by a host of knights that had heard the former queen’s screams. They were mystified by the sight before them, but soon brushed this off as they charged forward. These mere mortals were no match while they cooked in their own armor. Through the castle she went, cleansing it from the putridness her step mother had wrought. The men that the former queen had employed were pathetic fighters and were no match for the true ruler’s fury. The real challenges soon approached her. Her two step sisters were glowing with menacing magic and screamed like hell cats. Blast after blast they met in strength, shaking the very foundation of the castle. The duo could see they were making no ground and summoned cat-like men with glowing red eyes. Valiantly, she fought against wave after wave of these creatures; her strength never failing her. Realizing that she could not keep this up forever, she summoned a wall of flames that barricaded her from the enemy.
With great haste, Ella retreated further into the castle; stumbling across a young man named Henri. Before striking him down, he bowed to her and pleaded, “Please Princess Ella! I live to serve you and your lineage. My family, the Charmers, have served yours for generations. We were your father’s oracles and kept many secrets from the vile Tremaine. When she stuck your father down, she did the same to mine. I was forced to serve as a foot servant to the trio. I endured in the hopes that one day you would finally rise to power. Your father knew this day would come and trusted my family with this container; saying only you would be able to open it.” From the sack on his back, he pulled a large metal sphere and set it at the feet of the princess. As her hands touched the strange object, it began to glow as it opened to reveal a peculiar pair of objects. It was two glass slippers with parchment stuck between them. The princess took the latter and began to read what was inscribed upon it.
“My sweet Ella. I fear that I will be long dead before you read this and that you have suffered for my weakness. Tremaine and her twisted daughters have been enchanting me. Only for brief moments I am not under their spell and in these moments, I seek to ensure your future. The people will gladly follow you once you dispense those hags. These slippers will allow you to turn your bird friends you sang to as a child into much more magnificent creatures. I love you my daughter and even in my death, I will always be with you. Love your dad, Gentille son of Doux.”
A tear fell from Ella’s eyes as it steamed on her cheek. For years she thought she had no love but was clearly wrong. She sang an ancient song as her birds flocked together before her. Slipping into the gifts her father gave her, the princess focused on the flock as fire whirled around them. They soon changed form and size as Phoenixes now perched before her. Astonished at their transformation, she patted each of them as she turned to face her enemy again. The demon cat-men filled the hall as she made their way toward them. They mewed a twisted cry as they came slashing toward her. It was then her birds erupted behind her and tossed her oppressors against one another. Beaks tore into flesh as the twisted creatures could not stand against Ella and her forces. Hearing the howls of their minions, the two witches turned the corner to see their step sister with her own followers. Blasts of magic launched from their hands as they tried to keep the Phoenixes at bay. It was no use. Ella protected them with shields of fire as they eliminated the entirety of the cat-like horde. All that was left were the two hags.
The Phoenixes took to the air alight with fire as they whirled around their enemy. A fiery tornado formed around the witches. In vain, they attempted to escape; trying spell after spell to escape. Nothing worked. Fear overtook their being before getting struck down with a fiery sword through each of their chests. Like their mother, they were burnt beyond recognition as Ella stood over them triumphant. Henri of the prophet family of Charmers proclaimed a joyous victory, spreading the word throughout the kingdom. Soon, villagers flocked to the castle, exalting their princess with praises. She was soon made Queen of Gaul and appointed Henri her high priest, reestablishing the fallen order. They dedicated the new directive to the goddess Hestia, whose ideals of a safe home and loving family were followed for many years to come. Still, the new queen would feel unrest and would partake in many adventures to come, calling herself Cinderella.
Greetings again one and all, just thought I would give you all an update on my life. Those of you who had not seen my previous birthday post, I have turned twenty-four with another year of survival under my belt. A present that appeared with this occasion was to see Lion King on Broadway. Super excited to be going to New York again to see a show I have been yearning to see for a long time. Also in recent weeks the date for my fiancee’s and I’s wedding has been decided. Much excitement comes along with this news accompanied by oh my goodness the cost of such things, but in the end all that matters is the love for each other. Hopefully with the date we have set we can both save up the money to have a splendid day to celebrate our love… and of course to get to a little place called Ireland for the honeymoon. Why here? Both of our families come from the Emerald Isle and it has long peaked our interests to visit this land of rolling hills and fences made of stone. Excitement fills my very being of celebrating such a joyous occasion and traveling to a place that I have wanted to visit since I was young.
On the writing frontier, my efforts with agents have been less than successful. However, I will say that none of them have said that my book was terrible or poorly written. The only reason they passed it was on their gut feelings. It gives me a bit of encouragement but at the same time frustration. I can feel myself having my goal at my fingertips but not able to grasp it. More annoyingly is the fact that my followers are waiting so patiently for my book to appear and I cannot produce it yet. For that I am truly sorry that you have to wait to see the fantastic tale. I promise it will get to you, of that I am sure; just unsure when that will be. Hopefully in the coming days I will have the good news of finding an agent. On a side note, I have gotten half way through writing A Collection of Epic Retellings of Classic Fairy Tales of which I will be posting another story of tomorrow. When not working on this, my thoughts linger back to the story in Magitotum. Yes, indeed friends I have started to write the second book in my Scales series. Looking on the bit I have already done, my head begins to spin. The very first place that the group ends up in at the end of the first book is filled with a mixture of many different cultures. What I mean is I used influences of many different countries’ mythologies to form this land. The tricky part is blending them in a way to give proper homage to each. Before I forget, if you have not noticed in recent posts or looking at old ones, I have almost caught up on my illustrations. Now, I do request that you be gentle with me on the artistry; it is not my strong suit by any means of the word. I do hope you are enjoying what you find on my page and the posts that are soon to come.
(Another epic retelling of a classic fairy tale, hope you enjoy.)
Hansel and Gretel, twins at birth, were the son and daughter of the mighty king Adalbern. At the age of sixteen, they grew restless at their home and set off in search of glory to prove their worth beyond royalty. On one such occasion, they heard of a strange occurrence in Blackthorn Forest. The two curious royals traveled to this land, before entering the forest however, the duo fell upon a village. Entering the center, they found that no one was outside of their homes, all of which had been boarded up to prevent entry. One of these they approached and heard the whispers of citizens inside the structure.
A villager unlocked the door and asked, “Are you an ally or foe? Where do you hail from? Why have you come here?”
Gretel, the fairer talker of the two responded, “We are friends. My name is Gretel, daughter of Adalbern, and this is my brother Hansel, son of Adalbern; we seek glory and to rid this village of its oppressors. Speak so we may know what we must vanquish.” The villager sheepishly stepped out of his door, revealing that he wore a full set of armor and seemed to be heavily injured.
Hansel is perplexed, “Why are you hiding warrior? Where is the rest of your company?”
“Gone sir. I am the only survivor.” The man responded. “My name is Franco son of Godwine, the friend of the gods. I was sent by my father to liberate these people with my men. But we were destroyed in the face of the enemy or enemies… I am still not sure which it is…”
Gretel questioned, “What do you mean brave soldier?”
“We came to the forest and found a lone wolf feasting on the flesh of one of the elders of this village. When we approached, the monster turned quick and used its mighty jaws to rip through one of my men’s armor and tore his leg off before it disappeared. While we looked, a mighty bear swung its paws from behind us and brought down a fourth of our company. One of my men was able to shoot an arrow at the beast, causing a scar across its face. The bear hid away, and we thought it was over, when from the sky arrows began to rain down above us. A seventh of my men and I were lucky enough to put our shields up while the rest perish. With the remaining soldiers, we began to retreat when we saw the wolf again, this time though he had fancied a scar. The scar of which the bear had worn. To my despair, I watched as the rest of my comrades were eaten alive as I fled for my life. I have disgraced my family and name, but I bring information and warning to any who may enter.”
Hansel responded, “We mourn for the loss of your kin but how did you escape from the forest? The land changes as one enters, no man can emerge from it alive.”
Franco explained, “My father Godwine once had to journey to slay a mighty boar for the gods. The divinities favored him and gave the tool to escape the paths. This object I give to you. It is the Crumbs of Credon, a bag full of rock hard crumbs that shine when the moon is full. Take this so that you might escape with your lives. May the gods favor you.” The twins took the Crumbs of Credon and went on their way. After crossing over the river and into the forest, the pair felt a presence nearby that watched their every movement. They began to drop the crumbs knowing that the forest had a malice beyond its roots. As they reached the very center, they saw smoke arising from the tree line. Carefully they approached and found a peculiar sight that neither had ever seen. A house made of of delicacies stood in front of them, the main structure made of gingerbread. Frosting kept the parts together while the framework was made of candy canes. Decorating the roof were gumdrops as big as their heads. Tentatively they approached, having not been able to eat for what seemed like days. As they partook on the goodies before them. the door swung open and a figure emerged from the house. The two drew their swords but lowered them after beholding the creature in front of them. The creature was a beautiful young woman who was covered with skins of animals layering her lovely hourglass figure.
The stanger spoke, “Weary travelers, where have you come from and why are you in this terrible forest?”
Hansel responded, tripping over his words from his befuddlement that was caused by her beauty, “I am Hansel, son of Adalbern, and this is my sister Gretel daughter of Adalbern; we have come to slay the beast that has oppressed this land.”
“My name is Ada, and I welcome you here. Please eat and rest brave travelers. I offer my home to you and everything found within it.” Said the stranger with a wink.
Hansel responded, “Lead on fair maiden.”
Ada led them inside, but before Hansel followed, Gretel grabbed his arm, “Something is not right with this woman. Take caution brother and let us focus.” Hansel nodded and entered with her sister.
After a great feast, Gretel laid in her bed to slumber and so does their hostess in their separate rooms, but Hansel was restless. He stood up from the table where he remained sitting and entered the chambers of Ada who was waiting for him. The woman invited him to her bed where they fornicated for hours. As Handel tried to leave, he heard ancient and foreign words emitted from behind his back that caused the young hero to drift to sleep. Gretel who had been awaken from the sounds emitted from the fair maiden in her bedchamber, peeked into the room of Ada. The beautiful woman looked at the now asleep Hansel after casting a sleeping spell on her guest.
“My hunger needs to be met, a taste could not hurt.” Said Ada before ripping the right arm off the sleeping warrior and devouring it. As she looked toward the door with bits of Hansel in her mouth, a scar formed across her face. Finally, she sees Gretel looking through the door way. In a fury, Ada grabs a kettle from beside her bed and captures her female guest inside it. Bewildered by the magic displayed, the young heroine was unable to escape the power that kept her trapped.
“I guess I will dine early tonight.” Shrugged off the monster as she took the kettle straight to the oven; her mouth watered at the feast she was about to savor. In Hansel’s dreams, the god Andhrimnir approached him.
“Hansel, you have been enchanted by the creature you seek. Her grip on men is fierce and she seeks to eat all of mankind; causing the gods to put an end to her crimes. If we intervene, we will be forced to use magic so fierce that your world will not survive our wrath. You must vanquish her now while she is weak. Strike for the scar and beware her powers. I will help you defeat her by giving you the Stone Arm of Bucegi.” Hansel awoke and looked at his new weapon that was attached to his missing arm. He ran out of the bed chambers and found Ada with the kettle close to the fire.
“Face me wench! You who is despised above all! You will die for the shame you have brought upon me!” Screamed Hansel. Ada turned and saw the Stone Arm of Bucegi, causing fear to twinkle in her eye. The prophecy she was told many years ago, stood in front of her.
“Shame dear Hansel? You came to my chambers to fill your lusts. It is you who has shamed yourself. As for that new toy of yours, an oracle said that one day a man with a stone arm would come to vanquish me. I do not believe in such fate and will not die today. Your taste I have tried twice now, let us see how you will taste in the bottom of my gut.” Ada then transformed in front of him by uttering hidden and strange words. The wolf described by Franco appeared in front of Hansel. The shapeshifter leapt forward knocking Hansel back through a wall. He writhed in pain as he tried to recover, when the mighty wolf pounced on top of him. Raising his sword, he forced the sword between the teeth of the creature only holding it back mere inches from killing him. Its might jaws bit down, and the sword shattered into many pieces that clouded the air. Hansel wiggled free from under the beast as the dog was stunned. Remembering the words of Andhrimnir, he rose the Stone Arm of Bucegi and landed a punch on the face of Ada. Her skull was crushed into nine pieces as her body shook and then was still. Hansel freed Gretel from the kettle, receiving a hit on the head for falling for the creature’s seduction. Together the two dragged the shape shifter’s body through the woods. They followed the path of the Crumbs of Credon that was laid before them until it brought them to the village. Praises were sung from the villagers as they came in triumphant from the quest with the corpse of the wretched creature. After a brief celebration, Franco asked to join them on their search for glory, and they gladly accepted his company. The three then went on to travel the world and their names were written into history.
(First tale of many that I have written in an epic retelling fashion. I sincerely hope you enjoy this version of the classic fairy tale we all know.)
Aurora the Warrior
Written by KC J. Hutchins
“The same place again… did I take a wrong turn?” Aurora said aloud to herself. She wanders for what seemed like an endless maze yet again, never seeming able to move on. Every turn seemed to change but led her back to the same exact spot. This maze seemed to have been the only thing in her life, she could not remember a time before hand. Time seemed lost and her body seemed to never change. Something seemed different today, a red glow has begun to shine in a corridor she did not know existed. Moving towards the light cautiously, she held her sword knowing that it may be a trap. Nearing closer the light seemed to form into a being beckoning her forward. She comes into a courtyard of pillars which she had never seen before. As she stood a creature emerged from the ground with what appeared to be a cage. The creature is Sluagh, known to snatch away those who are going to die. His eyes are a terrible red in color, his teeth sharp as razors, his tongue stuck out with the thrill of murder, his four claws covered in blood, and his horrible green form crooked moving towards Aurora. In his cage, she sees two different balls of light one of blue color which was furiously hurling itself at the bars of the cage and one of green which was staying still in the middle of the cage. The monster throws his claws at Aurora who brings her sword up to meet the blow. As she looks up, she can see something dangling from the creature’s neck. She is pushed back by the sheer strength of the beast. Her mind starts to race, trying to figure out how to slay this monster. Just then the creature shows a weakness, he keeps his hands and his body around the cage.
“He is protecting it… perfect.” She thought. Lunging forward, she runs to the prison. The creature notices and extends a claw out at the oppressor, but Aurora already knew this would happen. Rolling left, she evades and brings her sword down on the cursed beast. It howled in pain as it cowered away trying to tend its wound. The cage is freed from his grasp allowing Aurora to come up with her next move. The warrior places the prison in the middle of the courtyard of pillars and retreated to the darkness. Sluagh moves forward toward the cage. He hears crumbling as he steps to his prize, though continues believing it is his steps that caused this sound. Finally, the sound gets louder still and causes him to turn. The pillars are falling greatly down on him. He begins to run trying to escape but he is too late, being crushed by the great stones of the courtyard. His head sticks out letting him spill out curses toward the woman. She walks up to him while he still speaks and cuts his head off.
Taking the medallion that hung around the monster’s neck as a prize, she states, “Your own stupidity led to your downfall. Curse yourself if you are to blame anyone for your death.” She unlocks the cage and the balls of light fly next to the red form. The three swirl in harmony until three beautiful women emerged. The lady in green is the goddess Airmed, healer of the world, next to her the lady in blue is Banba, the goddess of war and fertility, and finally the lady in red is Macha, wisest of all beings. Aurora recognizes them, bows low, and blesses them.
Macha speaks, “Stand brave warrior for you have saved two of my allies, but I need your help for the third.”
Aurora was dumbfounded and spoke with much difficulty, “How can I help you? I have been stuck in this place for what feels like an eternity. How can I help the goddesses of ancient wisdom?”
Banba speaks up, “You have already done part of your duty. You have freed Airmed and myself. Take heart young hero for it is not your fault that you could not escape the maze.” The hero looks up at the goddesses confused looking to each of them for the answer.
Finally, Airmed speak, “You have been afflicted since birth brave child. Before you were born a terrible war had broken out among your people. The witch Carman and her three sons Dub, Dother, and Dain have come upon your kingdom. Your father, the king, sought to ward them off by praying to us goddesses. There were four of us who answered her prayers, but one of our members has been possessed. Her name is the goddess Badb or the crow as some of the mortals call her. Whoever’s side she is on the people will win.”
Macha interjects, “She fell to the side of Carman by means of sorcery. While she flew above cornfields on the border of our side the evil Dub sprung a chain made of iron upon her. She was unable to break free and the witch set a spell over her that makes us look like the other side. Deeply she believes she is opposing Carman but instead fights us. If we get her to see she can again be our ally and win this war. This is where you come in noble hero. You can stop this horrible foe and her affliction.”
“Again, sweet goddesses who have not heard me. I cannot see beyond this maze even for the answer to escape. How might I even begin to save a mighty goddess to escape a similar affliction?” Aurora responded.
“The answer is in your hand.” Airmed points at the medallion. “That is the Amulet of Go Léir A Fheiceáil, it allows the wearer to see clearly everything before them. You have been trapped inside your own mind without even knowing it. This amulet will allow you to see and free you from your curse.”
“Even so great and powerful goddesses how can a mere mortal fight against such power?” Again, the mere human wondering her future fate.
“When you were born, a prophecy was made by the great prophet Vate. He prophesized that the first born of the king would slay Carman on her twenty first birthday and lift her evil from this kingdom. Carman heard word of her spoken doom. She walked straight into the halls of the castle with the crow on her shoulder. No one could stand against her as long as the crow was with her. She spoke, laying a curse upon you saying that you would be trapped in your mind until you could defeat her. She laughed walking away knowing if you could not escape your own mind how could you even train, but now the prophecy can come true.” Banba revealed.
Aurora thought on this and spoke, “Thank you fair goddesses. Let me now go with your blessings and oppose this threat upon this land.”
“Go, we will be with you as you go to defeat your enemies.”
The warrior puts on the amulet and awakens in her bed. She looks to her right at the wall and in big letters sees “Aurora’s birthday” and underneath the peg marks added up to the number twenty-one. “Cursed for that many years, I shall make Carman pay!” She said aloud. She jumps out of bed and fastens herself in armor that was prepared for her on this fated day. A sword was slung to her side with a bow and arrows that were hung over her back. Looking out the window, the once great lush green land had half of it turn to black dust. She watched as forces stormed the stronghold in an attempt to defeat fate. Fully armed and ready, she emerged from her chamber to see a platoon of soldiers and her father Ailill Molt reinforcing the door. Her father turns and delights in seeing his child embracing her, but quickly remembers what is at stake returns to position.
“We are going to win this fight; my daughter has emerged and we shall win this day! Fight on men! Fight on!” Just as he shouts this, the door swung open. Creatures of horrible fangs that walked like men attacked the castle, while something larger approached from the rear. Dother arrived with armor that seemed to be impenetrable. Aurora, using the Amulet of Go Léir A Fheiceáil, saw an opening in the armor at the waist line. She advanced through the ranks dodging creature after creature finally reaching one of the sons of Carman. Dother recognized the warrior and immediately swung forward with his large broad sword. She ducked nearly having her head cut off, rolling forward she drew ever closer. Fear struck further into the heart of Dother when he saw what hung around her neck. Furiously he swung his sword over and over having every blow parried away leaving him open to attack. Finally reaching her target she swings her sword across his waist. Immediately his guts spilled over the floor of the halls of Ailill Molt. The other creatures shrieked and retreated out of the halls back to the battle field. Taking a quick rest, the soldiers of the castle, the king, and his daughter begun strategizing. They knew that the other two brothers would have to be killed, their mother, and Badb be turned back to the right side.
The king went to put on the armor of Dother as to avoid harm but Aurora warned her father, “That armor has a weakness that his brothers and mother know. I would not put on that cursed suit.”
Her father replied, “A wise man will wear armor that is stronger than others. I will be fine my daughter.” They moved from the tower and onto the battlefield. The tide of the battle seemed to be changing, baffling Carman. She sent her son Dub, the son of darkness, to investigate along with his brother Dain, son of violence whose touch can kill any man. They met the king and his daughter on the battlefield. They saw the female warrior and knew what had become of their brother. Dub filled with hatred swung his mighty spear at Aurora who simply grabbed it in mid-air, and swung it back at the son of darkness. It landed into his shoulder causing his hands to swing back and hit one of his followers who was blinded by his touch. The young female’s mind raced on how to defeat an enemy she could not touch. She ran forward while the man was wounded from the spear who ripped the spear from his shoulder. Again, he threw his spear missing his target. She then jumped up onto the weapon using it as a spring, rising her up into the sky. Dub looked up and saw as arrows rain from the sky all landing their mark. One for each eye, one through his head, and another through his throat. The mighty man fell dead without another word. Her father on the other side was fighting against Dain. He swung his sword forward over and over having his moves parried away. Eventually he used his body to tackle forward and knock the son of Carman over.
“How can this be?! No man can touch me and live!” Dain yelled.
“I wear the armor of your brother Dother who was slain in my halls by my daughter. You will die just the same swine.”
“My brother’s armor you say?” The wicked son smiled as his arm reached out and touched the king’s waist line. Instantly the king fell dead from mere contact with the son of Carman. Aurora looked in horror as her father turned pale. She drew the arrows from the body of Dub and noticed this had changed her arrows. The heads were now a pitch-black color, she thought and now knew what this meant. She flew one arrow straight into the arm of Dain who panicked at once. He had become blind, and Aurora smiled at the success of her discovery. Now going for her sword, she charged at the pathetic son. Filled with rage she stabbed her sword straight through his heart watching the light in his eyes turn dark like the many he had slain. She withdrew the sword and realized again that one of her weapons had changed. The steel color of the blade had turned to a white as pale as death. Looking toward a nearby soldier of Carman she swung her blade causing a non-fatal wound on the man. He immediately fell over pale and dead. The blade could kill any who opposed it with a single cut. From above a caw she heard, and Badb swooped down to attempt to kill her. She swung the crow to the ground as it transformed into the form of the goddess herself.
“Carman, you shall die today! You have hidden in your fortress for years but now you reveal yourself right when you are about to lose. You shall kill no more!”
“Badb calm yourself it is I, Aurora, daughter of Ailill Molt, the one who must slay Carman. I do not wish to harm a goddess such as yourself and I can heal you. Let us not fight it is pure foolishness.” Aurora tried to reason.
“No! I will not fall for your trickery!” Badb lunged forward and with her two swords in hand. The Aurora knows she cannot kill her for that would upset the balance of this world and she had given her word to the three goddesses. She grabbed the spear of the fallen Dub and blocked the onslaught of attacks of the warrior goddess. She slides the spear up to disarm her foe of one of her swords, the goddess in response strikes with more rage and aggression. She brings her sword down stabbing it into the ground where the sword remains stuck. As she struggles to unhinge it, Aurora outstretches her hand and taps into the power of the Amulet of Go Léir A Fheiceáil. Badb’s eyes become clear as she sees what she has done.
“Thank you, brave daughter, of Ailill Molt and my deepest of apologies for your kingdom. I will fight with you, now go knowing that the battle is already yours.” Badb joined her fellow goddesses and began to burn the remains of the sons of Carman fearing their touches could still pollute the land further. Aurora moved swifter now to the heart of the army.
Carman was starting to pace now having her sons nor the crow return. As she looked out she saw her fate running down into her domain. “How did you break my spell?” She looks as she sees the amulet on Aurora’s chest. “The stupidity of others is astounding, you slew Sluagh? Did you also slay my sons and the crow?” Smiling knowing if the crow was slain she had already won.
The king’s daughter responded, “I slew Sluagh and your sons with much joy to rid this world of their stench, but the crow has had her eyes open. You have lost wicked creature although your sons have slain my father, I will now slay their mother!” Drawing her bow, Aurora shot her four arrows. Carman threw a gust of wind, and two of them blew away. The arrows were still coming. She evaded one but the other just barely nipped her leg. She laughed until realizing that her sight had left her.
Enraged she screamed, “You kill my children and dare to use their blood against me! You worthless woman! I cannot see you but I can still sense your presence.” With that the witch threw a ball of energy toward the heroine who dodged while moving behind a rock. The furious witch hurled blast after blast of energy causing the boulder to grow smaller and smaller. With courage, the king’s daughter advances evading one blast after another. The sorceress sensed this and decided if she cannot see nor would the cursed wench. She formed above her a ring of fire that went out around her scorching the eyes of Aurora. The heroine screeches out her eyes blinded by the flames. Drawing from the power from the Amulet of Go Léir A Fheiceáil she sees Carman and notices that she is tired. Aurora silently and without reserve jumps and brings her sword down onto the wicked wench who had plagued her kingdom. Carman jumps back being sliced by the cursed sword.
“This blood… it is my son’s… you killed me with both of the blood of my children. You wench you deserve death not me! I merely wanted to cleanse the land I am…”
“Shut up witch! Your attentions were purely for conquest! Do not beg for forgiveness from the gods and goddesses, they have already seen your disgust. Join your sons in Ifreann!” With that witch turned pale and departed to the afterlife.
The battle has been won and Aurora walked away with the body wilting down to powder. She returns to her kingdom her sword dripping with the blood of her enemies. The king’s daughter sits upon her father’s throne having the crown held upon her head. She however did not feel the throne stood well for her.
She proclaimed, “The throne is not for me, for while the kingdom moved on I was stuck inside my own head. Therefore, this shall go to the wisest of us all, the crow shall lead us. She who had to suffer for our inability to defend ourselves. Hail goddess and queen Badb who will keep this land clean!”
“Hail Badb!” the court resounded. With that the daughter of Ailill went to exit the court when she was stopped by the voice of Badb.
“Our strongest warrior what shall become of you?”
“The rest of the dear land of Éire needs cleansing. My spirit is not suited for staying in one place but for the heat of battle and the clash of swords. If you ever need me come to me in the form of the crow and I will return.” With that she bows low again and exits the castle to a future of constant battle and adventure.